Night after the storm: the end of my first self publishing odyssey

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 45; the forty-fifth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
In Tamil there is a saying, you need to construct a house and organize a marriage to know how difficult it is. I would add self-publishing a book to the list. My first self-published book with fellow authors Radha and Suresh has indeed been one stormy year long journey. Now finally the storm has passed and this night after the storm I reflect on the journey.

It all began with this initiative called Indi Fiction Workshop I and Suresh organized for developing fiction writing skills. After a few exercises, we realized that while we were working hard on the monthly exercises and some good feedback was coming our way, tangible progress could not be observed. The reason being no one took the feedback seriously and went and reworked their stories. Without that we realized the true import of the feedback given could not be understood.

But then a practice story on a blog did not serve as a motivating factor to put in so much hard work. So we decided to up the stakes and go in for publication. We could not depend on traditional publishers to play along. So we decided to go in for self-publishing and also use the opportunity to explore the Kindle medium about which there was lot of hype. Probably if our experiment worked out well, in future also we could leverage this medium rather than put ourselves at the tender mercies of traditional publishers.

We did not want to start with something too ambitious at the outset. So we decided to form a team picking some of the best authors with whom we felt we could maintain a good working relationship. Thus the core team of five was formed. Initially we thought of a collection of short stories with each contributing 2-3 stories. But after some discussions we decided to go for longer stories of size 10-12 K. At this stage we felt we were probably one author short and decided to induct Radha as well into our group.

Next step was to decide on the genre. The group decided unanimously against romance. Next choice was crime thrillers. I had hoped we would write fantasy. But then fantasy apparently was not such a hot genre in India and at least 1 member of our team was not into fantasy at all. After the initial disappointment, I threw my hat into the ring and decided to give a it a shot. After all I had made an attempt at romance for the publisher contests. As well try out this genre before moving on to my favorite genre which required an amalgamation of skills of all these genres and more.

Next step was to come up with initial plot outlines. We discussed 2-3 ideas and froze on our ideas. With that done, it was time to get started on the stories. I started out with the first two chapters and it came out outrageously. I had been inflicted with writer’s block at the wrong moment. I just could not proceed. Then Suresh suggested I take on a plot with some fantasy elements to find motivation and he himself suggested a basic idea. I tried to mull over that idea but still the words refused to come. Then I decided to just apply brute will and sit every morning and write one chapter whether inspired or otherwise.

So finally over 15 mornings, the first draft got written. I was still the second one to come up with a draft after Suresh. The others were still to come up with drafts. Four of my fellow authors shared feedback on my draft and Suresh consolidated the entire feedback. Clearly the plot had more holes than an Indian road. I decided to junk the whole thing and write it all over again from scratch. The second time around with at least high level structure in place, the flow seemed to come easier.

While, I was struggling with my second draft, one of our team members who was supposed to tutor us on the marketing had suddenly gone incognito. Others first drafts were slowly trickling in and were being dispatched away by Suresh for plot edits. We decided to share the marketing workload among us and move ahead without our missing friend. Anyways most of our stories were exceeding 12 K and we could do with one author less.

Again I was the next one after Suresh for the second draft as well though after a long 1.5 months of writing. Others were yet to be in. Again lots of feedback poured in: this time narrative edits. I had to rewrite close to half the chapters all over again. By now it was clear we were not going to meet the deadline of Diwali release. So we decided on a pre-Christmas release. Suresh had meantime done his research and come up with a huge marketing strategy document whose very appearance sent shivers down our spine.

So with me on my third draft, we began to initiate discussions on book title and cover illustration. Here Radha pitched in with her friend Vetri and after lot of deliberations we zeroed in on the title ‘Sirens Spell Danger.’ By the time title was decided, all the stories had entered the third draft. But clearly the pre-Christmas deadline no longer looked likely with two of the third drafts still far from completion. So we took the hard decision of moving ahead without two of our friends and stick to the deadline.

To my dismay, again feedback came in on the third draft and I had to work on a fourth draft before getting into copy edits stage. With two rounds of copy edits, I was all ready to drop dead. But then dead men do no marketing. Let me not even get into the onerous details of our marketing efforts.

But the happy news is the storm is finally over and on this night after the storm I introduce our book, “Sirens Spell Danger”. Hope all you kind readers will ensure this book does not become love’s lost labor by buying the book at one of the below links.

Download Link for India  : https://www.amazon.in/dp/B00HBJ5TMM
Download Link for US    : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HBJ5TM
Download Link for UK   : https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00HBJ5TMM

Available on Amazon pages of most other countries as well. You don't need a Kindle device to read the book. You can either read it on cloud or through a downloadable Kindle app for any device. (Available here) .If you do read,we would appreciate a review on Amazon and Goodreads as well. 
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47 comments:

indu chhibber said...

I hope this is only the first storm,with lots more to come!

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Hmm - a storm and me the epicenter :)

The Fool said...

Thanks Indu. I hope so too.

The Fool said...

