So you got yourself a publisher, the deal is signed and the ink has dried…hurray!! Now what?
After weeks and months, hopefully not years of agonizingly checking your mail box for the acceptance email and praying not to see the dreaded reject note; you signed up. Yes!! The moment you dreamt of, wished and prayed fervently for finally came true
Apart from the fact that you’ll want and expect the planet to stop spinning and take cognizance of this life altering event and will want to inform all and sundry about it; life will go on.
Laugh all you want (I know you will), I told my driver, the fruit-wala and the milk man…I’m getting published. On being informed of this, which they realized was a big deal judging by the size of my smile, they promptly asked for baksheesh! I complied. I wanted to hug the world. I was walking on air with a silly stupid idiotic smile on my face that refused to go away.
Anyway, the euphoria never really dies, you just teach yourself to smile a bit less and do the jiggly dance of victory with the door closed; but the real kill-joy is when you realise that the journey ahead isn’t all rosy. In fact quite a few unpleasant bumps await and you’ll encounter situations hitherto unimagined.
Bumps…WTF…I wrote the book, got accepted by a good (read great publisher) now what’s the problem? The problem, my dear, lies in the fact, that in the entire odyssey of the book; the simplest, the easiest and I repeat the simplest part is writing it. Yes, those hours of endless toil, staring at the corner of the wall, chewing your pen, pounding the computer keys till they wobble…that frustrating and oh! so gratifying part is the easy-peasy phase. Getting a publisher is mildly tough compared to what you are now stepping into and what lies waiting for you ahead.
First time authors with stars in their eyes, please wake up. Sorry there’s no coffee for you. Just the cold hard truth. You are below the lowest rung in the food chain. Few notches below ground zero. So that means, it isn’t enough to write the bloody book and wait for the publisher’s nod, you have to walk the long extra mile in building a profile, a public profile, some kind of following that would want to buy what you spent months creating. And you have to gear up to market the book, but that’s for another blog. Don’t want to throw open all the doors in the house of horror. The idea is to lure you in gently and then terrify you in instalments.
So here’s what I was told after the deal was inked…
GET ON TWITTER, BE MORE ACTIVE
I am, eh..huh…not a woman of few words. I realized this about myself, long time ago, hence my decision to be a features writer and not a creative writer at an ad agency. I need a minimum of 500 words (more the merrier) to express myself. So 144 characters…OH MY GAWWD. Needless to say I panicked. Soon I realized that word limitation wasn’t the only problem.
I’m also what you call…after wise. I can’t think of something funny, something smart in a flash. I always think of a wisecrack later. Twitter is all about being instant. By the time I had conjured something remotely funny to say about an event…it was more than three days old. I’m a writer God damit, I need to write, re-write then re-re-write all over again to express the thought. By the time I did that, the time and news was long gone.
So Twitter is my Waterloo and I am Napoleon. God help me!
I think I will start posting pics of Archie (my dog) on Twitter. I’m sure he’ll grab more eyeballs than my pathetic attempt at being smart/funny/sarcastic…whatever!!
Get yourself a blog following; was the explicit instruction. What do I write about? Clueless I am. I don’t travel alone, never have. My idea of holiday is a good hotel with great housekeeping and room service with a good wine list, so no backpacking in Leh or jungles for me to tell. My hand is very shaky so no photographs that will leave anyone spellbound. Squint yes…trying to figure what that is but nothing more. Not a hot-shot cook so no tips from my kitchen. My son is 17, if I blog about the woes of parenting a teen; let’s just say so far I’ve been unfriended. If I do the aforementioned he will poison my coffee. So what the hell do I write about?
Hence, I decided to spend my time surfing through some of the blogs by successful writers. I found some good ones, written by those with more than just a flair for the written word. They write about their experience with literary agents, rib-tickling humorous (sometimes tad exaggerated) account of their book launch, literary fests where they hobnobbed with the lit snoots. Really funny and makes for great reading. I clearly don’t fall in this category, as my book will be published in the summer of 2016 (hopefully!) so book launch and lit fests are a long long way away.
Some blog about how to write. These are bestselling authors, so I guess it makes sense for them to pen how to write a bestseller. Mine is yet to be published, becoming a bestseller is a faraway dream. So how am I qualified to tell others how and what to write? The fact that I signed up with Harper doesn’t make me better than others. As a friend very succinctly put it: how did you get harper-fuc&&**g Collins!! I’m just got lucky, bloody lucky. Either there’s someone up in the clouds who loves me or the Gods got worried that the plethora of candles and agarbattis I was lighting on a daily basis would give them a tan, hence gave me what I was groveling for! QED, I don’t want to tell people how to write.
Then there are blogs by very successful writers about restaurants they visited, meals shared with family and other mundane routine chores that put me in coma. Worse, some gave relationship gyan. Gasp! Me no agony aunt. I don’t have deep philosophical thoughts or streams of consciousness when digging into my plate of yummy biryani or heavenlicious risotto. It’s just pure gluttony, bordering on food orgasm. So I don’t see why I should share where I had my last supper with anyone, leave alone the world at large. Neither do I wake up at the crack of dawn to do yoga nor do I cook the morning meal with my husband. No such bonhomie happening in my world. I’m not a rise and shine person. Except when I wake up early to write, I’m at my worst in the morning, even when I do the former I’m still grouchy and grumpy. Clearly I’m not a morning glory. My husband and son keep away till I’ve had my morning coffee and four Parle G biscuits. Till then the only person who comes near me is Archie.
And someone who begins her day with Parle G biscuits isn’t a gym goddess, so no fitness tips from me.
I’m no Mrs Funnybones, smartypants, marathon runner and certainly no relationship advice spouting person.
Oh! dear, this blogging thing is giving me the chills. It’s proving to be tougher than writing the book.
I figured write book, get publisher and then just sit back and enjoy the ride. Well, reality seems to be giving fiction a run for its money. I wanted to drown my anxiety in white wine accompanied by pepperoni pizza, till I got hollered by Curly Top (that’s my son). ‘All successful writers are slender with gym toned bodies…look at you.” His harsh words ringing in my ears, I set out to change my handle. MY TWITTER HANDLE…my Twitter handle…good lord what were you thinking??
So all you dear friends please follow me as I stumble and fumble on my bumpy ride. And yes, be kind and laugh at my three days old (sometimes more) humour. BTW… my yoga sir just told me today, “By next year, you will be good shape.” I haven’t quite been able to decide if I should feel angry, insulted or just correct the grammar.
P.S: there are a few more directives that I've been ordered to work on but I shall not reveal. for the sake of the writer in you that's dreaming, for the sake of the story that's bursting to get out. My lips are sealed.