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Getting Published: The First Thrill, The Real Deal

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In today's world, when anyone can easily publish a work through the Internet, it still gives me a thrill to have a book accepted by a traditional book publisher.

Though I have had other writings accepted (plays for radio, TV and journalism), this is my first book: a nonfiction self-help title called The Science of Happiness.  United States publisher Marshall Cavendish intends to publish it in 2009.

To me, having a book published by an old established firm is rather like to seeing your own child come out into the world. Moreover, to maintain tradition, there will even be a Foreword (something you do not see much of nowadays) written by renowned psychologist Dr. Robert Holden, who recently appeared on the Oprah show (www.happiness.co.uk).

In the last decade, it would be apt to say that most traditional publishers would not have the interest to scan online sites for potential authors.

One writer told of the three months he spent wrangling over a contract with a traditional publisher, while his online book received 500,000 hits a day. In the end, he said he did not need the publisher.

As a writer — rather than an entrepreneur — I take a slightly more traditional view. This is based on the credibility and brand power that is still attached to traditional publishing. Perhaps it is a little like the vast difference in credibility between PR and advertising.

A work accepted by an established third party — as opposed to being self-publishing — seems to have added weight, not to mention the enormous confidence-boost that most writers need.

In this regard, I may be able to post from time to time some impressions of the publishing process that will provide some interesting comparisons to e-publishing.

Kuala Lumpur, July 11 2008

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