When I got the email today from my editor at Karadi Tales with the contract – I felt elated, accomplished. It felt good. But I also wondered about why this year? None of the books I placed this year were written earlier. None were revised year after year like the story of spider I’m trying to place for years.
So what was the magic all about?
Firstly, I think I studied each of these publishers closely. I didn’t have access to their books in the UK as two are Indian publishers and the other is from US. But I read their guidelines, went through their catalogue, asked them questions about what they are expecting to see.
Then the second most important thing I did was pick the story that fits the audience – I knew the target audience of the publisher. I knew what stories I wanted to write. I religiously incorporated features the editors would like.
For example, all the 4 topics I wrote about – a clever camel, a flying umbrella, a cumulative trip, a market trip – were topics close to my heart. I like journey stories, I like stories where the protagonist meets lots of interesting characters on the way. I like clever tales, with a funny ending.
Once I wrote and revised many times, I incorporated some of the things the editor might like. For example, Pratham Books were going to translate the book into many languages. So I chose the language carefully. Nothing complex. I also knew they wanted a cheerful character. They absolutely loved it and sent an acceptance ahead of their review calendar.
For Farmer Falgu’s first book with Karadi Tales, I wanted to bring out the music elements. Not in the first few drafts – but I got an opportunity to edit. The editor wanted changes and gave me some overall feedback. But when I rewrote it, I also incorporated the music elements. I did some overt rhymes and rhythms. Because the publisher is primarily an audio producer, I knew the book stood a chance with those elements.
I loved the character I wrote for Karadi Tales. Farmer Falgu stuck in my head and wanted to go on a trip again. This time instead of sending him on a mission, I sent him to the market. But it turned out to be an eventful trip and Farmer Falgu conquers his problems at the end and comes out succesful.
Again I got great feedback, but some edits as well. And I loved the edits the editor had made. I understood more of what they want and how they liked some of the words, structures etc.
So, after I sold my first picture book in 2006, I’ve had 1 with GAP (As I Watch) since then and then a few e-books. But this year has been a bumper crop. Acceptance parade! And I think that’s because I’ve matured as a writer. I am able to acknowledge my strengths and weakness and play on the strengths more.
This is nowhere the end of the story. It has just begun. I want to place some picture books in the UK and some chapter books too. Have you read “A Dollop of Ghee and a Pot of Wisdom?” I want the next book now! This came out in 2009 and I want a few more to be published here.
If I wish for it loud enough, work for it hard enough, I’m sure that too will come!