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Why ‘OLD MEN DON’T CRY’ Will be My Last Tearjerker?

Old Men Don't Cry!

All of my eight books that I wrote before 2015 are completely different than the books I wrote afterward. By then, I was a writer of my own, completely unaware and untouched by outside world and all I did was just writing. It was pure free flow writing, unhindered and unaffected by any outside force and flowing through its own course as an untamed river. All in all, it was a raw but genuine writing albeit with flaws and excesses which needed a heavy trimming before it could be presented to the world. And that’s when my editor came in and took a heck lot of time to make it readable.

I jumped into the literary world with 6 books in 2015. I had neither any experience on books, nor did I come with the background, and it would be an understatement if I say I was surprised. I was in a total shock and overwhelmed by the experience. I didn’t know being a self-published writer was such a hard task, I was not only mocked but also insulted repeatedly, and being Asian didn’t help at all. But what surprised me the most was this – all the sneering and cynical views and insinuation came from no one but the fellow writers and that really disgusted me to the core.

But I didn’t become a self-published writer by necessity, I chose to become one by choice and I still haven’t yet contacted a single agent or publisher hitherto and have no intention of doing so anytime soon. I have time, passion and determination to make it my own and I will never stop being one no matter what future has in store for me. Most importantly, I don’t write for money or fame, and I can afford to become one as long as I want it.

Having said that I am a fast learner and being self-taught and self-made man, I have a tendency of doing my best on whatever I do in life, and writing was no exception. If I have decided to become a writer, I will do my utmost best to become at least a decent writer, if not one of the best ones. This is what keeps me going and I never leave things unfinished.

We all have ups and downs in life, some have money problem, the other have personal problem and life is not all about a smooth sailing. My humble beginning provided more than enough share of my own travails in life. Initially, it was financial, social and family issues; discrimination and humiliation were norm of the day while living in a foreign land; and as an outsider, I had to work almost double hard than my peers if I were to get similar credit. I had family members who were involved on illegal activities and my self-conscience and righteousness didn’t allow me to accept it as normality. In addition, I also suffered from a humiliation that took me more than fifteen years to heal and it still hurts sometime.

People only see our success but not our struggle and nobody gets successful without struggles in life. My life was no exception.

Writing provides a platform for me that I couldn’t get anywhere else and it is where I share my feeling, pain as well as dream. In a way, writing is the catharsis of my own sorrow. I get solace from my writing, and it helps make me a better person. That’s why I mostly write for my own happiness and if my writing helps others, which is a bonus. All of my books are based on serious global and social issues, they are not only heavy and serious but also sad reading and I have depicted them as I have seen the world through my own eyes. Needless to say, no matter how hard we try, a poor and struggling man’s life cannot be a happy one. So are my books.

OLD MEN DON’T CRY, my 7th epic novel about Hong Kong, was the book that I chose to make it the saddest of them all. Not because I like sad stories but because I just wanted to write a book where I can pour all the pain, sorrow and anguish of my life, clear my heavy heart, and free my burdened soul. I wanted to clear everything inside of me so I can start smiling again and write about happy stories. After OLD MEN DON’T CRY, I promised myself never to write such a sad book again and decided to see the world with different views. I intentionally wrote OLD MEN DON’T CRY that way and I wanted to make it a tearjerker. So much so that I even wrote it in first person so that I can feel the pain of the story by myself. If you have read this book and felt sorry for the main character, I will take it as a compliment and my job here is done. But at the same time, I can also promise you one more thing that OLD MEN DON’T CRY will be my last book with sad story and I will do my best to avoid it in my future book.

Like in every Disney story, my future books will have a happy ending and that is a promise I will do my utmost best to keep for as long as I write. Happy reading!

A gentle reminder, prepare a tissue box while reading OLD MEN DON’T CRY. I tell you, it will become handy for sure. Keep reading!

TIM I GURUNG/AUTHOR AT ISSLCARE – http://www.timigurung.com

What I write and why I write? Trust me, it is not about you!

