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At the New Delhi World Book Fair

Photographs taken at the World Book Fair
I spent the last couple of days at the World Book Fair in New Delhi, and I had a blast. There were books, books and more books wherever my eyes could see. Then there were author sessions where authors spoke about their books and their journeys as writers. The service providers who feed the book publishing industry, were also present in good numbers- from software companies promoting their inventory management platforms to those providing translation services. What stood out during this event was the special focus on children and Young Adults. Books for kids was indeed the theme for this year, and the exhibitors have done a great job.

My takeaways were as follows- the market for printed books still rules. And so does the market for books in the local languages. The latter is not surprising, considering that the readership say for books in Hindi, Marathi, Bengali or Tamil languages each can possibly outweigh the total readership for English language books in India.

The biggies of the publishing world were there in full force- Random House Penguin,Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, and of course homegrown satraps such as Rupa.

The non-print world was clearly dominated by the Amazon and other smaller players providing educational software for school and college students. I had visited the fair last year also, but I thought this year there was a lesser focus on self publishing and non-print books (read: ebooks and audio books). The fair ends on Sunday, and I am planning to visit it again on Friday and possibly this Saturday. It only takes me one and a half hours to reach the event, and except for the six kilometer drive from my home to the nearest metro train station, it is public transport all the way. All the more reason to go again and again.
I also took a few pictures of the parts of the fair that I liked the most.

*Author sessions
*An entire exhibition hall that displayed books and publications from markets that are less well known in India (Korea, Iran, Poland…)
*Workshops for kids (leaf painting, sketching, storytelling using pictures)
*Tintin in Hindi. Yay!
*And last but not the least, the puppies who were basking in the sun and having a good time overall

Tintin in Hindi

Young booklovers

I have also spoken to a few service providers and other allied businesses, and hope to share their perspectives in a forthcoming post. Till then, it is time to go back to the editing table.

Beta Testing..

Well, sort of…

I thought that my novel was quite ready to share with a few near and dear ones, and so I made a call for help to my friends and relatives, alumni community and also members of the R2I Forum and requested them to review the sample chapters. The response was great, and this weekend, I sent off a few chapters to each of the 30 odd well  meaning persons who responded.

Their feedback has been humbling to say the least. They were very willing to share the Good, the Bad and even the Ugly. The Good, of course, was what works in the novel (language, flow, etc.) the Bad being what doesn’t work (too verbose?) and the Ugly are the typo’s, grammar that is out of place and the likes.

I had believed that after three rounds of review by myself and the missus, I was quite ready to send the novel off to the editors. Far from it. In order to do justice to the time and the effort put in by the reviewers, I will have to put in extra effort going forward.

Which makes me wonder: have other first time authors sent the draft across to their near and dear ones as well? How has their feedback/ response been?