Archive | October, 2011

Printed books vs E-books

29 Oct

This is my afterthought for the SWF Publishing Symposium.

Writers and publishers were arguing about whether printed books and e-books can co-exist and complement each other in terms of marketing strategies, or would cannibalism occur between the two. My view is that does it really matter? What is the fundamental purpose or objective in publishing a book (besides making money)? I would think it is to let people know about the work and I believe this is what most writers wanted in the first place. Well, if that’s the case, I would think it is no longer important whether the information is presented in printed on digital format.


SWF Publishing Symposium 2011: Day 2

28 Oct

I shall continue with Day 2 of the symposium. Though the content is not so relevant to me, I’ve still benefited from the session.

1. The Role of the Author

  • I didn’t jot down any notes for this session as the content is not really relevant to me.
  • The most important message that I received from the speaker was that it is very important to remember why one writes.

2. How to Get Noticed by a Commissioning Editor

  • The speaker shares with the audience the process of getting a book published.

  • She strongly encourages writers to find an agent who will have the connections and experience to find the right publisher and editors to review their manuscripts.
  • She also shares insightful tips such as decisions made by the editors are mainly based on a forecast of the market 2 years down the road, and that new writers will usually have their work published from Jan to July (and it is important to time when one’s manuscripts should be sent to a publisher).

3. Marketing Your Book: The role of the Publisher and Author

  • Kids market: The book should appeal to the kids (on the contrary belief that we should appeal to the parents who buy the books). Words such as cool and funky should be used.
  • Teenage market: Market the books as if you are marketing to an older age group as teenagers like to behave as if they are older.
  • The speaker claims that word-of-mouth is the best marketing policy and social networking is a good platform to create that.

4. The Future of the Publishing Industry

  • It’s a dialogue session revolving on the topic: printed books vs e-books.

5. Print and E-book Author Contracts

  • The speakers are a lawyer and a publisher pointing out the common terms and clauses to look out for in a contract.
  • One e.g. is the difference between assigning a right and granting a right. In the case of assigning, the writer will no longer be the owner of the work whereas granting means that the rights are only licensed to the publisher, the author remains as the owner of the work.

All in all, I think the symposium is a great event for local writers to interact with fellow writers, publishers and agents, and also a platform to promote their work.

SWF Publishing Symposium 2011: Day 1

28 Oct

For the past 2 days, I’ve been attending the Publishing Symposium organised by Singapore Book Publishers Association (SBPA). It is one of the many events held during the Singapore Writers Festival.

Initially, I thought it’ll be a boring session but it turns out to be an eye-opener for me and I’ve learnt a lot about the writing scene in Singapore.

The symposium took place over two days. The first day was mainly about e-books and self-publishing. This is more relevant to my work as I’m an instructional designer for educational digital resources for kids. The second day revolves mainly on the role of an author and what should a writer do to get his/her work noticed by a commissioning editor. The advices given are very useful to aspiring writers.

1. Loyalties, Royalties and the Balance of Power

  • The speakers talk about the emerge of the e-books era and how it’s changing the roles of publishers, agents and authors
  • It is being forecasted in the next five years, 50% of the books sold would be e-books.
  • It is also mentioned that it’s so much easier and convenient to self-publish nowadays, especially with e-books being pushed to a new height of popularity by the launch of Amazon Kindle.

2. E-book Conversion and Distribution

  • A company’s speaker talks about the technology of converting printed books into e-books through EPUB, which is an XML-based file format that reflows text according to screen size.
  • It is mentioned that EPUB is open standard.
  • One of the audiences also talked about the rumours that SingTel is launching an e-book application.

3. E-book Marketing

  • The speaker talks about the importance of letting people discover the e-book that one has written.
  • He also mentioned the effectiveness of using social media to achieve this purpose.

