Meeting other authors is always inspirational

For the past few weeks I have met and interacted with other writers, most of them are first time authors. Incidentally, all of these writers who love to write while managing their professional careers. I have met the authors at alumni meets. and have taken the efforts to go through the pangs of getting their books published the traditional publishing way. They have told me stories of rejections, tales of long and agonizing wait to hear from publishers, the multiple edits to the manuscript, etc… But these seem like rest stops along a long journey, and the end result – the destination- seems to be worth it. I would like to mention a about a few of these authors in my post.

I will start with the most recent first: Vikrant Pande, who has translated a book on Raja Ravi Varma, one of India’s most celebrated painters. The original biography was written in Marathi language by Ranajit Desai. A review of the book can be found here. Vikrant is planning to translate four more books, each on a completely different topic.

The next interaction was with Ankur Mithal, whose book “What Happens in Office, Stays in Office” is about office politics, and other do’s and dont’s. It has received some good reviews at many sites, including the one at goodreads.

Aditya Mukherjee’s debut novel, Bomtown, is a story of young entrepreneurs who set up a restaurant. It has also received positive reviews across multiple forums, and the book’s facebook page has lots of links to reviews other information. I found it quite interesting.

And finally, there is Vivek Kumar Agarwal’s Love, Me and Bullshit – I suppose the title is self explanatory , but yes, it also has the tales of a young guy aiming to make it into business school.

I have not read any of the above books, nor am I writing about them to promote them. In fact, I am planning to buy them and read them myself once I have completed Now, Returned to India. But I thought of mentioning them here because meeting other authors is always a good feeling.

Submissions completed (or so one thinks)!

It has been over a month since my last post and my apologies for that..The whole process of identifying the publishers, researching their submission process, formatting requirements, and other minute details took much longer than I had imagined. It was a tedious exercise but a wonderful learning opportunity.

When one scans the universe of publishers in India, one realizes that it is very difficult to find specific information on them. Some have great websites but accept manuscripts only through literary agents. Others correspond via email only, some others still believe in receiving hard copies of the manuscript, the old fashioned way.

Out of a total of 22 odd English language publishers in India that I could get some information on, I have developed a short table of their publishing requirements, which I shall post separately in a later blog. In the meantime, I am adding a preview of what this table looks like.

What publishers look for
What publishers look for

In particular, I would like to draw your attention to “Other Information” part. Some publishers like to see how much homework you have done to identify the marketing potential for the book. They want to know who is the target audience, are there similar published books on the topic/ theme you are writing about, what is the book’s value proposition, etc. Even though many publishers do not ask for this information, I would recommend first time authors to include this information in their cover letter. This will achieve the following results:

a. Push you, the author, to start thinking about the marketing aspects of the book. It has been said time and again on multiple forums that marketing of the book is just as important (maybe more important!) than its content.

b. You will be able to show to the publishers that you are genuinely interested in seeing your book getting published, and are willing to take the extra efforts required in that direction.

In my case, I used to maintain an online diary that received over 70,000 views over a two year period. That, and long hours of internet search, visit to bookstores, talking to people, and also reading the books’ reviews gave me an idea on books that were written on the same theme as the category I was writing in. Not that doing so has worked wonders so far..

The results of the submissions have started arriving. I had approached a total of 12 publishers in the first go, and I have received two rejection letters and one shortlist over the past month. As a finalize my manuscript, looks like it is a long period of wait and watch…