Book The Author

Reading Between The Wines “BOOK THE AUTHOR” Event

Reading Between The Wines organized the event Book The Author on Saturday 4 May 2019 in Blue Marlin Bar and Restaurant (Hilton Hotel Street). It called all aspiring writers, authors and book lovers to uncover and learn the secrets of successful authors that are in our own “backyard”. Twelve amazing authors from nine countries, representing literary works from genres including: self-help, non-fiction, international relations and humor came together under one roof to tell their stories and discuss topics such as:

–           How to tell a powerful story
–           Tips to get started writing a book
–           Getting past writer’s block
–           Steps to getting your book published

The event was designed to allow authors to showcase their work and inspire the next generation of writers. The featured authors discussed and shared their work as well as answered questions from and mingle with an audience of book lovers and aspiring writers.

About the Organizers

Reading Between the Wines was started on the beautiful Bahamian island of Nassau by five working women who shared a love for both reading and drinking wine. One of those women is Kayla Brown, who is currently a medical student at Peking University and has ambitiously brought her island-style book club to the great city of Beijing.

Since its inception, RBTW-Beijing has hosted eight book club events and has become popular in China’s capital. Having covered books ranging from “Orange is The New Black” to Michelle Obama’s “Becoming”, readers select a book beforehand and at each book club event discuss the book.
Web: https://andinetblc.com/listing/reading-between-the-wines/

About Gilbert and his books

Gilbert is from Ghent, Belgium, where he graduated as master in electronic engineering.
Since 1980 he has been working with China, where he spent over thirty-five years, mostly in Beijing but also in Hong Kong and in Shanghai. He is a businessman, blogger and author.
His second book “LAUGH AND GET WISER! Jokes and witty wisdom for adults”  is a collection of Anglo-Saxon humor and jokes, collected over a period of over twenty years. The best ones of the many circulating around the world. Published in 2018.
His first book “TOXIC CAPITALISM The orgy of consumerism and waste: Are we the last generation on earth?” takes a closer look at data and research on environmental issues worldwide but with a focus on China. It explains the influence of labor markets, governments, financial institutions, income inequality; it details pollution in China, and Chinese overseas investment and long-term contracts, in the energy and resources sectors. A section is dedicated to day-to-day examples of waste and quality issues, and how we can all contribute to make our planet a healthier place. Published in 2012.

The event

In “Book The Author” different authors gave their insights on:
“How to Become a Powerful Storyteller”
“The Writing Process” (Tips to getting started, overcoming writer’s block, etc.)
“Steps to getting Published” (Gilbert and others)

I was good to meet my friend and fellow author Enoch Li (http://bearapy.me/enoch-li/) again and t hear the very different stories of the diverse group of writers. See the first picture for the participating writers.
Also present was the Ambassador of The Bahamas.
Thanks go to the organizer and host Kayla and the assistance of Sabrina.
I also donated one of my books for the quiz.

My book in China Daily article

My book in China Daily

Finally: my book in China Daily article, published on 28 March 2019:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201903/28/WS5c9c7c5fa3104842260b3194_1.html
Yes, “Laugh and get wiser! Jokes and witty wisdom for adults” got featured with an introduction as supplied by me.

A guidebook for our Chinese friends

I quote:

While at a first sight the book may not be interesting to Chinese readers, due to the cultural differences, it is a nice tool for our friends to learn about typical Western humor, as well as to learn a different vocabulary. Also, for those who deal with Westerners, here in China or when abroad, they might surprise their foreign friends by serving them some jokes they can appreciate.
Most Chinese are totally unfamiliar with the Western world of jokes, they are puzzled or even shocked. They wonder why there are so many about the (“dumb”) blondes, the Irish, the Scottish, as well as the many references to domestic situations, such as between married couples, the hilarious comments from kids, and of course the many references to the human anatomy and intimacy. As it turns out, exactly those are highly rated by the readers of my book.
It is an efficient tool to get acquainted with Western society and the way people entertain each other in a relaxed atmosphere. It also helps to understand some of the American stand-up comedians who deliver jokes I did not dare to include in my book!

Choosing some sample jokes

China Daily had requested some sample jokes. Sigh. Auto-censorship has no limits these days. So this one was a “NO NO” for our prudish friends:

Lady visits the doctor
The doctor examines a lady. He tells her, “Your blood pressure, heart beat, lungs are all fine. Now let me see that cute little thing that gets you ladies into trouble more than often.”
The lady starts taking off her dress and panties.
“No no, says the doctor, I meant your tongue!”

So I had to supply the most watered-down ones. The following ones were not published:

In the bathroom
One blonde asks her friend to give her a shampoo.
Says her friend, “There is a bottle right in front of you!”
“Yes but it’s for dry hair and I just made mine wet!”

The billionaire and his wife
A sixty-years-old billionaire walks into the bar with his attractive twenty-five-years old wife.
The friend asks him, how he got her.
The billionaire: “I lied about my age.”
Friend: “You told her you were forty?”
Billionaire: “No, I said I was ninety.”

Don’t ask
Just before sleeping, a just-married asks his wife,
“Darling, did you have other lovers before me?”
No reply and a long silence. The husband whispers,
“Darling, are you sleeping?”
“No, I am still counting.”

Back from school
Johnny comes back from school and tells his mom it was a great day. They learned to make explosives.
Mom says “Schools do interesting stuff these days. So, what’s up in school tomorrow?”
Johnny: “What school?”

