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A New Chapter For My Book?

chapter

* The above image is from Quid Pro Quills.

So, I am already back from my job interview. It’s 1.35 a.m. in Singapore right now so technically, I am talking about the interview I attended yesterday.

It went well but, on the other hand, it didn’t.

It went well because I got the job the moment I walked in. I was told to fill in an employee form and that’s that.

They even offered me a salary that’s higher than I had expected.

So why, did I say, it didn’t go well when seen from another angle?

That’s because I was so nervous during the interview that I just signed everywhere they told me to, without reading carefully.

Well… That wouldn’t be as dangerous as some of you might think. The security agencies here use the same format for their employee forms and contracts. More or less.

There’s more. It was only after I left the office when I discovered that I never did receive my copy of the employment contract. Nowadays, most agencies do hand a copy of the employment contract to their employees. Maybe it’s not the practice of this particular agency? I checked their background on the internet, and according to their webpage, they were established back in 1970s. That might explain their way of doing things. Some of the agencies I worked for between 1999 and 2003 never did give me copies of my employment contract either.

But because I don’t have a copy of the contract and because I don’t recall signing anything that says how much I should be paid, I am worried.

Still, I did manage to wrangle a promise (verbal) from the manager to pay me weekly advances. $200 per week. Payable every Tuesday. So we will know next Tuesday if they are honorable and honest.

The job seems easy and will allow me to write on the job so I will gamble a bit.

I am also a little excited. Like what if they go back on their word and refuse to pay me my weekly advance? Wouldn’t that give me the opportunity to “promote” the agency on the internet? Guards Gone Wild! is basically a whistle-blower’s account of the the security industry. It’s unpublished because it has been rejected by the publishers in Singapore but if something like an agency scamming my pay comes to light, that might give me the chance to turn around and tell those publishers:

“See? I did say more people need to know about the scams going on in this industry. That way, less people will get cheated.”

And my book gains a new chapter.

Loh Teck Yong

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Should Writers Help Each Other?

Trust Hand Teamwork Keep Cooperation Unity

* The above image is from Max Pixel.

Although there are a lot of writers who say that this industry is already as competitive as can be and what a writer doesn’t need is more rivals, I think there is room for cooperation. Especially among self-published writers.

And here, I will talk about the 2 most difficult hurdles a self-published writer has to overcome.

Shops Will Reject You

For starters, brick-and-mortar bookshops usually do not carry self-published books. I worked at a bookshop myself so I know everyone, my shop and our competitors, only carry books published by established companies. A small independent bookshop MIGHT deal with individual self-published authors but independent bookshops are dying so we can’t really depend on them.

So how can a self-published writer get exposure and sell his books? Well, other than bookshops, bookworms also head to writers’ festivals and similar events for their fixes. But these event organizers only invite established writers to hawk their stuff. So if you are an unknown writer with only one self-published title under your belt, you are not likely to be offered a spot at such events.

I thought to myself. Okay, what if a ragtag band of unknown writers pool their resources together and have their own writers’ festival? It’s impossible for one single writer to rent a venue and have his (or her) own writer’s festival. Because the costs will be sky high and who would come to an event that sells only one title published by only one author?

It’s a different story though, if a group of hitherto unknown writers suddenly band together to make their debut at an event. Possibly some gimmick will be needed to promote the event but that shouldn’t pose any sort of difficulty to a group of writers. Read the rest of this entry

Why Not Lulu?

A lot of people have asked me:

“Why not use Lulu or some other print-on-demand site to publish your book?”

If I have to give a short answer, then it would be:

“Because I don’t want to.”

But I don’t want to leave it at that because that would be rude to the people who are offering me their sincere advice. So I will tell the long version of the story.

I do not want to use a print-on-demand publisher like Lulu because of the following reasons. Read the rest of this entry

The Last Rejection

I have really bad news.

Publisher #3, the final publisher I was counting on, just wrote to me. They have decided to reject my manuscript.

“We have taken much time to consider your story and its potential, and regret to inform you that we will not take it on for publication.”

They are a little kinder than the other 3 publishers, namely #1, #2 and #4. Because Publisher #3, wrote a long paragraph explaining why they decided to reject my manuscript. I will not share the entire email here however, because that would just make me look petty and sore about getting rejected.

Anyway, it looks like I have to use crowdfunding to raise the money to publish Guards Gone Wild! and try to sell it myself.

For such an endeavor, should I set up a separate bank and Paypal account or use my current accounts? Advice and tips welcomed.

Teck Y. Loh

What’s Wrong With Guards Gone Wild!?

mallcopcover3

As the title for my book, I mean.

Recently, I had a meeting with a friend to discuss the possibility of using crowdfunding to raise fund to publish Guards Gone Wild!, a collection of stories about my adventures in the private security industry.

During the meeting, my friend had a strong reaction to the title. He said Guards Gone Wild! will make my book look sleazy. He also told me I will receive criticisms from others, including publishers, over the title.

That came as a surprise to me. Because I had already decided on using Guards Gone Wild! as the title since September last year and have been tossing it around here and there ever since. No one complained about sleaziness or whatever.

On the other hand, my friend felt rather strongly about the sleaziness of my title of choice. Which is why I would like to do a poll here. To see how many people actually consider the title to be too sleazy and if that might affect sales of the book. Read the rest of this entry

Just Quit

Just sent in my resignation letter. By text messaging.

Because if I keep waiting for a better time, a safer moment, to hand in my resignation, I might find myself still working as a guard 10 years from now.

If I want to become a published writer, I have to do it NOW.

Besides, I have already arranged to meet my friends on the 1st of May to discuss the crowdfunding of my book. Yeah, I know. I haven’t heard from Publisher #3 yet, but it doesn’t hurt to plan for the worst in advance. So if Publisher #3 rejects me as well, I wouldn’t feel all lost and forlorn. I would have a plan to fall back on immediately, right after reading the rejection email.

And to make sure that I have a working plan by then, I expect to jump right into the fray and work hard after the 1st May meeting.

You know, with drafting letters and meeting people and online marketing and so on and so forth. I don’t think I can commit to a 60-hour work week once I get started with my book publishing efforts.

Teck Y. Loh

Rejection Letter #3

I just received my third rejection letter from a publisher.

“Thanks for the submission but Guards Gone Wild is not for us.”

Short and sweet. That’s from Publisher #2.

3 down and just 1 more left. I really hope Publisher #3 has some positive news for me.

Teck Y. Loh