Writer? Become a Published Author // Akasious

You are a writer right? And you want to be a published author? That is why you are here after reading the title? Look I sneaked into your brain didn’t I? Hahaha.

I sound crazy right? Well trust me if you are a Pakistani writer and you dream of becoming a published author in Pakistan then you need to be crazy before anything else.

Anyway consuming less of your time I jump to the step by step guide to publishing in Pakistan. I also conducted a very brief dialogue with my debut poetry book ‘The Ashes of feelings’ and I will be sharing TAOF’s thoughts in the end.

Remember it is not just a step by step guide, at the end of this article you will be totally persuaded to get your book published as soon as possible.

First of all Stop thinking and start writing it down if you have not completed your manuscript yet. The biggest hurdle between your dream to become a published author is ‘you’. You think a lot and do less. You worry about questions like, ‘will people like it?’ ‘Who will buy it? Will anyone?’ ‘Budget?’ ‘My words are not worth publishing’ etcetera… etcetera…

Stop worrying write it down because you love writing. Get it published because you want to be published author. If no one reads it then be your first reader. Rate and review your own write-up. Love yourself that you did it.

Remember your first book goals must not be building a huge readership… It should be about ‘you’… It should be the pleasure of holding your first book in your hands… it should be all about realizing your dream of becoming a published author and not really earning a readership or making huge amount through your bestseller.

All of this will happen only if you start from appreciating your debut in your hands with zero expectations for readership and popularity.

Now, if you are motivated enough I want to tell you two things:

First thing first, publishing has two types:

  1. Traditional publishing (you get distribution and marketing in the book stores but you have to pay hefty amount for that).
  2. Print on demand or Self publishing (you demand few copies printed according to your readership and you can always ask to print more but you get no distribution in book stores. Marketing is usually through social media).

Second thing second, publishing is hell in Pakistan. So do not fantasize it 🙂

Why?

The reason is you are not given proper assistance and guidance when you put your hands into this mess, let alone the hefty amount publishers charge.

The lowest package I came across by a publisher for traditional publishing was 60,000 rupees, while the most of them all are more than one lac. So a beginner can never invest this hefty amount in his/ her first book particularly when the beginner is a student or has just recently passed out from the University with will to do big things. One and only exception is that your Dad is Richie rich plus he is generous enough to fulfil your crazy dream which is not the case mostly.

So, if you have this exception go ahead with any big name, good publisher in Pakistan but still you need a guideline here is how it works out.

Traditional Publishing:

Step#1: Get in touch with the publisher you plan to get published with. If you can go physically, better otherwise its okay. I got my first book published through online discussion, emails and phone calls only.

Most girls have this problem to move from one city to another to fix a publishing deal. You do not have to worry these days. Most publishers are okay to go with online deals but you have to be extra conscious in that case. You can not handover your manuscript to anyone who says that they are a publisher and they would love to publish your book.

Step#2: Question everything you find questionable because you are going to handover all your hard work to someone so your manuscript deserves your satisfaction before handed over to someone. But the ultimate goal of questioning is to be on the same page with your publisher.

Step#3: They will offer you a contract usually. If not ask them for the contract yourself because this document will save you wherever you find your publisher is not doing duff as promised earlier.

When they send you the contract read every line carefully.

Read again.

And Again.

You got to check loop holes as well. Be Sheldon Cooper and question everything. Be Sherlock Holmes and read every line as a secret code because I had a worst experience with one publisher and their contract seemed as if written in Persian to understand (it was English by the way). They almost ditched me. It was my fault some how for trusting them blindly. You should not take the risk and make sure you sign the contract understanding every single clause in it.

Step#4 Ask your publisher for changes in clauses you find unacceptable. Ask your publisher for explanations to the clauses you think are unclear in the statement.

Step#5  Meanwhile you sign the contract send them the manuscript already. Let them peer review your manuscript. Get your book cover designed while they peer review your book. Sign the contract only if they accept your content and if they find no need for editing (usually in poetry book there is little or no need for editing) otherwise charges are applied on editing separately and you might not like those charges either.

So do not sign the contract until or unless you are on same page regarding your manuscript, its editing and stuff.

Note: Usually the peer review happens before you sign the contract but we mistakenly sign the contract first this is what some greedy publishers want. So make sure you sign after you have your manuscript accepted and editing things finalized because these things are often not mentioned in the contract.

Step#5 Sign the contract and send them.

Note: Once signed and sent there is not U-turn. So, be careful.

Step#6 Now they will ask for the amount. Once you submit the amount now they will do and you will wait.

Step#7 Hold your book in your hands and feel it. Feel what you have created.

P.s: When I held my book in my hands my first thought was “Dreams Do Come True”

Print on Demand/ Self Publishing:

I opted print on demand. Its a good choice for the beginner. There are only two or three publishers in Pakistan who offer it. I can entertain questions personally regarding their names and the way they deal but respecting policies of magazine I’ll avoid here.

Generally speaking, in POD you do not have to pay even a single penny but usually there are conditions like the publisher asks you to buy first twenty books out of say fifty or hundred copies you have ordered them to print.

Now the amount for those twenty books would not include the percentage of your royalty. It will be the printing cost for twenty books you have to pay. So, it is no big deal to buy first twenty copies of your own book.

You can sign them and send signed copies to your near and dear ones. Save one for me as well ;). You can sale them also. My first twenty copies vanished within a day or two. Few people bought them rest I gave away signed copies on the book launch to people who attended it so I had to order more.

Anyway this is how POD works all other steps are same as traditional publishing except for the difference in contract clauses and marketing.

There is no distribution but if you have fan base you do not really need it.

Also it is a good way to go for a beginner but make sure your publisher does not reserve the lifetime right to publish it if you are going with POD.

Sign a contract for one year or two years if you are going for POD because otherwise you will never see your book in bookstores. That way whenever you will be stable enough you can go for traditional publishing after prior notice to your publisher.

***

A conversation with TAOF:

Author: “Hi! How are you?”

Book: “Heya! I am good”

Author: “So let’s take it straight how was your experience from Docx to print?”

Book: “Well! It was exceptional feeling to find yourself in real. To feel yourself, your existence in hard. I guess all authors should give their books a chance to relish this feeling”

Author: “Love to hear that from you always. How hard it was to go through a whole new process from Docx to Print? Did you ever think that you will get a readership”

Book: “Well it was all new and I enjoyed this change. No I had never anticipated so many readers before that”

Author: “How hard it is to be marketed as an English poetry book in a country like Pakistan where English is not a native language?”

Book: “I am a poetry book. I was not sure that I would ever get a good readership in a country like Pakistan where there are not many people who read English poetry but I am proud of you who made me happen despite that because today I have more readers and owners than I could ever have”

Author: “Thank you very much for that. Do you have any message for people out there?”

Book: “Not for people but for authors specifically I want to say that they all should get their books published because they never know how badly we (books) yearn to get published soon. We want a shape and a form more than you ever dreamed of.

Do not publish your manuscript because you deserve to be a published author, publish it because your book deserves to be published… because all those manuscripts deserve a shape and a form”

Author: “Thank you very much for this inspiring dialogue.”

Book: “Anytime”

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