Writing

Mentorships to look out for in 2022

Traditional publishing is HARD. I’ve been mentored and supported through this journey, and strongly encourage you to apply!

(Note: I haven’t participated in these mentorship programs, so please do your own research before you apply.)

  1. Author Mentor Match (AAM):

October 19-31: Mentor Applications Open
November 2021: Mentors Chosen
December 2021:Mentor Profiles Live on AMM Website
January 12-14 2022: Mentee Submission Window Open

2. #REVPIT

The #REVPIT 2022 contest opens up on March 17th.

3. We Need Diverse Books

Check out their incredible resources, including their Native Fund, Black Creatives Mentorship.

4. Inclusive Romance Project

Stay tuned for when they open up again in 2022!

Check out this Open Inbox run by Write Team Mentors!

Consult us for free, on-demand publishing advice!

What is it? From January 1 to March 30, 2022, WTMP will maintain a roster of authors and industry professionals to provide free writing and publishing advice to writers at all stages of their careers.

How it works: No contest entry required! Fill out the inbox form when it opens to request assistance from one of our professionals. You may direct your question to a specific mentor, or our team will assign one.

https://www.writeteammentors.com/open-inbox

Please feel free to comment and share more mentorship programs!

Reading, Writing

Authors I support on Patreon

When I’m not writing, I’m reading, or listening to audiobooks. I learn so much simply by reading other books, and it’s such a necessary part of my creative process.

Here are three authors I support on Patreon:

Hanna Alkaf: Hanna is one of my favourite Malaysian authors. Not only do I love her books, she also strongly encouraged me to finish my first draft (instead of ahem sporadically working on all 5 of my WIPs/ works-in-progress). “Your story is in your first draft.” TRUTH. I was pregnant with my second baby at the time. By the time I gave birth to my third, I had my polished manuscript. Right after he turned one, I had signed with my agent! Never underestimate solid writing advice.

Meredith Ireland: I had the privilege of being Meredith’s mentee during my novel revision process during lockdown last year. My manuscript became about a million times stronger with her help, and that was the version my agent fell in love with and offered to represent.

Fonda Lee: Fonda’s Greenbone Saga is my favourite fantasy trilogy so far. She writes so brilliantly about the Asian diaspora experience, amongst many other incredible themes. I love how complex her morally grey characters are. Even when they make horrible choices, I can understand why. Jade City and Jade War have left me on the edge of my seat. I fear that Jade Legacy will destroy me. I CAN’T WAIT! I’ve pre-ordered the audiobook version and it drops at the end of this month.

Writing

Virtual Australian Muslim Writers Festival!

I’m so excited to share the news about the very first Virtual Australian Muslim Writers Festival, from Sept 25 to 2 Oct. Please share widely and register – it’s free! I’m looking forward to refilling my creative cup. It’s always so validating for me to listen to Muslim writers, and Aussie Muslim writers hold a special place in my heart.


Fantasy, Life, Love, Writing

My latest SBS Voices piece is up!

I’m thrilled to share my latest op ed on SBS Voices: Malay phrases I won’t be using on my children.

Speaking of being a mother and a writer, this article resonated with me SO MUCH: The Heartbreaking Ingenuity of the Mother-Writer. I could read this article a billion times and love it more each time. Only fellow mother-writers could relate to the creative, exhausting, hair/hijab-pulling methods we use to get our words down!!

As many of you would know, I am an avid SFF (science fiction and fantasy) fan. My latest obsession is the Green Bone saga by the brilliant Fonda Lee. Jade Legacy is coming out in November, and Fonda Lee has started up a one-year-only Patreon which gives patrons exclusive access TO COOL THINGS. Her series is incredible! Asian-inspired, which I absolutely love. No shortage of strong, complex female characters alongside believable male leads.

I absolutely love Fonda Lee’s Jade City and Jade Legacy. One thing she wrote about so brilliantly, which I have never read elsewhere, is the diaspora experience. I’m a returnee to my Malaysian motherland and to have her write about what it’s like to be a foreigner, how it changes you so irrevocably…that was really validating, to see reflected back to me. I was born in Singpaore, moved to Sydney when I was 12, lived in Jordan from 25-27, married at 28 then moved to Malaysia at 30 and I’ve been here for almost 8 years. All of this shapes me, my parenting, my writing – the lens through which I view the world and interact with it.

Family, Islam, Life, Writing

Selamat Hari Raya/Eid Mubarak!

Selamat Hari Raya/Eid Mubarak! My kids are all asleep after an exciting and exhausting first day of Eid. We made it, alhamdulilah, to the end of Ramadan. And what a Ramadan this has been. May we meet many, many more. May there be an end to global oppression.

We’re back to MCO 3.0 in Malaysia. Inconvenient but necessary because Covid19 numbers shot up once again. This is my second Raya/Eid in lockdown…I miss my family and friends back in Sydney. I don’t think we’ll be able to fly back to visit anytime soon, so in the meantime, we have our family Whatsapp groups, video calls, messages….this is our new normal. What a test of patience.

In writing news, my latest article on SBS voices is up: I loved reading fantasy growing up but there were never any characters like me. Stay tuned for more!

