Do we want a Valentine's day limited to great pics or a day to showcase commitment?

The curious case of Valentine’s Day in India

I believe the Valentine’s Day has run its prime and in today’s world it has lost its meaning! Now if you are a die-hard Sharukh Khan fan or someone who has lived and enjoyed the prime of Valentine’s Day hoopla, around the 90’s you would be shaking your head vigorously and even consider me to be a fool, for not believing in the true magic of love and et.all but before you get into all that, let me present my case.

The rise of Valentine’s Day

As a teenager of the 90’s I have seen this phenomenon called Valentine’s Day turn into a national festival backed by sheer marketing genius. India is known to be all accommodative, especially if it is anything to do with festivals! Valentine’s Day marketing blitz was accepted with the same love and affection that we endorse any other festival with and it quickly became an important day, to be marked in the calendars much to the dismay of our parents.

Soon there were fests and days that were celebrated around Valentine’s day and Feb was collectively known as college fun fest days. Soon after that many known unknown days like Chocolate Day, Rose Day, Teddy day and god knows what not day followed! The popularity was such that fringe outfits and parties, decided to cash in on its popularity by banning it and going on rampage against it!

A marketing genius

Now, as I didn’t fall in the popular girl’s category, I had much more time and leisure to study this marketing gimmick than be bogged down by the affection and attention that boys thought was perfect to be showered around this month.

I call this a great marketing strategy for the simple reason that the time was right for the kind of romance that Valentine’s Day stands for! You had movies that showcased love as all empowering and something that will give you a happily ever after, stolen kisses and secret meets were considered revolutionary and even enough to show and prove that they loved each other, parents opposition was enough to be the basis for a full length movie and words like live-in, sexting, Facebook and what’s app were unheard of!

Do we want a Valentine's day limited to great pics or a day to showcase commitment?

Valentine’s Day in today’s context

The historic reference of Valentine’s day was very close to the 90’s idea of romance. There was love, longing and the expectations were few, but today that’s hardly the case.

Today being in love is not all consuming. You can be in love with multiple people, your work or even with yourself! There is no concept of ‘waiting for the one’ Today, love is seen for what it basically is – a chemical reaction in the brain. It focuses on what you experience rather than believe in the illusion that marketing fed you over the years! I mean seriously – Does anyone believe in dialogues like ‘ Use dekhte hi violin bajane lagte hai!’

Valentine’s Day without warmth

While it is a relief that people are accepting love in a more realistic term rather than putting it on a pedestal, it is also lacking the warmth that the whole ‘love’ aura exuded.

Today, what I see is a lack in commitment. Any relation starts with the ‘If it doesn’t work out let’s move on’ concept. Any relationship needs work and if both come with the perspective of can easily move on, there is hardly going to be any relationship.

I am not sure if movies are a representation of today’s society or the society is being influenced by movies, but I am really not very happy looking at the way ‘love’ is portrayed. Love is a universal language, but I think Valentine’s Day needs a serious revamp! We need to add some feelings and a sense of commitment to a relationship.

What are your views? Have you seen a change in Valentine’s Day and it’s connect to the heart? Is it all just about giving gifts, adding selfies on Insta, FB lives and moving on the next day or is it about thoughtfulness, caring and sharing?

#FreelancerFriday Being an author the self-published way- Interview with Preethi Venugopala

Today on Freelancer Friday we have with us, Preethi Venugopala who is an established author and talk with her about her journey from being a civil engineer to a self-published author. So, without further ado, lets dive in-

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background?

First of all, thank you, Neha, for having me over on your wonderful blog.

I am a civil engineer turned blogger turned author. I have published two novels, one novella, a few short stories in various anthologies and a few kids’ books. I also edit manuscripts. I have also an avid interest in portraiture and graphic designing.

How did the idea of writing a book come up?

The thought to convert an idea into a book came quite by chance. To be truthful, I saw the story of my first book in a dream. I noted down the major scenes and characters once I woke up. Then I tried expanding it into a novel and succeeded in it.

All I had written before writing my first book were a few short stories in inter-collegiate story writing competitions. The fact that I won the top prize both times might have been an indicator as to where I was headed eventually.

