How much Local Literature Do You Read? #BuySingLit

#BuySingLit : A Singaporean Reading Initiative

#BuySingLit
Singapore Poetry on the Sidewalk_Credit Sing Lit Station

As a voracious reader and a hard-working writer, I dream of a world where reading is promoted and writers find support. In Singapore, the country I call home, it does not look like an improbable dream, with initiatives like #BuySingLit.

#BuySingLit
A Storyteller Reads_Credit Moonshadow Series

From Feb 24 to 26 2017, Singapore will host #BuySingLit, the first-ever industry-led, nationwide initiative to promote the reading and purchase of Singapore literature, affectionately known as SingLit. Organized by more than 30 partners from the Singapore book industry, including publishers, distributors, booksellers and non-profits, the #BuySingLit initiative hopes to encourage more Singaporeans and Singapore residents to ‘Buy Local, Read Our World’.

#BuySingLit
Street Theatre_Credit Avant Theatre

With more than 40 activities planned in all four official languages, from storytelling sessions and book fairs to guided tours, interactive shows, workshops and book treasure hunts—there’s something for everyone to look forward to: be it young or old, aspiring writers, avid fans of SingLit, or SingLit newbies.

Special commissions for #BuySingLit include:

  • A set of four Ticket Books which offer new stories, poems and illustrations
    #BuySIngLit
    The Whispering Wallpaper_Credit Paperplane

    alongside a NETS FlashPay card to use on public transport – featuring authors and illustrators such as Paatheral Elamaran, Balli Kaur Jaswal, Noridah Kamari, Xi Ni Er, Joshua Ip and Chempaka Aizim.

  • Three editorial center-spreads in The New Paper featuring poems and short stories by Singaporean writers; these will be distributed on Feb 20, 22, and 24.
  • Visit the #BuySingLit site for all the details of events and participating bookstores.

To help this along, I’m helping the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) give away #BuySingLit vouchers to three Singapore-based commenters on this post, via a random selector: 100 Singapore Dollars each, which will be valid in all the participating bookshops in Singapore.

#BuySingLitI know that a lot of the friends of this blog are from beyond Singaporean borders. For them, I plan to give away (via post) the three books NBDCS sent me (written by Singapore-based authors) :

  1. As the Heart Bones Break by Audrey Chin (nominated for various SIngaporean Literary awards)
  2. 3 by the bestselling author Krishna Udayasankar, and
  3. Middle & First Stories by Simon Tay

My bookshelves carry a fair bit of Singaporean fiction. By sending these three books outside of Singapore, I hope to introduce my blog-friends to Singaporean writing, and add to the #BuySingLit initiative.


Are you a reader, a writer, or both?  If a writer, do you receive support for your writing writing from your government and the publishing industry? As a reader, do you think enough is done in your community to promote reading? Have you read books by Singaporean authors? If you are a Singaporean book-lover, what books would you recommend to those beyond the Singaporean borders?

Please drop a line in the comments to win #BuySingLit vouchers (100 SGD each for 3 winners) if you’re Singapore-based, or to win one of the three books mentioned above, if you live outside Singapore.

Here’s hoping reading and writing receives the support it deserves not just in Singapore, but the world over.

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Want Book Marketing Tips from a Published Author?

Here on Daily (w)rite, as part of the guest post series, it is my absolute pleasure today to welcome Mark Noce, an author of historical fiction, who shares insights on book marketing.


Book Marketing with a Traditional Publisher

Thanks for having me here, Damyanti! As requested, I’m here today sharing my experiences as a recently published author with St. Martin’s Press. My debut historical novel, Between Two Fires, came out in August 2016 and is available wherever books are sold.

Over the course of my ongoing tour, a lot of people have asked me what it’s like working with a major publisher and how much book marketing is expected of a traditionally published author. The answer is, it’s great, but it’s also a lot of work. In fact, based on my conversations with self-published authors, I can tell you that the book marketing effort required by a traditionally published author is about 99% the same as what’s expected of a self-published writer.

Book marketingWhat do I mean by that? Basically, you’re the author, so the buck stops with you. It’s up to the author to run the show and get their book out there, regardless of who represents them in the marketplace. Blog tours, Thunderclap campaigns, speaking engagements, media reviews, etc. I’ve discovered that there are a lot of things people assume a traditional publisher will do for a new author, like run a book tour, get your novel reviewed by a magazine or put up cash to advertise for you. That’s still on you as the author. It doesn’t mean that your publisher won’t be willing to support you in some ways, but you must be the one to drive whatever book marketing effort means the most to you.

