Saturday, January 20, 2007

MPH Writer's Circle yesterday

The audience for the writer's circle is shrinking. There were a lot more people at the
last one I attended, many months ago. Now, there are barely more then a dozen. What's
happening? Most people who were there, like me and my husband, were supporting the speakers.

A great pity too, because yesterday's topic "Blogging for Writers" was particularly interesting. David Byke, who brought his family along for support, did a great job moderating the panelists: Sharon Bakar, Nizam Zakaria and Lydia Teh. I was hoping to see Ted too, but he wasn't around.

Anywhow, these are the take away points from the forum:

1. If you're a writer, it makes sense to blog.

2. Your blog can be a forum for you to
a) create publicity for yourself and your book
b) get in touch with your readers
c) solicit comments for yout stories, titles etc
d) run competitions
e) solicit editors and publishers who might be interested in your work. Sharon Bakar got her Star column that way. And apparently, a lot of writers were 'discovered' that way
f) network with other writers who might later collaborate with you. E.g: I met Tunku Halim, Jennifer Tai and a host of others this way.

Other things I have learnt which are supremely interesting to me:
1) Malay girls who wear 'tudung' form the bulk of Malay readers
2) Malay boys don't read as much!
3) The Malay demographic is still largely undiscovered. We know romances sell well, but o9ther genres have not been tried and tested.
4) A lot of people on My Space are Malay girls who wear tudung.
5) They can pay as much as RM 45,000 for a Malay telenovella script, which apparently can take only 2 weeks to write!

It was great to meet Tunku Halim again, though he had to rush off. I asked him if he managed to talk to my agent Jerry, and he did.

After that, Lydia, Eric, my husband and I went off for lunch at the very place Eric and I had dinner last week. I think Eric is stuffed to the gills with Shanghainese food! We talked about future projects and stuff, including some with my husband, and checked out Lydia's life sized standee, now greeting visitors to MPH at the entrance.

Pretty cool afternoon.


Lydia Teh said...

Xeus, thanks for your support. It was an interesting session, learnt lots of new stuff, especially from Nizam's experience and that bit which he asked us not to blog about, wink2. Great write-up - informative. I've written a summary of the event too at the media gallery, with pix posted.

Xeus said...

Lydia, I have been! Took me a Google search to find it because initially I thought it would be at your main blog. Lovely pictures! You should take a photo of the one in MidValley too :)

tunku halim said...

Great afternoon it was... and finally met the lovely Lydia Teh!

Wish I could have made lunch and discussed book and writing and books and writing and books and writing and ...

After Nizam's talk, I've decided to complete my movie script for my first novel "Dark Demon Rising" . . . "wonder what I'm going to spend the money on!"

D.N.A.S said...

I'm a Malay girl who wears tudung. I buy 2 fiction novels every month.
I have a space in MSN space (not My Space).
I'm part of the statistics, although I am not really into romance novels these days. :)

Tunku Halim said...

DNAS, don't worry, we're all just a statistic. They are lies, damn lies and ... well, you know how it goes. Does that mean we're all liars. As writers we write (as the saying goes) "the truth behind the lies"!

Lydia Teh said...

Tunku Halim, that's motivation for you, yeah? So, you're going to ask Nizam for some contacts ;)It's a pity you couldn't stay and show us your bag of books. Should've asked you to open up your treasure chest before the event.

Lydia Teh said...

DNAS, authors wish there are more people like you to go round buying our books :)

tunku halim said...

Lydia - definitely will ask Nizam, but also means hard work ahead to finish screenplay. Will have to bring bag of books (or bones?) to see you another day.

Eric Forbes said...

Tunku Halim - Could you write a short endorsement or blurb for Honk! If You're Malaysian. We will be reprinting it soon and I need a couple more endorsements. Around 30-40 words will do. Thanks.

Lynette - I haven't had enough of Shanghainese food!

Eric Forbes said...

One more thing: Lydia's standees will one day be a collectors' item. There are only five in the world.

Lydia Teh said...

Eric, that reminds me, I gotta get the blurbs for Xeus and T. Halim done. Collectors items, LOL! Can use for next book or not?

Anonymous said...

Wah, away for a couple of days and so much talk!

Tunku Halim, wish you could have stayed too. I would love to watch Dark Demon Rising as a movie!

DNAS, how would you feel about reading Dark City in Malay? Is it your type of genre? (Yes, I'm getting it translated.)


Xeus said...

Eric, there are 6 Lydias in the world! I myself love Shanghainese food though my husband can't stand ythe stuff :)

Tunku Halim said...

Eric - will send you my review for Lydia's book (I think deep down she actually liked it, especially the bit about the Top Hats)

Lydia - very upset I couldn't take your cardboard standup home with me, only one of six... sure can sell on eBay!

Xeus - Dark Demon Rising will be a movie, only matter of time I hope. I love Shanghainese food too.

Xeus said...

TH, I think deep down inside you will like the review I gave for your new book too. We writers are such quote whores!

Kenny Mah said...

Hi Xeus!

I'd agree with most of your points that you brought away from the forum. I attended Lydia's book talk at Midvalley and met up with Eric there too. It's motivating to meet local writers in person because you are able to put a face to them.

It makes the whole publishing scene here feel less mysterious and scary. And there is plenty to learn about the marketing of books in Malaysia; I sure did, from talking to Lydia and Eric.

Hope to catch you around in person too, one of these days! :)

Xeus said...


We're not mysterious or scary at all!

Basically, when you haven't been published and you don't know anyone, it all seems impossibly scary and foreboding. Then you get to know people, and you'll find that the publishers themselves are always on the lookout for new talent, and are always lamenting not being able to find good writers! And they want so many people to write this, write that etc.

Lydia and I will be at the Book Bloggers in Bangsar Village next month. More details on Eric's site. Do come!

Kenny Mah said...

I'll definitely come! (I'm already going for the first one.) Hopefully, I'll find time to design a poster for the second Breakfast Club for Litbloggers as well. I have an idea to contrast you and Lydia (Dark vs. Light, in terms of dark fiction vs. humourous writing).

Happy CNY!

P.S. I've posted a link to your blog on my blog's Bookmarks page. Hope that is ok with you.

Xeus said...

Kenny, I'm going for the first one too to meet Yang May Ooi. See you there in that case.

I'm not sure I will be considered dark for long though. The book I'm currently writing - a children's tome - is quite humorous, according to Lydia, Ted and a few others who have read the first 3 chapters. And the columns I write for the newspapers are actually humorous.

But it's so nice of you to offer to design a blog banner! I'm not capable to doing such high tech stuff myself so I admire people who are.

Thanks so much for linking me. I have linked your very interesting blog to mine too.