Part 3 of N: Some updates, idea and request …

After a long wait of about 7-8 weeks I got a reject email from a publisher yesterday evening. The timing almost coincided with another email from a leading publisher asking me to share my work for their evaluation. Therefore, I didn’t even get the time to feel bad about it … ha ha! Would be great if I could get feedback but unsure if that happens in the industry.

Keeping my fingers crossed and really excited about all the ideas and plans to make this work. Meanwhile, I got into some serious business planning mode, spoke to some of my batch mates and brainstormed. Figured that the cost of production is about 3.5 – 4 Lakhs (INR) and that is assuming I am putting zero cost for all the time and effort I have put in for the book. Debut author hoon bhai, shouldn’t dream too much 😉

Great to have some close people to review and edit the book … Thanks Archana and Romeet! and welcome to “The Book” Team.

A couple of friends told me about Kickstarter and I figure that funding for creative projects can happen through this website but unfortunately it is for people residing in US and UK only. [Still verifying]

I am seriously considering starting a similar service in the near future because creativity should be nurtured and encouraged! Period! If I cover my costs and make money, a % of it will go back to the contributors and another % will be used to fund other creative projects. I am thinking of funding debut authors in the future. Just thinking aloud here because the journey has been fantastic so far not because the destination is near or visible, but the possibilities are so many. May God bless me enough to carry on and inspire others to channelize their creative energies. Arun Chillara, for example, a batchmate from IIT KGP is a great example of pursuing an interest because of ‘interest’. While I work out the details, if you are interested to contribute in any way, please mail me at rangarajan.sl@gmail.com …. I am looking to make this a Not for Profit initiative. Suggestions, cash, gaalis, feedback – all comments welcome!

Cheers!

Raman Rengarajan Iyengar

Part 2 of N: What is it about?

Must be cosmic intervention that binds Ram and Raj together! A rare pair that goes together to school, IIT, IIM and now jobs at the same organization. After an intense introspection at the Himalayas, Ram vows to write a book to justify his existence. Raj volunteers to be a critic. Thus starts their book writing journey:  a roller-coaster ride through relationships, campus life, movies, cricket, politics, ghosts, consulting, aliens and philosophy before they give up. Since you are reading this, The Book has somehow happened. To know how, Hang in there …. The Book shall reach you soon!!

Part 1 of N … where N is an unknown

Enjoy the random rants of a debut author …

I wanted to use this post for many reasons but as you all know that I have drained myself of significant energy to complete the writing of my Book, called “The BOOK”.

The most difficult part has started as I try to convince publishers about how great my work is. As a graduate from a B-school and that has nothing to do with my ability to sell or market, just that I have come across great marketing gurus, read a few of their books, whitepapers, been in Sales, Pre-sales, strategy (which is again about selling and marketing) but believe me, the challenge of deciding the next steps for a book has got to be a real challenge for anybody who likes to solve challenges!! Consumer behavior  for example, is a great topic to read but if you go to a sari shop and try to use theory to understand how women analyse saris you are all set to fail!

I am sharing a few thoughts because I wanted to write a brief for a marketing firm before discussing what I really wanted to talk about. Ending up with this post and a new blog! Wow!!

Crib 1: Spoken to a few people and disappointed with the depth of thinking and ability to differentiate. Well, it is not easy to innovate, I know but it is time for me to randomly express my thoughts and then structure it into a better post later ….

