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How to self-publish a book? – by Emmanuel Nataf (Lesson 2) for Highbrow

Welcome back! Today’s lesson is all about writing a great book. It doesn’t have to be the greatest book ever written, but as long as it appeals to a certain audience enough for them to write a good review, or recommend to a friend, you will be well on your way to finding success.

In the self-publishing world, there are anomalies: objectively terrible books which sell plenty of copies simply because the author is a skilled marketer. But who in their right mind sets out to write a bad book? Not you, I’m sure 😉

I won’t bore you with a list of hard-and-fast rules for what constitutes a good book. That being said, I’d love to point out some common habits shared by the most prolific and successful writers:

Read a lot of books
A good book teaches you a lot about writing. Read every book that has enjoyed critical acclaim and popularity in your genre, and try to analyze what makes these books different. Pay attention to things like the story, plot structure, and characterization. Go back to your own draft and see if you can apply your learnings.

Make sure you have a plan
If you’re writing a novel, it’s often a good idea to “plot” your story beforehand. Chart how one event leads to another, which then causes a third thing to happen: you know, the story.

Diving into your first draft without a thoroughly developed structure will make it difficult to keep track of how your story progresses. When you’re dealing with tens of thousands of words, the last thing you want is to get overwhelmed and stop writing!

Know your audience
Are you writing for a young audience? For business professionals? Will they be fans of Dan Brown or Noam Chomsky? Knowing who your book is aimed at will not only help you choose the right tone and content, it will prove invaluable once you kick off your marketing efforts.

Give yourself deadlines
Do not get stuck in an endless loop of incessantly editing a chapter. We’re not saying that you should rush; merely suggesting you give your book the time it deserves by making sure you maintain a steady level of productivity. The National Novel Writing Month, where hundreds of participants write over 50,000 words in one month, is a perfect example of how clear goals and deadlines can do wonders for your writing process.

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How to self-publish a book? – by Emmanuel Nataf (Lesson 1) for Highbrow

You’re the boss, and you’re responsible for everything.
So how common is self-publishing? More than you might imagine. In 2016, over 70% of all ebooks launched in the US were self-published. In addition, self-published titles accounted for 42% of Amazon ebook sales.
These statistics strongly suggest two things:
  • A lot of authors are self-publishing.
  • A lot fewer of them are generating sales.
So, how can an emerging independent author ensure their book stands out from the crowd?
Get ready to wear a lot of hats. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room; or the double-edge sword, if you prefer. Self-publishing gives you the power to choose your own path: you aren’t beholden to any publishers or book marketers, only yourself. However with this power also comes responsibility: you will be responsible for doing everything a traditional publisher does for one of their authors.
Once you’ve written your fantastic book, you will slap on your commissioning editor’s hat as you ensure your book is adequately edited and proofread. Once that’s complete, you will pop on your Art Director’s cap and ensure that your book is well-design. And through it all, you will also be turning yourself into a book-marketing machine. Do you have to do this all by yourself? Absolutely not.
Over the course of these lessons, you find out what it takes to successfully self-publish a book. Not only will you get a overarching view of the process, you will learn which parts of self-publishing can be handled inexpensively by the author, and which parts will demand the attention of a professional.
Nobody likes the idea of having to spend more money than they have to. But if you are serious about getting people to read your work, you cannot afford to publish an amateurish product. With that in mind, tomorrow’s lesson will cover the most unavoidable requirement of self-publishing success: writing a great book!
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Review – Who We Were

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A late post from late last year. Who We Were has achieved a five-star review by Readers’ Favorite.

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers’ Favorite.

“Who We Were by Puiyin Labial is a story about destiny and the incredible truth that people could be bound together by threads that are mysterious and intangible. With an international setting in China and the US, the reader follows the lives of two compelling characters, a young boy and girl who feel a powerful attraction for each other, an affection that is foiled by insane family traditions. They will meet again in high school, this time in the US, and feel irresistibly drawn to each other. But their attraction is hindered once more. As adults, Jace and Melodi meet again, this time each successfully pursuing their professions. Are they bound to be together or are these mere coincidences? They will learn the truth after a painful tragedy. Will they be able to stick together this one last time?