Books, Writing, young adult

Ramadan Mubarak!

brown metal cage with lighted candle
Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

Ramadan greetings to one and all! Selamat Berpuasa 🙂

It is a very different Ramadan…but alhamdulilah for all the blessings we do have, big and small. Many things are different, but many things are also still the same. Namely: me finding creative ways to lie down while my kids play around me. Hahaha. My youngest is already 7 months and turbo crawling.

I have three small kids under the age of 5, so Ramadan has been indoors for me for a few years now. One thing is for sure…I WILL MISS THE RAMADAN BAZAARS!! There are online bazaars now, apparently? GetMakan looks amazing, but based in Johor. Let me know if you figure out how to order them tasties in Petaling Jaya :p

Also, if you’re looking for a grassroots way to help Malaysians in need, #Kitajagakita is a wonderful platform.

In writing news….stay tuned! I participated in the #DVPIT twitter competition and garnened a lot of agent interest. I’m so grateful for the support of Meredith Ireland, my #DVPIT mentor who gave me EPIC REVISION tips. Lockdown with kids took on a whole new meaning while I was frantically adding 10,000 words of world-building and plot tweaks, and I am SO happy I had Meredith only a Whatsapp message away. THANK YOU MEREDITH! So much of writing is solitary, so it really helps to have an experienced author believe in your book, and help you make it even better.

 

 

 

baby, querying, Writing

Wow, it’s already February?!

So it’s Feb 2nd 2020. My newborn is almost 5 months. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

giphy
Source: GIPHY https://gph.is/1kw5oF6

 

Alhamdulilah, the blessings of being busy with little ones – time passes, and hey look, there’s another email from a literary agent in my inbox!

I’m thrilled to report that I’m no longer dying from waiting stress. I’m still getting email/form rejections, and I’m also getting really helpful personalised rejection emails from the agents who’ve read my full manuscript.

I even got one super rare and uber helpful revise and resubmit (R&R) request!!! Okay, so it’s not an offer of representation….but now I know that there is ONE agent in the Vast and Unknowable Sea of Agents who loved my book enough to take the time to write me very detailed email on how to make it better, and to please resubmit if I do take on the suggestions. UM YES PLZ THANK YOU!

happy joy GIF by SpongeBob SquarePants
Source: GIPHY https://gph.is/1aRyN80

Based on the R&R and similar feedback from other literary agents, I’ve decided to 1) stop querying 2) start revising my manuscript to make it even stronger 3) hold off on sending out my full manuscript to interested agents until it’s fully revised. My deadline is 2-6 months from December 2019. Wish me luck! I can’t and I won’t give up now!!

Am I still drowning in self-doubt and imposter syndrome? Yup. I make space for those feelings, take a deep breath, exhale, and remind myself that:

1) I wrote a whole book, got it beta read and professionally edited while pregnant with my third baby.

2) Nobody else can tell the story I’m telling.

3) It’s better for me to take my time with my revisions, so that the best version of my book will get read.

4) Even if nobody ends up representing my first book…I can always write another. And another. And another. Rinse, repeat!

5) I have the rest of my life to write, and this intense time of mothering little ones will end. I’m enjoying the cuddles and milky snuggles while I can!

So if you’re also in the querying trenches…hang in there! Keep at it, one day at a time. Keep writing and keep living well until the day the right agent snaps up your book and loves it as much as you do, if not even more ❤

 

 

querying, Writing

Update from the querying trenches

My newborn is 3 months! Alhamdulilah. We survived! In January, my toddler turns 2, and in June inshaAllah, my preschooler will turn 5. One day, I will get more sleep, and more time to write. In the meantime, I am sustained by newborn snuggles/head-sniffing, toddler cuddles and preschooler giggles.

Querying update: I wish I could say something amazing like “AAHHH I GOT AN OFFER OF REPRESENTATION FROM MY DREAM AGENT AND IT ONLY TOOK ONE DAY/WEEK/MONTH!”

Alas, that is not the case for me. I started sending off query letters to literary agents on 11/11/2017 and I’m still waiting for most of them to reply. ‘Tis the season of nerve-wracking waiting…..

bored kid GIF
Source: https://weheartit.com/entry/88164098

…..and more waiting.

As of today, here are my querying stats:

Agents queried: 51

Partial manuscript requests: 1

Full manuscript requests: 2

Full manuscript rejections: 1

Rejections based on query letter and sample pages: 4

Based on that, it looks like my query letter is working, but my first few chapters could do some work. I’ve tightened them up and am ready to send them out into the Vast Unknowable Sea of Agents. As I get more feedback, especially those bittersweet personalised rejection emails, I’ll tweak them some more.

Let it be said: QUERYING IS HARD. It’s hard, opening up my book to rejection. It’s hard, dealing with the self-doubt with every rejection letter. It’s hard, wondering if I should just scrap my whole novel and do a huge edit. And yet, getting multiple rejections is such a normal part of landing a literary agent.

I started writing my book in November 2018 and finished it, tweaked it based on feedback from by beta readers, had it professional edited by @michelesagan, and revised it at least 2-3 times. And I also gave birth in September 2019. I literally gave birth to a my baby boy and a book baby, while caring for two other little humans.

When my inbox checking and fretting gets too much, I tell myself – time to work on my second novel. And then one of my kids wake up/starts fighting with the other one/needs a diaper change etc. lol.

Where are you in your writing and querying journey? What keeps you going?