Virtually ever unsolicited article I would ever send would be rejected. The prospect of having a book published, far less for it to go on to be in the Bestsellers Lists, was as distant a possibility as of Anil Kapoor ever walking onto the stage during an Oscar presentation.
For me, the first sentence doesn’t hold true. In fact, the first ever unsolicited article I sent, to no less a magazine than Femina, was published and paid for, to my great delight. I thought it was no mean feat to have a humour piece published in a prominently read women’s magazine that didn’t really feature such articles. You can read a humorous article on my first sale here.
From there on, I wrote several more. Many were published in Times of India, in their supplements. I had a couple of ‘middles’ published in Deccan Herald.
But through all of this, I never started a blog. I have no idea why I never thought of it. I was having too much fun writing and getting published (even if not as often) and getting paid (not as often or as much).
This is not to say that had I started a blog in lieu of writing articles I might have latched on to something spectacular. It’s hardly easy to write a blog that goes viral and captures the attention of the multitudes and even results in a book deal. For all I know, any blog I started might have turned out the opposite.
Regardless, at some point, I started writing books. Ideas came thick and fast in the summer of 2002 itself. Here’s a little chronology of the books I’ve completed:
The Unofficial Guide to the Indian Company(2002-2003)
A humorous nonfiction book about life in an average desi firm. The book clocked in at a grand total of 22,000 words, deemed too short for publication, though the sample chapters sent to various houses drew some praise.
The Ramp Less Traveled(2003-2006)
Humorous fiction about an heiress who defies her father’s plans of making her an engineer and opts for an unsuitable career of her own. This too drew uniform praise from industry professionals who received sample chapters, but I guess the pacing was off as it didn’t go further.
Set in a software company. War between two colleagues for a coveted award. The woman here acquires some magic that she thinks will defeat her opponent, but what does she know?
Of all the three, I have had the least success with the last. On introspection, I realize it is perhaps due to my placing it so firmly in the software world. Non-IT people were left befuddled.
Another thing I’ve had to accept is that fiction is a different ballgame altogether, and the learning curve associated with it far exceeds what I’d expected. I still need to keep learning and keep writing, and develop my skills.
My goal now is to write more short fiction and get it published. My thirst for penning novels, however unpublishable they might turn out, hasn’t died yet. I just have to fit it into my already brimming schedule as a mother and an IT professional, but then everyone makes sacrifices to pursue their dream.