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the reader-friendly writing — simple, crisp, and fluid. From the start, the reader will appreciate the realism that is injected into the writing. The characters are well developed with solid backgrounds. The author did a great job in integrating the backgrounds of the key characters into the narrative, with Melodi excelling as a writer and Jace devoted to his career as a doctor. The story is cleverly plotted, leaving the reader with so much guessing to do. I quickly learned to care about these characters from the very beginning and couldn’t help having the feeling of a strange familiarity with them. Who We Were is a beautiful story that reminds readers that we know more than we are often aware of, and that our connections could go beyond our dreams and expectations. Puiyin Labial weaves strong themes like love, family, and human connections seamlessly into a story that is gripping and real.” 

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Happy 2018 and onwards…

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Hello all,

Happy belated New Year to you all. Hope everyone had a merry happy Xmas and a fantastic New Year. One of my biggest New Year’s resolution for 2018 and onwards is to focus more on my blog. In the past, I have promised numerous of times how I would pay more attention to the blog before getting sidetracked and not blog for weeks….months in fact. Well, that’s all about to change. Thinking back to where this blog began, I miss those times where I would blog about anything, even if it had nothing to do with books, writing and publishing. I would blog two to three times a week every single week, and I would get loads of comments and would interact with other bloggers (who I have remained close friends with till this day). Those were the times when I haven’t started my publishing house. And now that I have, I don’t want it to stop me from blogging just as much because I have piles of work on the table. I will make sure to put the blogging on top of the pile.

Lots to look forward to this year, including the sequels to Made in Thailand and Who We Were. Also, after many long years of research (over 10 years), I am so honoured to have the legendary author Vivian Head to join me in the Fauna series. We are hoping to have the first book in the series launched sometime at the end of 2018, although there’s still so much more work to be done on it. I am also looking forward to publishing Vivian’s sequel to The Warped Web.

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Another project that is already in the works but only in the early stages of drafting and outlining is the re-write of A Chinese Christmas Carol. Those of you who have been with me from the very beginning, since the birth of this blog, will know about A Chinese Christmas Carol, a fiction book based on real life events. The book was published in 2010. And now, I will be re-publishing it and turning it into a series. The original version will continue to be on sale.

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Overall, it’s going to be a much more busier but exciting year, and I look forward to sharing the journey with you all along the way.

Much love always,

Puiyin W.L.

xoxo

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Review – The Warped Web

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I am proud to announce that The Warped Web has achieved a five-star review by Readers’ Favorite. A huge congrats to the amazing Vivian Head.

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite.

“The Warped Web is a private investigator murder mystery written by Vivian Head. Rex Salomon had been a natural at crime solving, and he easily progressed up the ranks of the Metropolitan Police. He was following in his father’s own footsteps and was successfully commanding a murder squad when his growing struggles with necrophobia made it impossible for him to function on the job. While he had long been successful in suppressing his reaction to death and the dead bodies that were an inevitable part of his day-to-day work, a last particularly gruesome cadaver proved to be his breaking point. Were it not for the lucky chance that his partner had found him poised on the roof of the headquarters and ready to jump, Rex would have ended it all, there and then. Working with the police psychiatrist gave him some tools to combat the worst attacks, but they were insufficient to address the underlying phobia. 

After several months, Rex left his job and family and went to Malta, hoping the change of venue, relaxation and warmth would help him heal. His return, some months later, was met with his wife’s refusal to let him in the door of his former home and a rueful realization of his dwindling personal resources. Then he overheard a conversation between two women, one of whom was crying, and the other, on impulse, reached out to him for a referral to a private investigator. Rex had a momentary flash of brilliance as he realized that this was what he could do with his life — he’d set up an office and become a private eye.

