Three years ago this day, I finally gave in to the encouragement that my wife had been providing (which I sometimes equated to nagging) and I decided that I was going to write a book. The topic was in a way set – I was going to use my life’s story as the theme: a young man from India, who has been living in the United States for nearly a decade, returns to India for one year and never goes back. I had narrated some of my experiences in my diary on the Return to India Forum. The title was also ready: I was going to call my book Now, Returned to India (a play on words on NRI- Nonresident Indians or the Indian Diaspora).
Even before I had written the first word, I promptly wrote in my email signature “Author of the soon to be published book: Now, Returned to India.” When friends and family learnt about my bookwriting (ad)venture, they were curious, excited, and supportive at the same time.
I learnt the hard way that ‘soon to be published’ can very quickly become ‘to be published after three years’. But it has been a long, exciting journey, and it has been a journey in which I learnt a lot.
The first print run of Now, Returned to India should be ready by the time this blog goes live. Hopefully in ten days’ time, readers in India will be able to order the print version of my book through Amazon.
This will conclude one chapter in my journey as a first time author. The new chapter would soon begin, and I will ponder till then: As a published author, what next?
No, I am not drawing the curtains on this blog. In fact, I plan to keep writing, because my journey as an author has just begun. Just wanted to share my feelings with the readers of this blog, many have been with me in my journey since the beginning. I wanted to thank them for their support and encouragement…
This morning I woke up with a smile on my face. One more day to go for the book release. I smiled even more when I saw a mail from Amazon that my book had gone live. That was the good part, considering that the actual release or launch date is Friday the 29th.
But then my jaw dropped. There was some formatting error in the book description, and I had to go back and change it. (who likes to read a book blurb that has “<br><br> <br>” in between the lines? )
In June and July this year, I took several pictures of bookstores in Frankfurt, Berlin, New Delhi airport and Gurgaon. I put them into a compilation – cannot really call it a poster or a collage, posting here to give a flavor of what is selling in different places.
Last Saturday I was at an event organized by the Delhi Booklovers Club. It turned to to be a very interesting afternoon – the highlight of the meet was interaction with published fiction authors. These three authors write in different styles on very interesting topics, and most importantly, had very insightful stories to share. But there was more- it was great to see a couple of dozen booklovers- readers, writers, book critics – spend four hours at the venue, Cafe Ludus and share their views on a variety of topics related to books: about the frustrating wait while dealing with publishers, how to stay motivated when the manuscript is rejected, importance of finding a good editor and over designer, and of course, about how to market books. Book writers and book lovers talking copyright and commerce versus passion for writing.
The published authors at the event were Kanika Dhillon (Author Bombay Duck is a Fish), Neeta Iyer (FIND_love.com), and Sid Bahri (The Homing Pigeons). The last one in particular has received very good reviews, and while I have not read any of these books- but I did promise the these authors that I would read them shortly. (which means now I have seven books to read, and four to write… more on the writing in one of my future posts)
In almost every blog post I have read, conversations I have had, and email exchange with authors, both published and aspiring, there has been one consistent theme: they have all recommended that one should finish the manuscript first before sending it to the publishers (or agents, as the case may be).
While this seems like a logical approach, my question is as follows: at least in India, most publishers expect you to send a book proposal which includes at a minimum a synopsis, sample chapters and author bio. Then, there is a long wait anywhere between two to six months before the publishers respond to you – informing whether your book proposal has been shortlisted or not. Then you have to send the full manuscript, which will get reviewed again and then finally you will be informed of the decision.
While what I have written above may already be known to most of you, my question is as follows: Why wait to send the sample chapters till the entire manuscript is ready? Why cannot one send the sample chapters as soon as they are completed, and finish the rest of the book while the book proposal is being evaluated?
I would like to know the pro’s and con’s of doing so- I am thinking of trying this approach for my next book.