“Please can we talk today”
The message launched a flare of hope in my heart that had me leaping out of bed and brushing my teeth. As I caught up on the day’s news while I waited for her to respond, a cold chill wrapped itself around me. My Twitter timeline told the story. Our conversation was brief, touching on the obvious followed by a reassurance that the rights to my book will revert back to me.
The morning was a haze. I took to social media to express anguish and was comforted by the anguish of people in the same boat as me. The rush of the morning leant into quietude, a calm acceptance of what was. Grief came in waves. Sometimes a hot tongue of anger rising through my spine, sometime, a lone tear escaping into my worn tee.
The days that followed was an exercise in reaching out, commiserating with fellow authors and reveling in our common misery. Today, it all came crashing down, the immensity of what had happened. I would often use the words “one book wonder” in my head when thinking about the unedited manuscripts in my computer. The absolute lack of motivation and inability to focus on pushing out book after book now came back to haunt me. The what-ifs, the parallel universes in which I used my debut book to pursue a writing career seriously, they all competed for attention in my head.
The harsh truth is that come Feb 28th, sales cease. Come March 31st, the rights revert to me and this book joins the half written, unpolished chunks of words in my digital storage. The bubble that stretched from May 2019 through now will pop and, that part of my life will be my “Once upon a time, I wrote a book…” story.
The alternatives stretch in front of me, paths unexplored, daunting roadways filled with obstacles. Will I find the reserve in me to pick myself up, dust off and head onward? Only time will tell.
A lot of people have reached out asking me what they can do to help. If you live in India and have access to a local bookstore, buy any unsold copies. If there are none, ask them to place an order. Share with your friends if they are willing to help. If you are away from India, donate copies of the book to your local libraries and schools. These are some ways that ensure that the book lives on, long past its print run.
Beyond that, I am just grateful for what was and the goodwill that carried me through until this point. I am indebted to all those who bought the book, read it, left reviews and allowed Avantika and Avnish space in your lives.