I started toying with the idea of doing a Mith Books YouTube channel sometime last year. I honestly had no idea where to begin. From filming, to editing, to post-production… How does it all come together? How do I even begin to chart this uncharted terrain? Each time I found myself facing my hyper critical inner voice, I would remind myself that that’s how every professional starts – as an amateur.
If you have not heard of Wattpad, let me do the honours of introducing you to the ginormous virtual platform – which was created for the sole purpose of uniting readers as well as writers on a common site. Wattpad is a completely free of cost story-telling platform that has over 65 million active users who spend over 400 hours every month on this website. The writers and books published there are phenomenal.
As I made my way down Jonker Street, I found myself at The Royal Press – one of the world’s oldest surviving polyglot letterpress museums dedicated to preserving the craft of letterpress printing. Located in one of Melaka’s many shophouses, I was immediately hit by a sense of nostalgia when I walked in. As a descendant of Southeast Asian merchants, I am all too familiar with the concept of the shopfloor on the ground floor and a living space on the second floor.
A good publishing house needs to compete in the market for both authors and customers. One of the main takeaways I had from attending the London Book Fair in 2019 was that even industry veterans have no idea how well a book is going to do. It is difficult to predict what the next great novel will be. Even big hits that provide an influx of sales can later fall off the radar. Some books start off slow and then suddenly take off a few years later.
In traditional publishing, an author writes a book and then sells the manuscript to a publishing house that takes care of the editing, marketing and other promotional activities. In self-publishing, the author has to manage the dual tasks of creating the work as well as polishing it and promoting it to an audience. There are pros and cons to each decision.