Debut Authors Talk About Cracking First Book, Dealing With Negative Reviews And More

Women Writers Fest 2023 Debut Authors
The process of writing a book begins with inspiration. Some authors are inspired to write a book on a particular topic, while others get their inspiration from a compelling character or storyline. We invited three women debut authors to the panel, which was moderated by Debeshi Gooptu Bakshi, to talk about the writing process from the perspective of debut authors.

SheThePeople returned with its newest addition, the Women Writers’ Fest, to capture the essence of what writing and publishing have been like for authors recently.

Sonia Bhatnagar is a copywriter and creative director who works in advertising. Over most things in life, she enjoys a good story. She considers ideas to be the most potent tools available to us for bringing about global change. On the other hand, Smita Das Jain is a TEDx speaker, writer, author, coach, and blogger. She is the author of the best-selling short story collection A Slice of Life: Every Person Has a Story and the novel A Price to Love. Aashisha Chakraborty is a former sales manager who also writes fiction. The PM-YUVA scheme selected Aashisha as one of the 75 pan-India authors under 30 for her historical fiction with the National Book Trust, India.

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Women Writers Fest 2023 Debut Authors

How It Happened:

Sonia Bhatnagar revealed her debut, In Your Blood, I Run, is crime fiction and her first long story; however, she has written several short stories before. She has years of experience in advertisements and after years of facing rejection of her ideas, she felt now its time and decided to give a chance her passion for writing through all those rejected ideas and stories.

Aashisha Chakraborty revealed that she began reading at a young age, but that talking and writing about the topics you are passionate about can take years to develop. She added that while publishing her first book, Mis (s) Adventures of a Sales Girl, took a long time, it was much easier to articulate than her previously unpublished book.

Smita Das Jain said her journey started very organically, and it started at the age of six when her first story was published in a school magazine. She revealed that she was an editor in her school and college, however, she never realised her passion for writing.  Her debut book was the result of her decision to restart writing after realising how much she loved fiction and writing.

Sailing On Two Boats:

Smita Das Jain, a certified personal empowerment life coach, thinks that her writing career and business success are due to her level of discipline. She has set aside a few hours for writing, during which she does not endure interruptions, and after that, she completely resumes her personal or professional activities without giving writing a second thought.

While Aashisha and Sonia acknowledge that they lack such discipline, they think discipline is necessary to meet the deadlines for both writing and work. Additional requirements include time and effort.

Thoughts On Writer’s Block:

Sonia thinks it’s just a grand name for a mood in general. She states there are many other things you can do in your life to improve your mood if you don’t feel like writing or are unable to write. While Aashisha believes that writer’s block occurs when you are given an assignment to complete but are unable to do so because of a conflict of ideas, she adds “if I am writing a short story and I am experiencing writer’s block, there is an opportunity for me to get past that block and reach a novel level.”

Writers’ block, according to her, can occasionally present an opportunity for something much greater and better.

Smita agrees that if you have chosen to write, you write daily, though the pace varies daily. In case you feel blocked, you should continue writing, and that’s how you will overcome that.

Dealing Negative Reviews:

Sonia said one can never be prepared for a negative review; however, as her book was released last month, she has not received much. Aashisha, however, is so prepared for all kinds of reviews, and she is ready to accept all kinds of tips, suggestions, and comments as she is a new writer. Working in sales, she trashed many of her PPTs due to negative reviews. Smita states that a negative review is also a review and that itself is a big thing for new writers. She added that working in corporate helped her to develop a thick skin against negative reviews.

Words Of Wisdom For New Writers

‘Be a reader first’ is Sonia’s only piece of advice that she believes is crucial for all writers. She said to read anything and everything you come across. Aashisha added that aspiring writers must be very passionate as it’s not an overnight game that you write a book and become successful. Smita agreed with both of her writing peers and added that being a great observer is an added attribute for any writer.