Lol Suresh.

Rickie said...

Well, this is a great initiative by the three of you. I am on to your story now, Karthik. Once I finish all three (I apologize for my tardy progress so far!), I will submit my honest feedback on the Amazon page.

As always, my best wishes for the book to achieve great success.

Rachna said...

It is heartwarming to see this collaboration among 3 bloggers that I've the pleasure of meeting and knowing. I have also read yours and Suresh's writing. I have already downloaded the book and have read one story so far. Like Rickie, I have been tardy in reading with vacation. But once I am done, I will leave a feedback on Amazon. Good to read about your trials and tribulations and bringing the book to publication. Wish all three of you good luck with its success!

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

More books less storms :)

Sundari Venkatraman said...

Hi
That was an interesting read. I can see the struggle you all underwent and the 'never say die' spirit. All the best! Looking forward to reading your book. Will come up with a review soon. :)

Rubina Ramesh said...

Very motivational and inspiring story. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. I am sure many of us who dream to aspire this would learn a thing or two from this post.

The Fool said...

Thanks Rickie. Awaiting your feedback.

The Fool said...

Thanks Rachna. Waiting for your feedback.

The Fool said...

Thanks Sundari. Waiting for your review. Hope the final product is commensurate to our efforts.

The Fool said...

Thanks Rubina. I do hope there are some lessons from our experience. Did not cover the technical side though. That can be looked at easily from the net.

umashankar said...

As if writing weren't one hell of an experience, publishing has its own highways of thorns. I am glad you have cleared those miles, Karthik. Wish you a speedy journey ahead!

Jairam said...

I read the book, loved it and have put up a review of it at http://mahabore.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/sirens-spell-danger-book-review/

The Fool said...

Thanks Jairam. Glad you liked the book.

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, umashankar. Thanks to the good wishes of people like you, I was able to reach this far.

Destination Infinity said...

Excellent initiative TF. I have your book in my Kindle and will read it shortly.

Destination Infinity

mahesh said...

Happy New Year Karthik sir and thanks for listing down the efforts that went into producing this Kindle e-book. All the very best. Could you please confirm how much the authors had to pool in for getting this book self-published? In essence, how much did it cost? Many thanks and look forward to your reply!

The Fool said...

Thanks Rajesh.

Pankti Mehta said...

Wow...I am really intimidated by the effort it goes into the making of a book. Best of luck!

Red Handed said...

3 bloggers....one mission.
I am so happy!!!
and the way your guys handles all the hurdles is amazing!

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Just to add to that, the editing and copy-editing as well as formatting it for Kindle were done by us. If you access professional help for that, it could cost you more.

Prasanna Rao said...

Thank you for this post on the background work that went in publishing your book. I know lots of hardwork and effort and dedication were put in. And I'm sure it will be a smashing success :) Congrats :)

mahesh said...

Many thanks - karthik sir - both you and Suresh sir are truly a huge inspiration and have also discovered Radha mam's blog! Will read the ebook soon and publish a review.

The Fool said...

Thanks Pankti.

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Red Handed.

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Prasanna.

aativas said...

Excellent initiative and Congratulation to all of you.

Ashwini C N said...

I did read about this in Suresh's blog. Congratulations to you on your book. May this be the first among the many more books to come. Good luck :-)

P.S. A saying in Tamil? I did not know you were from TN. Vanakkam! :-)

Rohan Kachalia said...

Heartiest congratulations to you on your book!! Good luck :)

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot aativas.

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Ashwini. Vanakkam to you as well.

The Fool said...

Thanks, Rohan.

Nandini Garg said...

Best wishes for your book, Karthik!
Once I complete, shall drop with a review there! :)
Felt great on going through your stormy experience.

Leo said...

Oh I know the effort behind this book! and I hope it does really well, TF :)

Congratulations once again! :)

Harshal Gupta said...

An incredible journey TF. Indeed a lot of effort has been put into the making of Sirens Spell Danger. Though I have downloaded the book, the time crunch, daily schedule hasn't given me time to read it, which I will do at the earliest. I am sure it will be a treat to read.A stormy experience for all three of the authors. :)

Congratulations.

N.S.Kirti said...

Firstly, congratulations on your book. It is really great to read about the journey behind it. I am yet to read the book though; will give you my feedback as soon as I finish it.
I hope many such storms brew for you TF, I really do!

Simran said...

After so much of efforts countering storms finally you all overcame with a sweet success along.
Congrats! :-)

Nabanita said...

wherever Suresh goes there follows a Storm :D!

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Nandini. Looking forward to your review.

The Fool said...

Off course who better than you, Leo? Thanks.

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Harshal. Do read the book and let us know what you think.

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Kirti. Eagerly awaiting your feedback.

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Simran.

jaish_vats said...

Hi TF As i updated Suresh, unable to download it here in SG. But great initiative from u guys. Kudos to all the hard work

Karthik L said...

Thanks Jaish. I guess that can't be helped.

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