Monday, 7 July 2014

Monday Musings with Mohana

I've been spending a fair bit of time over at Goodreads recently. If you aren't aware of what Goodreads is, the easiest way to describe it is as a kind of "Facebook for readers and authors" site.

When I joined I found that quite a few of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers were already there. I also found it was a great place to meet and share experiences with other authors. I have found this invaluable as I still see myself as very much in the fledgling stage of my writing career.

Making contact with other authors has led to a first for this blog today. After three years and several hundred posts, I am delighted to welcome today my first guest blogger: Qatar based writer Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar who has some valuable insights to share on the writing process:

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First You Write it, Then You Raise it
By Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

Writing is a solitary activity: I’ve already been at this desk in the library for 3 hours this morning alone. The humid air from the underperforming air conditioner is not helping my extroverted tendencies.

What people tell you, but perhaps not in enough detail, is that like a pregnancy, a story can take a while to gestate. Unlike a pregnancy, however, stories do not have a deliver by date.  

I’m promoting the paperback release of a novel this week: The Dohmestics. The story follows the lives of six women, three employers and three housemaids, through the ups and downs of their everyday lives in a walled neighborhood in the Middle East.

My journey to finishing this book was as intricate as the plot itself. I wrote the first draft in a maniacal tear related to National Novel Writing Month. This is otherwise known as the month of insanity for those who sign up to write 50,000 words in the month of November. Yes, the same month with American Thanksgiving, the lead up to the harrowing retail time known as Christmas, and often coincides with grading university exams.

I wrote the novel and spent a month revising it: the eBook version was released in January. 

Like a new baby, you flood your friends’ timelines with photos and factoids. Here’s me with the book club! And other exclamation worthy posts on Instagram.

From the moment the eBook is published, you are pushing yourself to get the paperback version ready. The paperback is another opportunity to revise, reshape, and reconsider. And I make the most of this, knowing that the many people still prefer print over Kindle apps. The revision process for The Dohmestics took 2 months and almost 10,000 more action packed words.

For many authors both versions of a book are released at the same time. For me, it’s two years later, and almost a new book, to both my readers and me.

The reason there’s such a lag between the digital publication and print publication dates is that I spent 10 years writing 8 books. I revised them for 2 years; then I realized one on average of 3 months to get readers’ attention. With a steady backlist of titles ranging from novels, to memoir, to how-to, I turned my eyes to paperback.

This system has worked for me because I’ve attracted a loyal following of eBook readers who have given me solid 4, 4.5 star reviews. When the paperback comes out, I’m not only attracting a new audience, I’m also reminding my faithful readers to tell their print preferring friends about me.


You see, it’s not all sipping mint juleps in Key West at Earnest Hemingway’s house. Writing is hard work. Getting someone to read your book, well that’s probably even harder. 

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Mohana is considerably further along with her writing career than I am with mine, having published 8 books already on a variety of subjects. Like my own books, these are a mix of fiction and non-fiction including parenting memoir Mommy But Still Me, a parenting diary in the same vein as my own Fortysomething Father.

The paperback edition of her latest novel The Dohmestics is available from Amazon - here's the UK link The Dohmestics - UK edition - there is of course the Kindle edition also available. If you are in the US, you can find it here: The Dohmestics - US edition.




To conclude, I would like to thank Mohana for being my very first guest writer and wish her every success in her continued writing career.

Jason

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