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Writing is an art that not only give writers a platform for expressing his or her views but also an opportunity for making the point as well as putting it in front of the masses. It is not only a process of creating something but also a power that comes with responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly. In both good and bad way, writing can affect people’s perspective and influence their final decision.

Keeping that in mind, writers should always apply caution and know your subject matter well before putting it in front of public. Knowing the taste, character and level of understanding of your readers’ group is definitely a plus point. An ideal world where each and every different view is not only tolerated but also respected, people with different views will come with logical and rational argument, and comments and discussions are conducted in a proper and civilized way.

And such privileges are not only reserved for the famous and established writers but also to the new and aspiring writers as well. Everyone is entitled of an opinion and it should be expressed in a proper and respectful manner.

This is what we expect while writing but sadly the world is a very different place.

As a writer of conscience and righteousness, I write on serious and global issues, and my job is to highlight and bring such problems to the public’s eye. I also am well aware of today’s media practices. It mostly concentrates on negative issues by ignoring the positives ones. But that doesn’t mean that good things have stopped from happening in our society and there are still some good people out there. Media should report on both positive and negative things equally and create a fair and equilibrium field for all.

Half knowledge is a very dangerous thing. Like a half-cooked food, it will not only ruin your appetite but also give you a terrible stomachache and disturb the whole system. Men with half knowledge are similarly dangerous to a society. In order to do my job properly and avoid such situations, I do a lot of reading and my reading includes many books, established magazines, newspapers as well as watching various current affairs TV programs and news channels. I also get updates from digital news feedbacks and surfing through various online news platforms is my daily routine. In addition, I also study different races of people, their cultures and traditions, and way of life while visiting other nations. I put a lot of time, effort and dedication to know about my subjects and I am always after truth.

Media is a very powerful institution, but its recent transformation from an old and gold paper version to the digital form has vested too much power to the ordinary people, and somehow changed the whole game. In the good old days, people used to read, discuss and debate among themselves about what was written on the newspaper, there was a sacred line between them and everyone respected that. Nowadays, anyone can put their 2 cents of opinion anytime, no one is spared and many have become rude and abusive. Social media has become such a powerful tool that it can be used, twisted, manipulated for one’s own agendas and influence people’s views. An imprudent, dimwitted, and inexperienced person can take a shot at and insult an experienced, well-established and venerated writer just like that and easily get away with it. I am talking about those ones who have done the writing job for more than half a century and still got abused. The vulnerability is for real and both new and established writers are in danger of systematic abuses. This must be one of the anomalies of our modern society and that is unfortunately not a very good sign.

It is impossible to please all, not everyone will like what you write and writers understand that very well. Criticism is part of the job and we knew and had expected that as well. But there are two ways of criticizing, the right and the wrong way, and criticisms done in logic and proper way is actually welcomed by many writers. Sadly many seemed to choose for the wrong way nowadays and that said it all. No explanation is required.

I am a very simple and humble man, I have no connection with any people, group or institution, and I hate politics. I am also a self made man, I have no greed, ego or resentment, and I have no expectation whatsoever from anyone or for anything in my life. I don’t write for money or fame and I never write to please others as well. Most importantly, I write for my own happiness and end of the story. I am lucky enough to be in a position where my family doesn’t have to wait for my writing to provide for them and I can take my writing as a hobby. I can stop writing tomorrow if I feel like it.

Having said that I still want my writing to be useful to others, my humble beginning has taught me a lot in life and caring for others without expecting anything in return is probably the best lesson I learned from it, and I am just trying to apply that onto practices through my writing and nothing more. The day I felt tired and I had enough of it, I will just pack my bag and disappear from the crowd once and for all. Until then, I will keep on writing. You know why? Because it is not you, but all about me.

