“Many people told me to prepare to fail as reading isn’t something most Malaysians do, so I’m rather surprised that my book has been on the top 10 bestsellers in MPH.” – Charissa
Who would have thought that a person’s Instagram posts could launch her as an author (and a bestselling one at that) in Malaysia? If there’s anything that Charissa has taught us, it is that it’s never too late to have a dream and all you can achieve lies inside you.
After high school, Charissa attended business school for a year at INTI University and College but when she realised that was not what she wanted, she proceeded to The One Academy and did a degree in Interactive Media Design, graduating in 2015.
Blessing in disguise
As the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens. Charissa broke up with her boyfriend when she was in college three years ago, and strangely, that’s how her career as an author kick-started. She was posting emotional quotes then on Instagram, which people started noticing.
“From a following of only 200, I’ve got over 2K followers now. People found my postings through hashtags and many calligraphers started to approach me to feature my work on their art. It was only after a friend persuaded me to publish a book that I took my writing to the next level.”
Working your way through
“It took me two years to put everything together and six months to compile my poems and short stories. Then I hired a proof reader before sending everything off to the printer. That’s how Midnight Monologues came about,” she explains.
As no one wanted to publish her book because she was considered “too young”, Charissa took a bold step to open her own publishing company with her mum. The set-up also works as a marketing and PR company for young local authors who want to publish their own books.
“I work as a full-time designer at a digital agency and in the evenings, this is my way to escape into my own world and make money at the same time. Many people told me to prepare to fail as reading isn’t something most Malaysians do. But I’m rather surprised that my book has been on the top 10 bestsellers in MPH ever since it was launched in July last year.
My challenge now is to market it outside Malaysia and Singapore in other countries,” she says. In 10 years’ time, Charissa sees herself publishing not only her own books but for others as well.
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