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“The Making of a Book”

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By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 14 Nov: It is often said that a good book is the purest essence of the human soul. It is no surprise that while a lot of people want to enjoy the rare status of being an author, there are many questions they have about the journey.

Wannabe authors often wonder if their labour of love will ever be brought out by a publisher. There are queries about how books come into being, how authors address the various stages of the production of a book, and in what way publishers can be approached. The question of marketing of the book also bothers many. At a session called ‘The Making of a Book’ held on 13 November under the aegis of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan at the Valley of Words International Literature & Arts Festival, three well-known authors answered these questions.

Authors Aloke Lal, Arvindar Singh and Maanas Lal were the discussants. The discussion brought out that the first stage is the inspiration to write a book. It is often the result of the influence of another author’s work. Some are lucky to find a teacher who instils in the budding writer the confidence to attempt the often forbidding thought of authoring a book. Subjects lie in the imagination of the author, particularly in the case of fiction. An author has to be a keen observer of events, people and the challenges life throws at oneself. It is primarily what one is passionate about that should be the foundation of what one writes. However, those who take up writing as a full-time profession cannot overlook the market trends because in such situations the sale volumes are important.

Approaching a publisher is a tricky step. Maanas Lal mentioned that his own experience of engaging a literary agent has worked well for him. Aloke Lal spoke about The Book Bakers, his agents, as having been instrumental in pitching his manuscripts successfully with major publishers like Hachette, Bloomsbury and Om Books International. Marketing a book is also an intricate effort. There are professionals who are doing this job, yet not all of them are reliable. Choices ought to be made carefully.

The questions from the lively audience were readily attended to by the three discussants. The upshot of the discussion was that a writer only begins a book, a reader finishes it. The importance of the reader, therefore, should guide the author in the pursuit of success.