He has traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia where he has danced naked during an earthquake, swam foolishly with jellyfish, tracked orangutans and fell in love. He currently lives in Kuching with his wife and son and teaches English and Literature in English at a local international school.
Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Tom. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
A: First time published
Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?
A: Borneo Tom
Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?
A: I had read so many depressing stories about publishing I went to a printer and did it myself. Prices for book production here in Malaysia are much cheaper than in the States.
Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
A: I avoided this process.
Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?
A: I am self published
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
A: There wasn’t much time for celebration as we immediately flew to the States for a month and took time to travel within Borneo. My son was born premature during the journey.
Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
A: I hired Author Marketing Experts where I paid them $10,000 including a web site. At the end of the campaign they helped sell zero books and attained a Google rating of 173 for my web site.
Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
A: No, I think the Internet will be a great place to market my books now that I have found a great marketing firm.
Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?
A: I have grown in the sense I want to publish a sequel.
Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?
A: I should have gone straight to a good printer instead of trying to go cheap.
Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?
A: I became a father at age 60 because of a failed vasectomy.
Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
A: I am teacher by profession, author by hobby.
Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?
A: I have combined both worlds.
Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?
A: I hope to have an established web site selling my fourth or fifth book coupled with handicrafts from Malaysian Borneo where I live. The proceeds now and it the future benefit the Matang Wildlife Center that rehabs orangutans and other critters.