In this episode, we have two interviews of Nanowrimo winners: Puja Mohan and Gayatri Gadre. We also have snippets from the recording of a session on How to Pitch to Publishers. The latter was conducted by Jayapriya Vasudevan of Jacaranda Literary Agency during Publishing Next 2016 in Kochi. This episode is a hybrid episode, for the first time we have three different segments in the same podcast episode. For episode 79, we had released a double episode, featuring interviews of authors Ruchira Khanna and Mukesh Gupta.
Please note that the Twitter Handle for MyKitaab Podcast has changed. The new handle is @gaathastory.
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Nanowrimo 2016 Winner Puja Mohan
Puja is an author who lives in San Francisco in the US. She participated in Nanowrimo for the Third time, and wrote her debut novel The Rajputs. She is a member of the India Wrimo Group, ad she describer herself as a blogger and an avid reader. Puja has a MBA and she worked for 7 years before taking up writing full time.
Note: Amar refers to a blog post he wrote three years ago which talks about what qualities are required for an author to write and publish a bestseller. One of the requirements is that the author should have a MBA. You can read this blog post here.
Puja believes that Nanowrimo brings energy, the entire month of November prompts an answer to sit down and write, and finally, the community offers several resources.
- Her novel The Rajputs is a thriller. Puja had put in some time while researching for this book. She started writing her draft before #nanowrimo2016 started. She used November primarily for writing.
- The total Wordcount for her novel is about 120,000 words. She believes that she has written the sequel for the book.
- Puja wrote down the outline for her novel. She used Scrivener and a dictation software Nuance. She used Eon Timeline to keep track of her writing.
- Puja used images of people who resembled her characters to keep track of their names and personalities.
Next steps for her novel: the planned release date for the novel is September 2017. She wants to explore publishing opportunities for her book, and is looking to get the editing completed three months before the date of publication.
Ways to contact Puja
Interview of Nanowrimo Winner Gayatri Gadre
Gayatri completed her 50000 words in 20 days of November. Gayatri is a first time Nanowrimo participant, and she lives in Mumbai.
This was the first time ever on MyKitaab Podcast where Amar had no idea about who the guest was, other than their name. In that sense, this was the first ever “Blind” interview conducted by him.
- Gayatri considers herself to be a nonconformist who believes in living life to the fullest.
- She was informed about Nanowrimo towards the end of October.
- She wanted to write a novel for many years, but she was finally able to write it. During Nanorwimo, she was unwell for the first 10 days of the month. She caught up with her writing by participating in sprints, and writing at night.
- Theme of Gayatri’s novel: Her novel is about a girl who refuses to adhere to what the society says. She is treated as a misfit as a result.
- Gayatri aims to write an 80 or 85,000 word novel, having completed her 50,000 words under Nanowrimo.
- Gayatri plans to complete the draft of her book by end of January 2017, with the aim of publishing it on Womens’ Day 2018.
She is doing research on the publishing options. She is thinking of crowdfunding to publishing. If that doesn’t materialize, she will opt for Amazon’s self publishing platform
Link to Foundr Podcast that Amar refers to: Foundr Podcast
Gayatri’s learning from Nanowrimo
I had self doubt at first, but they went away as I started writing my book.
How to Pitch Your Book to Publishers
Note: This session was conducted during Publishing Next Conference in Kochi in September 2016. Jaypriya Vasudevan from Jacaranda Literary Agency had conducted a masterclass on How to Pitch to Publishers.
Things to Do While
- Send your work to persons who can give you constructive feedback
- Join a creative writing group.
- After writing the first draft, “Read, Rewrite, Step Away.” Then Read and rewrite
- Idea length of a manuscript is between 60 and 80 thousand words.
- Follow the submission instructions given by the publisher. Add your name to every page.
- Focus on Matter (subject matter), Manner(style) and Form (structure). Read the novel multiple times to assess along three parameters.
Elements of a Pitch
- Send a query letter, keeping in mind what genre(s) of books are published by the publisher. Follow the instructions on the submission process.
- Write two lines about the book, two lines about yourself, with no attachments.
- Send a follow up email if there is no response.
- A pitch document has the synopsis of the book between 50 and 100 words. Introduce the basic plot.
Next, it has the author bio which highlights the author’s personality.
For fiction writers: include a chapter breakdown.
- Write why you wrote that particular book.
Checklist for Submission
- Ensure that the book has a strong title
- Research the market and make sure that the wordcount is in line with what the market accepts.
- Print out the manuscript and ensure that there are no errors, typos, etc.
- Include an attention grabbing headline.
- One Paragraph Synopsis.
- Identify the audience clearly.
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