Monday, October 15, 2012

The Snaring of the Platypus


I admit I have let you all down with a resounding thud. After promising a post every week to my millions of admirers, I blatantly went back on my word and stopped posting for well over six months.

In my defense, I must humbly point out that in my last post, I had promised to share how I managed to snare this extremely rare breed called a publisher. But having proclaimed this intention well before actually bagging the creature, I had to lie low and pretend to blend into the background till the trap was finally sprung.

Today, I am the  proud possessor of a publisher- squirming and thrashing, no doubt, but firmly in my grip and unlikely to escape. Now I believe I am ready to share the gripping saga of my publisher hunt.

It was in October of 2011 that I typed ‘the end’ and officially declared my first novel complete. Even as I wiped the sweat off my brow, I had already embarked on the next step – that of finding a publisher or literary agent. Since I was absolutely convinced that my book was superior to anything ever written or anything that could possibly be written in the future, I would settle only for the best publisher. Ok, Ok, I am sure you must be muttering arrogant so-and-so on reading the last line, but I would place the blame squarely at the doorsteps of my informal editors, friend Anjali Nair, and my sister-in-law Shubha  (even though she lost steam half way through)who both kept raving about my book. Being an eternal optimist, I decided to ignore the lukewarm response of my cousin Nandu and the extremely positive but not ecstatic response of my young friend Vidyuth.

And thus started the quest. Having written a young adult book of international appeal, I decided to first search for a publisher in UK or USA. There was a small glitch, of course – a vast majority of these dinosaurs accepted only hard copies of the manuscript. Having learned from J K Rowling that to become a great author, one had to at least get 13 rejections, and considering the money and effort that takes to courier 14 separate envelopes to the US and UK, I decided to focus only on those few who accepted email submissions. Fortunately, my prime target, Christopher Little (he was JKR’s agent) was among them. I sent off my manuscript to all of two publishers and Christopher Little and waited.

In the meanwhile I also deigned to look at Indian publishers. I did extensive web research and figured out the whole process of snaring a publisher. It goes roughly as follows…

- Go to the web and research out the names of the publishers of all the famous books you know…
- Ask your friends and their friends if they have any contacts with these publishing houses…
- Cry when you realize that friends do not have connections to really big time publishers…
- Settle for whatever and get introduced through aforementioned friends or friends’ friends…
- Send your synopsis to all the aforementioned publishers…
- Send synopsis also to all other publishers and agents in the country not in the contact list…
- Curse your cousin BalC who worked in the company called Synopsys when you realize that you have miss-spelt the word synopsis in all your mails…
- Wait week after week for rejections to pour in, pretending you are aiming for 13 rejections…
- Write stupid blogs about how one is about to get published…
- Get polite rejection from Christopher Little and mutter ‘No wonder JKR sacked him’…
- Get impatient and start the process of self publishing through Createspace, coughing up an enormous sum of $3000, muttering ‘forgive them for they know not what they miss’ about the publisher community …
- Chance upon an old friend called P Venky who introduces you to his friend called Chanty who introduces you to Westland, one of the leading publishers…
- Keep sending reminders to Paul of Westland, thanking god all the while that he has not responded, being pretty sure that any reply would be a polite rejection…
- Get a mail from a totally strange being called Sayoni Basu (who later on turns out to be Paul's wife), who calls herself a Primary Platypus of Duckbill Publishers, saying they are an associate of Westaland, focused on children’s and young adults’ literature and that she loves the manuscript…
- Thank god profusely for creating some sensible people like Sayoni Basu who moreover has the sense of humour to call herself primary platypus instead of a boring Director etc. ...
- Fall on your face and accept whatever terms in the contract with utmost gratitude...
- Fervently thank god for the strange creature called platypus and the stranger being called primary platypus :-) (Ouch! Sayoni Sorry!)

And after intense research, my friends, I have come to the conclusion that this is the best process towards getting published. Follow it to a Tee and let me assure you, you can also get your novel published. Of course, the prerequisite is that you should have written the damn thing to begin with. 


20 comments:

Anonymous said...

RamG, your novel is destined for success! Start working on the next one :)

Ramgopal Vallath said...

Thanks Anonymous. I shall quickly start!

GSinha said...

hey, hey, hey!!! wonderful!! Pls reserve an autographed version for us!!

GSinha said...

Hey, hey, hey!!! wonderful!! Reserve an autographed copy for us :)

Ramgopal Vallath said...

Thanks geeks, my dear friend

Mohinish Sinha said...

Yeah carry one with u in December .. We shall have a presentation ceremony over beer ! All the best for ur book ! Cheers Mohinish

Anonymous said...

Curse these IT companies who think they can ignore spelling just because they have venture capital!
Totally sympathise with the synopsys bit

:)

Jash.

Shivakumar said...

Thrilled!!! can't wait for the release RamG :)

Shivakumar said...

Thrilled!! Can't wait for the release RamG :)

Ramgopal Vallath said...

Mohinish, will do.
Shiv, thanks.
Jash - you said it.

RajD said...

Congrats RumG! Waiting for the autographed 1st edition!
p.s: sorry to have been one of the unhelpful friends :)

RajD said...

Congrats RumG! Waiting for the autographed 1st edition!
p.s: sorry to have been one of the unhelpful friends :)

RajD said...

Congrats RumG! Waiting for the autographed 1st edition!
p.s: sorry to have been one of the unhelpful friends :)

still learning... said...

:D the platypus is in a firm grip indeed! All the very best RamG!

tanushreesingh said...

Platypus is in a firm grip indeed! Here's wishing you the best and many many more delightful books to come.

Ramgopal Vallath said...

Raj - You really did everything you could. And you can do more by landing up in Bangalore for a JB.
Tanu - Thanks a ton.

Still learning - thanks my friend

Divya Kanal said...

Congrats RamG :) When's the book releasing? looking forward to reading it!

Divya

Manoj Pillai said...

Awesome news RamG, Congrats on getting the publisher. JK Rowling's publisher is going to repent for the rejection ;-)

Deeso Manjila said...

Non inclusion of Stress busting "OaCoB" sessions from the S&OP listed here is involuntary or voluntary?

PS:
OaCoB can be OaPoOM also.
Suggested expansions are:
Over a Cup of Beer
Over a Peg of Old Monk
__________________________________________________
RamG, now confidently and eagerly awaiting a honest simple & thought-directing book of yours, Sir....

Nandu said...

Nice to hear of your publishing story. Your perseverance and confidence paid off.