Friday, March 22

Sabah’s publishing industry held back by high printing cost

Sahidzan (right) signing a copy of his book during the meet and greet session.

Sahidzan (right) signing a copy of his book during the meet and greet session.

KOTA KINABALU: Sandakan-based author Sahidzan Salleh had a meet and greet session in conjunction with his latest mystery thriller novel entitled ‘Delirium’.

Delirium won the novel contest set against the backdrop of Sabah organized by novel publishing company, Buku Fixi last year.

Sahidzan received RM10,000 in the form of advance royalty for 5,000 copies of the novel published by Buku Fixi. The novel was subsequently launched at the Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair in April this year. Sahidzan said the plot of Delirium revolved around Stella, a victim of paedophiles, who sought revenge on the men who destroyed her life when she was little.

“The inspiration for Delirium comes from current issues and social problems. The paedophile victim was inspired by cases that have happened in the country,” he said when interviewed at the meet and greet session held at Times bookshop in Suria Sabah here yesterday.

Meanwhile, he said the style of Delirium was more layered and deviated from chronological order.

“The style of the novel is more experimental by incorporating flashbacks in present time,” he said. Sahidzan hoped that the book would introduce readers to that style of writing. “I see that the acceptance level of novels is still rather low in Sabah. I hope this Sabah-themed novel will boost the number of novel readers in the State and introduce them to this style of writing.”

Delirium, which took Sahidzan two months to write, is Sahidzan’s fourth novel and ninth published work including novels, short stories and anthologies. His previous published novels include Pada Waktu Waktu Yang Terhapus, Sepuloh Nama and Kolonial Mimpi, all published by Lejen Press.

Sahidzan, 33, now a full-time writer, started off by writing blogs since 2009, self-published his works in 2010, and gradually moved on to writing short stories in 2011 and novels in 2012.

He admitted the difficulty in making a living out of writing, but writers were driven by their interests rather than financial gains. Nonetheless, Sahidzan said publishers like Buku Fixi and Lejen Press have grown the readership base of novels.

He added that the much higher printing cost in Sabah also hindered the development of the publishing industry in a way.

Taking Delirium as an example, he said the printing cost in Kuala Lumpur is around 75 per cent cheaper than that in Sabah.

For budding writers, Sahidzan said many emerging publishing houses were on the lookout for talents. That said, Sahidzan advised writers to learn from their weaknesses when publishers provided reasons for rejecting their work.

“If your work is repeatedly rejected, you can look into self-publishing should you believe in your own work.” On his next project, Sahidzan said it could probably be a verse novel or sequel to his Sepuloh Nama novel. Delirium is available at Times bookshop, MPH and major bookstores.