Friday, October 19, 2018

Sales Copy of As I Lay Waiting: As An After Thought

Dear readers and friends,
On this mid-October day, I sat down to do what I love more than a lot of other things in life-writing. Although what I was penning down presently was “just” a sales copy, I still enjoyed the music of keys being pressed following the strings of thought in my head. I felt like I was back in an old art gallery where every painting was once familiar in all its beautiful subtlety.

Sorry, I just had the realization that this was not how a sales copy should begin. So here is the truth: I have lost some of the techniques of my craft to time. Unused, every craft, every tool, and every intellectual muscle would wear away, sag, and finally rot.

It was too painful to acknowledge the fact that I had lost some of my skills to time. That meant I was ageing. It wouldn’t do if I stood where I was. So I decided to move on. Here goes, dragging his feet, a new man with his old soul in a gunny sack on his shoulders. Pain, everywhere I see pain. A hurt ego aches more than a hurt body. Due to my gigantic ego, I had kept this story of a mysterious entity hunting people down to take vengeance hidden for several years. Well, to say hidden would not be a proper expression since I had shown it to many editors and publishers. Everyone loved it.

I also sent the story to many writers from across the world. All their responses came back great. That was in December 2014. At that point in time, the story of As I Lay Waiting was part of another anthology. All those writers I approached were busy writers, international in the scope of their work, deep in their conviction regarding the power and presence of fiction. Their response letters were longer than I had expected. In two common points, I could draw a connection among all their responses. One point was their own views on writing fiction. The second point was how they liked this particular story in the collection and they all added in the end that before I go for self-publishing this book, I should wait for the best opportunity to present this one story better. That meant I hadn’t presented it well, making it part of that anthology. I decided to change it.

I took all the stories in that anthology at that point in time and rewrote most of them. This process of rewriting gifted me with a lot of new ideas and better ways to emulate on the page what I saw in my mind while conceiving the story. Then I sent this particular story out to many editors, editors of horror magazines, mostly. I thought that As I Lay Waiting had a horror element in it.

To my disbelief, response letters from editors of international horror magazines were very good. They wanted me to take time and publish the content wisely, by which they meant that I should make sure it reaches the maximum number of readers.

I considered many options. I could make it available to the reading public for free of cost. But that did not help the idea of being an author. It’s a known fact that I am incorrigibly in love with books. As I Lay Waiting was a long story. I wasn’t as long as a novel in no way. The story demanded that it should be written in a very taut prose style that created the necessary tension in the reader. This could be a book, I thought. This was four years later.

Those who read Wall of Colours and Other Stories, Prabuddha: the Clear-sighted and You Should Know How I Feel, might have formed a picture of my writing style. In this new book, your idea about my writing style would slightly shift, I am sure. There are more stories that are yet to be published and surely, change is on its way. But As I Lay Waiting would be the opening scene of such a change.

As I Lay Waiting appears more politically and culturally relevant than when it was initially written. So I welcome the delay I encountered in getting this story published. Fear, as an emotion, is particularly contemporaneous in Kerala. The uncertainties in nature are one reason. I wrote about it in a blog in I tried to take that fear out of the collective consciousness and fill it with confidence and motivation. Motivation is just the other side of fear.

In the post-flood Kerala, religious sentiments are hurt through a Supreme Court verdict on women entry in Sabarimala temple. Fear resurfaced in the collective consciousness, this time, it was the fear of losing the secular footing of the culture. Devotees are also in fear of their holy shrine being torn apart by ruptures in the rituals of the temple. For them, the intervention of the court is the cause of these ruptures. This time, the writer’s mind is not ready to give a motivational speech. That story, that was written in 2013 appeared to be the best mirror to reflect the horrors of mindless manipulation of ethics, values, and reality.

I was writing a sales copy. I ended up writing an article on the book. Forget about techniques. Please tell me I didn’t bore you.

Due to the fear element in the story, As I Lay Waiting, I decided that Halloween is the best day in the year to release it. That’s the reason I tell everyone. But mostly, it was because I needed a day to release the book anyway. After all the publishing-related works, it was October when I finished the project, finally. I started looking for a day to release the book internationally. October 31 happened to be Halloween. This was just a coincidence.

The book is released internationally by BW Books, and are independently published through Amazon. In India, Notionpress is the publisher.

In the book, As I Lay Waiting there is not just one story. There are two.

I have a very personal request to you all. If you happen to read my new book, please write a book review on Amazon or any other shopping site where you buy it from. Or just email your review to me and I will frame it and hang on the wall of my study. Trust me, the world values your feedback very much. I definitely value the person behind the words. I hope I conveyed the urgency of the matter.

See you on October 31, 2018.