Why did you start Afterword?
Prowpannarai: When I returned to Thailand from studying in the US, I wanted to run a business, but I also wanted do something that would serve society. Kittisuk had also just got back to Thailand, and we talked about doing a social enterprise that was book-related. That’s how Afterword was born.
How does it work?
Prowpannarai: Writers who have their manuscripts at least 70-percent complete can pitch their stories to us. What we want to know is, why should your book be published? What’s your target audience? And how can you reach your target? If you can answer those questions, then we will talk to you about how we can help, whether it’s with editing or illustrations. We will then help you develop the book, setting up a crowdfunding project on our website so that the public can contribute, too. In all, it takes 1-3 months.
What are some of the difficulties in running Afterword?
Kittisuk: Some writers are over-confident; they don’t see their weaknesses or how to fix them. We’re still spreading the word about Afterword, too. We need more people to know there is an alternative option for creating specialized books.
What do you think about our publishing industry?
Prowpannarai: The problem is that Thais don’t really read books. Some even look at books as luxury items; not something to entertain or inspire them. So, publishers need to find ways to survive in the market by serving the market’s needs. By doing so, the variety of books just becomes narrower and narrower.
How does this lack of diversity affect us?
Prowpannarai: When people read only certain kinds of books, they don’t know what else is going on in the world; their perspectives become scarily shallow.
Kittisuk: Reading can help you understand others better, and some books help you solve problems yourself, as well as expand your imagination.
How has social media affected the publishing industry?
Prowpannarai: Publishers and writers have more marketing channels, and more interaction with readers. You can find some decent deals from online bookstores, too, like buy-one-get-one-free deals. For readers, writers become more accessible; we can see their photos daily on Twitter and the like. At the same time, social media may shorten people’s attention spans.