It seems like everyone’s writing a book today. Everywhere you look, there’s a celebrity waving his or her memoirs on your TV screen. And since Bollywood has such a significant influence on Indians, it’s a matter of time before every single person you know will start wielding the pen. If you dream of being an author too, here are some handy tips on fulfilling that dream:
Write: it seems obvious, but you’ll be amazed at the number of wannabe authors who don’t write. Practice makes perfect; the more you write, the better you’ll get at it. Sure, you may not have that one, perfect story yet. But unless you don’t sit down and start typing now you won’t have it anytime soon either.
Wait: very few other professions demand as much patience as writing. You need immense patience during the process of writing a book. You certainly can’t write a bestseller in one night. And even when you’re done writing your manuscript, you need to edit it and re-edit it before sending it out to publishers. But the worst part is that the waiting doesn't end there. Once you've completed your manuscript, you have to send it to publishers. And wait for them to get back to you.
And wait some more... finally, after three months of sending your manuscript across, when you've given up on it ever seeing the light of day, you get an email informing you that you're finally going to get published! Hallelujah! Except that once you've signed the contract, you have to wait some more before the editor from the publishing house begins working on your manuscript. Oh, what's that? They want you to re-write some parts and completely delete some parts? And then do two more rounds of that?
Win: So you thought your publisher would market your book and you'd just sit back and revel in your fame? That's cute! One of the most challenging aspects of being a new author is getting people to read your book (you only have that many friends and family you can emotionally blackmail to buy your book!). Readers want to pick up books by authors they're familiar with. Picking up a book by a new author is a gamble, so a new writer has to work extra hard on marketing his/her book. You've got to be very active on social media.
And you've got to look for opportunities to showcase your talent and network. So you'll need to get in touch with literary fests, the media, bloggers, other authors, book clubs and schools and colleges. You'll eventually get exhausted of marketing your book and will decide to give up. But then you'll start getting emails from people who've read and loved your book. And this will motivate you to keep stalking influential people and keep pushing your book (why won't Karan Johar tweet about my book already?) In essence, to make all the effort worth your while, you’ve got to market your book like a pro. The more money you can pump into promoting your book, the greater your chance of becoming a well-known author.
The Indian publishing industry is an interesting one. It’s not always what you write but how you sell that matters here. And if you write well and market well, nothing can stop you from writing your success story.
Anjali Kirpalani is the bestselling author of Never say Never and Written in the stars. Her third novel, 19 till I die, will be published by Harper Collins India in November 2017. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.