Writing is creation; production of first book is always an inspiration…
– Nihar Pradhan
One year back this was the time, I decided that it was high time to taste the dynamics of book publication industry. Though I have been writing on various media for years, I was never forced nor felt the need to get my stories printed and published.
It was one of those days I was reading the short story classics, and I realized that a whole era has passed by and we are in a different digital world, and the context of those stories are disconnected from today’s digital generation. I sensed a vacuum and a subtle gap, it was an inspiring moment, I was driven out of slumber and as they say rest is history.
Publishing my first book was a wonderful journey and the hard learning’s automatically becomes treasures of profound knowledge. I felt the need to share, and sharing these nuggets of knowledge is empowering me. I must say the journey was much more fascinating than reaching the destination. Once done, I felt in a state of ominous emptiness…not a good state to be in.
Here are the list of top ten learnings and these little beginnings that can make a giant difference in the publication of the first book…
- Creator – The unique idea:
I was dwelling on whether fiction or non-fiction, I was contemplating on shorter version or the longer version of story, I was evaluating the theme and the title. This deep thinking let the idea of why not a fusion of facts and fiction. The shorter version to start with, and the institutions are breaking up and it is our responsibility to make up for a better society. Hence the book title “makeup & breakup”, one must build on a unique idea…
2. Reader – The target audience:
We are in a digital age and digital natives are different in their thinking and working. This digital generation is deprived of good contemporary stories happening around them, as they are immersed in the virtual world. I saw a gap and zeroed on digital natives as my target audience…hence the tagline “contemporary classic for digital native”. Therefore choosing the right target audience for your book is very significant in the sense that one book cannot cater to everybody’s need.
3. Mentor – The guide:
Yes, we need a torch bearer and it is a journey where we often get lost and someone must be there to bring us on course. I was very lucky to have Dr. Bina Biswas as a fantastic mentor…she herself is a wonderful writer and has many successful books to her credit; she knew the challenges. A good mentor plays a very important role and is essential to get you on course with course corrections.
4. Editor – The copy editor:
The language and the style, the choice of words and the formation of sentences are different from the theme, the plot or the climax. It needs proper honing and it needs pruning in getting the writing style and the flow of language in order, and allowing the ardent readers to navigate the story like a sharp knife across a fresh slice of cheese. Editor makes the reader say cheese…the simile. I acknowledge the role of Ms Monica Sharma who played this very vital role for me. Getting a right copy editor understanding you and your thoughts, who is able to spend quality time can do real justice…
5. Motivator – The re-charger:
It is quite natural to go through the trough and crest of mood swings when we are in such a massive creative journey. As a writer we are into our own world. But we often get isolated and we are not protected from the vagaries of the outside world. We will be disheartened facing such situations and our creative juice ceases to flow, we need the recharge to trigger our ignition. I had dedicated this book to my father, though he was no more, but I always felt him beside me when I was down…choose your motivator.
6. Publisher – The publishing agency:
Yes, we all would like the creative composition to get disseminated to the outside world. I did explore with few publishers, frankly speaking didn’t have many options and settled with Literary Fiction Publication as they had freshly ventured into fictional writing publication. I must acknowledge their meaningful engagement though they were also learning the art of handling budding writers. Getting the best publisher is our desire but for first timer it is not easy; engaging with the right publisher is the best option.
7. Critique – The fault finder:
This is one very important aspect I couldn’t do justice to, as I didn’t find someone who could do this job for me. I tried but I think it was not enough, ignorant of the significance of their role in breaking the author’s bias towards their own book of work. Today, when I hear from critiques I discover what I really missed out, they bring out nuances and spot the wrong facets which deserves rightful change and mandatory corrections. They play a very critical role, not to undermine their role in any manner…this must be noted.
8. Marketer – The spoken person:
I didn’t have much knowledge on the need of marketing the book which I presumed was the role of the publisher. In fact it was an assumption I didn’t felt then, the need to be questioned, as I was deep into my stories and style of storytelling. In hindsight, as I look back the assumption was not correct, as a writer it is important that you have your marketing plan in place, so much so, being your first book…publisher has many such first books to be published, you are one among them, priority is an issue, so create your own marketing strategy.
9. Connector – The network builder:
As a creator we expect that we will get connected and the connection will spread with the publication. No, it is not an automatic process that triggers the communication and collaboration on your publication. My network was in a passive mode as I was disconnected because of my deep engagement with the creation of the book. I was late, in activating and engaging with my network, and connectors are critical to the success of book. Right from your own family members, relatives, friends, acquaintances to office colleagues needs to be involved and energized for your book launch and they are our real connectors.
10. Distributor – The physical vehicle:
Though in today’s e-commerce world, physical presence is not the only way for our books to reach out to your potential readers. But at the same time, without a physical presence in the shelf of major bookstores we cannot make our presence strongly felt. And distributors have their place and space defined and many don’t have the universal or significant presence. With my distributor I missed out the airport bookstores and few top bookstores; though they could balance it with the strong presence in the digital space of Amazon to Flipkart… definitely check out the distributor’s reach.
First Book is just a journey and once you have started it, it has to be continued and many more books needs to be created…not to get succumbed to contentment of getting your first book published, then the very creativity for which you strive for becomes the cruel casualty.