10 things I learned after #tnks happened

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If you live under a stone, you would have missed the big thing I did last year - publish a book! More about it is at www.tnks.in. Do check it out.

So its been two months since the book came out and here is a list of 10 things that I learnt. The hard way.
  1. Unlike what you want to believe, the world does not stop going around because you've written a book. There are far too many authors and farer tooer manyer books in the world. And no, no one wants to know when your next book is going to come out. Even if you've booked a domain name for it a year in advance. 
  2. People don't mob you asking for your autograph. In fact they don't even know you. When you tell them that you're a published author, they go "uh huh… so?" and you don't have an answer. 
  3. When people actually do stop to talk to you about books, more often than not they are not they are not curious about yours. Or you. They want to know if you've had any tryst with Chetans or Amishs of the world. 
  4. If the book does not sell, the only person to blame is you. No one else. Your book is your priority. No one else's. Not even if they are your publisher, your editor, your mother, your friend, your agent. You and you alone are responsible. Even if you get a tiny percentage as royalty. No wonder they say that writing is the loneliest profession in the world. 
  5. You know what is lonelier than writing a book? Marketing it. Marketing your book is like pimping yourself. It's like selling your soul. It is very similar to job hunting. Or trying to find someone to date. For each of these, you are supposed to sell yourself. You are supposed to extol the virtues (that may or may not be your strong suit). And you are supposed to hide your vices. You do it once, it's awkward. You do it twice, it's soul-stirring. You do it more than that, you start considering yourself as the greatest loser (well, sorest loser) to have walked on Mother Earth. Ever. Funny that all first-time writers (well, most) do this and seem totally ok with it. I, on the other hand am not. Why? Any shrinks reading this? 
  6. If you somehow get over the innate shyness to make enough noise about your book in this world full of clutter, do not expect it to catapult you to fame and success and money and interviews and matrimonial proposals and movie offers and other such things. It takes forever to gain traction with your book. Historians estimate that Birbal could cook his khichidi faster. 
  7. The book is not a way to live a life free from a job. Most authors have to maintain a full-time job. Why do people even want to write books when they know that it hardly pays (baring a few great ones like Chetan and Amish). So, the dreams you had of quitting your job after you wrote your book? Let em be in that fuzzy dreamy state for a few more years. May be few decades. Or, may be marry a woman who takes up the challenge to earn bread for family and allows you to be a stay-at-home writer. It would be so cool actually! If you know of any single, career-oriented women looking to settle down with a happy-go-lucky guy, please point them to me. Apart from being bald, overweight and slightly on the older side, I am perfect! References available. On request. 
  8. Oh, there are side effects of being a writer. You think so much that you lose hair (ok, I made that up to cover for my bald head). But you do put on weight because all you do the entire day, is write. You type, type, recover crashed hard disk, write some more and then hope like hell that some publisher likes it. So you put on weight. And you become boring because you don't have time to step out and enjoy parties and all that. People around you start dismissing you as a boring recluse that is lost in his stories all the time. Well, people are often right. Case in point? Your's truly. Wait a minute. What does "your's truly" even mean? Who invented it? Is it one of those Indian-English inventions? Must be. Moving on...
  9. You inadvertently become a grammar nazi. Even though you are an Indian and your introduction sounds like "myself Sunder Srivastava," and your grammar skills are sketchy at best, you tend to think of yourself as custodian of lingua britannica. And every time you see or hear or come across someone who makes a typo or a mistake (was vs were, you're vs your, its vs it's, ok vs okay, et al) you take it as personal offense. You want to castrate that person, you want to pack that person off to Bangladesh or any other fourth-world country. Of course your first book has so many typos and grammatical errors that you could be banned from using English language for the rest of your seven lives. Classic case in point of mediocre yet arrogant attitude, hypocrisy and delhiwallah-showoff attitude. 
  10. You get a lesson in humility. To be honest, you don't really want it. It just happens. You actually want to become that arrogant prick that gives hard time to everyone around him all the time. But you realize you can't. Because to be arrogant, you need to have some substance that the world would tolerate your shenanigans for. The book you thought that was your gift to the mankind, the best thing to have happened since the advent of the printing press, a knight in the shining armor for that generation that is bored of those predictable stories, gets lukewarm response. And you automatically become humble. So humble that you are often found knocking at unknown doors, hoping to slip in a word about your book at those places. Oh, do you know of some places where I can talk about my book? 
Thats 10 things. Of course I learnt way more than 10 things. These ten were the most nagging of em all. Someday, time permitting, I plan to write an entire book about the process of writing a book so that you may go write your book! Yeah, a book about how to write a book. Like a recursive function. Like a feedback loop. Like a robot that can reproduce. I am not kidding.

Lemme know if you would want to read it. I will make it available for free if there are enough requests. Until then, please buy my book!

P.S.: If you find any typos in this, any grammar mistakes in this, please do let me know. Will you? 

3 comments:

Usha Sri V said...

Your 10th point is right on the dot and should have been the first. Nevertheless, As always well written.
Cheers n tc.
Usha

Neelesh Inamdar said...

Bhai, I don't agree with the 9th. It depends on your attitude. Even if you're a full time writer, you can certainly party with your friends (so what if you can't throw one?). And if partying is so difficult, just wear superman's uniform and go to your local jogger's park. That's sure to get you the attention of a few people at least. Well, not exactly the chicks but you might be lucky to attract kids and then the mums who follow them. One of them might, just might, turn out to be that "Meri twacha se meri umra ka pata he nahin chalta" types. Have fun, keep writing.

Shrishti Kumar said...

You are so correct with the first point. After doing loads of hard work for months or years together, there is no motivation for the writer.but yes,I think you can certainly party .

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