Huddersfield author conjures over 200k YouTube views with fantasy audiobooks

A prolific fantasy author from Huddersfield has had his short stories viewed nearly 200,000 times on Youtube.

Aqib Ali, 29, started writing while he was in secondary school at the age of 14, but began writing in earnest when he started college.

He said: “I was inspired after reading a lot of fantasy books by authors like Raymond E. Feist, Brandon Sanderson and Christopher Paolini. I was also inspired by movies like The Lord of The Rings.

Aqib Ali

“A massive influence on me was The Witcher computer games, which I played a lot, so I was inspired to write my own modern take on monster hunting stories in a fantasy setting.”

Alongside other writers from Huddersfield, his writing was published as part of an anthology in aid of mental health charity MIND. He has self-published two books in the Dark Ranger series. The first episode was published on Amazon and on his website as an e-book in 2016, with the second episode published in 2018.

“I had the audiobook made for them. A paperback and hardcover version is coming out very soon.

“I had no help from anyone. I did it all completely on my own. I had to research every single thing. I had no one to guide me. In the Asian community, there aren’t many writers, especially fantasy writers – maybe just a handful in the whole of the UK. I had to work hard to get things done myself. Things would have been easier if I had someone to help me” he added.

“About two years ago I started writing short stories on Reddit. I wrote a few standalone short stories and they received a lot of attention, so I decided to create a series based in the same world as my books.

“I found a niche on Youtube for horror stories, I found that horror stories were really popular at the time due to the lockdown and the Covid pandemic as a lot of people were on Youtube listening to them. Many Youtube horror channels began to grow rapidly. I thought I would give it a shot as there was a gap in the market.” he said.

His stories were narrated by Youtuber Dr Creepen. They spoke to each other and within a week he narrated Aqib’s story and uploaded it. Over the last two years, it has had 140,000 views – you can find one of the narrated stories at the bottom of this page.

“In 2021 I started to write again after a brief rest. I released Mission Two in the series and it was narrated, resulting in 55,000 views in six months. Presently, I’m working on Mission Three.

Aqib has self-published his books.

“What motivates me is that I want to be recognised as a fantasy author and I can’t stop until that goal is achieved. I want to prove the Asian community wrong.

“I want to prove that we Asians can actually become fantasy writers and that artistic talent shouldn’t be frowned upon,” he explained.

He has started to work with other Asian fantasy writers and started the Asian Fantasy Alliance.

Members of the group plan to work together, support each other and go to events and promote their work and share audiences. Their main objective, however, is to help the next generation of fantasy writers -to support them and make life easier for them.

“We need successful Asian writers to change the community’s views about the arts as opposed to the sciences. We need to help up-and-coming writers to succeed. In Asian families there is a push to be doctors, engineers, or architects, anything else is frowned upon.”

The Asian Fantasy Alliance plans to have a charity event where they will collaborate by creating an anthology of short stories. All proceeds will go to charity.

For more information about Aqib, visit his website.

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