Balu’s Basket is the first book where I’m going on a journey from the germ of an idea to actually marketing the book – of course, all in under two years.
Before this when a book came out, I was naive and inexperienced to do anything about it. Sometimes my books would come out only in some countries and I wasn’t sure what to do on the day of the launch, if I found about it.
This time though, I think I’ve picked up some tricks and tips along the way, I should say, thanks to SCBWI and its wonderful family – where people talk about how they do things so you could learn from them.
So, back to the story that I came to tell.
Balu’s Basket was an idea based on my eternal themes – I keep coming back to grandparents, villages, fruits and Indian motifs. I wrote the first 20 lines and I really liked the shape of the story.
Tulika accepted it early this year and confirmed that it would come out in 2013. Hurrah!
Lucky for me, this year I also had plans to go home to Chennai in India. Guess what? Tulika, my publisher is based in Chennai too. The last time I had been to India was four years ago and I thought this was divine coincidence.
People at Tulika were absolutely amazing to me. Right from the receptionist who said, “You’re Chitra Soundar, I recognised you from your photo.” to the publisher Radhika Menon who gave up her valuable time to talk to me.
Deeya Nair the editor who I’ve been working with, since my first book with Tulika introduced me to the illustrator who was working on my book. Uttara a digital design student and an illustrator was right there in the next room working on my book – giving it finishing touches.
That was fun – I could see her originals – she flipped through them. She is an amazing artist and so young. This was her internship project and what wonderful work she has produced.
When Deeya gave me the original contracts to sign, she remarked that this was the first time a contract was being signed in the office by the author and witnessed by the illustrator. A good first, I’d say.
Then I met with the amazing duo – Aneesha and Pallavi. Aneesha manages marketing for Tulika and she is very positive about Balu’s Basket as she loves my first book too. She is my partner in crime, as we plan marketing across two continents.
Pallavi had literally joined that week, but was no stranger to Tulika. She’s going to spread the Tulika word in the UK and US and gearing up for it.
[Pallavi (far left), Aneesha, Uttara]
So from manuscript to illustrations, the first part of the journey is almost over. While Aneesha plans the book launch in Chennai, here I am planning the book launch here in London.
The first one is the English-Tamil version
and the second one is the English-Hindi version.
And of course, this time I am also doing events in the UK where I will sell all my Indian books. The full circle – from being a writer to an author to a full-fledged author-machine. I kid myself – I’ve just begun this new aspect of my unknown courage. I have signed up to the book launch, I am telling stories to young children (we all know how intimidating that can be) during autumn and winter of 2013.
And guess what the next book will be out in early 2014 from Karadi Tales and the whole thing will start again. I’m excited. Perhaps this book came out at the right moment of my maturing author life. Perhaps the wind was blowing in the right direction.