What do you mean by being a self-published author and difference between traditional publishing?

Self-publishing is a misnomer in a way. It is indeed the form of publishing where the writer is in charge of everything, the editing, the cover, the proofreading and marketing. Everything is under our control. We even decide the release date. But we don’t do it all ourselves. In self-publishing, the author need to find the professionals to do the above works and pay them from his/her own pocket.

In traditional publishing, though, you just submit your completed manuscript to the editorial team at the publisher. They do the editing, proof reading, cover design and releasing the book in print and eBook forms. The writer is paid an advance upon signing the contract. The publishing rights remain with the publisher for the contract period.

The con about the traditional publishing route lies in its unpredictability. Even if you submit a manuscript and sign a contract, you do not have much control over the cover design, release date or the final shape of the manuscript. A book may get published years after you submit it to the publisher.

The con of self-publishing is that the future of the book will depend upon the professionals the writer chooses to invest on.

How was the journey to being a self-published author like?

I have had a rollercoaster ride as a self-published author. My first book ‘Without You’ as of today has 268 ratings on Goodreads and 62 reviews on Amazon. All of them organic. I have published my second novel A Royal Affair which is also being received well.

But my path was not without roadblocks. I saw all the ups and down that comes in the way of a self-published author. There were haters who did what they could do to pull me down.

But there were also readers who wrote me long letters and suggested my book to others.

I am thankful that most part of the journey has been pleasant.

Your memories associated with the first book?

First book is always close to heart. I still remember biting off all my nails waiting to hear from my first beta-reader. If I hadn’t got the encouragement I got from her at that stage, I wouldn’t have become an author today.

I remember the happiness I felt the day the book was launched, signing the book for friends and readers and posing for photos.

I remember the first mail from a reader and also the first review I received.

Such things will always be cherished.

How did becoming a self-published author help?

I began as a traditionally published short story writer. All my short stories (5 stories published in different anthologies) got me readers. From these, I didn’t earn even a rupee.

But after I self-published my first novel, I began to earn from my writing. Also, I began to be recognised as an author.

My submissions to traditional publishers were given more importance than before. Recently, I signed two contracts with Juggernaut books. One for a single short story and the other for 9 short stories. I was paid for my work.

In a way, self-publishing made the journey to become a traditionally published author easier.

Is it a satisfying alternative?

It is a very satisfying and easy way to earn from your writing.

When you are a self-published author, you get to know the exact details of the number of books that are being sold, the number of pages that are being read and also the region where the book is being read or bought by logging onto your Amazon KDP account. It doesn’t matter whether your book is selling thousands of copies per day or just a few copies. Every detail is available to you.

All these details are never available to any traditionally published author without the data being tampered with by the publisher if I believe the tales I heard from many of my traditionally published author friends.

With Amazon KDP, it’s very easy to become addicted to self-publishing because of this transparency.

I know many other self-published authors as well who are making a living just from their eBooks.

Another point is you don’t need to wait for long to see your book published when you are self-publishing. If you’re going through the traditional route, there is a waiting period of minimum 6 months or a few years to get your book published.

Using Amazon KDP, your book gets published within a day and it becomes available to the reader immediately.

 You have recently released your latest book, tell a bit about that?

A Royal Affair is a story about second chances in love and a unique quest to find a lost relative in India undertaken by a British girl. It is my second published book though technically it is my third completed manuscript.

It tells the story of Jane and Vijay, lovers who were separated by circumstances, and thrown together again years later.

It was a very interesting book to write as I have never written a foreigner as main character or about a royal family in any of my stories or novels.

 

How much have you evolved from your first book to now?

When I published my first book, I didn’t know anything about self-publishing. But over the years, I have learned a lot through trial and error.

I guess I have become a better writer after I graduated from Anita’s attic last year under the able guidance of Anita Nair.

Your tips and suggestions for those looking to be a self-published author?

Over the years I have learned quite a few things about self-publishing yet every day comes with new insights.

The most important things to take care about when you are self-publishing are:

  • Write a good book:

This might sound silly but only a good book sells. Just putting anything out there doesn’t work. Readers are the gatekeepers in self-publishing, and unless your book satisfies them, they won’t consider buying you next time.

