Sunday, February 10, 2019

Sharing: CELEBRATING THE SPIRIT OF INDIE



I have come a long way since I hit the publish button on my first eBook The Malhotra Bride on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. I must say it’s been an amazing journey, walking along the path of indie. 

To begin with, there were a number of people, including many authors that I got to know through social media, who sniggered behind my back. There are those who do it till this day.

Okay, one might ask, “How do you know that they snigger if they are doing it behind your back?” All I can say is that news travel at the speed of light, especially the negative kind.

Well, today, I declare that I have (not had) the last laugh as I laugh my way to the bank, month after month.

And they came, the publishers, big and small, seeing that I have made a success of my books, becoming an Authorpreneur in the true sense, inviting me to publish with them. 

I rejected a number of them, for various reasons and signed up with a few, for which I have my reasons too. 

When I realised that one publishing house might never be able to catch up with me and publish all my titles, I set out to do a lot of research. That’s how I have always worked, doing research. In 2001, I went to a number of bookstores to make a list of publishers and their addresses from books and writing to them. That’s how the rejections happened. 

So, recently, I attended a number of book launches, both big and small, trying to understand how this worked. I even went to a school to give a lecture to Std. IX kids. I also met a couple of publishers to understand how they functioned. That’s when a question arose from within me. Does it make sense to spend lakhs of rupees on book launches at 5-star venues? 

I suppose it depends on what you ultimately want to achieve as an author. Spending the whole of December trying to understand the logistics and investment involved, I arrived at the conclusion that this was just not my cup of tea.

Sour grapes? 

I would say not. I am too fond of my money and I would rather pay my cover designer, my editor, my cook and my maid more rather than pay for free books and fancy dinners to friends, colleagues and relatives. I just can’t see the logic in splashing all my hard-earned money on such events. 

And then something happened that truly woke me up to some hard truths that I needed to know about myself. I spoke to this publisher, who’s fairly newbie as against me, who’s proved that I have a huge readership for my books. He told me in no uncertain terms that it’s the publishers and editors who know best about what sells in a book and I should be open to changing my story as per their advice. 

That did it!

I write for the love of it. I am thrilled that my readers enjoy my books. I wouldn’t say that all of them love all my books. But then, I don’t like the artworks of all artists either. We aren’t clones, but human beings, who have different tastes. I tell my stories and it makes me happy that people like reading them. But I would be the last person to shove it down anyone’s throat. 

That was the tipping point when I decided that I would rather spend my time writing, publishing and promoting my books, at my pace, my style and my way. I finally accepted that I am indie through and through, and a proud one at that. 

And for my success as an Indie author, I have to thank Rubina Ramesh, first and foremost, and The Book Club she launched, I am proud to say, with my book. She has been a great support throughout my publishing journey and I can truly say that Rubina has played a major role in my becoming what I am today, a super successful author of 37 books + 4 collections.

On the eve of publishing my 38th book—Her Prince Charming—I also thank my readers and fans. They are my backbone. They are the ones who have made my success possible. 

Even though 28 publishers rejected my writing, the readers have declared otherwise, loving my books and some even giving me a lot of constructive criticism. 

And then there is the Amazon KDP team. Without taking any names here, I would like to thank the ones who got in touch with me after consistently seeing my titles on the Top 100 Bestseller lists. They created a wonderful video for me and also made me a judge for their writing contest, Pen to Publish, over two consecutive years. And imagine my joy when they made me a speaker at Jaipur Literature Festival 2018, a chance that even many traditionally published authors with major publishing houses find it difficult to get. 


There was one more feather to my cap when the director of KDP declared me the most successful KDP author in India. 


It gives me immense joy that I, who had struggled with repeated rejections from major publishing houses around the world, have become a famous, bestselling author, all thanks to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. It thrills me to be their Brand Ambassador. 

And thus, I have arrived at another turning point, another stepping stone: to publish my own paperbacks under my brand, Flaming Sun. 

Why? You might ask, wonder. Well, I realise that I love my independence, I like to be in control of my life and the Amazon Dashboard that lets me peek into my sales graph that gets updated hourly, has spoilt me thoroughly. It’s also the money that gets deposited into my bank account on a regular basis. It makes me feel on top of the world. 

I don’t plan to rush, I am not desperate. Though I would love to sell millions of copies, I don’t want to push my book into the hands of people who aren’t interested in them just for the sake of marketing. I would rather that readers buy my books because they are keen to own a copy and create their own collection of Sundari Venkatraman’s books. 

And so we head to my announcement:

With Her Prince Charming, I plan to launch my paperback which will be available exclusively on Amazon. 

Oh yes! If you want a copy of my book, you have to purchase it from Amazon and nowhere else. 

13 comments:

  1. Cheers to being Indie.Looking forward to grabbing your paperbacks.💕

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  2. Congratulations 🎉 Sundari This is great. May the Flaming Sun shine and sparkle. l look forward to reading lots and lots of your book. Forever your fan 💞 Cheers!

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  3. You're an inspiration to all the indie authors, Ms. Venkatraman. All the best for all your future endeavors.

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    1. Thank you for those wonderful words and wishes Mariyam :D

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  4. Congratulations Sundari! Every time I read your journey, I am inspired. Wishing you more and more success..

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  5. Ha ! Patting you on your back ! You Did It, Sundari ! Tons of :* and hugs for you, for marching ahead no matter what all these years :). Keep going ! God Speed :)

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