In 2012, my first pitch for a novel was turned down by a few publishers. After almost two decades in media, having notched up a reputation as a fairly capable writer, I was devastated. The book, a few chapters of which had been written and was based on a subject very close to my heart, was instantly abandoned. Tossed into a dustbin. I was determined never to attempt a book again. I should mention here that I had written a book when I was a child, inspired by the Agatha Christie novels that I fed on. Death in Croydon, I think it was called, neatly typewritten by myself on my father’s Remington typewriter and stapled together. Of course, that didn’t count as a first novel. I think my mother still has it somewhere in her house.
The husband, God bless him for his good sense, asked me to stop moping and start writing a blog. “How does it matter if someone has rejected your book idea? Write something else,” he said matter-of-factly one morning at breakfast unable to take in my dismal appearance anymore. “Write a blog. About your experiences in Gurgaon. You keep complaining about your life here. Well, here’s your chance. Blog about it.”
So I did.
I started writing a blog. I called it The Gurgaon Diaries. I wrote with a strange zeal I didn’t know I possessed. Thrice, sometimes even four times a week. Some posts were funny, satiric, others sad, poignant. I posted my updates on Facebook and soon I had a loyal following of people who looked forward to my posts every week. I had readers!
There were no expectations. All I did was pour my heart out into my posts every week. For five years in a row. And then last year, I decided to attempt a book again. My confidence in myself had returned. The plot, based on one of my blog posts, was about a funny lady I had met in Gurgaon. I called her Dragon Aunty. I sent a pitch to Juggernaut Books and they loved the idea. I had my foot in the door!
Around the same time, I got an email from another publisher. It seems they had been reading my blog and wanted to turn my blog into a book. All of a sudden, there was two book deals! I had a few months to rewrite my blog completely and turn it into a 70,000 word manuscript. I was elated but apprehensive at the same time. I had been writing a blog. It was completely different from a manuscript for a book.
How did I do it? More about that in my next post.
The moral of the story? Don’t give up on your dreams. Ever. I won’t either. I will complete that first book of mine, still unpublished as of now! I’m quite sure it will be a winner.