My Publication Journey

Fairy tales in childhood are stepping stones throughout life, leading the way through trouble and trial. The value of fairy tales lies not in a brief literary escape from reality but in the gift of hope that goodness truly is more powerful than evil and that even the darkest reality can lead to a Happily Ever After. Do not take that gift of hope lightly. It has the power to conquer despair in the midst of sorrow, to light the darkness in the valleys of life, to whisper “One more time” in the face of failure. Hope is what gives life to dreams, making the fairy tale the reality. —L.R. Knost

Books have been an integral part of my growing up. Synonymous to poetry. My love for books and poetry started with me falling in love with the “word” itself. I grew up playing scrabble, and crossword puzzles with my father. He eventually realized that I have a special “gift of words”, (that’s how he called it). I remembered the ten – year old me telling my father “one day, I’ll have my name in the newspaper, magazine, or books”.

And yes, thirty years after, it happened. My father is no longer around though to witness me do somersaults every time my new poetry book is out. 

But, how did I do it?

Let me walk you all through my publication journey. 

  1. If you are already in WordPress, then I say, you’ve done the first big, bold writing move. (I started here, WP opened the doors for me)
  2. BUILD an audience. You must have followers, readers, or some calls it “fans”
  3. If you are lucky, a book agent, a publishing house, or at least a book editor will notice. BUT remember, not because you are not noticed yet, means you are not good or that your works suck. Remember, TIMING IS THE KEY.
  4. I am one of the very few lucky ones whose works were noticed, eventually after years (yes, years, say around 7 years) of blogging and writing poetry in WP. 
  5. I say, my sincerest gratitude to PERAK WOMEN FOR WOMEN SOCIETY, in IPOH, PERAK MALAYSIA (especially its founder, Ms. Yip) for believing in me, which eventually lead to my first book of prose and poetry “AFTER RAIN SKIES: A MILLION STARS”, a collection of prose and poetry on surviving abuse and violence, along with PWW, SHARPENED WORD, IPOH spearheaded by Pak Peter, was also instrumental in the marketing of my collection. 
  6. A year after it was released, a pandemic happened. The lockdown and travel restrictions gave me ample time to concentrate on my poetry.
  7. For the first time then, I finally made my first international submission of my poem, “Again” was published as part of an anthology of WOMAWORDS, June 2020 edition “Imagining Life After Covid – 19”- it gave me the much-needed confidence which eventually leads to more international poetry submissions and publications.
  8. July 2020, I decided to take my writing/submission to the next level. 
  9. After thorough research, I realized I can publish an ebook version of “AFTER RAIN SKIES: A MILLION STARS”, I had asked a graphic artist to do my book cover design based on the requirements for ebook publication. (requirements can be found at KOBO.COM)
  10. Ebook publication is very easy and simple, get your book cover design by a professional designer, get an editor who will proofread and edit your work (in my case, I did not need one, my eldest daughter, a brilliant young writer herself is perfect for the job, with some help of my educator friends, and my three other daughters – yes, it became a family project).
  11. Now, as soon as you felt like your book is good enough for publication just go to the ebook publisher of your choice and submit.
  12. Ebook publishers will notify you immediately if your book has made it – meaning your manuscript passed their quality control team. (in case it did not, they will surely provide you with what to do to make it)
  13. Now, this part comes in the importance of your “already existing audience”, you just need to make the announcements in all of your social media accounts, and pray, yes pray that your audience believes in your work that they will be willing to pay and buy your work this time. 
  14. In this part, I wanna thank all my WP followers and readers, they were quick to buy my book. And I am very lucky that my first ebook made it to the top 3 trending ebooks in all categories on its first three days of release.
  15. With my years of writing poetry, I realized I could just easily create a new collection – so my second book “What If Snowflakes Don’t Fall In Winter?” was published. It was again well received by the online reading community and was consistently on top of the trending list. A clamor for the paperback edition prompted me to publish paperback copies. For this, you will need to contact a layout artist, book designer, and again editor, and if you intend to include illustrations then you also have to find one – again, I am very lucky that these all came in handy to me. (my children being the editors and the illustrators)
  16. My 3rd poetry book, “Oh, Dear One” was published barely three months after “What If Snowflakes Don’t Fall In Winter?”, This time, it made it to the No. trending spot list on its first day of release and I have made it available in AMAZON, thru a traditional publishing house, PENZONE PUB.
  17. And currently, working on my 4rth poetry book. 

When the world was in complete chaos because of a global pandemic, I took that opportunity, to keep my silence, my solitude, and write. I took it as an opportunity to rise above the current crisis. Be like the small misplaced house; thriving, surviving, and even trying to stand tall and proud against the tall and giant building behind. Never lose hope, never stop dreaming. And just like what L.R. Knost said, hope is what gives life to dreams, making the fairy tale the reality.


A long overdue post for Kate.

for Sadje’s WDY –