So, learn to plot, structure and write according to your genre.

  • Invest in a good editor, beta readers and cover designer

Don’t publish without getting your book edited by a professional editor. Even if you are a good editor yourself, don’t publish what you edited yourself. Our brain camouflages errors we make. But another person will be able to spot these errors better.

Beta readers will tell you whether your book is working. Find someone who loves reading the genre you write. Don’t send your romance book to a reader who reads only thrillers.

Your book cover can make or break your book in a way. If your book cover doesn’t appeal to a reader among the many book covers on Amazon, they might not buy it.

  • Market your book well

In self -publishing it is very important to market your book well. If you don’t post about your book on Social Media, nobody is going to know about your book or buy it. So, do not be ashamed about bragging about the reviews or best-selling ranks to your followers. You have to build an interest in the readers about your book.

Some invest a lot of money in this, but I believe you should not invest too much in this area. If you have built an author platform on social media, that works best than paid marketing.

You can connect with Preethi on the following links

My Website: A Writer’s Oasis

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads Author Page

Facebook Page

Twitter/ Instagram : @preethivenu

 

Book Review – The 23rd Girl


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Today’s post is special! I feel extremely proud when a fellow blogger takes the next step in this writing journey and decides to publish a book. Writing a book is no small feat. I can only imagine the effort, toil and struggle that the writer must have gone through while finishing his book. So, today’s post is special, as I review a book by a fellow blogger Rohan Kachalia. This is his first book and is co-authored with Divya Ratan, published by Half Baken Beans Publishing.

About the Author

Rohan is an avid reader and a writer and blogs at www.rohankachalia.com His short stories and poems have been published in various anthologies. His book, the 23rd Girl is his first co-authored book.

About the Book

It’s a nice easy read. The protagonist, Rashv character is well developed and is easily identifiable. You will know aleast one Rashv in your life, who is sweet, sauve, confident and has a never say die attitude. He is happy in his flaws but seems lost on the bigger picture. This book is about his obsession with the number 23, how he discovers the connection, how it becomes larger than his wishes and how he finally realizes his folly.

While the main character is Rashv, the other important character of the story is Roohi. Sadly Roohi comes in the frame a tad too late. A few characters that were there at the start of the novel like Rashv’s Mom aren’t found later on. The story gains pace after Roohi enters the story. Rashv’s character is well established and you know how he thinks, why he thinks and how will his reaction to things be, however the same is not true with Roohi. While we know about Rashv’s obsession with the number 23 and why he acts in a certain way, we do not know why Roohi is careful and guarded when it comes to love? I would have loved a more evolved character of Roohi. A bit more time spent on the ‘whirlwind’ romance that the two experience, would have been great.

The characters created are very relatable and it does give some semblance to the belief that few hold in this world for numbers or letters or the likes. There are some really cute lines interspersed in between which are sweet with a tinge of philosophy. My personal favorite is “There is a reason why you should always listen to your heart. They are like a non-complicated GPS. Hearts see a single road when mind sees two.” Beautiful isn’t it? Overall it’s a good read.

Wishing Rohan all the very best and hoping to see a book authored by him in the near future.

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge

Bride #FridayFotoFiction


Indian Bloggers

Forever Bride

It was a new day but with some old beginnings

As she peered out the window she noted that the garden needed tending. She examined her looks in the mirror and pushed a stray hair away. The lace dress was Jack’s favorite. He had picked it up himself and she still remembered the way he looked at her when she first wore it, she found herself blushing.

It’s considered a bad omen to see the brides in their wedding dress. She wondered if it had come true as she tried not to think about the day of their wedding five years back when Jack survived a terrible accident but with short term memory loss.

As she walked towards Jack with a posie in her hand, the love in his eyes made her realize that she might not have a happily ever after, but she will definitely live a lifelong romance.

I am writing this story as part of #FridayFotoPrompt by Mayuri and Tina. This week’s prompt was Bride

Tina Basu
Update – This piece won the #FridayFotoFiction! Yay!!