Wanna read the other jokes? Buy the book!
One link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H291Z61

 

How to Write a Book in The Bookworm

Rotaract talk

This time I gave a talk on how to write a book in The Bookworm, on 11 March 2019.
We were far over twenty people, mostly Rotaractors but also one more Rotarian and others who were interested in the topic.
This time I had nearly one hour to cover the topic and to answer many questions. A longer version than the talk in Rotary.

The Bookworm

The well-known book shop, meeting spot and restaurant in Sanlitun is the center of literary and other events in Beijing. We were lucky to basically have the whole room for us.
Rotaract meetings are now mostly held there on Monday evenings, 8 pm.
See: http://beijingbookworm.com/

Self-publishing in Rotary Beijing

Rotary lunch 29 January 2019

Rtn Gilbert told his story on self-publishing in Rotary Beijing on why and how he became an author, publishing two books: “Toxic Capitalism” and “Laugh And Get Wiser”.
The first book was done through a “Vanity Press Company”, a bad experience that led him to go “indie” and do self-publishing totally himself. That required mastering a software called “SCRIVENER” and enrolling as an author with Amazon. He shared the challenges he encountered and how he succeeded to self-publish on Kindle and in print.
It took him three extended stays in a nice hotel in Phuket to find the right and motivating environment. He explained the three very different roads to publishing: the traditional publishing companies, the vanity press and self-publishing (such as through Amazon, the giant in that field).

Our lunch

As usual in Kempinski hotel. As I complained the December birthday members never get the birthday cake, I was asked to cut it also… As we had only one table Gilbert simply sat down to talk.

The full story is featured on this website

During the lunch Gilbert only gave a quick overview. See the first of several posts: https://www.damulu.com/2019/01/03/why-self-publishing/
There you find the full story in a series of posts.

More considerations on writing and Amazon

Focused?

When considering writing books, some more considerations on writing and Amazon.
To be successful, authors should build a “following”. That however requires to focus on and remain in a specific type of literature: e.g. fiction, romance, philosophy, name it. The more focused, the better.
My case is pretty hopeless as all books have nothing in common and I am working in more than one genre. “Toxic Capitalism” is a comprehensive study of environmental issues; “Laugh and Get Wiser” is a collection of (English) jokes; the next book will be a political manifesto. While the third book will use some of the themes of the first one, the three definitely have a different audience. A possible fourth book might be a collection of professional experiences; the other titles are still too far away to put a sticker on it.

dreaming of big sales?

The idea is that  when readers like your book they might want more of the same. So in my case, pretty hopeless…

Amazon can be a bit “complicated”

As mentioned earlier my book “Laugh and Get Wiser” has a mention for me that it does not ship to Beijing. It actually does…
Some of my friends complain that when searching for it on Amazon UK it somehow gives strange feedback, like “Exclusive for UK clients” – it is widely available on all Amazon sites (except China of course).
The comments posted on Amazon sites are disconnected. If a friend posts a comment of my book on Amazon Italy it does only stay there and does not appear on Amazon USA. That is bad for the author as it gives an incomplete picture of what readers said about the book. Also, the author has to register on each Amazon site separately to introduce himself even if the book is available on that site. In my case till now I registered on the USA and UK sites.
The shipping charges vary considerably. I made shipments to Indianapolis, Brussels, Beijing: the cost is pretty different and goes up in that order.
If I sell hard copies myself, taking advantage of the special discount as the author (very reasonable indeed!) those sales do not appear in the Amazon overview. I sell to a bookstore in Beijing and to many friends who insist on a signed hard copy.

BISAC codes

One miscalculation: before uploading “Laugh and Get Wiser” I studied in detail the BISAC codes – the codes for the book genre, e.g.:

HUM018000   HUMOR / Form / Puns & Wordplay
HUM008000   HUMOR / Topic / Adult
HUM019000   HUMOR / Topic / Language

I thought defining focused BISAC codes was essential to the Kindle listing. I even registered as a member on their website, so I could have access to all details:
“The BISAC Subject Headings List, also known as the BISAC Subject Codes List, is a standard used by many companies throughout the supply chain to categorize books based on topical content. The Subject Heading applied to a book can determine where the work is shelved in a brick and mortar store or the genre(s) under which it can be searched for in an internal database.”
See the website:
BOOK INDUSTRY STUDY GROUP https://bisg.org/page/BISACSubjectCodes

Well, disappointed when I entered all my data for my book “Laugh and Get Wiser”. Nowhere to be found were the BISAC codes and the choice offered by Amazon was way too general. I still need to understand this…

Publishing in Chinese

As said in an earlier post Amazon does not accept books in Chinese. Guidelines are not always obvious. See the languages accepted for Kindle:
https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200673300

However an English book that contains Chinese characters seems to work… But one can’t publish a Chinese book.
An alternative: Smashwords ignores (Amazon) limitations by allowing all authors from around the world and who have never heard of Steve Jobs to have the same reach. Another alternative to Smashwords would be the Draft2Digital platform.
As my wife is ready to publish her Chinese book, it is a challenge right now.

Yes we are a family of writers, each in a different world. Those are our first books. In both cases, not the best of experiences. See: http://www.damulu.com/2017/04/17/the-book-about-sun-bingwen/