Vivian Head’s private investigator murder mystery, The Warped Web, is a well-written and thought-provoking story about a strange cult-like society that seemed to have the power to render its victims passive and unable to resist the commands of the ominous-looking Babatune, who presided over the mysterious affairs at 52c Quarry Lane. I enjoyed seeing how Rex uses his innate abilities to grab the opportunity offered him and loved watching as he first finds himself an office and lodgings, and then proceeds to assemble a team to help him solve the case. The Warped Web is filled with intriguing twists, turns and inexplicable shadowy apparitions which serve quite well in heightening the suspense, tension and urgency of the tale, and I found this book quite difficult to put down until I had finished the last page. The Warped Web is most highly recommended.”

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An Angry Mother of a Special Needs Child

Hello all,

As much as I want to talk about my books and publishing, I can’t. Not today. I didn’t want to make a big deal of this post, but I feel the need to, because I might not be able to make a difference, but at least I can voice my feelings about it.

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Yesterday, I went grocery shopping with my nine year old son, Nicholas, who is autistic. Nicholas is one of those child who has ‘invisible’ special needs/disability. Not everyone would know he is autistic. He loves grocery shopping, and is usually well-behaved and well-mannered (believe it or not). The only few times he would act up is when he gets too excited and he would like to walk quickly, talk fast and sing loudly. So yesterday, we were at the meat aisle where it was freezing cold. It was so cold that Nicholas thought it would be fun to see if he could exhale the cold air out of his mouth. He then turned to a lady next to him and exhaled the air in front of her. The lady turned her attention to him and immediately looked shocked. I told Nicholas to stop what he was doing. The lady turned her attention to me. She looked angry, and then she said, “Your son is rude.”

Every mother of a special needs child will know that we would protect our child no matter what the situation is. I began to feel angry.

“I do apologize,” I said as calmly as possible.

“What a rude child. He is so rude.”

OK, that was it. I didn’t hold back.

“Excuse me, my son did not mean what he did. And besides, he’s autistic, which is why he’s curious about his surroundings.”

“I don’t care what the hell he is. He is rude. Your son is rude.”

At this point, the lady was beyond angry like Nicholas had done something much worse. I wasn’t having it. I’d already apologized, even though I didn’t feel like I should have in the first place.

“Alright, calm down lady,” I snapped back angrily.

I took my son’s hand and the both of us walked off with my head held up high. I knew there was no point in getting into an argument with the lady. As we walked away, she continued to shout back, “Your son is rude.”

Bloody hell, enough already.

Sadly, my son understood what the lady said, because he became sad and quiet after that. But I told him that it wasn’t his fault and that there will be people like the lady who he will come across in life. As for me, I promised him I will always be there to fight back for him.

So my point in writing this post? I understand not everyone will understand those with special needs/disability. But please bear in mind that they are also human, and we just have to try to understand them. It’s also unnecessary to be rude. If they do things that might upset us, just walk away. Harsh words would just hurt them as they might understand but wouldn’t know how to defend themselves. It is sad for me to see how many supporters there are for the special needs/disabled during the Paralympics. Then when the event is over, it’s back to ‘normal’ where the special needs/disabled are divided. Special needs/disability should be supported and understood as an every day life. And it’s important to remember that not all special needs/disability are visible.

Thank you for reading.

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Photo credit – Autism Awareness
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The Warped Web – An Excerpt

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He turned, and was about to walk towards the door, when he noticed a drop of blood about the size of an old sixpence on the corner of the sink. He was certain it wasn’t there when he first came in. He studied himself carefully to see if his body had left this unsavoury mark on the white porcelain. “No, not me!” he said, positive that it was not his own body fluid. He glanced at the floor and noticed several other red spots which were leading towards the door. He followed the trail but stopped dead when he saw a dark shadow through the frosted glass. As far as he knew, the other offices, of which there were two, had all closed at five which meant he should be the only person left in the building. He wasn’t sure whether it was the remains of the alcohol playing tricks on him but he felt the hairs stand up on the back of his neck and he froze . . .

*The Warped Web is out now on paperback and ebook.

https://www.puiyinwlpublishing.com/thewarpedweb