NOTES ON SELF-PUBLISHING

Tuesday is carrying on with the hum of the usual weekday chores. Except, for a while, the skies grows darker with clouds heavy with unspent moisture and the wind is sharp and cold, rushing through the trees in their tender green covers. As the treetops sway under the onslaught of the winds, the ambient white noise putting me in mind of sitting by the ocean somewhere and listening to the sound of the waves, I feel relief. Not travelling anywhere for such a long time now has been a drag on the senses. But it has been a conscious decision between my husband and I. We had discussed about it at length and decided that we would take all possible care and wait out the storm. Travelling will only feel that much more pleasurable when we finally catch that first flight to some place far out or even if we simply drive down in a car to a place nearer home. We have not been anywhere since March in 2020. That for us feels like a long, long time because we are so used to being on the road. Then again, everyone is fighting a battle of their own, most on the mental front, while plenty others are involved in fighting it on the physical front. Some are cash-strapped, trying to survive somehow in a strange new world in which work has completely dried up. On the other hand, there are those who are learning to love their own body, those who are fighting on a daily basis for their unborn children, some are dealing with diseases, and many others are coping with losses of their loved ones. When life seems overwhelming, you find yourself wondering how to keep your head above water.

The struggle/s of the mind is no new phenomenon for the writer. One is used to doubting everything one puts on paper. Because sometimes every word seems out of place. Ever since I have been writing, I have been bogged down by doubts, but the magnitude of it hit me like a locust storm when I undertook the job of writing a book. If you are not a writer who has written a book or is in the process of writing one, you really cannot imagine what self-loathing and self-recrimination is and how those two devils can really do a number on you. There are many more emotions thrown into the mix, but those two were the main ones I dealt with as I worked on finishing the book and then arriving at the crucial decision that I wanted to publish the book on my own. It helped that I came across an Irish writer called David Gaughran, reading whose books on self-publishing and watching whose videos on the subject gave me hope that I could do it privately.

If you had asked me previously about this indie effort of mine, about the alternative world of publishing out there, I might have turned down the thought with alacrity. After all there is a certain snobbishness about the entire affair, a kind of stink if you will. But reading Gaughran I was convinced that it was what I thought that mattered at the end of the day, especially if I was determined to have my book out there and not be dependent on the whim of some agent. Sure traditional publishing is the well-established route to fame. But I am not hung up on fame; I would rather run in the other direction. I have an Instagram account of roughly six hundred followers. That is telling. I do not court the numbers because it is a rabbit hole of desperation and despair (if life does not deal us enough of those emotions already). All I wanted was for my book to be read by those who love reading for the sake of reading.

Now to return to the whole endeavour of privately printing the book, I was enthused by the story of Virginia Woolf and her husband, Leonard Woolf. They set up their own publishing company in 1917 and called it Hogarth Press after the cottage they lived in, in Richmond. Though they made no money off it, they continued printing books by authors such as Katherine Mansfield, Sigmund Freud and T.S.Eliot, for the passion of the business of printing. In 1901, Beatrix Potter published The Tales of Peter Rabbit on her own because she had failed with the traditional route. Using her personal savings she printed 250 copies to begin with.

There are so many examples out there that I fear this might become a thesis if I delved into the lot of them. What I want to tell you if you are an aspiring author, is that embrace those fears you had and don’t look away from self-publishing. Sure, you might not get the kind of attention you want, but at least your book will be out there for readers to read and decide if it passes muster or not. And it is okay, if some do not like it. Remember, your book cannot and will not please all.

However that said, before you decide to trip down the indie publishing path, do make sure you have a bang-up product. Get a professional book editor to shape your book, make sure the content is not plagiarised in any form, give proper attributes to other writers where you have quoted them, read the proofread copy as many times as your need to make sure there are no errors in it, format it properly, and invest in a cover designer who will reproduce your vision for the book on the outside of it. And you shall be golden. As for marketing, I am still learning the ropes of it. Honestly, I am terrible at it, having realised I do not even know how to host a giveaway. Yeah, lots for me on the learning curve yet, but hey I persevere.

The biggest joy at the end of the tunnel has been this that Ramblers in Cornwall is finally out there and enjoying its moment in the sun and for that I am so very grateful. All those times of being sat at the desk, worrying if all of it would come to naught, has finally been soothed away by the hands of time and I can finally bring myself to quote Kerouac without faltering. “One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”

Leaving you with a groovy song from Hurrah for the Riff Raff for your listening pleasure. Peace out.

Published by

Arundhati Basu

The great affair in my life is to travel. I count myself immensely fortunate that my partner shares this passion. We are a team that likes to spend time planning and plotting out places to go. Destination check, flights check, accommodation check, cheesy grins check. Off we go.