TIM I GURUNG/AUTHOR AT ISSLCARE – http://www.timigurung.com

So You Want to be a Writer, Hmmm…..?

want to be a writer hmmmm

So, you decided to be a writer, ha..? You were really tired, sweated and even bled to the core in order to finish that precious manuscript but now that ordeal is finally over. The hard work and perseverance is finally paying off and your dream of becoming a writer is eventually turning to a reality. Your euphoria has no limits, your world is brimming with newly fangled joy and excitement, and you couldn’t help yourself but kept on smiling as your world lightened up with new hope and everything is changing for good.

You have waited for too long to see your name printed on a newly minted book cover, the wait was finally over and you were about to be able to touch and feel it soon. You are not only happy but also feeling proud, a sense of achievement oozes out of you as a contagious scent of a beautiful flower that attracts all at the surrounding, and you feel as your life has suddenly become meaningful. All you could see is beautiful things, everyone seems nice and benevolence and you said to yourself – what a wonderful world…!

Or is it? Sorry to disappoint you but finishing manuscript is just the beginning and the real work starts henceforth. First and foremost, if you are a genuine writer, writing shouldn’t be a problem at the first place and writing should come naturally for you. If you are already tired, sweated and bled at the first manuscript, maybe writing is not for you and you should start looking for other options. Writing is easy, only writing a good writing is hard, and one needs years of practice, patience and determination before becoming a good writer. What’s more, it is a very long, slow and assiduous journey and if you don’t have time, passion and will-power, you shouldn’t be trying at all. In a nutshell, it is like a marathon, not a hundred meter dash.

Having said that, if you are here for a short haul and all you want to see is one book with your name on the cover, then it can be very easily achieved. Write whatever you would like to write, it can be 10k-20k words or more, design a cover, and publish it on Amazon, Kobo, Smashworld, and other platforms and presto! You are a writer. Ask your friends, families and colleagues to read it and you will get your fifteen minutes of fame in no time. However, it will come and go in a blink of an eye and it will already become a thing of the past even before you have realized it. That’s why it is called vanity, most of the self-published writers fall into this category and deplored for its low standard.

It is not the writing but the hardest part is the marketing and many would fail on the later part. Despite having a more than twenty years of marketing experiences, I still found book marketing extremely hard and struggling in great deal. Selling other commodities like clothes, foods, furniture, household items and so on is completely different than selling a book. Because those ones are necessity the other is vanity. Unlike those necessities, people can make do without books and they mostly like to read famous names. Not all the writers are born a royal or in a rich and famous family. So there is no shortcut. We all have to work hard, earn our wings and be able to take off the ground when the time is right. Besides, the time and luck also must be with us and only then success might knock on our door. It can still be a long shot and winning is never guaranteed. But if you don’t try, nothing will happen, and your dream will end even before it has started.

Even though you have bucketful full of money, it still won’t guarantee success. Unfortunately, almost all of the paid ads don’t work. Not because they are not trying but it is simply too hard. Besides, most of such services are provided by writers and just imagine, if they knew how to achieve success, will they be vying for your paltry sum? There is no magic wand, we all have to work hard and persevere, and there is no better person than your own self who can represent your works at the best possible way. I have sold more books by my own than through paid ads and I am saying it through my own experiences.

As I have already written many times before, there are many outside factors that also affect in great deal and it can make a big difference at the end. Having an ideal location, right community, and supportive society is a big plus. Living in an English speaking country is a huge bonus for those writing in English. Having a powerful friend or relative in a powerful position such as media, publishing and library can be a game changer. If you are blessed with any one of the options suggested above, things should certainly start changing for the better. It certainly won’t take you all the way to the finish line, but it will help open important doors when it matters the most and believe me, people will give their left hand just for that. I for one had no such lucks at hand, my humble beginning didn’t allow me for such indulgences as well as privileges and I had to start everything from the scratch. That’s why whenever I got to taste success, no matter how small or insignificance it might have been, I celebrated and enjoyed it to the utmost. Not because I am trying to show off but only because I know its true value and I genuinely appreciate my success.

