THE TRAVAILS OF AN ASPIRING AUTHOR – PART 2
Continuing with the subject of publishing, the next species on the radar is the self-publishing or vanity outfit.
They come in all forms and sizes, their basic schemes beginning from a modest 20 thousand rupees or so, to the premium packages costing 1 lac rupees and above.
The words of a prominent critic come to mind: “If someone asks for money to publish your book, be warned because once he has the money in advance, he needn’t worry any more and the author would be left to fend for himself”.
The favourite pitch of the self-publishing company is how the big cousin (traditional publisher) has no time for a new author. He will trumpet the fact that even a big writer like Amish Tripathi had been rejected by score of traditional publishers, ultimately forcing him to take resort to self-publishing.
So, to hell with the traditional publisher! You really don’t need him anymore when the friendly neighbourhood self-publisher is around. Moreover, what the latter offers are services exactly of a similar kind, with the added benefit of his entire team being there at your disposal to ensure that your book gets the kind of treatment it rightly deserves and you fulfil your dream of seeing your book in print.
If you subscribe to one of the lower or middle level plans and aren’t careful to study what plan precisely entails, you may end having to cough up extra sums of money for unlisted services such as comprehensive editing, for example. Marketing is another important aspect, which is generally couched in unclear terms and when the time comes, you are made aware of certain criteria whereby you are required to meet certain set target to be eligible for it.
You are promised heaven, so to speak, and what with a specific project manager, coordinator, etc. etc. allotted to your book, you’ll feel like royalty. Once you are soaking in the euphoria, the publisher’s help will then inundate you with offers to make your book a sure bestseller. Among those would be Google ads, Facebook ads, Twitter ads, etc. and if are found compliant, other suggestions like a special edition Director’s-Cut video, a comprehensive email campaign will follow. The pitch generally goes like this: “The previous author who had heeded to our advice saw his sales shoot up phenomenally from a meagre couple of hundred to 100,000 copies sold within a period of a month.” Naturally, one would have to be an out-and-out stingy person to turn down such a wonderful scheme with a proven track record!
Honestly, I for one couldn’t refuse it! Having agreed to the email campaign and after paying a tidy sum in advance, I was asked to furnish a list of my relatives and friends, with email addresses. Naturally, I couldn’t hide my displeasure at such a preposterous request, saying that I didn’t need him to contact those persons as I have already contacted each and every one them personally. It didn’t go well with him at all and his response oozed sarcasm: “Thank you for your kind cooperation. I shall manage the campaign in the best manner I can!” Unfortunately, I was indisposed and hospitalised for a while and when I returned home, the answer to my query about the campaign was vague – “The campaign has concluded successfully” but unfortunately, the person responsible had proceeded on leave. I persisted with my queries but wasn’t able to speak him on some excuse or other, till finally, I was informed that he had left their employment for good.
Here, I seek your leave, but you can be assured that there will be more interesting things on the topic in the next episode. I would certainly love to share them with you.
Walter Salvadore Pereira