Hey, Howdy, Hello everybody!
I am so excited to share with you all that I had the amazing opportunity to interview Hana Malik, the author of Raw. As a newcomer to the Self-publishing scene I need all the advice I can get and feel so honored that Hana Malik took the time to share some of her experience with me. The following is the interview and benath the interview you will find the link to Raw. Please check it out!
When did you decide to write and publish a book?
There was never really an exact moment for me. I began writing poetry in various google docs, word docs, etc. in high school whenever I had free time. I would go to the computer lab or library and just write depending on how I felt, or write a piece based off something else I had read or heard throughout the day. I would only share a few of my pieces with my friends if I felt like it could relate to their situation or I wanted an opinion. I was very shy and wouldn’t always tell them it was my piece. I did not want to feel judged upon my content, especially because not everything I write about has happened to me personally. In college, more of my friends found out about my writing and would ask me to share. I thought, if this is something other people want to read then I should share. I had writing blogs in the past and received good feedback. I began to want something more, something tangible. That’s when I decided to write a short book.
What made you choose self-publishing as opposed to traditional publishing?
I knew if I went through the traditional publishing process, Raw may never be actually published. If it did, there could be endless rights that I would have to sign over, or manipulate the book to fit someone else’s agenda. I wasn’t worried about how many people would purchase it or it needing a publishing house. I just wanted to put my work out there for anyone who wanted to read it. I also wanted sole rights to my pieces. Often, artists give up the integrity of their work in order for someone in an “official,” position to approve of it. I didn’t want to subject myself to that.
What was the self-publication process like for you? (Did you find it to be difficult, simple, enjoyable, etc)
The process was relatively simple. It was frustrating to make sure that everything was aligned and looked exactly as I had imagined it in my head. But the final product was truly pleasing. The process was worth it.
How much help, if any, did you get with your book?
In terms of the content of the book, I didn’t ask for any help. With respect to the cover and pricing, I consulted a few of my friends who had a more well-rounded understanding of how a potential audience or consumer would respond to my decisions.
Did you hire an editor?
Did you hire a publicist?
Did you create your design yourself? If yes, how did you do so? If no, how did you get it created?
I did create the design myself. It’s actually pretty funny, I have a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet, which is touch-screen. I opened the application called paint and used the stylus that came with the tablet to draw the scribble that is now on the cover of Raw. I added the title and that was it. I’m excited to work on the cover for my next book, as I want it to follow the same relative process.
Was there a high initial cost to self-publishing? (Did you put in a lot of money to get the book out there?)
Not at all. I hardly had to invest anything initially. People who are interested in self-publishing need to do their research and understand the options are endless. Don’t feed into paying hundreds of dollars to do something you could very easily learn to do yourself.
Would you say the whole process was expensive or affordable for you?
How long did it take you in total to write, edit and publish?
How did you market and promote your book?
Instagram and twitter became my new best friends. I am beyond grateful for the age of social media. Not only for myself, but because of it- I have met so many other independent artists whom I may have never met otherwise.
Is your book being sold both online and in stores or only online? If it is being sold in stores, how did you get bookstores to sell it?
I am so honored to say my book is being sold in so many places I can’t keep up. It’s being sold in both bookstores and several online websites. Just googling, “Raw by Hana Malik,” is enough to see the hundreds of websites that offer it. Barnes & Noble’s selling my book was a huge achievement for me. As well as seeing my book on stands at the Posman Bookstore in Chelsea Market, NYC.
Have you done a book tour or any book signings? If yes, where and how did you set them up? (Bookstores, libraries?)
I have not! I’m still very shy in when it comes to talking about my work because it means so much to me. When people I have met ask me to sign their copy, it is truly an indescribable feeling. I am so grateful to them for supporting my work, and truly can’t believe how much they genuinely like it. I’ve gotten into a habit of telling anyone who compliments my writing that it means the world to me. I don’t want it to lose its meaning because of how often I say it because that’s the only way I can really put it into words. Each time, no matter who it comes from. Any compliment towards my writing is worth the world to me.
Did you use any resources such as self-publication guides, books or manuals? If yes, which ones?
I had to research and look up what a variety of them had to offer. There’s more than I can name. I definitely started with whatever the top searches were on google, then I narrowed it down through seeing how each one differed.
How successful would you say your book has been?
When my book sold 100 copies, I was in awe. Since May 2016, when it first came out, Raw has sold 3000+ copies. More successful than I could’ve imagined.
If you could go back and change anything about your book or what you did to publish it, what would you change?
The biggest amount of criticism I’ve gotten for my book is that it’s too short. It’s about 50 pages, ranging from poems that are short to long. This was the first time I was putting a piece of myself and my writing out there. I didn’t want to publish a book that was incredibly long and deter people from reading it. I was fully aware that I did not have a foundation, credibility or the name to make people want to read something very long just because my name was on it. I am new, I am still so new. I wanted a teaser, something short that I could get feedback on so when I do publish my full book, I had a better idea of the direction I wanted to go in. To anyone who complains that my book is too short, I wish to tell them it is not the only one. I often find myself succumbing and wishing the book was longer, but then I think I sold 3000+ copies of my 50 pages and that’s good enough for me. Sometimes, seeing that a book isn’t too long is what also attracts people. They think this is easier to read, quicker to understand and more convenient to share. The other fact of the matter is, I don’t want my poetry or writing to be repetitive. I feel like I said everything I had to say within the shorter amount of pages.
What advice would you give someone self-publishing for the first time?
Take. Your. Time.
Will you be self-publishing again or switching to traditional publishing for your next book?
I look forward to self-publishing again for my next book!
Thank you, Hana Malik for allowing me to interview you!
If you are interested in learning more about Hana Malik and Raw, you can visit withintheraw.com
Please check out Raw available at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.