Monday, March 5, 2012

The makings of ......."Pedalling Around The Peninsula - A Malaysian Girl's Two Wheeled Adventures!"

Hi there!!

Wow, has it really been 3 years since my first cycling tour?? It still felt like it was only yesterday that I have finished it! So much so that when I was writing my book (yep, my book!) about this tour last year, I didn't have any problems remembering almost everything that happened on this great adventure!

Back in August 2010, I decided to print out a hard copy of my blog as a memento. I spent two weeks working on it and using MS Words to create my personal copy! I went on to get it printed full coloured and bound as a book. Cost me a bomb but it was worth it! Boy, I was like a proud mama then!! My blog looked pretty amazing on hard copy!!

I took it with me everywhere I went and showed to my friends and listened to their oohs and ahhs while they scanned through it! I was beaming from ear to ear, I tell you!

It was because of the many encouraging comments from friends that inspired me to want to publish my very first book!

Hence my writing journey began......

When I first sent out my manuscript (from my blog) to two potential publishers in PJ in late 2010, one rejected my manuscript while the other said it was too much of a blog style had too much personality! Instantly, I was on defense mode! Well, after cooling down, I thought about the constructive feedback and decided to do something about it. They did say to come back with a better they didn't reject me yet!

I consulted a friend then who introduced me to an Englishman who is a writer for children's school books. I showed him my book and he told me something that I wasn't ready to listen! He told me that my book will only attract about 100 people whereas if I wrote it as a guidebook, I will get better results! So after mulling about this new feedback for awhile, I decided to take his advice and work on a guidebook was the MOST BORING period of my writing life!

But I still decided to finish it and I sent my second manuscript to the potential publisher in February 2011.

They said it was FLAT and didn't have much of the writer's voice! What...after all that work??!! They asked me to come back with a more interesting manuscript.....

Discouraged, I chilled by the beach and there, I met a friend, another Englishman but loves to cycle everywhere! So I took out my book and showed it to him and asked for his opinion. He gave me the answers that I was looking for! He said that people would buy this book, especially the Westerners as they like to read about personal experiences and inspiring stories!

So with renewed hopes, I decided to really start rewriting my stories to make it like a journal style yet at the end of the pages, there will be footnotes on the places I have stopped. There are 10 chapters in my book and every chapter has a sectional map on the routes that were covered. I combined both my more in-depth writing and my guidebook to make it what it is now...a real book!

I started writing my third manuscript in March 2011 and I was on a roll! I finished writing in May 2011....three months of solid writing! Many thanks to Vistana Hotel Kuantan for providing me the most conducive environment for my writing! Amazingly warm hearted people over there!

Funny thing was that the more I wrote, the more I seemed to realise that I have left out a lot of stories in my blog! So my blog is actually the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

So for those who have read my blog or scan through it, I have some exciting news! You can now enjoy a whole lot more of interesting and funny stories plus more amazing photos at your own convenience, in front of your TV, on your bed etc...Believe me, it's different when you are reading from a hard copy!!

I sent out my third manuscript in May 2011 and this one did the job! Well, I kind of flooded their emails with 3 big chapters, heavily loaded with photos too! I also had to crack my head to come up with a suitable title and so I settled for "The Cycling Misadventures of a Malaysian Girl!"I thought my title was very suitable then.

They were finally interested to meet up with me to discuss further! I was ecstatic!!

After the meeting, the kind people at MPH Publishing finally agreed to work on my book! Yahoo!! I was on my way to making one of my dreams come true but little did I know that I still had to be PATIENT....VERY, VERY PATIENT!!

Yet, like with everything that I do, I thought publishing a book would be easy and that it would take a month or two (the longest!) to get the final product out once things were confirmed out but boy, was I wrong!

When my editor first told me that I wrote too much and that he had to edit my manuscript down to 90,000 words, I was a bit apprehensive! Well, I didn't want any of my stories to be cut off! To me, every story that I wrote seemed important at that time! Well, when I received the first round of edits in August 2011, I have to admit that he didn't do too bad a job editing my manuscript and I heaved a sigh of relief!

It was only a short reprieve for he soon told me that he needed to edit some more...down to 76,000 words! What?? He had to do so because I had lots of photos accompanying my stories. There had to be a balance....oh well!

So I had to endure more waiting and drumming of fingers!

The second round of edits came in late Oct now, I was more prepared to proof read my manuscript and not feel defensive if my editor changed some part of my writing...all in all, I think he did a fine job and left my stories pretty much in my original style of writing. I also learnt a lot from my editor as to "tweak" the stories to make them more interesting!

This was also when he changed my title to "Pedalling around the Peninsula - A Malaysian Girl's Two Wheeled Adventures" It took me awhile to get used to this new title but now, I'm pretty happy with it!

When I finally saw my draft in November 2011 in soft copy...boy, was I blown away by it! The graphic artist really did a fantastic job on my book....I could hardly recognise it now.....from its humble beginnings in MS Words to the updated version!

So excited I was that I thought it could be ready in December 2011!! But sad to say....nope! There was still more work to be done on my book and because it was the holiday season, lots of people were taking their annual leave and thus, my book had to be put on hold.

So more drumming of fingers for me....

I asked "January 2012 then?" "Nope, Chinese new year holidays!"

Drum, drum, drum....

Finally they gave me the good news recently...the "REAL DEAL" is coming April 2012!! Woohoo!! After all the waiting........words cannot explain the feeling!

Alright then, I promise to keep you all posted!

Cheerio :)