16 November, 2016

#GuestPost :: So you think you can write? by Deepak Kaul

About the Author:
Deepak Kaul is a chartered accountant by profession, specialising in international tax. He has over twenty years of work experience, of which twelve were spent overseas in Singapore and USA. Deepak has always been fond of reading.  Writing is his aspirational hobby and he hopes to pursue it as a vocation.  His debut novel Corpokshetra has been co-published by Westland and Bloody Good Book, India's first crowd sourced and curated publishing house.  Deepak has also self published several novels on Kindle.

Get in touch with the author on Twitter

So you think you can write?

“Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero, statesman, orator, and writer (106-43 B.C.)

Nothing's changed in almost 2000 years.  There was a time not so long ago, when you could step into a book store and were quite confident that anything you picked up from the shelf in the Top 20 Bestseller list would hold your interest for 300 or so pages.  The selection would be of a wide variety, spanning several genres.  Not anymore.  With the advent of the sub-100 rupee eBook, and the relative ease of self publishing, seemingly everyone is churning out largely vapid relationship novels that perpetually clutter Bestseller lists.

Is this an indication of India's reading habits?  I sincerely hope not because that would seem to imply that a whole host of Indians lead very desultory lives and are looking for some sort of release within the romance genre.  I think it's merely an indication of the rapid pace of our lives.  In these nanosecond times, when the download speed of your data plan determines your social status, who has the time to read a thought provoking, carefully crafted 300 page, 300 rupee book, when you can download something, anything, for less than 100 rupees and finish it in a couple of hours.  If that's the case, why bother reading and might as well stick to watching dance reality shows on TV or on your smart phone?

And it's this ready market for cheap, quick read, minimally edited and proof read books that is encouraging a lot of people to try their luck.  Maybe they will strike the lottery in this publishing roulette table.  Maybe they will have a 100,000 copy bestseller which might get made into a movie and get them some media space alongside celebrities.  But is it worth it?  Let's do that math.  If you do win this lottery, and manage to sell 100,000 copies of your book within 100 days, you will at best make 5 lacs (not crores), pre-tax.  That's not going to change your life.  Forget changing your life, given the inflation in the country, it might not support you for a quarter, especially if the country has had a bad monsoon.

If you are an aspiring author, before you start typing away on the keyboard of your laptop or PC, please be very sure why you are writing.  Is it to be the next celebrity author, or is it because writing rings your bell?  If you have been reading the right kind of books, you will also have an indication of whether you can actually write.  What passes for writing these days is not writing at all.  And finally, the only rule of writing is write for a single audience - yourself.  If it entertains you, it might hopefully entertain someone else.  The good thing about writing is that, as with almost everything, you can get better with practise.  Don't rush off the first draft of your first relationship novel to the nearest vanity publisher.  God speed and good luck.

About his Book:

Summers last a few months, winters too, though weather patterns have been disrupted by climate change. And through the changing seasons, the struggle for the Iron Throne continues. VCs and angel investors, dot com billionaires and start-ups, lawyers, CFOs and honest men, all will play the Game of Codes. You win, or you go bust. But you could always start a hedge fund.

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