My Lucky Break – The Book Publishing Industry in India

Jane Ainslie

I began writing Chai for Beginners after several trips to India. I thought it would be a great setting for a novel. I wanted to try and parallel some of my heroine’s journey with that of Sita’s, from the Ramayana, which is why my Australian character is called Sita.

It took a few years until I was happy with the story. I rewrote the book about three times and had much to learn about the craft of writing. I had even more to learn about getting published.

At times, trying to get published seemed like a giant hurdle I would never get over.  Publisher after publisher in Australia turned me down. My heart would plummet every time I received a rejection letter, but I kept going. Even so, there came a point where I believed it would never happen.

An Australian writer once said, while telling the story of how he became published, that everyone gets a lucky break. The trick, he said, is recognising that opportunity and taking it.

So, there I was, walking to my writers’ group, depressed about another rejection. I remember stopping by the train tracks as a train whizzed by, and contemplating the utter futility of being an unpublished writer. I said to God, “This is it. No more. Give me a sign or I’m giving up, because clearly this is too hard.” I meant it.

When I arrived at my writers’ group, one of the members pushed a newspaper article across the table to me.

“You should read this,” she said. “It’s about the publishing industry in India. It’s much bigger than here, and I think it might suit your book.”

There it was. My lucky break. That article, from a newspaper I never read, was the key to Chai for Beginners getting published. I submitted the manuscript to Rupa & Co, and they published my book within the year.

Writing a book is hard. Getting published can be even harder, but it is all worth it in the end.  Just remember to keep your eyes open. Luck comes in many disguises…

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 12th, 2012 at 6:08 am and is filed under Authors, Authors Speak. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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