Friday, January 14, 2011

Calling budding authors

A ton of you keep asking me the question: how do I become a bestselling author.

Well, the answer is, first you *write* a book.

Then you find a good publisher.

Then, you pray to God that the book sells :)

The trouble is that many of us only dream about writing a book, instead of actually penning down the chapters. Some of us need handholding, motivation and a danda on the head in terms of a deadline.

But let us assume you somehow do write a book. Or, at least a few chapters. How do you find a publisher? It is pretty tough for a first-timer.

You can go fill out proposal forms (available on most publisher websites). Then wait for an eternity and most likely never hear from them.

And in the odd chance that you do hear back, you will rarely, if ever, get a reason for the rejection. Constructive feedback ka toh chance hi nahin hai.

It is in this scenario that many new authors have gone the self-published route, some with a good amount of success. Examples include 'Immortals of Meluha' (originally published by Bahrisons), 'Oh Shit, Not Again' (published by Shree distributors) and my own books (published by Eklavya Foundation).

None of these a 'blue chip' publishers as such but they took a leap of faith - each for their own reasons - and it worked wonders.

And something today has triggered in me the thought. In my mind's eye, I see myself setting up a new kind of publishing house.

Open to all kinds of writing.

Fair to newcomers in terms of quick and honest feedback.

Transparent and pro-author when it comes to commercials.

And very willing to take 'risk'.

In fact I don't see it as a risk because 20 years as a writer and editor have given me what Malcolm Gladwell calls 'the power of thinking without thinking'. I will trust my gut more than my brain when it comes to deciding 'what will sell'.

So. I don't know *exactly* how I am going to go about this but let me take the very first step by inviting those of you who have a book (complete, or partial, or even 2 chapters), to send in your samples. Only on the basis of faith.

I promise to revert to you within 48 hours of receiving your word doc/ pdf with a specific feedback. Not that I can sign a publishing contract with you tomorrow, but I may be able to do so in the next 3 months.

And if that sounds like carrot enough, let's make halwa together.

Email - as always - rashmi_b at

P.S. Do not send me anything in docx format! Also do send in 2 lines about yourself and your contact details. Plus a para or two summarising the book and who you think will want to read it :)

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