No matter how good is your writing, if it cannot find readers, it carries no values. Good writing is very important, discoverability is even more important, and it is where most good writers will fail. Creations without usability are nugatory, writing without commitment is desultory and writers without solid marketing plan are purgatory.

Therefore, if you are not here for a long haul, you rather stop pretending and find a fulltime job other than writing. I for one, I am here for a long term and maybe after 5-10 years later, you might start noticing my works and see me finally smiling again. Certain things are meant to be happened, it is just a matter of time and the time can be as unpredictable as Hong Kong’s weather. We just have to wait and see! Until then, take care and God bless you all!

TIM I GURUNG/AUTHOR AT ISSLCARE – http://www.timigurung.com

Why comparing Hong Kong’s political situation with Singapore is a nonstarter?

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Due to some obvious similarities, it is quite common for people to compare Hong Kong with Singapore and they are quite right as well. Both Hong Kong and Singapore are not only modern, rich and cosmopolitan but also an international city with various ethnicities and both marvel on finance and service oriented economy. Both are also well-known for clean and efficient government and free-economy around the globe.

But the similarity should end there. Especially in the political situation, they are way apart and comparing Hong Kong with Singapore is a nonstarter.

Here are some reasons for why.

Political atmosphere – When Singapore gained independence in 1965, it was not by choice but by force as they got kicked out from the Malaysian Federation. The newly born nation was nothing but a small island with limited resources. It just had few empty lands, swarms with mango trees, and empty ports. Singapore didn’t ask for independence, they were forced out to defend by their own and survived. That was almost fifty years ago and fifty years is a very long period in politics. We are in 2016, a hell lot has changed since then, and comparing today’s Hong Kong with Singapore back in 1965 unrealistic. Whereas independence was imposed upon Singapore, it is nothing more than just a conceited aspiration for Hong Kong. Besides, China is on the rise, integration is its top priority, and as far as Beijing is concerned, Hong Kong’s independence is simply unimaginable. All in all, it is nothing more than just a wishful notion in reality.

Political system – Although Singapore has a democracy, it is only in name and only the ruling party has been in the power since its independence. It systematically stifles the opposition, bankrupts the opposition leaders, and doesn’t tolerate opposition views. It controls almost everything in people’s life and dissent views are only allowed to express in certain designated places. Rally and demonstration are almost non-existence. They can put you in jail for comments in social media. Press and freedom of speech are heavily censored. In contrary, we can not only talk, shout and throw banana at the Chief Executive and other governmental officials but also demonstrate, circle governmental building and block roads here in Hong Kong at freewill. The only problem here is we have no universal suffrage and the Chief Executive cannot be elected by the public. Both Hong Kong and Singapore have two different systems with adverse policy. Whereas Singapore has democracy without real freedom, Hong Kong has a flawed system with real freedom.

Political leader – The main different between Hong Kong and Singapore is undoubtedly Lee Kwan Yew – the strong, charismatic and popular statesman who had ruled Singapore for the first three decades since independence. A father like figure who was not only adorned by his people but also well respected by the world and had wit, will-power and perseverance that had somehow managed to turn a weak, poor and neglected Singapore to one of the richest nations of the world today. In contrary, Hong Kong has no one like him in the making and the possibility of having such one is almost none to zero. Hong Kong only has pretenders and they lack political acumen, ideology and real vision to steer Hong Kong through both rainy and sunny days in the long future. It is in this department where we have huge shortcoming and that makes all the big differences in Hong Kong’s future.

National army – Unlike Hong Kong, Singapore has its own defense force whereas Hong Kong has PLA. All the men in Singapore are also conscripted and each man has to attend mandatory basic army training as national duty. They act like a reserve army and get called upon when the nation needs them in cases of emergency, natural disaster and war. This is where they are taught about self discipline, sense of national duty, and the importance of protecting your motherland. I personally think it is where HongKongers lack in great deal, self-interest outweighs national interest, and Hong Kong people don’t have sense of duty and obligation towards Hong Kong.

