When I heard that British writer Preti Taneja (she won the Desmond Elliott Prize for her first novel, We That Are Young) was turned down by all the big names in the publishing industry, I realised that my angst over finding a traditional publisher for my book was misplaced.
Preti’s novel was published by a small publisher in 2016, and the publisher could not understand why there “hadn’t been a bidding war for the rights.”
Preti’s prose, according to the judges, contained “prose as sensual, perfumed and parti-coloured as a wedding basket of ladoo, inset with gems of pure poetry”.
I do not consider myself in Preti’s league, not by a long shot. Then why in the world was I resentful of publishers who did not bother to respond to my book proposal?
I did wonder whether my book proposal was good enough, although I did all the right things by reading HowTo articles. No one asked for the manuscript (in India traditional publishers accept book proposals directly from authors). A friend, who was published by Harper Collins, told me that my book proposal was probably lying in a slush pile somewhere. Harper Collins hasn’t responded even though it has been over 8 months.
I completed my first novel in December 2017. I had written the first draft some years earlier, but the manuscript had been lying around gathering dust. I finally took it up in the summer of 2017 and finished it in six months. Once the 300-page novel was done, I knew I wanted to write 5 more books, two of them non-fiction. God willing, I will do it. It could take years, maybe ten. That doesn’t matter because all that matters is that I love what I am doing.
(This post was originally written for a writing group but as I am not a part of that group now, references to it have been removed)