It has been a while since I put finger to keyboard to write a post here, because I have been well, pre-occupied. I have, in the past year and a half, been acting in ads,a television show and anchoring news at a private channel based here in Chennai, the latter of which basically means party propaganda in the guise of news, and most importantly, I have managed to get around to writing my first novel. (This is where there is drumroll in my head:-)
While I actually finished the writing between Sep '08-Dec '08, I had been languishing and feeling sorry for myself at the lack of response from any publisher I wrote to all through last year. (Now, I'd been sending in the manuscript to the editorial offices of the major publishers in India, as instructed in the submission guidelines each of them specify on their websites. Turns out thats not how you go about it(!) and Im not talking about getting it to a publisher through an agent, but that is another story.)
Here goes- you have a m.s that you think can be published (not talking about vanity publishing here- dunno whether it was intentionally named thus - anyway -the term is self explanatory- talking about proper publishing house that publishes your work and pays you money for it.), this is what you do :
You have to find out the name of the editor who deals with the genre of fiction your book falls under in whichever publishing house you are targetting and send your manuscript to him/her. Now, it seems simple enough when it is put that way. Except Publishing companies in India just do not give that kind of information clearly on their websites, and you just send it to the editorial department, it is put into the dreaded 'slush pile' and doesnt see the light o' day. And if at all someone there notices that you took the trouble to print it beautifully on bonded paper, with double spaces, send it and all, you get a even more dreaded 'form' letter, where your name is just inserted into the 'to' space and tell you 'sorry , we cant publish your book. good luck.' and usually dont even mention the name of your m.s.
Let's say you do call a publisher up and ask for info about who is the editor in charge of the genre you are writing for, and some kind soul takes pity on you, and gives you info without slamming down the phone on yet another 'wanna be' writer, you have to verify that info, because folks at publishing companies seem to be a very mobile population. Children and teen books editor at Company A one week is at the same position at a rival company the next.So your addressee not there, THUD, one more m.s hits the ever growing slush pile.
Now, once you find out and play the game, i.e, you manage to identify the editors you want to send it to - then the rejection game probably continues. So, you think maybe an agent is a good idea. Tringggggg. Wrong. They are even more beseiged with m.ss they want to read, but their reading lists are longer than editors.
And on top of all this, normal response time, if at all there is one, is approximately 3-6 months, leaning more towards the higher limit of the range.
So, all the bad things have been said. But there are some good things. You send it to the proper people and then good things could happen. For eg: I got a reply from an editor who told me how I could make the manuscript better, and also just because they said no- I shouldn't lose heart. And another editor responded within three days of my sending the sample chapters of the m.s to her to send the entire thing. Fingers crossed!
(Note : I know I have said more negative things here than positive for people who want to write - but so have a bunch of other writers- in fact there are books on 'why not to be a writer' and I found two such tomes at the BCL, Chennai. Seems writer angst funds a huge industry by itself :-)
I have also been experimenting with cooking along the way. I had a soup fixation for a while, and so roasted red peppers, roasted pumpkin, french onion, wild mushrooms, spinach, zuccinni, carrots and celery, and all types of quash were made into soups, and my family got bored after a while :D
The croissant bug arrived recently, and its all about controlling the melting butter sheets that envelope thin dough sheets and preventing it from frying the bottom of the dough instead of cooking it. And as Merryl Streep's Julie says, 'Is there anything better than butter?'
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