  • The expectation is that somebody will pick THE BOOK to read what I have written. The underlying assumption is that I expect that person to spend say 3-4 hours to read my work. If I take a conservative estimate and take 4 minutes per page, maybe on an average 10 hours of effort and maybe 250 bucks (not getting into financials because the ability to pay is not a question, it is the willingness to pay that can be thought through later]. The 10 hours may be spread over a weekend, maybe 2 weekends or say over a week, but the average effort is of 2 movies, maybe 3 movies. This time has to be placed on a higher priority than other tasks. Other tasks could include having sex, going out with friends, listening to music, getting drunk, sleeping, eating, working, playing, lecturing etc. But wait, the best time to read is when you are going in a bus or a train or when you are in the loo or when you are in the bed … Wait again! Clearly shows that the ‘where will the reader read the book’ part needs to be answered before I can move to marketing strategy creation, right? It is therefore clear that I am not expecting cannibalization of some other time or activity on part of the reader to devote time for reading the book. Don’t worry … I am not interested in taking away the time meant for other activities
  • If I look at the ‘Who’ part, obviously I am interested in my friends reading it because they will relate to it. I have 500 friends on Facebook, about 500 batch mates from IIT Kgp  and another 200 from IIM L. I also want my other school friends and violin class friends to read it … I want each one of them to read it because in some way or the other they would have either seen the inspiration behind at least one sentence from the book or some of them might be surprised to see that are playing even bigger roles in the book …  with or without their knowledge, I may have added them somewhere. Add my colleagues too … but even if I assume all my friends are kind enough to buy the book, I am still looking at only 1000 copies. That’s it!!??? About 25000 more people are needed to give me entry level fame???? Now that I have written the book anyways, why should I not pray for fame? If I continue being humble [my true nature] I will continue to enjoy writing but should I not try to sell? Now, where do I get the 25k more people from? And hey wait, out of the 500 FB friends, many are brothers and sisters and wives and live under the same roof. Whatever they are to each other, they are all my dear friends on Facebook. But the bottom line is: If a family of 4 has 4 Facebook friends, I have 1 book that can penetrate their household if I think normally. If I want them to read more and buy more, maybe I need to sell a version on each mobile device that they carry around … a channel addition but an idea nevertheless! So, friends need to help me as they are my only friends … Mental Note: This is already depressing because I know lazy my friends are. My friends, aren’t they?
  • Who will read my book then? [Side note: stop chewing nails!!] Well, anybody who is of marriageable age, I mean 18 plus and has been or is in college will enjoy the book. Assumption is that I do indeed have a good content. Ok, let us get that straight, I believe I have a fantastic book and if it doesn’t appeal to people who read this, I will change my name to R Rangarajan Iyengar from Raman Rengarajan Iyengar … 😉 Apart from whoever is reading this, the following should read my book: People who are curious to get to know about what happens when they send their kids to IITs, NITs or IIMs or any hostel are welcome to shed their inhibitions and enter my book. People who want to watch much more than just a movie should read my book. Actors and producers and directors who acknowledge the lack of ideas will do themselves a world of good by reading my book. It packs a punch and has emotion, different genres rolled into one book and they can definitely look at a unique story that does have a message and a suspense at the end. So is it a thriller, no? Is it a ghost movie? no … no!! So what is it? A full meal sappadu with elements of Tamil Brahm culture, Bongali culture, Hindi gaali garoch, philosophy … Will share the plot summary soon. That is the 100 word back cover content and is called different things by different publishers.

A clear no-brainer of a statement is that if I were to track the activities of what my target audience does…. they are all on Facebook and will have email addresses [personal and official]. Each one of my target audience needs to be addressed. Appeal to them to take some time out and buy the book. In an ideal state, buying the book right away is important because if they buy and don’t read right away it is still ok. But if they wait to buy the wait is usually forever. Plan …. as the book is yet to hit the stands in xxx months

  • Should we even think competition? Tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 competition exists in each genre. My genre is fiction but even within fiction I have tried to be serious, funny, thrown PJs and taken the liberty of adding experiences of self and others and pickled it with my so called creativity. Self note: I am Angry!!! Remove ‘so called’ because marketing is about confidence and even an iota of tentativeness can kill the campaign!!!!

While I think of what next to do because publishers get about 1000 manuscripts a month and even if there is a significant overlap between publishers, there are at least 10000 books waiting to get published every month!!! I should have started a BPO or an IT company specializing in the study of what chip to use to keep a driver or pilot’s bum warm while driving or flying based on certain ergonomical and economical parameters and correlating it with environmental and social risk management parameters. But too late, I already penned down my book and need to give it a shot! Chala tho chala nahin tho I tried man, didn’t i?’

I am clear I need external help on the marketing part: distribution, digital marketing – strategy and execution. By the way I already found a great cover designer. She hasn’t done book design stuff before but shh …. she is good, will share details at the right time.

Why are the players I read about or spoke to are not good enough in my opinion?

  • Tall claims but am not sure if book trailers and other publicity thoughts work as simple as they say it will. I don’t see differentiated thinking. Clarity of thought itself is not enough to appeal to my inquisitive mind. Surprisingly the websites also seem to Ctrl C Ctrl V liberally. Out of millions of books, where will my book be? Or should I straightaway talk to Prabhudeva? Will Dhoni put it on Twitter and ask people to read my book? Will Rajnikanth acknowledge that the book is a also a tribute to his superstardom and be kind enough to write a review, a foreword …. Will my head explode? What have I done?

That is the looong background … if somebody out there still thinks you have it in you to work with me and make this a success, please approach me with a plan. We can write history together …. but as Chanakya said, the events that make it to the pages of history are those that are well thought out. Execution without strategy is noise says Art of War …. Have a plan and pitch to me.

Self note:

Om Chetan Bhagwataaya Namah

Om Amish Tripathiayah Namah

Om Ashwin Sanghiayah Namah ..

Om Karan Bajajaya Namah

Om Yashodhara Lalaya Namah!! [For Mata Shakti effect]

This is the Chanakya’s Chant for Indian authors

[Another mental note: in the above note, IIMA, B, C and another C … hee hee IIM L slot is vacant]

By the way my book can appeal to a larger population as well, the international market is huge! Kite runner, for example has so much of Farsi references and won awards. Khalid is such a great author though.

So, Will I too win an Award? Dream on Rongorajone, Ambani and Kalam have asked people to dream. I can dream because I can control it without depending on others. Keeping fingers crossed and maybe as starters I can give an interview to Aarthi, MBA for the Youtube audience.

To be Continued… This was Part 1 of N where N is an unknown