It certainly feels like it has been forever since the last time I posted here on my blog. And I never expected my next blog post after taking a long time off would be about a new book, either!
Yes, you read that right. I will be releasing a new book soon, and I am very excited (and also terrified to death) because of it. I’ve been teasing the existence of this project on my Instagram and Twitter for quite a while, but now that I have received a physical copy in hand, I can’t say I’m entirely cool with it.
Lo and behold, my 5th book (or 6th if you include the independently published, limited edition Maybe Everything booklet that I made several years ago), Celebrating the Fallen Leaves.
Even among all my other books, I can say without a doubt that Celebrating the Fallen Leaves is special. How so? Because this is my only book that I practically co-write with my readers.
I started this whole writing prompt submission program in 2018. Back then, all I wanted was to have something to do during the weekends, and I thought if I could gather prompts from my readers and write for them, I could have a fun activity to do and also brush up my writing skills in one go. It seemed like such a perfect idea at the time, and I started doing just that without giving it much thought.
Fast forward a couple of years, I have accumulated a lot of short poems, proses, and stories just from doing the writing prompts challenges. Granted, since I have always just shared the results on my Instagram stories, there is a limit to how much I could write for each prompt, but that didn’t stop me from getting over 200 prompts written in just a year.
Of course, I have to admit that not all of the 200+ prompt results were good. I still cringed upon reading some of them, because clearly I wrote for all of my prompts without any kind of planning, let alone editing. Grammatical mistakes are one thing, but sometimes the wordplays are uninspiring, and some of the tropes I used are borderline cliches.
That didn’t stop me from wanting to compile these writings into a book, though. It just felt like the right thing to do: I got the ideas from my readers, so I would like to publish a book compiling the results of all the prompts I’ve written in the past, and dedicate the book to my readers.
Obviously, I couldn’t just include everything I had written into the book, lest it would be bloated with bad writings. Considering the fact that I took some time off from prompt challenges in 2019, I decided to limit the scope of the book to the prompts I had written for in 2018-2019, until the point when I decided to go on hiatus.
Of course, I have since resumed my writing prompt challenges in 2020, so if you’re interested in getting a piece of writing from yours truly, I’d highly encourage you guys to participate every Saturday.
Anyway, after consulting to my editor and a few close friends, I decided to self-publish this book instead of going the traditional route. The reason behind that is simpler than one might think; self publishing my own book had been a dream of mine since forever.
So no, it’s not that I have a problem with traditional publishing, or I’m aiming to get better success and gain more control over the creative decisions revolving the publication of my book. As much as I enjoyed gaining more creative control over my book, self-publishing is seriously time consuming and hard to do. I’d relinquish controls any time of the day as long as I trust the professionals handling my book.
Despite the ups and downs and all the drama behind the scenes, I can say with confidence that I am not regretting my decision one bit. I got to learn how hard it was to conceptualize the book, I also learned how to layout my own book from scratch, and even made some foolish decisions–investing in an expensive software that does more compromise than good. And perhaps most excitingly, I got to experience the absolute joy working with some very special individuals who helped me conceptualize and designed the book cover.
I mean, seriously:
Don’t you just love the cover design for the book? Out of all my books, this might be my favorite book cover, ever.
Of course, nothing is ever perfect. I still have to learn about book distribution, digital platforms, promotions, pricing, and all the boring stuff one usually never relates to writing a book. If someone were to ask if I have a target on how many books do I want to sell, I don’t think I can even answer them.
All I know is that I wanted to publish this book independently. And while it would be an absolute joy to sell a copious amount of the book, I would be satisfied either way. Worst case scenario, even if nobody bought my book, I would still have something to gift my friends on their birthdays next year 😄.
Yes and I would definitely cry, but that’s beside the point.
Anyway, I think that’s enough introductions for the book. If a lot of people are interested, I can absolutely hold a Q&A session on my Instagram and post the FAQs about this whole… self-publishing my book on my blog. Celebrating the Fallen Leaves is perhaps the most unconventional book I’ve ever produced, but I really hope it won’t be the last.
Who knows, if I managed to write enough prose/poems/short stories from my writing prompt challenges in 2020-2021, I might even think about compiling a second volume. Just so you know 😉.
Celebrating the Fallen Leaves is now available on my Shopee while stock lasts. Don’t worry, should it ever sells out, I would definitely reprint some more to meet the demands.