What will I write…

I wonder if you all remember the English textbooks you all used in school and how boring they were. Remember D.H. Howe’s “The Crows of Klang”? Good grief! Who would want to read anything like that?

Another problem is one textbook is supposed to be in use for 10 years but I noticed that they would drag on till some 15-20 years even. I guess now that students are getting the textbooks free, it is not easy to get rid of the old books and supply brand new ones. For one thing, they’re VERY expensive – RM12 or more (and I will not delve into the reasons why). Of course, if you use a textbook for so long, things get outdated. Take, for instance, one passage from the set of textbooks at the time on the Penang Ferry Tragedy. The students today, who were probably not born yet when that happened, would know nothing of it and I do not think they would be interested unless perhaps they’re from Penang or around those parts.

But what actually drove me to writing workbooks for students was the fact that textbooks cater for the general standard of the students – too easy for the good ones and too difficult for those less proficient and the latter, of course, formed the majority. In view of this, I decided to write a book that was simple enough for the weak ones to handle and this gave birth to my first book ever…

Wynner 1

I wrote and typed everything and even designed the cover with my limited computer skills using Print Artist and I got the printer – the one who used to print my school magazines for me – to print 1,000 copies. I was planning to use whatever I needed for my students at the time and keep the rest for the subsequent years…but some teachers in the other schools heard of it and came to cart the rest away, payment in cash no less!

Then the people from the publishing companies heard of it and started coming round to persuade me to let them publish the book. After some time, I relented and gave the publishing rights to the sole Sibu firm and these two books were released the following year…

Wynners 2

The royalty payment was extremely little though. I can’t remember exactly now but I think they deducted 40%, that being the standard discount they gave to the bookstores and paid the writer 3% of the remaining 60%. Fortunately, the books sold like hot cakes, so what I received was encouraging enough to keep me going.

Unlike many workbooks where they will reprint the same thing year in and year out, changing the name and the cover only, this publisher allowed me to revise my books. Thus, I could replace those that I found too easy or difficult, boring or perhaps I came up with something more interesting and so on. Other than revising the existing copies for the upper forms, the following year, the publisher asked me to write two more workbooks – for Form 1 and Form 2. He was able to get somebody else to write the Form 3 edition…and these were published…

Wynners 3

This arrangement suited us real fine and we did the same for the year after that and came out with these…

Wynners 4

I also wrote some sets of model examination papers for practice purposes for this particular publishing firm, this one…

Wynner X1

…and this one…

Wynner X2

The sale of the books every year was very good, to say the least, and I was extremely pleased with the money that was rolling in…until disaster struck. The publisher was very ambitious and got a whole lot of writers to write for the other subjects but I heard that they failed miserably on the market. At the same time, he opened a bookstore and there was this conflict of interests. The bookstores boycotted the books he published as he had become their rival…and the other publishers refused to supply their books to his bookstore as they felt he would be promoting the ones he published himself instead of theirs. I guess his hands were tied and since he had incurred heavy losses on the unsold books, he closed down the publishing firm.

Then I was approached to work with one in West Malaysia and while with this particular firm, I came out with these workbooks…

Wynners 5

…and these sets of model examination papers…

Wynners X3

It did not work out too well for various reasons which I would not bother to elaborate on, but the bottom line was I was getting paid very little. They would say that the books did not sell well (even though I heard that they had to reprint a couple of times) or they had to deduct from my royalty for the unsold copies and all that kind of crap. The worst thing was they would not even bother to pay me unless I called them again and again to pester them, not that what they paid was really worth that trouble. In the end, I decided to call it a day.

Well, all in all, it was a nice experience while it lasted and I did make quite a bit over the years out of the endeavour. After all, life is like that – full of ups and downs…and we just plod on our own way one day at a time.

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

31 thoughts on “What will I write…”

  1. first!

    Ya…tekkaus will be hopping mad! Supposed to post this in the morning…but I must have clicked PUBLISH by accident last night!!! Hahahahahaha!!!!

    1. Bluek…. ๐Ÿ˜› You are just lucky!

      Ya, she was. I did not intend to publish the post last night…but you’re late again this morning! Yan came at 6 something! Hahahahaha!!!!

  2. so ngam i on9 and saw a new post from stp! ๐Ÿ˜€
    wah, didnt know u are a writer too =.=
    spm reminds me of my 6days full of tuition classes ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
    life is lifeless that time, but da result was a fruitful one ๐Ÿ˜€

    Lucky you! Hahahaha!!!…..Omigawd! 6 days of tuition!!! You didn’t have a life! Well, never too late! At least, it looks like you’re having some fun these days!!!

  3. omg.
    i always see your name and i didn’t know you’re an author!

    man, no wonder you fly to many places on earth!

