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Of Disappointments and Reassurances

Damyanti is the author of You Beneath Your Skin, an Amazon-bestselling crime novel, which has been optioned for screens by Endemol Shine. Book cover The Blue Bar and You Beneath Your Skin

The Tale of the Missing ARCs

Every once in a while, life serves up a bit of a disappointment.

As anyone who has followed this blog knows, I’ve been working on The Blue Bar for years. It is my first to be published in the USA, and I’ve been (rather keenly) looking forward to holding the book in my hands.

For my first book, You Beneath Your Skin, the publisher did not create formal ARCs. I was excited, with good reason, I think, for The Blue Bar ARCs.

The publisher sent them in two batches: one to an address in the US, another to India.

In the US, the ARCs arrived, and are slowly but surely going out to influencers.

The ARCs to India? Another story.

They stayed stuck in the customs for the longest time and were then ‘disposed off as per local regulations’.

So now, I have friends who have read and reviewed the book, but I’ve never touched an ARC myself. This is not the end of the world, of course, but having my books pulped before publication felt sort of soul-numbing.

I’m trying to find the positives, though.

One has been the positive reception of The Blue Bar: advance copy readers have stopped mid-way to tell me how much they were loving it, and some have written wonderfully in-depth, insightful reviews.

This is usually cause for concern–I never can believe good things about my work, but this time, given things like the pulping of my ARCs, I’ve decided to embrace praise. If I have to get the next draft of the The Blue Bar Sequel written, I must believe myself capable of good work, right?

Huge thanks to Elias for his book review that begins with this wonderful para:

“The first lines into Damyanti Biswasโ€™ The Blue Bar serve as an introduction in situ. Not just to Tara, the bar girl on assignment at a crowded train station, but to the city of Mumbai. A city of islands, Mumbai is a perfect character in a crime story with disparate people, each an island to themselves. More than a setting, The City of Dreams is in turns squalid and seductive, sinister and sophisticated. And always as shocking as Taraโ€™s low-slung saree.”

So many other reviews have begun to trickle in, each a balm to the soul. I know no book can be popular with everyone, and that there will be readers who hate it, but I’m taking the small wins right now.

What has been a disappointment or a reassurance for you this month? Are you one of those wonderfully kind people reading an ARC of The Blue Bar? What books have you been reading lately? How is life treating you?

My lit crime novel, The Blue Bar will be out this October with Thomas & Mercer. It is already available for preorders. Add it to Goodreads or pre-order it to make my day.
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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • dgkaye says:

    Oye Damyant! That would send me to the moon with those missing arcs. Seems to be obstacles with so many things these days. ๐Ÿ™

  • DutchIl says:

    Thank you for sharing!!.. sorry about what happened in India.. do not let the actions of others have an impact on your dreams and your wonderful writings!!.. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Until we meet again..
    May the dreams you hold dearest
    Be those which come true
    May the kindness you spread
    Keep returning to you
    (Irish Saying)

  • Jemima Pett says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. I’ve had things stuck in customs from the US before, and been asked to pay a release fee which ended up more than the items cost me!
    But it’s one of the things that put me off trad publishing – books get pulped regularly.

    • DamyantiB says:

      That is so heart wrenching to hear! ๐Ÿ™ I can imagine the agony people go through when this happens. I can see why you made that decision.

  • They pulped your book? That must have been heartrending.
    Hooray for good, and meaningful reviews.

  • This does not speak well for the customs people in India, Damyanti! But at least the book is attracting good reviews.

    • DamyantiB says:

      Yes, well, it is what it is ๐Ÿ™ At least the reviews are definitely helping me stay optimistic about the overall picture ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank You Audrey!

  • Saras Manickam says:

    They pulped your books, Damyanti? Unbelievable. I’m so angry, broken. It’s like hurting your child. I hope Blue Bar becomes a best-seller. Knowing you, you’d have put in so much work and heart into it and then some.

  • I think you need to get a new agent to represent you in Indian Customs. That was a tragedy and I’m so sorry.

    • DamyantiB says:

      I donโ€™t have a customs agentโ€” didnโ€™t know I needed one. Will try and get everything in Singapore now.

  • I have never heard of that, Damyanti! I had books lost at the Canadian border, but not pulped! That is soul-unjumbling. I love that early review. I wish I’d said that!