“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”
One of my favourite Zen quote .
When you have truly created something you start to nurture it with some great love. I got such an attachment for the work I was doing and by Divine Grace, I was getting some ideas to write daily.
There was no particular time or pattern I was following. But there was always one particular song I would listen to on a particular day and then listen to the same song for many days together. By now my word count was tipping above 20, 000. I still had no idea of how many words are needed for a small book. I had no idea how I am going to meet a Publisher. I would browse the big names I adore in publishing on the net. There was nothing much I could gather from any of their websites. I decided to ask some of my Author friends here. A good friend of mine is a published author with a bestseller. I see him going for evening walks. I thought if I walked with him a few days I might gain some gyan in the world of publishing. I did some ‘walk the talk’ with him too. He told me I will have to edit my work properly ( ‘’now what is editing ?’’ ) and then submit it to a publishing house. And then two things can happen. They may give me a reply in six months or one year. They may not even respond. That means I will have to submit my precious manuscript and I may not even hear a word about it for six months. This is just not acceptable. I felt very thoughtful, yet I continued to work on my script.
I decided to meet a family friend whose son is a great Author and well known for his majestic works related to the Nair community of Kerala. I took an appointment to meet him and went to their house one evening. It was just a few chapters and a work in progress, but I wanted to know how to meet a publisher. He was so kind to read my manuscript and then gave me some invaluable guidance.
He said the introduction part was a little serious . I noted the concern in his words.
He appreciated some of the parts and said these are very good and I must stick to writing in that fashion. I must put the reader first. There should be something exciting, something to evoke the reader’s curiosity on every page. There should Some beautiful images like ‘’ My grandpa coming after a bath and reciting Devi sloka’’ He said that image is very pleasing.
He said I can take a break for two or three months from my writing at this point and wait for ideas to come. I absorbed his words. I removed the disturbing part from the introduction. I wanted my book to be a feel-good book. The kind of book I love to read. Some innocence, nature, music, love (here it is the love of my grandparents ), and of course an active kitchen. I read literally all genres of books, but this was the kind of book I wanted to read now. I took a break from writing and started reading my type of books. Even before I started writing also I lost interest in all fiction. I bought books of my choice and started reading them. It was good at that time I took a small break .
It during that time I found out Dr. Jaysree Om Borad of our os.me community published a book. I have huge respect for women writers and soon I became her friend through Facebook. One fine day I decided to ask her for some guidance and the rest is history. She has guided me throughout the long and arduous journey of Self Publishing. A blessing from Sri Hari Bhagavan .
Dr . Jayasree personally introduced me to her Publisher. But the communications with them broke after the lock down happened. I found my Publisher through a google search. And an year of intense learning followed on the nuances of self publishing. I can say the process is still going on.
In this journey so far I learned:
Learning was tough for me but I was determined.
1. When you are writing keep a note pad along with you at all times. You can also strategically keep note pads at different places in and around your homeand scribble whenever it is required.( Initially you may get quizzical looks later they ignore you .So don’t hesitate .)
2. Don’t think you need solitude or a lot of free time to write. I wrote mostly in the middle of cooking.
3. Swamiji says ‘’ Distraction is good ‘’ 🙂 Get your dose of distraction not daily though . Mine were mostly music and movies .
4. You will need a minimum of 50 , 000 words more the better. Some stuff will be added or substracted at the time of editing.
(I heard somewhere 20, 000 words are good enough and soon I was holding my first proof with 75 pages. It was only quarter of a book. To make it a book I had to send the manuscript again with somewhere 70 000 words. It was double work and lot of delay caused by ignorance.)
5. Don’t trust anyone with your editing and proofreading. Do it yourselves or get a pro to do it.
I learned the basics of editing, formatting and proof reading during this time. It is fun and and a great value addition.
6. Give enough time and patience when it comes to Cover design. I couldn’t do it myself so I trusted the work to my Publisher.
7. Title of the book is very important.
( I was wise enough to accept so many ”No”s from Dr, Jaysree while doing this process. On somedays I even wondered she is in a bad mood. But I kept quiet suppressed my frustration and worked on other titles till we both agreed and got that Aha moment.)
8. Download your Grammerly App. The basic is free. Thanks to Dr. Jayasree for giving me this invaluable info. I did my editing myself . It was difficult to hire a pro at that time.
Add Grammerly extention to chrome or MS Word. It is invaluable. I love this App because of the encouraging pop ups and occasional ”pat on the back ”
9. Don’t be ashamed to go your friendly neighbourhood and surrender . I did this because I was not knowing how do an NEFT transcation. They will definetly show yoyu where the forms are kept. No point lingering around there hoping to be spoonfed by the officials. You can take the form and fill it there itself or come back home and get it done by kids. ( Nobody gives a damn !)
10. Don’t get intimidated by other writers. Trust your work and stand by it. It is your creation. Keep reading the kind of books that you love to read.
11. You are not going to change overnight after publishing a book. Your people are not going to change the way they look at you. You will still be ‘’Chopping wood and carrying water’’
Happy writing. 🙂
Here are the two BestSellers from Dr.Jayasree Om Borad
The Ancient Science Of Vastu
The Ancient Science Of Vastu Manushyalaya Chandrika
And the links are here: