Anurag Shourie is an Indian author who chose traditional publishing for his novel. Find out what led him down this path and his advice for selecting a good book reviewer.
1. Tell me briefly about your latest book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
Half A Shadow is my debut novel. It is said that the reign of the supernatural begins at the point where the jurisdiction of science ends. Never the twain shall meet. Here is a story that entwines the two domains together, a mytho-medical thriller.
A series of events that occurred on a stormy night while I was dispensing my duties in a cancer hospital led me to conceptualize the plot of Half A Shadow. It is the story of one man’s quest for redemption.
2. How have your sales been?
The sales of Half A Shadow have been encouraging. The readers have bestowed a lot of love on this book belonging to an uncommon genre. The reviews have been mostly positive with the critics giving it a “thumbs up.”
3. You’ve decided to use a traditional publisher for your book. Why did you choose this versus self-publishing?
Self-publishing is a grey area as there is a very thin line of demarcation between self-publishing and vanity- publishing. I am of the firm belief that if my work is good enough it will find a decent publisher who is keen to share my vision.
4. What sort of networking have you done as an author, and what have been the results?
I realized it late in the day that just writing a good book is not enough for it to sell. A writer has to be visible on social media to bolster sales. I employed a cautious approach and accelerated after testing the waters. I used social media (especially Facebook) to make connections. I tried to go to as many readings as I could. I started my blog – “The Voiceless Soliloquy” – to connect with readers. All of this paid off well in the end.
5. Talk a little about the sort of marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been most successful?
As I stated earlier, presence on social media is one of the most fruitful ways to connect with readers and to stay relevant.
6. Are there any marketing or networking techniques you’ve intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
When you publish your book, several book reviewers contact you. Some charge for a review while others do it for free, only asking for a copy of the book in return. One is tempted to go for as many reviews as possible. But what one conveniently ends up ignoring is the quality of the book review. While a candid review is always welcome, one with horrendous grammatical errors is an absolute no-no. So, choose wisely.
7. What are the most important things you’ve learned about publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
There is an age-old Indian saying: “What is visible, sells.” It holds true in the publishing world as well.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
I would have chosen a battle-hardened publisher and not a novice.
9. New authors face the challenge of getting their books into the hands of readers. What advice do you have for an author just starting out?
I have only one piece of advice: Never compromise with the quality of your writing.
10. What other projects are you currently working on?
I am working on my next book, also a medical thriller. The research work has just been completed. I will start the tougher task of sitting down and writing the chapters sometime later. While Half A Shadow was based in Udaipur, my next story is set in Jodhpur, the Sun city of India.
11. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
12. How can readers learn more about your books?
I am a poet at heart, an author by choice, and an anesthesiologist by default. I am a multilingual writer: English, Hindi, and Punjabi being the languages I am proficient in. My short stories and poems have been published in national and international anthologies. A description of my literary escapades can be found at Goodreads.