It’s important to remember that traditional publishers have a lot on their plates and have very limited time to offer each writer they represent. For instance, the imprint I signed with at St. Martin’s Press publishes something like 175 titles a year. That means they literally have a new book coming out every 2 or 3 days, all year, every year. You are just one author of many who has a slot in the production line, and your publisher will have a lot of other authors on their mind that they have to take care of as well.

That being said, there are some definite upsides and downsides to choosing a traditional publishing route over a self-published route. Publishers are great at getting you set up with an ISBN number for your book, running giveaways on Goodreads, and coming up with a cover. These are potential headaches that a traditionally published author can count on their publisher to handle. On the flip side, you sign a contract, so the publisher has final say on things like what the cover looks like, the length of your novel, and ultimately what your book will cost consumers when it hits bookshelves.

The truth is, I’m still learning and am very much on my initial journey through the wide waters of the traditionally published author market. It’s been a fun, wild, long, hardworking, and exhilarating ride so far, and it looks like it’s just getting started. I hope I’ve given you some idea of what to expect when marketing your novel with traditional publishers. I’ve also posted some useful tips below.

In the meantime, keep reading, keep writing, and keep enjoying every minute of it.

Mark’s Book Marketing Tips

–          Don’t be afraid to ask. Sounds simple, but it has helped me a lot. Ask questions at bookstores, libraries, and with fellow bloggers online. Everyone has some insights that can really help you.

–          There are no rules. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. You have to find a book marketing plan that works for you. It may rely on blogs, it may not. It may favor public speaking events or podcasts or Twitter posts or a hundred other things that all provide widely varying degrees of success to various authors. The key is to find the sort of book marketing that works best for you. Sometimes trial and error is the only way to find out for yourself.

–          Free advice is the best. I know some folks will disagree with me, but I can only speak from my own experiences. I prefer to form personal relationships with people, rather than have a relationship based on money. I’ve paid editors to edit my work before and they’ve done okay jobs, but critique partners who have volunteered to edit my work have given me quality edits that were 100x better. Why? Because the person who cares about you, cares about your book, will help you more than a paid person ever will. They also know that you’ll be there for them.

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Book marketingMark writes historical fiction with a passion. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he’s an avid traveler and backpacker, particularly in Europe and North America. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. By day, he works as a technical writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. His debut novel, Between Two Fires, is published by Thomas Dunne Books (an imprint of St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan). It is the first in a series of historical fiction novels set in medieval Wales. To learn more about Between Two Fires, and any of his other upcoming publications, check out his Books section.

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Are you a reader, a writer, or both?  Do you read more short stories or novels? Are a self-published or traditionally published author? What are the pros and cons of each, according to you? Do you have any book marketing tips to add? As a reader or writer, do you have questions for Mark Noce? 

Please join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page in case you’d like to be heard by this community. If you liked this post, you can have biweekly posts delivered to your inbox: click the SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL button.

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What would you say to other bloggers? #blogging

BloggersWhen blogging, I find blog-visiting just as enjoyable and important as posting on the blog. Often, I wish to leave messages for those I visit, beyond the comments on their posts. I don’t because it feels like an intrusion, and I run short on time. Some of the things I want to say to bloggers, are:

  1. Make it easier to comment on your posts: Some bloggers make it very tough to leave a comment. You have to sign various forms etc and I tend to lose patience, because most of my blogging and blog visiting is on the run from my phone during work breaks. I wish Blogspot users would add the Name/URL option, that those allowing only FB or Google + Comments etc would just open it to other platforms. Why not make it just a Name/ URL thing? Why would you limit the number of bloggers who can EASILY comment on your blogs? Enable comment moderation if you want to avoid spam.
  2. Make it easier to share your posts on social media: Add the share buttons to social media and make it easy to tag you when sharing posts on Twitter or G+ etc. I find so many bloggers whose Share buttons are not connected to their own Twitter, making it tough to tag them when sharing their posts.
  3. BloggersDon’t write long blocks of text : It is hard to read on screen. Make it easier to read your posts by using shorter paragraphs and bold titles etc.
  4. Make your posts ‘easy on eyesight’: Stay away from dark backgrounds, gifs. Make sure your posts download fast.
  5. Check your spam folders and rescue my comments: That’s self-explanatory. Have lost count of blogs where my comments disappear.
  6. Make it easy to follow you: Give me easily visible Social Media Buttons and Follow the Blog Buttons.  But don’t keep bugging me about it: all those pop-up windows asking me to subscribe to your blog aren’t going to make me do it. Reminders on your blog are fine, by why bombard your visitors with pop-ups?
  7. Link your gravatars to your blogs: When you drop a comment, make sure your name links to your blog. I’ll visit you back that much quicker if you leave me a way to do it.

