Young author Paras Joshi reveals in a tell-all interview the tips and tricks of getting your first book published in India.
Young writers, allured by the recent success of many Indian authors, are beginning to choose the path less trodden. The prospects of becoming an author in the times we live are galore. American author Christopher Paolini’s claim-to-fame Eragon, brought him worldwide recognition at the early age of eighteen. India too is brimming with young and talented writers eager to pen their thoughts.
Today, we ask Paras Joshi, whose maiden book “The Equilibrium”, first of the “Avaasya Trilogy” has recently been released, to tell us everything a budding writer needs to know for publication of his/her first novel.
Hi Paras. Congratulations on getting your first book published. How has your experience been as a first-time author?
Hi Anmol. Thank you so much. Writing a book is an exciting journey. The whole process from ideation to realization to finally publication has been for me a coming-of-age experience, I would say.
Drawing from your experience, tell us what are the biggest difficulties first-time authors face and how can they overcome them?
Of the various difficulties associated with being a first-time author, the biggest is getting a response from publishers/agents when you first submit a manuscript. Make the synopsis as detailed as possible, submit what you feel are the best three chapters and don’t be afraid to drop in a reminder in case you don’t hear back from them soon. Writer’s block is the second biggest challenge. Sadly, there’s no way out of it! One day you’ll just have that moment when you know how to proceed forward and that’s that.
How should one begin with writing a manuscript?
I would say there’s no particular formula as such—differs from person to person and genre to genre. Every author has a distinct approach to begin. I think it’s important to write a story you yourself would want to read. Make a crisp outline, jot-down the important points of the plot and make a chapter structure. Once you have these things in place, the going is pretty smooth.
Your book, “The Avaasya Trilogy”, is about a young boy who for most of his life was ignored by the world, only to be recognized when he sets in motion events of cataclysmic proportions. Are young authors treated with same disdain in India?
I don’t think so. It’s an exciting time to be a writer. The market is full of new ideas and new stories. The publishers are giving newbies a chance and many of these first-time authors are finding dizzying levels of success. Obviously, the importance of a good story and a good plot cannot be stressed enough.
How do you approach a publisher?
There are actually two ways- you can either approach a publisher directly or you can submit your manuscript to a literary agent who will then take care of the rest. I believe, approaching through an agent is a better option for an amateur author because it gives certain credibility to your manuscript. Once a publisher signs a book, it goes through a couple of rounds of editing before it is ready to be published. The entire process can take anywhere from 3-4 months to a year.
What intrigues publishers the most?
It could be various factors and parameters: the strength of the story, the writing, the “sellability” of the published product. In my case, I guess it was the freshness of the basic premise on which my story is built: there’s nothing called ‘evil’ per se. Most of the fiction books generally deal with the ‘good triumphs over evil’ template. But what is evil? You look at something like Ramayana and see how Ravan, an immensely learned and powerful king was eternally casted as the bad guy. But look at things from his point of view. Wasn’t he only avenging the dishonor brought upon his family?
Costs often intimidate budding authors from publishing. How much does one have to shell out?
Now this is one thing that budding authors shouldn’t worry about. It you are being published by a commercial publisher then not only will they bear the costs of bringing the book to the market, but will also pay you royalty on every copy sold!
What advice would you give budding authors for publication?
Just keep it simple. Believe in the story you want to tell the world and don’t get disappointed by early rejections. Even Amish Tripathy (of Shiva Trilogy fame) got rejected by 22 publishers before Anuj Bahri (his agent, and mine) decided to publish it and the rest, as they say, is history. Magic happens. Believe in it.
Thank you Paras for your valuable suggestions. We wish you luck for the Avaasya Trilogy. For those interested, the book is available at Flipkart.
There are many such career options suffering due to stereotypes in the society. Let us debunk some of the common career myths for you.
About Interviewer: Anmol Vashisht is a law student and part of Internshala Student Blogger Programme, 2014.
Image credits: http://www.redpepper.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/460×300-writers-comp.jpg