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Top 5 Mistakes Aspiring Writers Should Avoid In India

28/05/2015 8:29 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Friends with books. Argentina, Buenos Aires.

Whether you are an aspiring writer hoping to finish your book soon or someone who has been published by small press, there are a few things you shouldn't do with the hope that it will catalyze your writing career. It's good to be ambitions but in the publishing industry the obvious efforts are usually a waste of time and effort, and sometimes even money. Here are the top 5 mistakes you shouldn't do.

1. Attending Big Launches: Your selfie with a big author will never go viral. Because writers are not Bollywood stars. Further, if you do attend such events please don't believe everything that the big writers say, because it's a publicity stunt, and they are big because they are good at it. The experience of attending such events can be overwhelming because you might end up listening to something you didn't need. For decency sake, I am sure, you would also buy the book, which is not such a bad thing frankly, because you need to read successful writers, but it would have been far too easier had you chosen to buy it online or from a store in your own time.

2. Trying To Impress The Editors: Trying to meet editors of big publishing houses at events is also, sadly, not a good idea. The editors, I've noticed, are usually too busy catching up with other editors and don't give a damn about aspiring/emerging writers. Others present at the event, more often than not, are friends of the writer. If you try too hard to approach an editor, their lack of enthusiasm to have a conversation with you will only end up embarrassing you. Remember, an editor is doing a job, while you are an artist following your passion. At the end of the day if your book sells well, it doesn't matter who has published it, because all editors will turn into your friends.

3. Buying Drinks For Reviewers: If you buy drinks for reviewers with the hope that they will do a favourable review when your book comes out, you are once again going down the wrong road. The fact is this: A tiny percentage of people buy books based on reviews. Ask yourself, do you plan a trip to the bookstore after you have read a favorable review? Reviews don't matter, particularly from critics. A cross section of reader's reviews is usually better litmus to gauge the interest that a book has been able to generate.

4. Overusing Social Media: Social media is a tricky domain. Unless you have a large number of people following you, your pictures and statuses will keep bouncing among writers like you who are also struggling to sell their books. It's ideal to restrict the use of social media to not more than one hour a day, maybe two on weekends. Remember social media may not bring in direct sales, though it might help you to network with likeminded people and exchange notes.

5. Spending A Lot On Marketing: A big marketing budget will not sell your books. But it might be of use when you have got the other more important things out of the way. Three important areas that contribute to the success of a book more than just over the top marketing are: right content, adequate visibility at online/offline venues, and your ability to make people interested when you speak about it.

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