On Publishing a Book

Although flattering, compliments are tricky. They penetrate your subconscious and leave a nice message there: words that—when handled with care—can brighten your gloomy day and motivate you to move forward, but has the simultaneous potential to turn you into an annoying, proud, and conceited human being. That’s why I hate—be it true or dishonest—appraisals in general. However, come to think of it, I twice hate people who deny compliments as an effort of producing fake humility.

“That’s over-rating. I hardly study everyday.”

“No, really, I’m still half-way from trying to lose kilos!”

“These shoes? They’re Zara but seriously they’re very cheap…”

Okay. Cross the last one.

My point is, negating nice things that people say to you will not make them feel any better. When people say you’re a genius or good-looking or beautiful with the outfit you just bought, thank them. Stay humble not by lowering standards that would only lead to further—rather inconvenient—comparisons. Stay humble by being grateful and happy instead.

In some cases, openly admitting your strengths deserve even a greater round of applause, because (1) self-understanding is a very difficult task and (2) you dare to take the risk of being a public enemy. HAHAHA. No, really. Bear in mind, however, in order to play on the safe side, you must master the knowledge of your audience’s background and unique characteristics, so that you won’t sound like a pathetic seller in a free market. I mean, when you know that one of your peer friends is working hard on his/her paper, don’t brag about your twenty-page early submission.

That, my friend, will lead us to my being confused. By the time I posted this, I swear to God that I’m still not sure about what I’m trying to say, but let’s just give it a shot. (Yes this is a personal curhat that you might want to skip.)


In the past week, I was honored to have a number of acquaintances—that’s a soft synonym for complete strangers, but really cordial ones—approaching me to tell that I should publish a book. Well, truth be told, having my name printed on mounting copies of commercial paperbacks does sound nice, despite all the non-mainstream idealism that I uphold. But beyond idealism, I have fears that hold me from even trying. A list of them.

To start, I’m lousy with bahasa Indonesia.

This is not an attempt to pretend that I was born from non-Indonesian parents or romantically raised with liberal values in the United States, but I helplessly sound like a cocky announcer in my mother language. To be fair, I do sound like a cocky announcer in daily conversations… All the more reason I think people would prefer to ‘read’ than ‘listen’ to me.

Second of all, as much as people say they will ‘definitely buy’ my book, I know there aren’t as many people who would.

In addition to my poor language ability, I hardly write on popular topics. I’m not that much interested with pop culture, neither am I into traveling. Love story? Consider it non-existent. I mean, looking at the titles of my posts enable you to judge already. This leaves me no other option than being someone else, if I want to write books that actually ‘sell’. I envy Alanda for being so fluent in the language of inspiration. (Oh and her book is out next week! Make sure you grab yourself a copy!)

Last but most profound, I just don’t have that long-span of focus as well as time to develop hundreds of pages in a limited time.

This post is intended to be some sort of a self-reflection and expression of gratitude to people’s kind, motivational compliments. Somebody told me that being a true writer means being able to put untold ideas into digestible words. Which is a big challenge. And which is why I respect (most) writers.

I hope you don’t get the wrong message. Thanks for reading and good night!




  1. You should write a book! It might not be a bestseller (as you said you won’t write on popular topics) but it might raise a higher bar for quality on whatever topic you choose to write.Oh.. and I hope you’ll find this link helpful. Best of luck for you. B-)http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/how-to-turn-your-blog-into-a-book/


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