The Unadorned

My literary blog to keep track of my creative mood swings with poems n short stories, book reviews n humorous prose, travelogues n photography, reflections n translations, both in English n Hindi.

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I'm a peace-loving married Indian male on the right side of '50 with college-going children, and presently employed under government. Educationally I've a master's degree in History, and another in Computer Application. Besides, I've a post graduate diploma in Management. My published works are:- (1)"In Harness", ISBN 81-8157-183-5, a poetry collections and (2) "The Remix of Orchid", ISBN 978-81-7525-729-0, a short story collections with a foreword by Mr. Ruskin Bond, (3) "Virasat", ISBN 978-81-7525-982-9, again a short story collection but in Hindi, (4) "Ek Saal Baad," ISBN 978-81-906496-8-1, my second Story Collection in Hindi.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Secod Best

It is not easy to get all the answers one needs to clear one's doubts, more so if one wants them instantly. There are certain doubts that are best answered in time. In other words, one should not mind if no answer follows the question; answers do need incubation. Some doubts take years to get answered and some even get answered posthumously.

I'm not talking of those scientific inquiries that need rigorous research and laboratory experiments. My doubt is simple, just connected with the matter I'm presently engrossed with. In general terms let me articulate this: Whether doing the second best is better than waiting for aeons to mature for adopting the best course?

I've published my third book on my own. It's as if my works lack literary worth that big-time publishers look for as they scout for contents. But then what kind of quality do they really look for? Let me talk about my book of short stories, "The Remix of Orchid." A book that made Ruskin Bond to foreword so generously cannot be said to be lacking in quality, content-wise. The entire book is set in the pristine islands of the Andamans, and nobody has ever taken up that remote yet beautiful place as the setting of all his stories in an entire book. To quote Mr Bond, 'And I can say this to those who love books: your choice of reading a book on the Andamans should start right here. With "The Remix of Orchid" you will not be disappointed.' But even such a warm-hearted support from no less a person than Ruskin Bond failed to create publisher's interest in my book.

Now the second example. It is about my book "Virasat" that I got released during last May. While releasing the book, the noted Hindi poet Mr Arun Kamal said, 'The stories present profound human relationships. It's rare that an Oriya-speaking person proves himself to be a prominent author of short stories in Hindi.' The book is probably the first of its kind if one considers the subject it deals with. A whole book of collection of thirty short stories has been devoted to postal life, postal environment and the interaction of this glorious organization with society in the context of the change in popular perception about the very usefulness of the organisation. The book has scored in terms of the appreciation of the readers from the day one of its release. People like its raw and unadorned approach, the power of its theme, the unstoppable flow...and the list is not yet complete. If it is so content-wise, then why did the publishers dither to give it a try?

Some say that it is not the content alone that clicks. One needs to do a lot of running around. Only yesterday I met a gentleman whose books, ten of them so far according to his information, have been published by various publishers. Some of the publishers are not the name one should feel great about, but at least one is a big name that churns out blockbusters. So I was curious to know about the way he went about achieving the feat. And I came to know what he did. Yes, it was from horse's mouth. He bought some two hundred copies of his own book from the publisher at sixty-six percent of the printed price. Maybe, by selling that many copies, the publisher got his investment recovered. The rest he will sell for his own profit without giving anything to the writer. If the book sells, the publisher will reprint and corner that amount too.

If that is what like getting published by a big-time publisher, then self-publication means a lot of peace…except, of course, the nagging feeling that one is rejected.
A. N. Nanda



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