2016, as we all know, was not the best year for many. Unfortunate events throughout the year gave it a bad reputation. Just like any other, I wasn’t spared from its wrath either. I spent a better part of the year trying to think about what I wanted to do for a career. I was, and still am, in college, but I’ve always wanted to do something more than that. I wanted to do something along the lines, that would keep me happy, keeping the money factor aside. After all, if you don’t like what you do, you won’t succeed in it.
It wasn’t until August 2016 that I decided to give writing stories a try. I used to write short stories on Wattpad, as a form of time pass, back in 12th grade, when I had to take a break from studies. Those stories got good reviews from friends, family and others all alike. I always knew then that I wanted to explore writing further, but had to temporarily stop due to the board examinations and college entrance examinations.
It took me a year and a half to finally find a hobby, apart from playing sports, video games and Photoshopping my friends into weird aliens. Back in school, writing stories was a once in a while affair; most of it happened during composition writing at school, but before 2016, I had never taken up a project out by myself. Once August 2016 struck, I began writing stories to kill time and improve my skills and then showed them to my parents, family and friends for their honest reviews. Other than a few suggestions, everyone liked what I wrote.
Once November arrived, I decided to take up a project, for the first time ever. I wanted to write a crime fiction, and so, I got to work. Whenever I was not studying, I spent my time naming my characters and sketching out a plot for the story. The process took me a few hours, but once that was over, I excitedly started writing, titling my story as What Gives You Life Can Take Your Life.
The synopsis of the story is as follows:
Rohit Kumar Singh is a successful entrepreneur, who with the help of his friend Ram Karan Pal, reaches new heights in the world of business. However, it is a little-known fact that one of the major reasons why Rohit was able to turn his fortunes around during his younger years was cocaine. He had managed to keep his personal life and professional life apart for a long time until he overdoses and is sent to the hospital. That event marks the onset of his life spiralling out of control and that, coupled with his aggressive and reckless attitude, as well as certain people shaping how he was, bring about his ultimate demise.
I had finished the first three chapters within a few days and had begun pondering upon the idea of its publication. Hence, I searched Google thoroughly for publishers and found five that I considered suitable. For a book to be published, one has to clear several stages, with a 95% chance of getting rejected (according to statistics).
Although I wasn’t serious about the whole idea, I decided it would be nice to see what the experts at the publishing houses thought about it. So, I took my time and completed writing a draft version of the story by mid-January. I spent late hours at night, most of my afternoons and evenings writing fondly, about the entrepreneur and his life. The draft version contained 134 pages (Standard A4 size) and 72,000+ words. Once it was over, I decided to take a little break of a week and do other things.
With the beginning of February, I started editing the story, by rectifying errors and adding more content. A month later, I decided to prepare the final samples from the edited portions and sent them over to 3 publishers. With that done, I continued writing. Once that was done, I resumed with the editing.
The good things started happening at the end of March when one publisher approached me with an offer to publish. However, I rejected the offer because they were very vague with their response to the sample, and did not say enough to praise or criticise it.
Just a week later, I received an email from another publisher (let’s call it P2), praising my sample work, and asking for the full story. Since it was midnight, I quietly replied, asking for a few months to complete the work entirely. April and the first half of May passed, and I gave myself a deadline- to complete the editing work before May 26, 2017, and send it to two publishers (P2 and another one, P3).
Once the day arrived, I sent it in haste, making sure there were no errors and it was exactly the way I wanted it to be. The completed version contained 154 pages and 85,000 words. We were supposed to be going for a trip the following day, and hence, the hurry to complete and send.
After I sent my complete work over to the two publishers, I waited for their response. However, during the trip, I kept my mind off that and decided to enjoy the paradise that I was in, for a week. But once I came back, my mind shifted right back to my story. I anxiously waited for a response, and a week and a half after returning, I finally got one, from publisher P2. The chief editor, who had written the email, heaped praises on my work and said that they were ready to publish it. Once again, it was midnight, and this time, I was too excited to hold it back. My parents had gone to sleep, so I saved the surprise for them and told a few close friends of mine. By the following night, almost everyone I consider close to me knew about the publishing offer I received.
I emailed them, saying that I wished to view their contract, and at the same time, I waited for a response from publisher P3. The wait was short, as I received a response from then in a few days, saying that they were satisfied with my work and wanted to publish it. I sent them a confirmation, to which they replied with a contract of their own.
Thus, the time arrived to compare the two contracts and choose the one that I felt was the better. I did not have to think much, as the contract by P3 seemed better. Therefore, I signed the 6-page agreement and sent it to them. They reverted a week later, showing me the cover for the book, which was very well designed and suited the theme of the story. Once I approved the changes they made, they started the process of editing and publishing my work. I’m on the way to becoming a published author.
This story carries a lot of meaning to me, not because I like consuming drugs (I don’t), but because it was one of the rare moments where I worked hard and got the thing I wanted. I have worked hard while playing sports or playing video games, but succeeding in a field that could mean a lot for your career has an entirely different meaning. As a child, I had always dreamt about spending a lot of time writing fiction, but never thought I would get this far, and this success, no matter how insignificant it may seem to others, will always be in my mind for the years to come.