Carthick's Unfairy Tales Journey

Reflections on Self Publication of First Book
Today, I am happy to announce that I have completed my first ever book – “Carthick’s Unfairy Tales”. As of now the book will be only in e-book form and will be available only on Amazon’s Kindle Platform. Based on the response to the book, I will consider a paperback launch later. It is expected to be launched in December or January. The exact details will be decided based on the planning for the marketing activities. Most of the book production activities are complete except for a couple of final proof reads to remove any of those little niggling errors that creep in despite doing your best and hiring one of the best in the business as an editor. READ MORE

Why I wanted to be a Writer?
As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to do a series of posts reflecting on my writing journey that led to the book “Carthick’s Unfairy tales”, which is due to be released in Amazon Kindle platform very soon. In my earlier post, I mentioned how the choice of publication platform is a determined by what motivates ones to take up writing. In this post, I want to talk more about what motivated me to take up writing. In some ways that is the most critical aspect as it determines not only the platform, but also the topics, genres and themes one picks for writing and on and how much one can invest oneself into the pursuit of this art. READ MORE

Finding a theme for a Fiction Book
Third in the series, leading up to my book release, I am going to talk about one of the most important topics – how I hit upon these theme for my first book. Very often, we want to write but stuck not knowing what to write about. So I am going to do a recap of the journey of this idea – how it was born and how it evolved to this form.

Back in 2011-2012, I used to actively participate in contests organized by brands. For one of the contests, I did a spoof on Snow White. I really enjoyed that and later did two more – one each on Rapunzel and Cinderella. Then in 2013, I started a dedicated blog for science fiction and fantasy. There I was doing alternate series of reviews and original stories. One of the story series was retelling of fairy tales where I covered Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Bean Stalk, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel to add to the 3 I already had. So I had 8 stories available with me. READ MORE

The Cover Story
In this fourth post leading up to my book release, I shall cover one of the most important aspects of book production – ‘the cover’. Old wisdom asks us not to judge a book by its cover. But then old wisdom also also says face is the index of the mind. Isn’t the cover the face of the book and hence the index to its contents? All these sophisms aside, fact is people do get attracted to books by their covers. The way it works for me for unknown authors is first cover, then blurb and then finally maybe first few pages. So, if a book fails at cover stage, blurb does not even get a chance. Here I will share how I went about getting my cover done. READ MORE

Judging Book Covers
So, I continue the story of my book publication journey with yet another post on the cover. I left off the last one with a request to the Roman designer for a third draft of the cover. I was hoping that would be the final one. But when I showed it to people, they still found the cover cluttered and the title unreadable. Having shown it mostly to writers, I decided to try to show it to my non-writer friends as well.

One of the persons who came to my rescue was the one who had introduced me to this artist initially. She told me, one should not try to include too many elements in my cover. It should be restricted to 1-2 elements only. READ MORE

From the Writer's Desk to the Editor's Desk
In this sixth post on my journey to ‘Carthick’s Unfairy Tales’, I will talk about a very important element – editing. Editing is a term in writer parlance similar to strategy in corporate parlance. It gets thrown around in every conversation and nobody really knows what they are talking about. Editing means different things to different people. You have one school of thought that say a book needs 5 different kind of editors – Beta reader, Developmental editor, Fact checker, Copy editor, Line Editor and Proof reader. When a new writer hears of this, he is totally bewildered. He wonders if he is writing a book or producing a film with so many technicians. And one even wonders whether the story is one’s own after so many people have been through with it. READ MORE

In my seventh post on the road to publication, I am going to talk about the blurb. Actually, I had never heard of this term till I got into writing. So for the uninitiated, it is that stuff written on the reverse side of paperback books. In Tamil, there is this saying that one handful of rice is enough to judge if the pot of rice is cooked or not. On a similar vein, all a discerning reader needs to judge a book is the blurb. And no one ever said don’t judge a book by its blurb. So, you get how important this blurb thingy is, don’t you?

So, one needs to really think hard to come up with an attractive blurb. A blurb is your calling card, your elevator pitch. It has to be crisp, catchy and a truly representative of the work. Even many good writers get intimidated by the importance of these few lines. Some just want to quickly skirt through it by writing something very generic. Some go over the top and fill it with adjectives. READ MORE

Book Cover Contest
This post is part of my series on my foray into self publishing and it is not. I will write a detailed post on my various promotional efforts. One of the things I did was a pre-release launch event in auspices of  FWBA (For Writers  By Authors) and Litventure. I have been closely associated with the people who run these groups for close to 3 years. While generally I have kept off names and specific details in my series, here I need to express gratitude for help rendered to a first time author. So I would like to mention Neil D'Silva, Vanita Bodke, Kavita Singh and Varun Prabhu who organized this event for me. As part of the event, I announced a contest to write something inspired by my cover. I wanted to make a cover that intrigues readers and make them curious enough to pick up my book. Through this contest I wanted to gauge what kind of ideas this cover inspired in the minds of the people seeing it. READ MORE

Slaying the Formatting Dragon
In the ninth post on my journey to publication, I am going to talk about a topic whose very thought filled me with dread – formatting. I have heard nightmares of books turning up real shabby and all over the place on Kindle. Or it looking decent in the font you have set but getting totally distorted when a different font is selected by user. So much so that I wanted to pay someone to do it. Costs as high as 25 Rs. per page kept me from this move.

Over the Diwali weekend, I braced myself and decided to get on with the onerous task. I googled and found some long videos on how to do it. For the first time I learnt about stuff such as styles, headers and breaks. READ MORE

To the Printing Press
One of the biggest decisions that comes in the life of a self-published author is whether to go for a print edition or not. Now this one aspect is what makes lot of people chase the coat tails of publishers because they want to see themselves in print. Despite all the popularity of e-books a book does not feel real unless it is a paperback you can touch and feel, stain it with coffee marks, dog ear it and leave marks of your existence behind on it. A legacy that you can pass on to the next reader who borrows from you and doesn’t return or to the one who picks it up from the second-hand book store where the book reaches from you. Each printed book has an interesting life of its own undertaking a journey carrying your story from person to person. A e-book lacks that. But then a paperback doesn’t come free. Who will invest money in getting the damn thing printed? READ MORE

Putting a Price Tag on your priceless work of art
One of the key decisions to take when you come out with a book or for the matter any product is pricing. If you are selling in different mediums and in different formats, you have to come up with pricing for each of them. How do you go about it? Today I am going to share my thought process behind pricing of my book.

Let me start with the Kindle book. KDP Select gives opportunity to take 70% royalty if your price your book above $2.99 and only 35% if your price it below the said amount. So that is an obvious price point. One needs to think what is one’s objective when you are considering the price to set – whether to earn more royalty or be more widely read. Every marketer faces this problem – high margins versus more sales. READ MORE

Marketing for Dummies
Finally, I come to the toughest part of this whole book publication game – marketing. In today’s post I talk about my conceptual view of marketing of books and in my following post I will mention some of the specific things I did.

To start with, there are two styles of marketing – traditional marketing and permission marketing as Seth Godin calls it. Traditional marketing is what most companies still follow – put up your ads on the Television, on the radio, in newspapers, on large billboards on the roadside. In fact, put it in every possible place you can so that people just can’t escape it and the whole world gets to know about your product and tag line. It works on the premise of establishing a top of the mind recall. I read somewhere that is a person sees something six times he will end up buying it.  READ MORE