Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What do they read in Singapore?

Since my other personality is a writer, lol, I have many friends in the writing business.  Due to the Internet, I can now have friends all over the world, which is fantastic.  I'm always curious about other cultures and their ways.  How do I connect writing with art, since this is an art blog?  Book covers have always been a fascination of mine, and when I was a romance writer in the past, my book covers were always painted by mysterious artists in New York, most of whom I never met. Some of the book covers I loved, and some I didn't.  I had no control over the process.

Since the huge rise of self-publishing, I thought I'd talk to someone who is into this modern way of creating books and book covers.  I did an interview with Eddy Kong an ebook publisher in Singapore.  He has put out a bunch of books, and I really like his book covers.  They are stylish and visually beautiful.  Here is one from the book THE THIRD.

I asked Eddy some questions and this is what he said:  

Eddy: I am a small-time publisher from Singapore during the night.  During the day, 
I am a full-time equity trader.

Maria:  Tell  me something about your work as  a publisher and what makes you
love your job. 

Eddy:  In fact, I was a clickbank infopreneur selling some health & fitness ebooks,
but found that the revenue for my info products was not moving as fast as it could due to
overwhelming competition.  I decided to become a publisher after transferring
some of my info products to sell on Amazon Kindle. I now see some decent results 
without doing much work since 2011. I noticed I could earn more being a fiction 
authoand publisher representing other writers. Now I am publishing full-length novels
for them and myself.. I am still formulating a simple system to create, engage, and 
connect with my readers/fans.

Maria:  What are people's reading habits in Singapore? 

Eddy: We are a reading nation due to the government campaigning to cultivate the 
reading habit.  This is a good initiative.  However, getting a Kindle tablet in Singapore 
is pretty tough as shipping overseas has to be done via a third party delivery
service.  I hope that Amazon will be able to open up shipping more Kindles
to my country.  This would increase the availability of reading material.

Maria:  How are books bought there? 

Eddy:   We mostly buy our books from bookshops or borrow them from the local 

To answer some questions pertaining to the cover art.

Maria:  How do you go about choosing a cover for one of your books?  

Eddy:  I collaborate with a book designer.  I give her the book synopsis that tells her 
what the story is about and the mood I try to create

Maria:  I have here the cover of The Third by Zsu Hsia, and it is very elegant.  What 
makes you decide on the colors? 

Eddy: I give the choice to my cover designer, I do not suggest the colors to her since
I trust her artistic sense.

Maria:  Is it difficult to design the right cover?  Even if you have a designer,you give 
them guidelines.

Eddy: The designer just makes 2-3 drafts and I chose one that fits the book 
synopsis the best..

Maria:  Does the designer use real models for your covers?

Eddy:  No, she doesn't. From stock photos she can put together a cover with 
Photoshop or similar programs. 

Maria:   Are covers important for book sales? 

Eddy:  I find them rather important as first impressions do have an impact on my book 
sales.  People tend to buy more copies of the book if the cover intrigues them.  

Maria:  How do you use fonts, or choose the right ones? 

Eddy:  Again, I don't have to choose the fonts myself for the title or the author's name. 
I just let the cover designer choose since she is more experienced.  Since I'm 
working full-time, I give her full freedom with the cover art designing process.

Maria: What are things you don't like about covers?  What makes you pick out a 
book from a shelf? 

Eddy: I don't like covers that are too simple, with no matching color tones, and  with 
uninteresting fonts. I pick a book from a shelf based on its attractive cover art, and 
I like embossed fonts for the title and author's name.  I like to be able to see what 
the book is about just by looking at the cover.

Maria: How do you deal with the back of the book cover?

Eddy: Since I don't publish in the traditional way yet, all my books are ebook editions. 
But the back blurb is important on the cover of a paperback.  A great book blurb 
sells more books. 

Maria:  Any advice for artists about book design?  What can they focus on to make
a big impact with a cover? 

about cover art.

Maria:  I would like to add that most covers are done digitally these days and the
knowledge of Photoshop or some other design program is a valuable skill to have. 
Thank you, Eddy, for giving me this information and a peek into your life on the 
other side of the world!  

For more info about Eddy Kong's books, please visit his website:

You can join his Facebook page:
You can see some more of his great book covers there.

Zhu Hsia's author's page on Amazon:  HERE  The books are written in English. 
Why not read some books set in contemporary Asia?  I intend to read some 
to learn more about their culture.

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