The challenges of becoming a writer of Kinabalu

Anything worth doing is difficult

I am at the same situation where I was 3 years ago. When I said that I wanted to write a book about climbing Kinabalu last week, I know it would not be easy. Writing this book is the same as creating my website 3 years back.

For the past 7 days, I have been busy doing my new homework – on how to become a writer and maybe a self-publisher – after telling you that I am writing a book. I learned new things, I faced new challenges and I meet new friends on the quest being another writer. I just would like to share with you some of the challenges that you might be facing if you decided to join the bandwagon.

The challenge is on the production process
While having Mount Kinabalu as my main theme, and all the information will be gathered around the majestic mountain, finding information and writing about it is not a big problem for me. It’s the production process that really gives me new challenges.

Now I know that I need an editor for the book as my English (or Manglish) is not very good. Publishing a book without editing it properly and professionally will jeopardize your credibility of writing. After searching for few online editors, I chocked up when I saw their fees for editing. Searching for an editor locally in Kota Kinabalu will be another big challenges as I have a very limited information on who to refer to. Maybe looking for an English teacher or uni tutor may save me some cost on editing process…

I need to get a publisher to publish the book. I tried traditional way – emailing one of the famous Sabah’s local publisher in Kota Kinabalu. I got rejected, but I don’t mind. I have expected that to be happening, because they don’t think my title would have a big audience and market demand.

Dear Ruhaizad,

Thank you for your email of June 13. After careful consideration, we regret to inform you that we are currently not interested in publishing a book based on your website and blog (

Although you operate a successful website with valuable content on climbing Mount Kinabalu, we believe that the market demand for such a book is insufficient for this project to be a financially viable one.

We sincerely appreciate you taking the time to contact us and your kind consideration in approaching us to be your publisher.

Do keep up the great job with the website. It’s a great resource for everyone interested in climbing Mount Kinabalu.

I went online and found as a good option. I know by going to Lulu, I will be labeled as self-publisher. Lulu gives me a new hope of becoming a writer. They just need me to write the book, send the file to them and they will charge me for printing. Although the price stated on their website is a bit overboard for a self-publisher like me, none other online publisher could give the same kind of services that Lulu could provide.

I have checked out more than 20 other online publisher (in which almost all of them based either in the US, Canada or UK), and Lulu stands out of being the publisher that is ‘borderless’. Sounds really easy, but there are some catch.

Lulu will not help you on editing your book, unless you pay for the services. Lulu will not help you on formatting your book. What you sent to them is what they are going to print. If your format is haywire, you will get an ugly book to sell. Especially so for me, as I am going to put in photos, graphics and illustration on the book to enhance it usability. Lulu will also not going to create a book cover for you, but of course, you could pay them to do it.

ISBN issues

To publish a book, I need to have my own ISBN number for my book. Books without ISBN will be difficult to market, as Barnes & Noble and Amazon do not sell books without the ISBN. I spend almost one whole day reading about it to understand ISBN, and to be a credible writer, I have to have the number for my book. I still confuse in some of their information, so if you want to know more, it is better for you to check on ISBN from Wikipedia yourself.

Luckily for Malaysian, requesting for an ISBN for your book is free. We just have to send two forms from Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia website and a copy of your Mykad and they will do it for you. I saw some website that could provide the same service, but you have to pay them for it.

After considering all the features, I decided to do take up the challenges and DIY most of the things – except the editing process – that I could pay someone to do it. I am where I was 3 years ago – doing everything from scratch. It was my website then, and this book now.

Yesterday I was busy getting myself a grip with my GIMP version 2.4.6 to create the book cover. There are still a lot to do on the cover, but it may be good if you could give me some comment before I finalize it.

Now I need to learn Inkscape to get my graphic and illustration done…

This entry was posted in Books and tagged , on by .

About drizad

A self employed General Practitioner who lives with his lovely family in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. He dedicates his spare time serving people with precious information on climbing the Majestic Mountain of the Borneo, Mt Kinabalu. Reachable at drizad(at)

21 thoughts on “The challenges of becoming a writer of Kinabalu

  1. drizad Post author

    @ ben:

    Thank you, Ben. I have been in my comfort zone for too long. Need some new challenges to make our life more meaningful…

  2. drizad Post author

    @ Daniel:

    “I’m not as motivated” – Yes, if I rely only on my internal motivation. Most of the time we need some external motivation to get us going… Thanks bro…

  3. theonlydel

    you my brother man……..i know u can do it, make our family proud here…….go man go……remember the power of dream…….remember….

  4. ramgold

    Wow thats an eye opener, ie on the process of getting your work published. I just wondered what my sister underwent when she first tried to persuade publisher to print her maiden novel. Nonetheless, saya doakan agar kejayaan di capai akhirnya. InsyaAllah.


  5. wan ariff

    Sure i’ll will buy one…love real stories and facts only. Adidas kampung is real what!!!


  6. drizad Post author

    @ ramli:

    W’salam. Thanks for asking. The research is still ongoing, as you can see, there are a lot of challenges on creating the book when the ‘real’ situation on climbing Kinabalu are really not promising.
    Feel a bit disappointed when prospective climbers found it hard to climb the mountain while I am promoting it here like mad…

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