Yet Another Retrospective Piece

It’s been a year since the paperbacks came out. How was the year for ‘Kathputli’, you ask? You probably aren’t, but if I were to wait for someone to ask, all I would hear is crickets chirping.

It’s been great. And sometimes not so great. I have months when the books have flown out of my inventory so fast (as recently as January this year) that I’ve thought of sending more of my rapidly depleting stock immediately to replenish it. Only to suffer through such a drought that I’d wonder if the previous month’s book sales and reviews were all a dream.

The highs and lows of this gig fairly make my head spin.

For those who want cold, hard data; I have sold a little shy of 350 paperbacks, and a 100 paid units on Kindle, and close to 20,000 KENP units. Don’t ask me what those are. It’s not the whole book, but a unit specific to Kindle which is not quite a page or chapter either.

I have about a 100 books left of the 520 books I had got printed. That’s a pleasant surprise, considering I was fully prepared, at the time of printing my book, to turn up at every occasion I was invited to, with a carefully wrapped copy of ‘Kathputli’. Till the day I died, or my stocks ran out, whichever came first. Possibly the former, I’d thought.

Those who HAVE read the book, have been unfailingly kind. To give you a very high-level summation of all the feedback I’ve received, both through reviews and personally:

Cons: Some people thought the beginning slow. Some (not the same ones) thought the ending was not to their taste. One person (I have heard) disliked the book because, how can a woman do such a thing, ya? One person called my prose ‘workman-like’ which I don’t necessarily think is a bad thing.  I have no poetry in my soul. Those who attempt to counterfeit it, produce, in my eyes, the most cringe-worthy work.

Pros: Good things! Lots and lots. Great story, great structure, great style. Read all my goodreads reviews. Amazon has started acting funny with accepting reviews.

I’ll leave you with one rather controversial thought. It is of course a painfully subjective view, but no less true because of it, I think. People enjoy the whole idea of books. Bookclubs I am part of will go on and on about how they worship books. And they do, in most cases, literally. They howl for blood if they see a book being “disrespected”. Twinkle Khanna sitting on a pile of them, some cafe stringing up books as part of their decor, a foreign ad that has a shapely, stiletto clad shoe placed on books. “Oh the agony… my eyes, my eyes”, they shriek. Sacrilege, blasphemy and on and on.

You would think, wouldn’t you, that people who have such intense feelings about books would go out of their way to encourage new ones being birthed? Nope.

As usual, people mistake the symbol for the thing itself. To me books mean the idea, the writing; the magic of many people being able to read an author’s mind, often many centuries after he/she has ceased to exist. To these people I mention here, I think it is the husk of the book, the cardboard and the paper and the glue.

So it is a matter of least importance to create an environment where new talent is encouraged. I understand that some readers have been burnt painfully by profoundly bad debut novels, especially of the self-published variety. But, once an author has proved (through a bloody, bloody battle, let me assure you) that she is worth a read; what is stopping this army of book lovers from picking her up and spreading the word?

Anyhow, let us not dwell in a self-pitying manner on how much better the reception could have been. It brings to mind a quote by a starlet in the entertainment section of my newspaper today morning, “I can’t stand negative people.” (Oh my god, the irony, the irony!) It was the heading, no less. I live in fear of this starlet not being able to stand me if she ever reads this piece. So let me end with a cheerful (and positive!) call to action that will hopefully get all readers to click on this link and procure many many copies for their friends and family (be they negative people or not).

There are only about a 100 copies left. Get yours today. 😀

(And please don’t ask me about my second book if you haven’t read the first one.)


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