Welcome to the Ex-Official Blog of Writer, Presenter & Crafts Expert Momtaz Begum-Hossain which stopped being active on 31st August 2016.

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Friday, 24 October 2014

Publishing My First Book On Kindle

I took the cover photo at Kolkata flower market
It's taken me 10 months but I've finally managed to self-publish my first book. It's a 'travelogue' which is basically a diary/memoir style piece based on a month off that I took last December. I wrote most of it while I travelling, in the evenings, and on public transport.

Writing on a long train  journey through West Bengal
I planned to come back to the UK, spend January editing it and then publish it in February. But real life set in and it never happened. Fitting the editing side in with my day job and other commitments was really tough and I found myself disconnecting from it. Eventually I got stuck in again but that was just the beginning. 

Sunset in Kathmandu
Next came the preparing the file for Kindle part (it's only available as a digital read on Kindle for the moment, I may extend it to other digital readers and possibly print on demand paperback but I'm not sure yet.) 

This involved another few months. I looked at endless on-line tutorials and even enrolled on a four day course called 'How To Publish Your First E-Book.' But came away none the wiser, in fact it confused me even more.

Children at Darjeeling Train Station

Eventually I settled on the simplest conversion which is creating it on word, inserting some images then converting it to a html file (instructions for how to do this can be found on the Kindle Self-Publishing site. Why I didn't do that to start with I'll never know!

For complicated booked other processes would be required but as I say, for simple text and pictures it's straight forward enough, the secret lies in the formatting which happens in the word file. 

Traditional Naksha Buti weaviing in Tangali, Dhaka, Bangladesh

The book is written in the first person as that's how I've always written my diaries. One of the main reasons I wrote it is that before I went away, and while I was away, I really enjoyed reading other people's self-published travelogues. They are far more interesting than reading travel guides. 

But looking back at it now, when I dip into it on my Kindle the trip becomes so vivid, I feel like I would have forgotten so many things. Even just looking at the photographs isn't enough as they only form half a memory. Writing provides a more real picture.

The book costs £3 (I only get £1 of that!), I'm not expecting to sell many copies but I hope that anyone who is travelling to India, Nepal or Bangladesh will consider purchasing it for inspiration or if you simply fancy a read that's a bit different you'll take your chances.

The first chapter of the book (sample chapter) is available to read for FREE hereIf you've got five minutes, have a browse.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Zine Making For International Day Of The Girl

The first thing I ever had published was in a zine so I am a massive supporter of the DIY zine movement. I was therefore chuffed to be asked to run a zine-making workshop to celebrate International Day Of The Girl at The Southbank. 
As well as contributing to zines and fanzines, I also used to edit my own, a craftzine called Fete which focussed on the handmade. 
For this session I decided to create a group zine. The idea was that it would be A5 in size and everyone would be given a sheet of A5 paper on which they could do anything they wanted to; draw, paint, collage, write etc...(as long as it was about girls!)
My table filled with collage materials including lots of magazines to cut up and create with.
 The Southbank also leant us the use of these rather fabulous letter stamps and provided lots of ink pads.
Elsewhere there were some other workshops running alongside mine including this fun comic creation session with artist Matt Boyce.
And zinemaking with For Book's Sake who had some fab stickers.
As it was a drop-in session I had no idea how many people would come and whether or not we'd have enough content to make a full sized zine but I'm pleased to report that during the four hours, over 25 contributors took part and they weren't just women either, there was balanced gender and age mix which makes the zine even more special.
Here are some of the pages that were created...

And these are some of the spreads...

The finishing touches to the zine were these illustrations of different girls by artist Inky Ponting
And here are the names of the other contributors...
The zine has been kept by Thee Southbank who are going to make a digital version of it but in the meantime in true DIY zine style they have photocopied it and sent it to the contributors - it looks just as impressive in black and white. Although blogging is a digital form of self-publishing, nothing beats the feeling of seeing your work in print.

Away from work also I've been working on my own 'self publishing' project which after months of beavering away has finally developed into something...but more on that in my next post.