Friday, June 03, 2011

Silverfish Writing Programme - next intake

We last ran this programme in January this year to a full house. To those who have been writing to us to inquire about our next intake (and there have been quite a few of you), please note that the next programme will begin on Saturday, 16th July 2011, at Silverfish Books' new premises at 28-1, Jalan Telawi, Bangsar (a few shops up from where we currently are) and will be limited to 10 participants. 

The proof of a writing programme (or any other) is in the results. The aim is to discover serious writers, not those looking for magic solutions or pills. Not everyone will be interested in getting published (a surprising many aren't) but most are interested in writing well, be it for pleasure, to entertain friends or even  therapy -- fiction or non-fiction. Writing is hard work, but there is a method to the madness. We prefer not to call it a creative writing course for a reason;  we do not believe that's what it’s all about. It is about telling stories in  written form, about engaging your reader and about being relevant. There is absolutely no reason an author living in Malaysia cannot be world class, as Shih-Li Kow (Ripples) and Rozlan Mohd Noor (21 Immortals) have proved.

Registration (with full payment) can be done either in person at the current Silverfish Books premises on Jalan Telawi, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur, or online at our website. (There is a link on the home page, Fees for the entire ten-week programme will be RM1000.00, but there will be 10% early-bird discount for those who register before the 1st of July 2011. Please bring a laptop if you have one, and if you find it easier to write on it. Otherwise, simply bring a good pen.

Read more about the programme ...

Silverfish Writing Programme

Silverfish titles now available for Kindle, Nook

Checked yesterday, and found that several titles published by Silverfish Books are now available for e-book downloads for the Kindle and the Nook. (We are not handling it, is.) We are starting with ten titles (two of which are yet to be uploaded), but we would like to put our entire catalogue up.

It has been (and continues to be) an interesting learning curve for us. First, in case there is any confusion, we are not anti-technology -- we have always embraced it. We see the e-book as the future, but despite the many Chicken Littles running around (mainly in the media) we don’t think the time of the dead tree edition is over, and is not going to be anytime soon. We believe the two will continue to coexist as the e-book evolves.

Second, the production of the e-book is quite different from the conventional form. In the case of the latter, we go into quite a bit of trouble in choosing the paper, the fonts, the page layout (with attention to spacing, kerning, orphans and widows), print quality and the overall look and feel for a beautiful product. In the case of e-books, conversion starts with a ‘Word’ document, with everything simply slapped on. People are right about that tactile thing. The e-book is closer to a nasi campur (a takeaway meal) that is convenient and does the job, while the dead tree book is like dining in a restaurant. So, I am guessing, both will continue to exist, just as McDonald’s hasn’t killed more sophisticated eateries yet.

Still, we are excited by the brave new world. You will find the following e-books at the Kindle and Nook stores:

1.    News from Home by Chuah Kok Yee, Shih-Li Kow and Rumaizah Abu Bakar (USD 7.99)
2.    Tanah Tujuh: Close Encounters with the Temuan Mythos by Antares (USD 7.99)
3.    Ripples and other stories by Shih-Li Kow (Frank O’Connor shortlist, 2009) (USD7.99)
4.    Tales from the Court and other stories by Matthew Thomas (USD7.99)
5.    21 Immortals by Rozlan Mohd Noor (Commonwealth Prize shortlist, 2011) (USD 8.99)
6.    I am Muslim by Dina Zaman (USD 7.99)
7.    From Inderapura to Darul Makmur: A History of Pahang by Farish A Noor (USD 9.49)
8.    Qur'an and Cricket by Farish A Noor (USD9.99)

These two should be up soon:
9.    Without Anchovies by Chua Kok Yee
10. The Female Cell by Rumaizah Abu Bakar

The prices for the e-book editions are lower than for the print ones due to some savings (mainly from distribution). Also, some pictures have been dropped for technical reasons without reducing the value. Some books have also been re-edited to make it friendlier for international readers. Click here to see the list as it would appear in the US on Amazon. For other regions, go to the Amazon home page, select Kindle eBooks (under Books) and search for Silverfish. For the Nook, for now you will have to search for individual titles (because the ‘Silverfish’ meta tag has yet to be uploaded. It will be soon.

Other formats to be supported soon are: Omnilit, Kobo, Weightless Books, Xin Xii and Google Editions. Currently, the Silverfish e-book titles are available on BookCyclone which features many interesting Asian titles.

Silverfish is moving

Yes, that’s right. After almost four years at the present premises, we are moving to 28-1 Jalan Telawi, just 15 shops up the road from where we are now, because the landlord wants to raise the rent. Unfortunately, it’s a bit too high for us, so we are leaving.

The new shophouse is only two stories, so there is no fear of another dance studio pounding us daily or smoking us out with incense. I think it has a nicer ambience and a little more space.

We will have a party not long after we open, so put yourself on our mailing list (if you are not already on it) and you will be invited. It will coincide with our 12th anniversary. (That’s a scary thought: we have been in business for twelve years; we are almost an institution!)

Look at the photograph with this story. That’s what we looked like when we first opened in 1999 in Taman Seri Hartamas.

200 million people in the US want to publish

This story in Publishing Perspectives by Justine Tal Goldberg says about 200 million Americans (81% of the population) aspire to become published authors. He also says that self-published authors now outnumber traditionally published ones 2:1.

Unfortunately, most wannabe authors didn’t take their craft seriously enough to attend the Independent Book Publishers Association’s 27th Annual Publishing University, a concurrent event with BookExpo America at New York City’s Javits Center organised to help self-publishers.

“There are so many of us humans who are ready to self-publish or publish with little or no more thought than we would give to having a meal at a fancy restaurant,” says Cynthia Frank, independent press publishing consultant and publisher at Cypress House.

“Self-published books are almost uniformly badly published,” says Deb Werksman, acquiring editor and editorial manager for Sourcebooks, the largest women-owned independent publishing house in the country.

Malaysia, anyone?