The World Book Fair has just come to an end. Like every year, this year’s fair was as colourful and splendid as it could get. With books all around, it was tough to control myself from emptying my pockets. Like every year, we got to hear some of the best authors in town. People from across the country came, just to witness the grandeur this event creates. A number of books were launched as well, including my endeavour too.
In this entire hullabaloo over whose book got the maximum coverage and which book turned out to be a hit with readers, what I, as an author, happened to observe is that there are so many of us who struggle to make our books reach to the readers. There comes a time in my life when I feel like giving up, when I feel why am I standing all day in the fair to interact with people who may or may not take a copy of my book, why am I wasting away my weekend tiring myself to the hilt instead of taking the much needed rest from work. There are times I feel like just shouting at my publisher for not being able to get proper distributors, there are times I feel like slapping the distributor who has no other work than looking at my cleavage, there are days when book sellers don’t take me seriously just because I am a girl who looks way too younger than her age, there are moments when I simply feel like throwing off the pile of books on the middlemen who is just concerned about his commission rather than looking into the value of my writing.
I got published last year when I was in my final year of engineering. I had no support from family or college. I had no one to back promotions, I had no one to cover me and my book, and it was just me and a group of friends at college who spread about the book on Facebook. I got published through one of those small houses known to give a chance to debutantes. When I received a confirmation from the publishers, I was overjoyed and couldn’t thank them enough. I am still obliged to them for giving me the much needed platform. At that time, it had good distribution and quite a number of people knew about it. I didn’t have to invest anything, would get some royalty and was asked to promote it well through social networking sites and my blog. Unfortunately, by the time my book released, my house’s distribution fell and I knew I had to fight my way by getting in touch directly with distributors and sellers. The one good thing my publisher did was share their list of sellers with me so that atleast I could talk to them if my book had reached their stores or not. Majority of the stores I contacted didn’t have my book and I was soon a delivery girl for these stores.
I have experienced it all in the past one year of being in the publishing industry but then, it is at the fair I see so many authors fighting away a one man battle, I watch them talking to people humbly even when they have been standing at Pragati Maidan for ten days at a stretch without a chair to sit on, with the single motive of reaching out to readers. I see so many self published authors working ten times harder than me for their book. It is then I realize yet again that there’s nothing better than watching people read your work and appreciate it. It is then I understand that witnessing your delighted readers talk about your effort infront of everyone is no less than winning the Booker prize. It is then when I feel like those hundreds of sleepless nights and caffeine filled days have paid off. It is then one feels rejuvenated even after standing all day in the fair because there’s sheer joy in getting to see the figures rising higher and higher. And it is then, I sit to write about such realizations on a khooni Monday at my office, juggling between churning travel content and loads of coffee to keep me awake because of the exhaustion of the previous day’s fair.