|Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Location: Jbeil Byblos
| A Lebanese Writerís Ordeal By Charbel Tadros
|Itís easy being a writer. Everyone can write and everyone has ideas to share. I have been a writer since I was 10 years old. I started writing short bits and pieces of stories. However, itís not easy being a writer when you have the talent, but not the entourages which will help you achieve every writerís goal: to be read.
When I started writing, which was when I was around 10 years old, I had no friends or family members who ever were or ever cared about writing. All I had was some very supportive teachers who helped me sharpen my style. My family was supportive, just not experienced in that field to be of any real use, so I had to make it on my own. It also happened that I was very interested in the supernatural field and had read plenty of books about that. This, combined with an ability to write, contributed to my first ever published works which were a series of six articles about supernatural phenomena in a well known Lebanese newspaper.
But, though I was getting published, there were some little problems. The editor of the page I was writing for assumed that I was experienced in the field of journalism and so didnít bother correcting any small mistakes in text. This is despite the fact that she knew that I was only 16 years old then. However, and here was an even bigger problem, the editor would just change my titles into very strange and meaningless titles which affected my reputation and I ended up getting some mean comments from readers.
Luckily, the page I used to write for got discontinued. By that time, I had moved from the supernatural to spirituality and was overwhelmed by the ideas I was learning. Soon enough, I had been filled to the brim with ideas that I just wanted someone to share them with. Thatís when I founded the Seekers Of Wisdom (http://www.seekersofwisdom.org) with some friends who were somewhat interested in the topic. The group went well for around a year and we started publishing regular newsletters with articles in English and Arabic about spirituality or related topics. This went well for another year by the end of which, most of the team members had moved to universities and had no more time for meetings and discussions.
Thus, the group became a cyber group and the articles started being published through the website and the Facebook group only. Through these, I met more and more people who were interested in the field and who had great ideas and books to share. But, the more I learned, the more I wanted to share and also, the spiritual ideas that I had learned had started merging together in my mind until they formed my own philosophy. More and more people kept coming my way and I learned more and more until, with the help of some friends, my philosophy transformed into the Angels in Training program (http://angels.seekersofwisdom.org. Many people joined and are still joining the program with great results in their lives.
Afterwards, I got the inspiration to use the program and transform it into a spiritual novel. That was a very easy task as the story just flows through. But remember, I count myself very lucky and what I will write now will prove that.
While writing the novel, a friend introduced me to another, who was a published author and poet. His name is Adham and he helped me a lot when I was trying to get published. He supported me very much and gave me very valuable tips. What I learned though, was that most publishers in Lebanon arenít very reliable and those who are, do not publish spirituality or books in English. So, I had to do my own publishing. I did plenty of research about self-publishing online and then started my journey.
My father was more than generous and promised to pay whatever the printing might cost. Knowing this, I started looking for whatever else is needed to get published. I knew that I needed someone to proofread my work, someone to do the layout and someone to help with the cover design. For proofreading and layout editing, a friend of mine, Vincenz, was more than helpful. He did excellent fact-checking and a good layout for the book. As for the cover design, John, who is such a talented friend, did an amazing cover for me.
This process took approximately five months before we moved to the final process, which was the printing. I had to visit so many printing presses before I could get a good price which I eventually did. I expected the printing to be lousy and unprofessional based on the price I paid but I was very surprised when I saw the book, finally in print. The printing press did an extremely fine job which made me just fall in love with my creation: The Destined Journey. They also, unintentionally, called me to come pick up the books on my 22nd birthday.
Now, I became a published author. That was the easy part and a tougher part seemed to be just around the corner. I had to distribute the books and develop an effective marketing plan. I chose my target libraries, which were the best known libraries in Lebanon as well as some other smaller libraries which were eager to help. Then, I visited them one by one and persuaded them to feature my book and sell it. Most were very easy to convince. Some needed a little more proof that I am working hard on it. Eventually, I was able to get my book in the well known libraries as well as the smaller ones. But that was not enough.
The book was definitely on the librariesí shelves, but people didnít know it well enough to want to buy it. I needed publicity. I figured that my best asset at the time was Facebook, so, I started a page for the book there and bought some ads. In the meantime, John started working on the bookís website and is still designing what I know will be a great website as usual. http://www.thedestinedjourney.com will be available for the public in the next couple of days.
Finally, I count myself very lucky because I had friends in all the fields related to getting published. Had I not had these friends and my father, publishing would have been extremely tough and I bet I would still have been waiting for some unreliable publisher to help me out. Best of luck to all the authors who are still struggling to get published.