4. E-books for Kids and Young Adults

  • This is the most relevant and enjoyable session for me!
  • The speaker analyses the different markets for kids and young adults.
  • Toddler’s market: resource should be simple and focused. E.g. flashcards, pronunciation (voice recognition technology), learning vocabulary etc.
  • 7 to 13 yrs old market: game-like activities with the completion of tasks and earning credits/tokens are popular with them
  • 14 to 17 yrs old market: social network lovers and prefer to read text-based e-books, unlike the previous two groups that will go for interactive ones.
  • Institutional market: lucrative market to enter as MOE’s initiatives encourage the usage of IT in class lessons
  • The speaker mentions that the consumers market in Singapore is too low. 
  • Another speaker from GuideGecko talks about travel writing and publishing in the future. (This is a personal interest for me! *Wink*)
  • GuideGecko is a site that helps one to self-publish an app (mind you, not a book!). It helps with the creation, distribution, monetization and promotion of the app.
  • He advises aspiring writers who are thinking of using this service to write on a destination that’s not so competitive. This will help their apps to be ranked higher in the app store for the chosen destination.

5. Cross-platform

  • There were 2 speakers for this session. Personally, I think the 1st speaker was ill-prepared for the presentation and was not able to share things that are very helpful.
  • The other speakers are from Peach Blossoms. They demonstrated one of their interactive e-books for kids, Taoshu Warrior.
  • The audience were impressed by the interactions. I like their work but actually the interactions are simple and easy to produce and I’m sure my company can produce the same thing. But I must say the content (the stories) is the main selling point, rather than the interactivity.

Dinner @ Shinryoku Yakitori Restaurant

26 Oct

Today is my friend’s birthday and we’ve celebrated her birthday earlier on Monday. As she had requested, we went to Shiryoku Yakitori at Purvis Street. You won’t miss its bright green signboard that bears the shop’s name, 新绿。

I’ve read some of its reviews and most of them say that its service is slow and bad although the food is nice. For us, we were lucky as there is no crowd on a Monday night, so our food was served to us quite promptly. Another trick we used was that we ordered all the food we wanted to eat right at the beginning knowing that it would take some time for them to prepare the food.

We went for the a-la-carte buffet ($48++) and ordered quite a number of dishes. My favourite was asparagus wrapped in bacon, grilled prawns and grilled chicken wings. My friend strongly recommended the salmon skin salad. As I’m not a big fan of raw vegetables, I shall not comment too much on the dish.

On the whole, I would say it’s quite worthwhile if you go for the buffet but I wouldn’t say that the food is exceptionally good.

* Salmon skin salad
Assorted sashimi
Ebi fry

Chawan mushi

Grilled Gingko nuts

Chicken with mushroom balls
Grilled chicken

* Asaparagus wrapped in bacon

Enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon

Grilled squid

* Grilled chicken wings

Fried chicken skin

Sanma fish

* Grilled prawns wrapped in bacon

Lunch @ Kuriya Penthouse

23 Oct

Yesterday, I went to Kuriya Penthouse @ Orchard Central to celebrate a friend’s birthday. It is a restaurant that serves authentic Japanese food. I ordered the Premium Chirashi Don set as I love sashimi and sushi. Moreover, the set includes tuna belly! Firstly, a starter (fried salmon) is served followed by tempura. They then serve the chirashi don with potato salad and chawan mushi. After that, dessert (macha ice cream, macha japanese cake and fruits) is served. Lastly, tea is served to clear the palette.

I enjoyed the food very much as the ingredients used are very fresh and I get to eat tuna belly.

First Universal Studios Experience

23 Oct

On Friday, I’ve finally visited UniversalStudios in Singapore since its official opening in May. It’s my firstUniversal Studios experience so I was pretty excited over it!

We started the day early and reached Vivo City’s monorailstation around 10 something but there was already a crowd queuing to get theirmonorail tickets. Luckily, we are locals, so we used our EZ-link card to getpass the gates and take our monorail. We got down at the next station,Waterfront station and bought our entrance tickets which cost S$72 at thecounter. Luckily, the queue was short (since the crowd is still back in Vivo City)and we barely waited for a minute! And so our adventures started!