12 thoughts on “NOTES ON SELF-PUBLISHING

  1. Well, ma’mji, I did get your book in a e-version. On my to-read list. I will let you know.
    (One day I will get the paper version)
    Now Kerouac’s words? They’re on my shelves, printed on a large eraser, a gift from my late son-in-law. He loved Kerouac.
    (It will be 4 years in May…)
    Thank you for choosing those very words. πŸ™πŸ»
    Phir milenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Brianji, thank you for the support. I hope it will bring you some reading pleasure. That is all I want. Let me check on the paperback, if I can get it across to you. πŸ™‚

      I am so happy to hear it reminds you of your son-in-law. Kerouac is my hero.

      Looking forward to hopping over to your blog! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will let you know. Don’t worry about the paperback. I will check it. I have found that an article on Amazon that is not available today is tomorrow. How do you “crazy” or “surreal” in Hindi?
        Phir milenge and all that. πŸ™πŸ»

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is certainly odd, which would be “ajeeb” in Hindi. I hope you can slip it in, in a sentence, somehow. 😬

        You have a good weekend ahead, Brianji.

        Like

      3. Shukriya ma’amji. Ajeeb? I can slip in just about one of every two sentences. Everything is “ajeeb” these days. 🀣
        U 2. Grandchildren coming tomorrow. That should be nice. (Though exhausting)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. AS for waiting out the virus, Arundhati, I do hope you have plenty of time? πŸ™‚ Unfortunately I belive we will be encountering ever new mutants of this, and possibly also new viruses in the future. And when at least 50% of humanity seems to ignore the best way to fight it, it will spread – and spread . . .
    You only need to take a look at todays India, Turkey, Brazil and/or Pakistan to see thet I’m right about this?
    Be content where you are! After all, you have been blessed to see more of our beautiful world than most people already. Cherrish the memories and the special moments. I t will last you for the rest of your life!
    And as you by now might have experienced: Breaking through as an author is no easy task. Not even digitally! It is a paradox: Even confined to their houses most of the time, bloggers seem to find no time for reading long articles, nor to follow links that would supply further information. People just do not! Yes some, but very few!
    Take my blog as an example: Dual language, 2000 different photo reports with more than 8000 pictures. You would thing I’d be busy for the rest of my life responding to comments, questions etc. but the truth is that absolutely nobody opens anything older than 2 weeks back. I’m really contemplating whether this was a waste of time, but – it has given me an interesting hobby in my old days. I will have to leave it at that! Take care! (This is not over!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope we still have some time left to see Corona as just another virus to contend with, rather than pause the business of living. Yes, there will be mutations but if scientists and doctors are to be believe we can make our way towards some herd immunity. You are right about the spread of the virus being rampant.

      Believe me, I am content, but there are windows of frustration where I just want to go back to our old lives but that is not to be yet.

      As for my book Svein, so far the response has been far beyond my expectations. It has been most heartening. The upside of Covid is that people have more time to read. But funnily enough, I notice that the number of blog readers have trickled down to single digits. While it did bother me for a while, it does not anymore. I send out my posts now into the ether. If anyone drops by, I will be most delighted. If not, I will carry on with the day as before. I am happy to hear that you are not stopping your posts for the lack of readers. As long as they make you happy, that is all you need.

      You take good care of yourself. Dropping by your blog in a while. πŸ™‚

      Like

  3. Oh my gosh, congratulations, A!!! I’m so thrilled to hear that your book’s out! I was wondering the other day why I don’t get prompts anymore about your new blog posts anymore, so I actively searched for your website. I’m so glad I found you again. You know how much I enjoy reading your posts, right? Like this one πŸ™‚ I was gonna mention about how I agree with you, and that I’d probably feel guilty travelling because I know many are suffering, but now all I could think of is how happy I am for your that your book is here! Congratulations again. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amor, I was wondering where my friends were. I am so happy to have you back and delighted that you looked me up. This process of setting up the website has clearly taken off the chunk of my followers. Even though I did integrate the blog into it.

      Thank you so much for you words. I know and likewise, I love reading yours too. Makes me feel like I have a kindred soul out there. Cannot wait to get to make my way back to your blog. How have you been?! * hugs. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the look of your new blog, Arundhati, and was thrilled, and not a little jealous, to find that you had spent the time so usefully getting your book written and published. The title intrigued me, but I don’t have a Kindle and am so bad at technology you wouldn’t believe. I soldier along on an ancient laptop, fearful that it will die at any minute and I’ll have to start over. Nevertheless I’m proud of you, and sure that one day I’ll read your book. Something to look forward to. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Stay well, love, and enjoy all that you can of our world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The book has been some time in the making, Jo. I am a slow one. As slow as the proverbial 🐌. Thank you for your words! I am not awfully fond of Kindle myself. In fact mine is tucked away in some corner of my desk because I prefer actual books to an e-book. We are in the same boat. I am actually eyeing a typewriter next to clack away on. Adi is not too stoked at the idea of all the racket it shall subject him to. But at least I am not subjecting him to drums! πŸ˜‰

      I would love it if you do read it someday, whenever. You too stay safe and enjoy your gorgeous part of the world!!! xx

      Liked by 1 person

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