When you feel entertained after watching a movie, thoughtful after a play or thrilled when you finish reading a book, there’s always one person who feels happiest with the applaud. It might have taken his nights for that applaud. He might have lived his dining table moments or bathroom moments working for it. Every step while writing the story for that movie or play or the book, will contribute to that appreciation surely. We met an amazing person, a young writer, telling his journey of being able to author the same and managing to get it published across. A boy, at the age of 15, meets his pen and paper but in his own style. A style that might send chills to your nerves.
Tiny Chit-Chat With The Young Author
You’ve authored a book at a very young age, was it beating the odds for you?
I’ve made several attempts at writing a book in the past few years, without much success. But yes, I beat the odds this time by ‘completing’ the book. It wasn’t an easy job though. It took me almost a year to finish this book, taking into consideration how I wrote this book; hiding my manuscript under my ninth grade course books. Yes, I did face the consequences of it, but they weren’t anything when compared to the satisfaction of writing a book. I almost gave thrice at writing (Can you even believe that I dreamt the plot of my book?!) and twice while facing the rejections from publishers. But at last, it appeared as if the odds favor me.
What made you choose this genre?
A couple of years ago, at the Delhi Book Fair, I was introduced to the world of Sherlock Holmes. I was so impressed by him that I exhausted Sir Conan’s stories in a matter of weeks. But it wasn’t enough for me. I started making sherlock Holmes stories in my mind, what sherlock would do if he were a modern day criminal. It soon started developing into a story until it finally ended as ‘A Teaspoon of Death’; my criminal Sherlock. That’s why, if you’ll read my book, you’ll find my writing style familiar if you’ve read Sir Conan’s Sherlock.
How has it changed your teen days by and large?
I thought writing a book was a tough job and that it hindered with my school work; I was wrong. I though finding a publisher was a tough job; wrong again. I thought promoting my book would be an easy job; ching! wrong again. For the past year, these are the things I’ve been doing, again and again, revising and yet again. And I’ve literally forgotten what I used to do in my free time before that. But, at the end of the day, there’s nothing else in the world that I’d rather trade my little sweet and mostly sour experience with.
Is it really difficult to get your first book published? Let’s discover in his own words..
“I thought the publishers would be fighting amongst themselves to publish my book. Alas, I was wrong.”
I still remember that beautiful spring day, when I’d finally scraped my thoughts together into a manuscript. “A Teaspoon of Death” I’d call it. Note that I compiled these notes togethers in my ninth grade maths and science classes, hiding them under my course books. Needless to say, I nearly failed in maths and barely passed in my science exam.
As a debut author and literally zero knowledge of the industry, I wasn’t afraid that my work wouldn’t be accepted, but rather quite confident that the first publisher I show my work to was going to offer me a contract. But still, to be at a safer side, I sent my work to about a dozen publishers, including Penguin, Rupa, Hachette, Bloomsbury and others among reputed publishers. Most publishers take about three to six months to reply.
The first month was oblivious and I received no replies. From the second month onwards, the rejections started rolling in. “They’re going to regret it.” I used to reassure myself. However, I made sure that I send out my proposal to about five more publishers in place of each rejection I faced. During those days, I found out about literary agents, people who propose your work to publishers for you. I sat up one night and sent a proposal to about 200 of these literary agents.
Another month was coming to an end. The flow of my emails had increased significantly, only for the rejections. That was the first time I’d thought to give up. I’d given up on reaching out to more and more people and calmly waited for rejections.
One day, when I was going through these rejection mails, a beam of hope blistered through. ONE PUBLISHER HAD DECIDED TO LOOK DEEPER INTO MY WORK. I couldn’t believe it. About a month later, I received a contract from him to publish my work. He was ready to bet on a young boy’s work.
I ran a quick glance at the contract before signing it, only to be disappointed once again. He asked me for 27,000 rupees in place of 200 copies of my work. “What the hell I’m supposed to do with 200 copies of my work?” I thought, “Each word is memorized in my head!” And then the sad truth hit me. The big houses publishers already had rejected me and most medium and small publishers didn’t play blind bets. This wasn’t any different than self-publishing.
My heart was shattered again. I had come to a conclusion that either I had to quit or put in money.
But I wasn’t quitting any just yet. I gathered up all of my savings and persuaded my dad to fill the difference, to which he agreed. I got in contact with a self-publisher and signed the contract. I was to pay them the following day.
And that day changed my life. My mother called me and started talking with me, “Anyone can get self published, it doesn’t take any real talent, it just needs money.” he said, “Here comes that talentless author who published his work on the basis of his fortune.” Now, I’m not insulting self-published authors, but her words made sense. And canceled my contract right then and resumed my search for publishers again with a new hope. I suppose her words had magic in them, for the next day I got an offer from a traditional publisher.
And that’s the story of the publishing of “A Teaspoon of Death”. I hope that readers will like it and lend their support for my upcoming works.