    You’ve seen my books before?…Where got? The money not that much lah!…I think it’s still in the bank – was saving for my daughter’s education…

    1. may I quote on this “I think itโ€™s still in the bank โ€“ was saving for my daughterโ€™s educationโ€ฆ”

      Therefore, you think its still in the bank..

      which leads to two conclusion.. one.. you’re not sure if you have spent it.. or most likely deduction number two.. you have far too many bank accounts that you’re not sure which account the monies received from the royalty of sale of book is now located.. HAHAHAHAHAHA

      Well, that’s for me to know and for you to find out…and I’m not giving you any clues… Hahahahahaha!!!

    2. oh that is good.
      indeed.

      how’s your daughter?
      still using that Indian cab service?

      Nope…she takes the early morning flight, sharing an SP taxi with her coursemates to the airport…and on the way back, her cousin in Penang picks her up and sends her to SP the next day. Not using the Indian fella anymore…

  4. Curious to know how much they pay you! But you do not need to tell me. As said, I am just curious! Ha, ha.

    Curiosity kills the cat!…Not much, Yan, not much! Enough to keep me going but not enough for me to quit my daytime job! Much more money in tuition, if I had gone into it full swing like some teachers….

    1. Well, that won’t kill me, I hope! Curious because I don’t know how much to offer to a contributor here to my newspaper. She also writes assessment books for publishers (but not English). Sort of having a feel of the market.

      I dunno…but for the sets of model exam papers, they paid outright (meaning no royalty payments after that) – something like RM2500 (8 sets of two papers each) only. My contributions were published by HER WORLD before in their column SOAPBOX and they paid RM150 each but that was some 25 years ago… LOL!!! The things I did for money…

  5. Wow! You are so good huh Suituapui! I wish I can publish my own books too one day. I believe I can but before that I need to brush up my language first. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Nothing is impossible…but money wise, I think there are other better things to do!

  6. SO thats’s how it started….. workbooks for your own students. Who funded the first workbook? The school or Mr Wee YN? hehe. The books seems to get more colourful as you progress… haha. But i like the cover of your first workbook….. so retro! hahaha.

    I paid for everything myself first and then made a few sen’s profit on each book sold… If you noticed, I flipped the image of the student for a better balance and he became a leftie! LOL!!!

  7. Oh yeah, some of those books look familiar. I think my bro used the Dynamic ones in 4th picture. I forgot which one I’ve used though ๐Ÿ˜›

    Oh, and you know what? You can still publish books nowadays you know. From your blog. Compile a book from your blog post about food in Sibu, another about STP can cook too, another on general topic…since you have so many posts, you can come up with a few books with different genre.

    (Tun M and the daughter got publish books from their blog posts)

    Too old for such things liao lah! Just want to relax and enjoy my golden years. Maybe my daughter can do that and reap the harvest… Ya, your brother would have used my books but I don’t think you did because your teacher had some personal grudge, though the other classes might have used it at the time.

  8. *salute* STP, may i have your autograph when i see u? ๐Ÿ™‚ Slowly, slowly, talents revealed… from what I gathered after reading your recent posts, U r a retired teacher, a good cook, a food taster, writes for BP…. and now this… an author as well… wah… let me check check back my kids’ english workbooks…. i can tell them i know the author of this book…won’t they be amazed! Don’t quit, STP… i gather that u love doing it too….

    Correction! I don’t write for BP – just that they have featured my blog posts twice…and I don’t get paid for that. My books sold well in Perak, maybe not Ipoh but I think I heard the publisher mentioning towns like Taiping or Teluk Intan. Anyway, your sons too young lah…the books already out of circulation! LOL!!! Ya…it really was fun while it lasted…

    1. Err…he stated clearly in the post that he authored books when he was a teacher, not after he retired, cooks, tastes and writes for BP.

      Oh dear! Here we go again! LOL!!!….Ya, that was when I was a teacher and it was mainly because I did not like the books available and wanted to come out with something I could actually use…saving me a lot of hassle, having to prepare stuff every day. There was one book then by another publisher – so many mistakes all over and one school was using it. When I asked them, they said they used it for identification of errors! Would not admit they chose the wrong book for the students!!!…And I do NOT write for BP, you do…!!! Made a bundle yet! Belum belanja pun? Wink! Wink! LOL!!!

      P.S. But she didn’t state specifically that I wrote books after I retired…just that she just discovered that I wrote books…among my many “talents”!!! Blush! Blush! Hahahahahaha!!!!

      1. Its ok, STP, my mistake, sorry that I misunderstood about your BP posts.. other than that, I was right… u wrote books before u retired, not after… ๐Ÿ™‚

        Ya…that was what I said.

  9. All this time I thot u were squatting on a pot of gold with all that royalties coming in! Maybe u should have switched to writing something more exciting like Jk. Rowlings. Perhaps STP n the Goblet of the Desert Rose or Lord of the kampuas…. Da Pumba code……Lol!

    No lah…it was not the money but the satisfaction moire than anything else, plus I could used my own books so no need to look for suitable material, get it printed for use in the class – day in, day out… That was such a chore!!!

