They top online rankings

They top online rankings
(Left) Low Kay Hwa, author of Singapore Love Story, which was top on the list of most downloaded books on Google Play for this year. (Right) Mr Herbert Rafael Sim, the managing director and founder of WTFSG, the top twitter account with the most followers in Singapore.

His local love tale is a hit

You may not have heard of it, but A Singapore Love Story was the most downloaded book here on the Google Play app store this year.

Written by local author Low Kay Hwa, 29, it tells the story of a young couple who faced familial objections to their love.

The book, which was first published in 2011 sold over 1,200 print copies this year.

He declined to say how many copies it sold on Google Play.

The $9.99 book, however, did beat international bestsellers like John Green's The Fault In Our Stars and E L James' Fifty Shades Of Grey on the app store.

The top 10 bestselling books on Google Play were announced earlier this month.

When asked how he felt about his achievement, he told The New Paper: "I'm happy and honoured. I can't find the right words to express my gratitude to my supportive readers.

"I really appreciate their support over the years and hope they'll continue to support me."

On why he thinks he managed to best the biggies, he said: "People are able to relate to local stories.

"And the book was also featured on the front page of the Google Play app store earlier this year."

But Mr Low is not about to rest on his laurels.

His goal is to get to the top of The Sunday Times' bestsellers list. So far, he has only made it to the eighth spot, in 2011and 2012.

He said: "I've made getting to the top of the Sunday Times' list my goal when I first started my writing career. "

He also won Popular bookstore's Readers' Choice Awards for his psychological thriller I two years ago.

His romance novel Today Or Tomorrow picked up the same award last year.

All his books are published under his own company, Goody Books.

YOUNG

Mr Low started writing fiction at the age of seven and published his first book, Destiny's Cries, when he was 19.

He has penned 12 novels and sold over 80,000 copies in total.

They are priced between $16.90 and $18.90 per copy, with each book being an average of 200 pages long.

While you won't get rich as a Singaporean author, what you make is enough to get by, he said.

His fans are mainly local teens and young adults, he said.

While he conceded that it is difficult to stay afloat as a local author in a market saturated by international titles, he added that he relishes the challenge.

He is currently pursuing a degree in English Language and Literature at SIM University, and hopes to earn a Masters in English or creative writing someday.

He holds a diploma in Building and Property Management from Singapore Polytechnic.

While he is best known for his romance novels, he clarified that he writes books on other genres as well.

"It really depends a lot on the subject matter and the ideas that I have in my head," he remarked.

The road has not always been smooth.

Mr Low's writing was previously compared to that of a Secondary One student.

He has also received flak over his writing style and poor grammar.

He has been doing his best to improve, he said.

"I try not to get defensive, but take heed of some of the constructive criticism that I've received."

A fan of US author Jodi Picoult and Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho, Mr Low enjoys reading books that are on the bestseller lists of bookstores.

He said: "Bestselling books tend to be more readable, and so far they haven't disappointed me.

I read Star Trek novels as well, but those are the only books in the science fiction genre that I read."

Mr Low said he will launch a new book next year, and plans to tap into the Malaysian and international markets.

In case you're wondering, it will be a thriller, not a romance novel.

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