And now for the news.
Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:
As a part of their series, ‘Publishing and the Pandemic,’ Scroll.in hosted a piece by Siddhartha Gigoo, whose recently published Love in the Time of Quarantine is as winsome as it is earnest. Gigoo began the book as many writers have–as a record of his own experience, given new form and voice and presence by the page. Unlike most authors, however, he set himself what seems an impossible challenge in authorship. As he puts it,
That night I opened a blank Word document and saved it as “Isolation Diary”. I stared at the unmarked page for a long time, wondering what to do with it. After some time, I closed it and went back to reading Homer’s The Odyssey.
I couldn’t go beyond the first stanza:
“Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns, driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy.”
I kept humming it constantly in my head. Such was the spell cast by its imagery.
The next day I opened the blank word document again and typed a sentence. I posted a story on Instagram that evening – “Friends, I have decided to write a novel in 21 days.”
Even while he was writing nearly nonstop, Gigoo found time to think through his publishing philosophy and process. He writes, “During my stargazing breaks in the balcony, I wondered what to do with the manuscript after I was done. ‘Should I send it to my agent or pitch it directly to publishers?'” His decision was influenced by the immediacy of self-publishing. His goal? Write a book in 21 days. Publish on the 22nd day.
That’s just not something you can hope to do with a traditional publishing house and process! A fast-tracked manuscript can sometimes scrape by some of the usual delays, but the traditional publishing mechanism usually equates to a wait of eighteen months to two years between submission and publication. That wasn’t going to work for Gigoo. “The nausea of it all!” he exclaims. So he recruited his daughter to design the book cover and his wife to serve as editor and copyeditor, and he sat down to cram eight days a week of work into the usual seven day schedule we all live through. (Even though time now seems liminal and transient.) He made it work, despite last-minute hiccups and obstacles, despite his near-impossible timeline, and even now he celebrates the flexibility and functionality of the self-publishing way. Pondering the weighty reality of mortality, prompted by current events, Gigoo writes that “If at all I am able to finish my next novel, digital publishing will be my first choice. Less baggage is preferable in the current times.”
The perfect end note to our own piece, we find. Please read Gigoo’s entire article at the link, above! It is well worth the time to enjoy his original words in full.