Writing a novel was top of my bucket list. Thirty three years of dilly dallying and one year of excruciating labour, there it was. My magnum opus. The response from family and friends was elevating. I gathered up courage and sent it to a renowned literary agent. The three chapter hurdle was easily surmounted and I gleefully sent off my complete manuscript. A fairy tale ending. The prince of publishing lay with his arms wide open and I ran towards him, in slow motion.
Four months of waiting and with great trepidation, I called and asked about the status of my novel. After three further reminders, I got a polite email. ‘The book was good and I was a skilled writer but.. Could I make it into a thriller since that would make it more commercial? This market was not for literary fiction. Too much of a gamble.’ I declined politely.
Four months lost! I scrambled off query letters and received manuscript requests from most publishers. Hope springs eternal so I was back in the game. The prince of publishing reappeared and I walked tentatively towards him.
It’s been two months in limbo land now. No rejection, no acceptance.
Patience is not one of my virtues and in an epiphany, I took charge of my fate and turned to the self publishing god of Amazon. Collecting my short stories in one volume, I launched an ebook. Voila! Twenty four hours later, I was a published writer. Top of the charts in anthologies, short stories and in hot new releases. I had found the winning formula! Let the novel take its time since waiting was an inevitable part of traditional publishing but my ebook was in my control. Or so I thought. A week later, two weeks later, it was a free falling spiral. I was obsessed, possessed, with staying afloat the murky waters of Amazon self publishing.
It’s been seven weeks since I have launched my ebook. More than twenty plus great reviews on Goodreads and Amazon later, yet I wake up to the same nightmare daily. Will “A Smattering of Darkness” be downloaded or bought today?
Somewhere along the way, I have stopped writing or reading. I just spend time promoting and marketing my ebook. On the chopping block of marketing, lies the head of many a writer. There is no rest or recreation and to think, all I wanted to do, was to write.
Alisha “Priti” Kirpalani is the author of a “A Smattering Of Darkness: Short and Shorter Twisted Tales,” a collection of short stories of varying lengths encapsulating the grey shades of the human psyche. Her new novel will be released later this year.