Our plan (if you call it a plan =p) is to slowly warm up andtake the easy rides first and leave the thrilling rides till the last. So we turnedleft into Madagascar zone and took the kids-friendly river boat ride “ACrate Adventure”. The animals are cute and funny but it’s just a prettynormal ride without any thrills or excitement.

Next, we moved on to Far Far Away land to try out the juniorroller coaster, “Enchanted Airways”. It was a prelude to the morethrilling “Battlestar Galactica” ride later. After my experience onthis junior roller coaster, I told my friend that I don’t want to try”Battlestar Galactica” anymore. Please don’t laugh at me! You mustunderstand that it takes a lot of courage for me to try the roller coasterrides as I’m slightly acrophobic! =p

After the ride, we decide to go for something more relaxing, sowe went for the 4D animation “Shrek 4-D Adventure”. It was a reallyfun experience as you can see, hear and feel the action right from your seat asPrincess Fiona and Shrek embark on their fairy-tale adventure. I’m quite surethat both kids and adults will enjoy the show. Oh, those who are afraid ofcreepy crawlies, beware! LOL

The Lost World was next in line. I was hoping to try out thewater raft ride in “Rapids Adventure”. I even prepared another set ofclothing in case I get wet during the ride. But much to our disappointment, theride was under maintenance and won’t back till early next year.

By then, the skies were getting dark and a heavy downpour seemedto be inevitable. So, we decided to complete the outdoor rides first. Wequickly rushed to Sci-Fi City for “Battlestar Galactica”. I finallymustered enough courage to try the “Human” ride. I was very jitteryduring the queue, and when I got into the seat, I thought to myself, “Whyam I doing this?” As the roller coaster made its climb, I couldn’tcontrol but close my eyes and kept them shut during the whole ride whilescreaming my head off! But I must say it’s really a thrilling ride and amust-try! For the braver souls, you can try the “Cylon” ride thatgoes around and upside down with an intense corkscrew and cobra roll.

Finally, we went for the “Revenge of the Mummy” ride.A friend of mine claimed that this is the scariest ride and I was reallyanticipating the ride. It is an indoor roller coaster in total darkness so Idon’t have to worry about my acrophobia. The ride was indeed up to myexpectations. It was full of excitement and surprises. The only con was that itwas too short! The “Mummy” ride was the last ride we had.

After we came out of the ride, it was raining heavily. Having nochoice, we went for lunch at the nearby Egyptian-themed buffeteria, “OasisSpice Cafe” as we can’t go anywhere too far. The Middle Eastern food wasnot bad but I must say the taste of the Almond rice dessert was very unique.

We went for a shopping spree after we have replenished ourenergy from lunch. We even went for a musical show “Monster Rock”. Iwould advise those of you who wanted to watch it to give it a miss if you arerushing for time. Go only if you have lots of time to spare and nowhere else togo. Enough said.

With that we left the park and promised to return next year whenthe Transformers ride is ready.

People’s champion

18 Oct

Every underdog gets its day! The movie, Real Steel shows that one will be able to rise to the challenge if one has the courage and determination to overcome problems and obstacles that seem big. I must admit that I quite like the movie despite the not-so-good reviews about it being a work that lacks originality and focus. Nevertheless, I’ll say that it is an entertaining movie, especially Dakota Goyo who acted as Hugh Jackman’s son. He’s such a talented dancer and actor!

Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes

A gritty, white-knuckle, action ride set in the near-future where the sport of boxing has gone high-tech, Real Steel stars Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up fighter who lost his chance at a title when 2000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots took over the ring. Now nothing but a small-time promoter, Charlie earns just enough money piecing together low-end bots from scrap metal to get from one underground boxing venue to the next. When Charlie hits rock bottom, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo) to build and train a championship contender. As the stakes in the brutal, no-holds-barred arena are raised, Charlie and Max, against all odds, get one last shot at a comeback. — (C) Dreamworks/* */