What are your pet peeves as a blogger? What would you like to change in the blogs you visit? What keeps you from commenting on some blogs: content, format, or ease of commenting?

Do you follow this blog? If yes, why, and if not, why not? (My blog follow button keeps breaking– let me know if you’d like to follow along but have trouble doing so– my apologies if you find broken links.)

If you’re following my blog, or social media, and would like a follow back, please give me a heads up. I follow back all non-spam accounts as best as I can.

Please join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page in case you’d like to be heard by this community. If you liked this post, you can have weekly posts delivered to your inbox: click the SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL button.

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Have questions of a #Fiction Editor? Ask Them Here. #IWSG

Writing Flash FictionThanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting the Insecure Writers Support Group every month for the past few years! Go to this site to meet the other participants: each insecure writer, trying to feel secure, from across the blogiverse. The awesome co-hosts for today are Misha Gericke, LK Hill, Juneta Key, and Joylene Buter.

For my IWSG ost I’m sharing creative writing insights as part of my guest post series. It is my absolute pleasure today to welcome writer and editor Michelle Elvy, who talks about writing flash fiction, and her work as an editor. She edits at  Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction and Blue Five Notebook and is Assistant Editor, International, for the Best Small Fictions series.

1. What drives the Blue Five Notebook? What are your plans for its future?

Blue Five Notebook had its origins in poetry, branching out from Sam Rasnake’s poetry journal, Bluefifth Review. Blue Five Notebook came about in 2011, when Sam decided to add short fiction and brought me in as Fiction Editor. Last year, we changed to a quarterly schedule. We’ve also added non-fiction, with Bill Yarrow serving as Editor – reviews, essays and literary discussions.

2. And Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction? How does it differ from Blue Five Notebook?

Flash Frontier began as a New Zealand journal in 2012 but moved to international issues, with more contributors (artists and writers) and readers with each issue. The one constant at Flash Frontier is the 250-word limit; it evolved as a means of introducing the very short form to NZ writers and readers. With a NZ editing team, and frequent issues with Guest Editors, Flash Frontier changes in look and tone from issue to issue.

writing flash fiction

3. What do you look for in a story you accept for publication?

At Blue Five Notebook, we feature work that is more often poetic in nature, paying tribute to the journal’s roots, and we like the odd, the ethereal, the off-center. A strong voice and beautiful writing win over complicated plot or a surprise ending. The same can be said for Flash Frontier, but the more concise focus creates a space for a different kind of experimentation. We have tremendous variety there.

4. You’ve won awards and have also judged contests. What tips would you give writers who submit to various contests?

  • Don’t let wins go to your head, or rejections get you down.  Your writing is what matters most – not anyone else’s judgment of it.
  • Try writing outside the box – play with setting, character, pacing and language. Surprise yourself; get outside your own comfort zone.
  • Pay attention to the general feel of the journal or contest. Read past content, and read the instructions. Again, don’t take them, or yourself, too seriously. Relax and enjoy the process.
Your writing is what matters most – not anyone else’s judgment of it. ~Michelle Elvy Click to Tweet

How do you disagree on #SocialMedia?

Social mediaIn the last few months, social media has seemed an unsafe place. Because I have friends all over the world, I see their beliefs on my timeline. Each day I spend not having reacted to some of the views posted on there, I feel like I’ve aced some sort of test. While I’ve limited my time on social media for exactly this reason (some days books seem like the ultimate refuge), I also do not want to completely isolate myself– I’m part of the human community after all.

On the belief spectrum, I believe in equal rights for all, no discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual preference, skin color, religion, or place of origin. I’d like all of us to see each other as an alien would– as the human species. My belief is in compassion and equanimity. I’m mostly vegetarian, and I believe in moderation in every aspect of our lives. I also believe we as a species are harming the being that we’re part of, Planet Earth.

But these are just that: my beliefs.

I hold them dear, just as everyone else holds theirs. I’m as devout about these as devout Muslims are about their prayers, or Christians about their concept of sin, or businessmen about their concept of profit, or politicians about their ambitions.