Tidbits

Small descriptions of News & Experience etc...(but the events may be significant, or not small really)...

 

Experience @ Calcutta (2011 middle)

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In one of the Bengali Publishing Houses - I saw last year a seemingly smart person (with good dress, good body language, good speaking flow) requesting and lecturing, for eventually a long time, to a representative of the Publisher, to try to convince the importance of a Book on subject X written by him. I was a spectator there. The person on the other side of the 'board' was saying that they have too many work loads these days to consider the project i.e. even see the manuscript.

The 'writer' spoke highly of their Office/House in the world of Bengali Publishing. The Publisher's representative requested/referred him to go to another such House. But the 'smart' man at once replied they didn't have such a great network.

And in a developing country, statistically speaking, such a writer may not likely have had the capacity to self publish upfront. So he might have been desperate. He continued speaking. - Insisting again the importance of the subject, but to no avail, as far as I later confirmed from that Office. 
 
CHESS METAPHOR:

Chess is one of the most complicated games in the world. It also represents fight or battle. Note these two keywords again:

  • COMPLICATED
  • BATTLE 
There are many good students we see in life who simply studied well and thus spend their time in the exam halls like a machine, never practically meditating during those 3 hrs. And usually avoiding the 'uncommon' questions, thanks to the 'OR' facility in the Question Papers.

Yes, you may say Essay in Arts faculty subjects or Extra in Geometry. But failing there does not usually lead to your failing in the whole exam, because the % of marks distribution in the 'Unseen' regions is significantly less.

In this viewpoint, Chess seems to be much tougher than the Academics. Even if you pick it up as a Hobby or a Pastime in the teenage years, you will feel the pulse. 

The Publishing Industry too is:

  • COMPLICATED (even in the Western world where any subject X is respected)
  • & A BATTLEFIELD (for the most Nonfiction writers in the Bengali language)  

The person - hopefully a successful writer in future - then MIGHT have been collecting a team of Consultants (in chess terms, the 'Seconds') & also Meditating out any creative way possible to solve the opening crisis.
 
# # #
In my last chess metaphor, I depicted a desperate writer who tried to push a Nonfiction book into a seemingly good Bengali Publishing House. At least to that person, the House was so. This man had a little preparation. He could not even diagnose (at the time of speaking with their representative, in front of me) where exactly was the problem!

It was however easier said than done. To see through the dialogue, was indeed very difficult without any homework like a chess player. 

He wants a huge network to sell. So he contacted the so-called top publisher. But he didn't know:
  • How to query/approach them? 
  • What topics they avoid?
  • & why they avoid so?
He was trying to convince them by speaking. But writing is a visual kind of or different medium. (Speaking is Art but, ANOTHER form of Art. - Which is irrelevant here.) Publishers want queries in written form. - Speaking isn't readily recorded all the time.

Bengali Publishers - in general - avoid Nonfictions, especially Scientific Nonfictions. 

What is most critical thing to grasp is the third point: WHY they avoid it!!! (I no longer give '?' marks because I  know it even better than my Consultants. My training from the onlines abroad has given me a further clearer picture.)

Kasparov once said: 

Out of the 20 ideas in my games, only 1 comes from my assistants - the rest 19 belongs to ME.
 
But still, a team of assistants was maintained by even Kasparov. For the World Championships.

It was important for the person to have had a proper team while writing the Book. And the Team selection is important in the World Championship too. 

By the proper team, I mean some kind of professional or special-local-knowledge-holding persons. 

Another important thing is to get the proper information about the Publishing Industry in general. For this, global knowledge can help. Because there is some common denominator. (Like the concept of query, submission, editing, etc.)


# # #


The Publishers don't just like the Writer's OWN way of presenting himself/herself at the submission time. 
For example, when I went to another House they declared they don't accept email submission. This is however a Bengali style, maybe. But even in the West, the Publishers have their own specific formats. Even if in the realm of emails. For example, House X in California may demand Introduction + first 2 Chapters, while House Y in Sydney may order TOC (Table of Contents) + any 3 sample chapters.
Why?
Because the writer CAN behave like a Salesperson in the local train IF he/she is ever allowed 'personal freedom' in showing samples. Forget freedom.
In train journey, those hawkers are also human beings. They have also subconscious mind. But it is usually OK for them to give lectures & perform certain body movements to impress the passengers to sell the products, which are often not Books. 
Publishers usually stay in their offices. And while people stay at their house, they may not often like a salesperson entering their campus.
The Publishers also reduce their own listening/reading loads by forcing specific selected formats.
# # #
Maybe continued... 


(There is more Analogy with the 'Preparation for the World Chess Championship' - maybe worth reading - even if the writer doesn't target any best seller list & just instead aims to sell with a Publisher who is seemingly just on the other side of the board.)  


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