It started the way all great stories start:
“What if … ?”
FOR WRITERS, BY WRITERS
Firewords | Foreword
At Firewords, our goal goes far beyond helping you get your stories in print. We want to help you get your manuscript in the best possible shape before it hits the shelves. We want to help you find better ways to tell readers about their story and why they’re going to love it, while you keep creative control throughout the process.
“Why do we care about helping writers?
It’s simple: we’re writers, too. First and always.”
Chapter 1 | An Improbable Spark
We noticed—as you might have, too—that self-publishing is growing. Not just healthily, but exponentially. The perception barriers to self-publishing as a viable option have faded in the wake of commercial successes like Hugh Howey’s Wool.
In greater numbers, authors like you are realizing that the amount of marketing that they have to carry out themselves via the traditional publishing route, is not very different from what they’d need for a hybrid or self-publishing route. However, with traditional publishing, they’re getting a much smaller slice of the pie: not an ideal situation.
Chapter 2 | Change The Script
While the myriad of new publishing options is fantastic news for authors, it creates a new set of problems. Without the editorial support of a publisher, your manuscript doesn’t get the editorial TLC it deserves before publication. Hiring individual freelance professionals like copyeditors, structural editors and layout artists is one solution. It can also be a costly solution if you’re hiring three different freelance professionals, for example. All-in-one author services exist, but again, these services can be costly. More alarmingly, some of the marketing and PR services on offer don’t translate to sales or help you grow your readership.
At this point, we came up with a spark of an idea, improbable as it seemed at the time: what if we could give authors the skills and tools they need to publish sparkling stories and tell the world about their books, without the hefty price tags?
While looking at these specific problems in the self-publishing arena, we felt gutted thinking about all the authors out there, facing these issues. That’s when we realized that we could provide a solution: after all, we’ve been there too.
We’re editors, but we’re writers first and always. Having been through the process of getting our manuscripts from handwritten reams to bookstore shelves, we know firsthand the frustrations, doubts, hopes and fears faced by authors, particularly first-time authors with little experience in self-publishing. The more we thought about how we could help other writers, the more excited we became.
That’s when the spark became a flame. That’s when Firewords was created.
THE NEXT CHAPTER
Your Story, Made Real
At Firewords, we focus on the two elements that you need most in your indie publishing journey: editorial expertise that gets your story into the best shape possible for publication, and the marketing tools and skills to tell the world why they’ll love your story.
As people who wear the writer and the editor hats, ethics is a big deal to us. We don’t charge you for basic administrative services, like uploading your book to the Kindle store. Nor will we sell you costly PR services that have little to no effect on your book sales—and end up burning a hole in your wallet instead of earning you money.
Firewords is about you, dear author. It’s about your stories. Our mission is clear: to help you let the stories run free. We’d love to be part of your journey in sharing your story with the world.
The Firewords Team
Samantha De Silva
Apart from running Firebird Communication and Firewords, Samantha is a writer who teaches and mentors writers. She crafts and conducts communication and fiction workshops for adults and teenagers and has conducted fiction workshops for the National Book Development Council of Singapore, including YA and fantasy fiction workshops for the Academy of Literary Arts and Publishing.
A graduate of NTU with a B.A. in Communication Studies, Samantha has been a speaker and workshop facilitator at the All In! Young Writers’ Media Festival from 2011 to 2015. She has also made extensive contributions to the Lit Up! literary arts festival in 2012 and 2013. With Susan, Samantha is a co-founder of the Singapore Writers Meetup, a group that encourages writers to meet in cafes to share writers’ woes and collaborate on workshop-style writing exercises and larger projects. Their main aim is to shake writers up a little with new perspectives, and go home inspired to write more.
Exposed to Gothic literature in her formative years, she writes urban fantasy fiction and is working on the second book of The Daywalker Chronicles series. Samantha also writes about sociopolitical issues and other mildly alarming matters in Singapore (here and here). Her travel writing has been featured on Yahoo! Travel Inspirations and she has been a contributing writer and performer on the satirical comedy podcast, the mrbrown show, since 2008.
She is particularly enamoured of the stories weaved by Angie Sage, Douglas Adams, R.A. Salvatore, as well as Pablo Neruda’s poetry. She is unreasonably fond of Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series, and her first William Gibson book rewired her brain in pleasant and surprising ways.
Samantha is inordinately fascinated by the impending zombie apocalypse, lycanthropes and pork (in no particular order). In the tradition of her voyaging ancestors, she is constantly searching for blue oceans yet undiscovered, literal or otherwise.
Originally from the UK, Susan has been living and working in Southeast Asia since 1985. Her passions are and have always been language, literature, communication, history and culture, leading her to a multifaceted career in writing, publishing, editing and corporate communication training. For a couple of years, she even tried her hand at running a restaurant, pursuing her love of tea (preferred tipple: Fortnum’s Smoky Earl Grey).
Susan has an academic background in literature and language, being in love with Beowulf and the Old English authors (learning from a lecturer who had met Tolkien!) from undergraduate days, as well as Shakespeare and his contemporaries, Austen and Pope. In more modern literature, she favours the bizarre, the surreal and most of all the comic (Douglas Adams, Neal Stephenson). She is currently working on a manuscript which she hopes encompasses all of these.
Her cultural interests once led her into the wilds of Borneo to write a book on the peoples of Sarawak. It was there that she became addicted to Dayak music and durians. This was also her greatest learning experience as a writer: that publishing companies simply can’t imagine what it’s like to be a writer.
A more recent interest is positive psychology, a new area of personal flourishing that offers great possibilities for increased self-actualisation. She combines her extensive experience in the language and communication skills training industry with an intuitive, active and positive approach, enabling her to provide creative learning experiences for course participants. Susan runs speech training workshops for the National Library Board, enabling readers to excel in the spoken word.
When not writing, editing and training, she is exploring Malaysia’s natural world right inside her own garden.
Anitta Babyanna Menon
Head of Client Services
An exuberant creative strategist with talents in Writing & Design, Anitta comes from a background in client services, branding, operations, marketing, and social media management. Also an entrepreneur, she has over ten years’ experience copywriting for several industries including IT, Security, Food & Beverage, Travel & Commerce.
Anitta is working on a fantasy fiction novel series and is on her way to achieving her lifelong dream of becoming a cyborg.
“I’m currently part of the assemblage of brilliant cyborgs at Firewords. They think I’m one of them. I’m safe for now.” — Anitta