Mastodon tribe, this weekend, if there's any questions you have/conversations you want to have as creators/aspiring creators of books/comics/films, I'm at your disposal.

@samitbasu How do you see the landscape for the SFF genre? I see a lot of mythology fiction in the bookstores (not that its a bad thing) but just wondering if there has been writings beyond that

@shivam_janus_bahuguna There's been plenty of writing beyond religious fiction, at least 5 SFF novels every year from major publishers. But mostly there's no push from publishers to keep them in stores beyond a couple of weeks, so mostly found on Amazon etc. I see my own books very rarely in stores, this despite all of them having done relatively well.

@shivam_janus_bahuguna If you want to follow SFF publishing in India, I'd recommend following @theBekku who is the scene's lead chronicler at the moment.

@samitbasu how long did it take between writing and publishing your first book? How much did the editing process change it?

@aadvaark almost two years. the process is significantly faster now. at the time (this was 2002) it was also a book that they had no context for, so it took a lot of time for them to decide to publish it.

@aadvaark the editing process didnt change it at all - again, possibly because the book was wholly unfamiliar. also, in retrospect i often feel lucky that i started at a time when publishers were willing to experiment.

@aadvaark well, its far easier to get published, but its also far easier to arrive in the market with absolutely no one being aware you exist. because there were fewer books coming out every week, i was lucky to get some attention - if it were today, the books would just have vanished.

@richa_singh it was quite insane. as in its hard enough to stay on top of a hundred moving parts when they are just inside your head. when its live people you're supposed to be in charge of who all have spiky personalities? urgh. i havent moved, by the way, im definitely going to keep writing. also, i've worked in a bunch of other media before, so directing was a more a matter of balancing experiences from, say, novels, documentaries, theatre and comics. it was also immensely fun.

@samitbasu sounds so exciting! I cannot wait to watch it now 🙂

@richa_singh I think for writers the hardest part is always going to be the complete surrender of control over the material. it's a wholly different experience.

@samitbasu Yes please. I've been paralyzed and haven't been able to do the third draft my MS (a novel). I open the first page and immediately think it's shit, close it and take shelter in regular job/ life.
Q: What do you do if the perfectionism bug bites you into total paralysis?

@hackiechan I know so many genuinely talented writers who won't publish for the same reason. But the thing is this sense of everything being horrible and needing at least one more draft never goes away. And the more time you spend on one thing, the harder it is to let it go. And every draft you do probably does make it better. But. You'll feel this way after publishing as well. And then after some years (seven-ish for me) you'll actually feel fond of the damn thing.

@hackiechan So around nine years after publishing my first novel I actually did an edit on it before releasing it indie on Kindle for territories it had not been published in. I think I cut around 40k words from the entire trilogy. So there's never a point at which you can't make a book better. But. You just have to let it go at some stage, and move on to the next one.

@samitbasu You've hit the nail on the head. The more time I spend with it, the harder I find to put it out.
The "nobody will want to publish it unless I turn it into a super easy read" concern is also making me a bit paranoid. I think I'll just have to set a deadline, push out this draft, and let it float or die with publishers, per it's merits.

@hackiechan Forget other people. It's your first book, I'm guessing? This is the only time you get to write something that's just yours. It doesn't really matter what publishers want, or think they want.

@samitbasu Yep first book. Old "stable, conventional" career falling away from my priorities. Highly sensitive to feedback because little trust in my own abilities as a writer ('I'm still learning, everyone knows better").
Excellent conditions for self doubt and perfectionism to come to the crease and score a 200 run partnership.

@hackiechan so, 1. Please separate career goals from writing goals because writing is a continuous lottery, at least at first. And even when you can make a living from it, it's up and down and cyclical and will always be unstable and should not be the basis for major financial decisions. 2. No one knows anything. I wish you could pass on some of your self doubt and perfectionism to so many people publishing crap every few months without a care in the world.

@samitbasu Yes, taking your first point and will work on de-linking money and writing in my head.
Will be kinder to my self-doubt from now on, because at least it keeps me from publishing crap too regularly (some crap will happen at some point for sure).

@samitbasu what can be done so that Indian comics are popular as Manga?

@Vishsai not happening in our lifetimes as the resources and training in both creative and sales/marketing will not be available. several companies have tried and failed in the short term. maybe one day. but it has to be organic, and will take a lot of time and sustained effort.

@samitbasu Thanks for doing this! What's your feeling about why SFF isn't popular in India? Is it because the scientific terminology required for the story to go beyond basic science, just isn't popular here?

@ps_nissim i think this unpopularity is a myth. all of my books have been reviewed well, most have been national bestsellers. some have sold abroad as well. several other writers have done well too, both in sales and with critics and international publishers. I've always found other people who read the international sff people i like. maybe there aren't a lot of books in these genres out every year, but that'll change over time.

@samitbasu All very good points. Would you then say that the misconception is due to the overall smaller size of the IWE market? Like if we had as many books as say the US does, in English, the proportion of new books and of sales would be the same as in the US?

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