  10. Good day sir! Wow~ The 1st book certainly bring back a lot of nostalgic memories… Never expect to see it posted in a blog so many years later.. hehehe! Salute to you sir!

    Oh? You were one of those who used that first book of mine?…Hope it helped in some small way to get you to where you are now – still in INTI, are you?

    1. Ermm.. let me recall.. it definitely helps a lot during those times.. but with Malaysian education and society gearing for more bahasa baku, I doubt it helps much for the future generation though.. maybe they should always come visit STP blog for some English tips.. lol~ am currently plying my trade in Serdang, Selangor, doing eco-balance project.

      Ya, the exposure to the language may help in some small way. For most of them these days, all the English they hear is during their 40-minute lessons in school…and even then, some teachers teach in BM or in the pupils’ own language. Ooo…you’re a businessman now, eh? Must be loaded! LOL!!!

      1. duh.. still “foreign labor” only (imported over from Sarawak).. not swimming in cash, but trying to survive the tsunami of debts.. lol!

        My old publisher once said, “Which businessman doesn’t owe people money?” They borrowed left, right and centre – robbing Peter to pay Paul, so to speak, to generate MORE money but never touched their own money…

  11. Those publishers are making hell lots of money…who pay them? Us! The publishers will only pay you little while they are making so much. Now the government is buying from them…they have no worries anymore. Just give a call and all will be distribute to school.

    Ya…imagine if I got not too bad an amount at the small percentage, that small-time publisher would be making heaps!!! Ya, that’s why they are always fighting tooth and claw (and you can guess what else they do) to get their textbooks selected. There’s a gold mine out there for the taking!

  12. Adoi….”countdown to SPM”. Never thought it would be a subject to study and revise for the exams! Will be interesting to see what the MOE is going to come up with next. Why don’t you send them your very first book, to assess the english teachers, that is….LOL!

    It’s for practice…rather than for studying and revision. You don’t have the predominant Mandarin-speaking culture that we have here – or at least, you don’t get to mingle with that kind of crowd – especially those with zero exposure to the language at home or anywhere outside. Even after each one-month break that I have, I find the students back in square one!!! Their English is excruciatingly horrifying…and some will tell you they got an A in the PMR…and they expect to do the same in the SPM!!! These students need the intensive practice right up to the actual exam…

    Not surprised at all that there are teachers who are equally bad – not a word of English outside the class despite being English teachers…and I wouldn’t be surprised either if they teach the language in Mandarin or even their mother tongue – and these do not include the lazy, good for nothing ones! You don’t get to see half of what we see…thank God for small mercies!!!

  13. Salute to you, STP. ๐Ÿ™‚ All these while, i thought an author earns a lot in royalties…

    Not me…unfortunately!!! Sob! Sob! LOL!!!

    1. largely depends on the generosity of your publisher and the sales of your book. just look at j. k. rowling and dan brown, both swimming in cash!

      I think they have a standard rate for the payment of royalty among the Malaysian publishers…and if one’s book is a best seller, he or she would definitely be swimming in cash as well… Mine was no million seller, but the payment was not too bad…when I was writing for the Sibu publisher.

  14. wow, i dunno that u r an author

    Now you know… Well, I was an author, and sometimes I still am…in cases where people don’t know how to spell my Christian name! LOL!!!

  15. hahaha, another classic case of greed. pity that his own mistake cost you your side income altogether. :-\

    Well, let’s just say that he was over-ambitious. Thanks for dropping by, Walter…and do come often and drop a comment or two, eh? ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hey waltz, why on earth is there an old man pics on the avatar.. lol~!

      Ya…at first I thought it was spam and wanted to delete his comments.

      1. Meet Dr Walter Bishop, from Fringe! Nice series, a must-watch for fans of X-files!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

        LOL!!!…I don’t watch TV – only American Idol when it’s on! No time… Hehehehehe!!!

    2. hahaha, i’m the silent reader type, rarely commenting on stuff. (to avoid being found commenting on blogs instead of doing my work lol!)

      You can use a pseudonym… And I’m sure they don’t bother checking people’s blogs. Usually, they block Facebook and youtube. Btw, your blog so special kah? Must have special user name and password to log in. What high-level secrets you’ve got in it? ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. wow… at least you have had your book published before! It’s going to be a dream for me… I’m so proud of you!

    You’re going to write a book too?…I wonder whether those writers of fiction make a lot or not. Books by local authors don’t seem to do as well as those foreign ones. Actually, I enjoy writing…when I have the time and when I’m not too lazy! LOL!!!

  17. LOL at Stella’s suggested titles, especially Da Pumba Code!

    Hahahahaha….sometimes you see some sparks of wit and intelligence in her, it really amazes me! ROTFLMAO!!!

  18. And I thought I read in a blog somewhere,don’t judge a book by its cover!hehehe!!!! So who is biting the bullet now,eh! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hey, what’s with the new name, Stella aka kepala? Doesn’t fool anybody! Hahahahaha!!!

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at sibutuapui@yahoo.com

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