TIM I GURUNG/AUTHOR AT ISSLCARE – http://www.timigurung.com

Why most of the paid ads won’t work for some reasons?

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It has been a little more than one and half year since I have published my first book and I have used more than two dozens of ads during that period for promotion. But for some reasons, most of the paid ads won’t work at all, at least in my case.

The internet, especially the social media is full of people and agencies offering many varieties of ads that guaranteed almost anything you ever dreamt of. It is the smorgasbord of choices from where you can cherry pick as per your need and hope for the miracle. Bestselling author status, five thousands books download, interview with mainstream newspaper, appearance on national TV/Radio, hundred reviews in certain period of time and amount of money, exposure to millions of readers and the list can go on. They promise almost anything and I should admit, the offers are pretty enticing as well.

But if they are too good to be true, you guessed it right, they actually are, and you should remain cautious when choosing the right ads for your book promotion.

Writers are introvert, sensitive and rather emotional bunch by nature, we don’t like talking that’s why we write, and we can hardly bring ourselves into a rather feisty mood when necessary. As of that, we mostly use heart instead of head while making decisions and mostly end up at the wrong side. You can call it naivety in a direct term. Emotion and naivety don’t mix well and could spell disaster in real world. It is where people tend to take advantages of our emotions and make us pay.

It is like the desperate parents of a baby whose child is hanging by a thread for his dear life and suddenly someone came with a rescue plan. Of course, they will take it with open arms and offer him anything they have in return. Our position is no different.

If a service provider offers you a certain number of sales, he/she is lying. Don’t fall on the allure of becoming an overnight bestselling author as well, it is a trap. If that was possible, why he/she was still chasing after your money? After all, most of those service providers are authors themselves and never trust on what his/her profile say. If I were a genuine bestselling authors, I won’t go around chasing for pittance with pretences.

It can be taken as a mere exaggeration out of desperation and was not even intentional at the beginning but subsequently somehow spiraled out of hand. Still, preying on the vulnerability of others with false pretences cannot be justified anyways.

Dubious tactics and unethical practices are openly used in the social media and changing goalpost is as common as your morning tea. Many would shirk away from money guaranteed package, the promises of selling such and such number of books were almost nonexistent, and only a very few had delivered what they had initially guaranteed.

The other contentious practice is selling exposure, one can promise millions as long as there is no need for a proof and it is where I found problem. Exposure means nothing unless it is related to a certain number of sales and unsurprisingly they don’t talk about sales numbers while selling the exposure package. It is like selling a fresh air in package while it is still available outside for all. If I cannot make sales, this is no good for me.

The other trend that I found annoying is the tactic used by many of those service providers. They are supposed to provide same services to all the authors who have bought the same packages. But in reality, they don’t. They favor the most popular authors of their account whose books are selling well and ride with them. They keep promoting the top authors again and again and try to jack up the position as high as possible. Then, they use that particular author as a successful story and attract more. I have noticed many of service providers using such tactic and the remaining authors were hence neglected.

I cannot speak for others but as far as I am concerned, I would need to sell at least 50k books before I can call myself a bestselling author and it is definitely not an easy task. Especially for new writers, it is a herculean task at the least. You need to have many things going on all at the same time and at least a dozen of them must be working right. You also have to be extremely lucky and will take years of hard work, perseverance as well as writing a good book that many people want to read. Doing just a few things here and there won’t cut it at all and whoever says so is a damn fraud.

It is the reason why many paid ads just won’t work. But the irony is unfortunately without promotion, nothing happens as well. It is said to be a very long, slow and assiduous road. Take one but firm and cautious step at a time and persevere. You might arrive at the final destination late but you will eventually arrive there for sure. It is not the final result but the whole process of making that journey that matters the most and learn to enjoy it.

TIM I GURUNG/AUTHOR AT ISSLCARE – http://www.timigurung.com

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