Since I was old enough to understand what the word means, I’ve dreamed of being an author.
To be the force behind an entire BOOK has always been fascinating to me, and I would scribble down my thoughts- poems, little snippets from my life, a bit of fiction- but never was I able to write anything long enough to qualify as a BOOK.
Writing as an Escape from Board Exams
When I was 15, preparing for my class X board exams, I was frustrated at the lack of quality books in my school’s library.
Most of the writers of books for “young adults” seemed to underestimate our intelligence- writing stories as if for babies.
Since reading was my major escape from the world of board exam preparation, I wished I could read something that actually interested me.
Finally, I started writing the kind of story that would keep me engaged, and between studying for my boards and the summer holidays, The Warriors of Javida was born in 2012. My one regret with regard to the book is that it was self published.
The Scam that is Self-Publishing
I would not like to name the company that published my book, but I would just like to say this- a new author without an agent must not be exploited. It’s not correct to collect Rs 40,000 for a job that can be accomplished comfortably in half that amount.
In addition to collecting a huge sum of money from me, no effort was made by the publishers to help me promote my book. Coming to royalty, out of a promised 50% of sales, I just received one single payment of Rs 1300.
That was when I realised that self-publishing is a sham.
How Having an Agent Helps
Fortunately, I was able to find myself a literary agent online- Mr. Suhail Mathur of The Book Bakers, Delhi.
He was able to help me find a “traditional” publisher at a fraction of the cost- traditional publishers are those who pay you for your book, not the other way round.
With Mr. Mathur’s help, my second novel, The Family Mystery, was published by Locksley Hall Publishers in 2017.
I also received a sum of Rs 9000 as an incentive to sell 50 copies. Now, my third book- an anthology of poetry- is also being handled by The Book Bakers, who have found me a contract with Bigfoot Publishers, another traditional publishing house.
Lessons Learnt in this Field
From my experiences, here are some important points I would like to pass on to aspiring writers:
1. When selecting a topic or plot for your book, make sure it would be of interest to the general public, because otherwise you would be unable to meet sales targets.
2. Keep sharing the link and promotional information of your book with all your contacts, and ensure that at least 250 copies are sold in the first year- that’s how you can slowly move towards being a full-time successful writer.
3. Get an agent! Unsolicited manuscripts are usually discarded by publishing houses as they receive so many manuscripts every year. They give preference to manuscripts with an agent to vouch for them.
4. STAY AWAY FROM THE SELF-PUBLISHING TRAP!
A very happy writing career to you!
Image Credits: Google Images