Monday, October 09, 2006

Dark City - the sequel

Ah, apparently the National Library of Malaysia wants to order 500 copies of Dark City to distribute nationwide in all the library branches. I wonder if they know what they're buying :) Such a contrast to the Singaporean National Library, yes?

If this sale goes through, I would have sold almost all of the 3000 first print run already. (That is, if the bookstores don't return them at the end of the year!)

On another note, my Malay translation is taking a long, long time. Apparently, the guy has translated only 3 chapters!! My publisher says he will find another guy if this one doesn't complete it on time. Does translation actually take that long? (Okay, maybe if I did it, it will.) I = saya. He = dia.

Anyway, my publisher and I agreed on some things already. We want to do a sequel, and since I'm writing Billy Lang, there is one way to get a sequel out easily. That's right, I'm calling for submissions.

But before I go to the press with it, I need your opinions.

1. Since I believe in paying for submissions (unlike some anthologies), would RM 150 + 4 free books to each contributor cut it? (Note I'm taking this money out myself, and we're never ever sure what we're going to earn per book. And other people who collect anthologies don't even pay.)

2. My criteria are:
a) Up to 12,000 words per story
b) Must be in the same vein as the stories in Dark City 1 - meaning stories about the darker side of Malaysian life. And it must meet the English and storytelling standards. (In other words, I will only select what is publishable)
c) Each story must contain a twist that hopefully no reader will see coming
d) This is open to published and unpublished writers of all ages. For unpublished writers, this allows you an opportunity to say you've been published somewhere, and to sell your future work easier to a publisher.

Does this sound feasible to you?

And on yes, please do spread the word so that people can contribute. I will select the stories, of course.


Yvonne Lee said...

Wah...I get to comment first this time!

Hey, great news, if National Library orders that big amount, that's wonderful credential for yout title!

About your translation, errr....I'm having the same problem ler... Anyway, if it comes out, it comes out laa. Don't want to mull over things that are not in my control anymore.

You are moving fast, now that you're asking for submission for your book sequel. I think you must publicise widely so that people know how to submit.
What's the deadline?

Gee....I wonder how you're going to cope with the screening process. Separating gems from craps should be fun, I hope!

Keep us posted, ok?

Argus Lou said...

Wow, so exciting, Xeus! First, congrats on our National Library wanting 500 copies - there's hope yet for our library system.

Next: yeah, your way of getting Dark City 2 going sounds pretty feasible. You know I would love to contribute at least one story (let's hope my fingers and brain don't freeze now that they have a real project to work on!).

All the best, and please let us know the deadline. I'm sure StarMag would be happy to publish an announcement for you. You know who to call/email.

Eternal Wanderer said...

Heh, if our National Library doesn't accept your work like the Singaporean library, it goes to show how hypocritical they are. Support homegrown Malaysian writers, they say, only to find out that they would not support you because of the dark themes in the book. That's why they had better support your book!

Well done on selling your first 3000 copies! Remarkable!

Translations do take time, I believe. Malay uses more words as well as longer words to describe an event, action and scene. If you don't believe me, you can just check out the Malay version of Harry Potter - they are much thicker than the English ones!

I'll definitely be submitting a story or two to you. Will have to decide on what themes to explore, though. I was thinking about paedophilia, but I wonder if anyone will be too disgusted with such a story. The recent brouhaha over Mat Rempits also interest me. Have to do research on what these Rempits do to their bikes.

Any deadline yet? I don't mind getting paid within RM150-RM200 and getting 3 or 4 copies of the book. All that matters to me is getting published.

Gette said...

Wow... GO National Library! Woot!

Well now, I can't say no to the call for submission. A story that I've had rolling around in my head the last couple of years just reminded me that this could be the perfect moment.

I also find "RM150 + 4 free books" agreeable. Let us know when you have a deadline.

Lydia Teh said...

Xeus, wow, you're moving fasssstt!!

At 12,000 words, the length is kinda long isn't it? Perhaps you should specify what is the minimum too? If you're going to select 12 stories only, then I guess you'll need that length. But if you're going for more, then you could scale it down. Whatever it is, there needs to be some consistency so that the stories don't yoyo from the very short to the very long.

Yvonne Foong said...

I've gotta pat my own back for surfing your blog, otherwise I would have missed this!

RM150 sounds good. As a general writer, i would complain it's too little, but as a FELLOW writer, I'd say it's fine, since we all know how little books can earn through traditional publishing.

YAY! I'm gonna try and meet YOUR standards. kekeke... scary scary... maybe dark hospital city? omg... local government hospitals are thrillers, alright.

John Ling said...

I have a thriller that has been eating away at me for some time. Hopefully, I will get it down soon.

I have been meaning to ask, however. Is there anything we cannot write about?

Xeus said...

Yvonne, I hope the National Library thing goes through. My publisher apparently has government ties.

I'm thinking of an April 30th deadline. Screening for me is easy, as testament to how fast I read everybody's stories :)

Argus, I have already emailed someone in Star about this. I will call to follow up tomorrow. They're taking a long time with the seriliazation. Do please contribute.

As you know, with all stories that will make the book, I will ask for some conceptual editing to make the story even better.

Xeus said...

Thanks, Eternal Wanderer! Yes, I have seen the Malay translation of Memoirs of a Geisha. Very thick!

Do submit. I will always conceptually edit stories I think have promise so the writer can make the story even better, the way you and Ted conceptually edited my Billy Lang as well.

Submit any theme you like. But I would go easy on the sexual descriptions. I've learnt my lesson with Dark City 1 already!

Gette, love to see your submissions! Would April cut it?

Xeus said...

You are right, Lydia. 12,000 words is too long. I would say from 3000 - 8000 words, what do you think?

Yvonne Foong, yes, a GHKL story would be nice :) I have a few haunted real life stories from there.

John, would love your suspense contribution! Just put a twist in the end. Just stay away from too obviously racial issues. Don't want the book to get banned!

Argus Lou said...

Hey, Lydia and Xeus. I think any story deemed worthy up to 8,000 words is fine. If someone can write a whopper in 700 words, then tha (the Chinese genderless pronoun is a great idea) deserves the RM150 + 4 copies of the printed book. Concise, gripping and satisfying! That's the criteria. Similar length stories will appear a bit boring and too uniform.

I've been reading Doris Lessing's, Alice Munro's, Amy Hempel's, and Great Australian Short Stories, and they are of various lengths.

What do the others here think?

Lydia Teh said...

Xeus, 3K-8K is better. April 30 deadline : wah, so long, more than six months. 3 or 4 months can already lah. If one is keen, 3 months no problemo. 6 mths : more time for procrastination.

Argus, a 700-word piece may stick out like a sore thumb if the others are all 3K minimum :) Anyway, isn't there a 'rule' which says to take as long as you need to tell a good story, no matter how long or short. As you put it : concise, gripping and satisfying. BTW 'tha' is not exactly genderless, the radical determines the gender but in speech, both female and male 'tha' sound the same.

Ted Mahsun said...

Congratulations on the library purchase!

I'd have to agree: 3k - 8k words per story is much more reasonable. 12k is like a novella already!

RM150 + 4 copies is pretty reasonable I think.

Anyway, once you finalise things, tell me ya so I can publicise on my blog also!

Xeus said...

You got it, guys. 3000 - 8000 words, Feb 28th closing date. I've already spoken to the Star. And I put a first come first serve basis caveat!

Once Star accepts this, I will announce the criteria again, Ted. You're always so nice to put it on your blog! Hope Lydia, John, Argus, Bib, Gette, Yvonne et al who have blogs will too.