Advice to Aspiring Writers: Two Years of “It Can’t Be You.”

“It Can’t Be You” will always be close to my heart as it was my debut novel. I was delighted to recently find that it was 520 out of 33,012 titles under Thrillers & Suspense listed in Flipkart, the popular online portal in India. It was published over two years ago in November 2010 and still finds a place in the minds of readers. That’s very gratifying for an author. Many have asked me what the experience of writing a debut novel was like. I would like to share a few thoughts which may be of use to aspiring writers:-

  • Be prepared to fail: if you think the first manuscript will be lapped up and you will be paid a huge advance, forget it. These things happen very rarely. If you are prepared to fail and you succeed, that’s great.
  • Be convinced of your stuff: be it the plot, the characters or the writing style, it’s your book and it’s you who have written it. Accept feedback, criticism and praise with equanimity. Make sure you have done your best. If you don’t like what is written, how do you expect others to do so?
  • Be ready to slog in the editing phase: My biggest learning from “It Can’t Be You” is the importance of editing. Sure, we could have done a far better job. I accept that with all humility. Don’t for a moment underestimate what is involved in the task of editing, proof reading etc. It’s grunt work. You have to do it or pay and get it done for you. There’s no escaping this element.
  • Be sure of your marketing: However good your writing may be, you have to get noticed in the first place. This calls for extensive marketing. You can do this in many creative ways. It’s a must. Don’t sit back and think the work is done now that you have been published. The work starts now.

I hope these tips will be of use to aspiring writers and the many who would love to have their work published. Writing ” It Can’t Be You” was an amazing experience for me. I hope your journey in writing and getting your debut novel published would be as enriching and exciting!

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