The boulevard to a ‘Bestseller’

If you have the “X-Factor” you will come through. Your literary ancestors have proved that for you, opines Pratiksha Acharya

How does one begin writing a book? Let’s have a look at the modern scenario for a bit, shall we? You are sitting and contemplating about life because you are bored when you think, why shouldn’t I write it down? Halfway into it, you have made up your mind that what you are writing down is a literary masterpiece and has to be published. And you get that done too only to realize later on that your ramblings weren’t exactly a masterpiece worthy for publication and the sales don’t pick up either. But that’s exactly what the current situation in the literary world is. Writing books which was an art is now more of a hobby. Classics have been replaced by insipid love stories and nail-biting mysteries by cheap thrillers.

As thousands of such books go into print, a tattered manuscript is thrown into the trashcan. A manuscript that has been rejected at least 15 times by different publishing houses, the author of the manuscript who has been shown the door way too many times because what he has written will not interest the public. The world craves for more vampires, more “love stories” where the guy chases the girl his entire life only to lose her to another guy with a better grade in college. While the world binge-reads on trash while complaining about quality, the desolate author goes to bed hoping that the 16th publishing house won’t turn him away.

We absolutely adore authors like J.K Rowling who has given the world a gift by introducing them to the boy wizard, Harry Potter and Dan Brown who has actually made history chilling and murkier while he introduced us to the charming and handsome historian, Robert Langdon. Now, these famous authors and many more have found a place in the bookshelves of almost every household in almost every country. Their books have been printed, reprinted, translated and retranslated over and over again in more than 20 different languages. Famous everywhere, they do have something common with the author who is struggling to get his book published. What is it, you wonder? Well, for starters they have been rejected too, not once, not twice, brace yourself for the number is in triple digits, around 140 times. Chicken Soup for the Soul series, something that has been accepted and admired all over the world, co-authored by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen was rejected around 140 times before it went on to sell 125 million copies.

We feel that we don’t know the central character well enough.” The author does a rewrite and his protagonist becomes an icon for a generation as The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger sells 65 million.

The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.” Perhaps the most misguided literary critique in history. With a further 15 rejections, there remained little hope her personal thoughts would see the light of day. Eventually, Doubleday, bring the translation to the world, and The Diary of Anne Frank sells 25 million. Yes, you probably would never have read the most famous diary ever.

So, my dear authors, while you toss and turn in bed worrying about the outcome of your meeting with the 16th publisher, know that there is hope for you. Know that if you have the “X-Factor” you will come through. Your literary ancestors have proved that for you.

Pratiksha Acharya

About Pratiksha Acharya

Pratiksha is tolerating her progress into adulthood with great difficulty. A bookworm to the core, she loves reading and debating. When her head is not stuck in a book, she likes to cook, dance and shop. For her, reading is more than a hobby. P.S.- She hates losing out on arguments.
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