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Writing Books is Easy. Finding Your Book Community? Not so much.

By 09/08/2023August 29th, 2023Featured
writing books is easy

Writing books is the easy part, or that’s what it feels like when it comes to book promotion. Writing books is a private act, and although torturous, not many witness your humiliation other than you, or your close family and friends.

The imposter syndrome doesn’t go away no matter how many books you’ve written. With good reason in my case, but again, it is private shame. 

But book promotion? Yeah–that’s where the scrutiny gets terrifying. The buzz is apparently everything, at least in trad publication. Unlike in self-pub, where a book can keep selling for months and years, be given a new lease of life with an edit and a new cover (not a painless process, but still), a trad-pubbed book sinks or swims in the first few months of its life. The first few weeks, even. A few troll reviews of THE BLUE BAR on Amazon in the first week of its release effectively killed its momentum. It’s like a 100m sprint, over before it begins for some of us.

I’ve received the first trade review for THE BLUE MONSOON, and thankfully, it says enough complimentary things that a pull quote will look good on its Amazon page. Which brings me back to the agony part of book publishing (Are there any other parts, you ask? Yep, there’s that.)

Soon after my book is ready to be read by others, I feel this debilitating anxiety because what if all of it is garbage, and everyone makes fun of me? This time was worse.
Putting yourself out there in the form of a narrative is hard enough, what makes it harder still is a book that wrenches itself out of you. I tried my best not to write The Blue Monsoon the way it is written. 
It became a book that decided to be itself.
There are so many aspects: the hair industry: wigs and hair extensions. The kinnar: India’s third gender. The caste system: the insidious thread that runs through all of Indian society, invisible, but sadly, not irrelevant. Religion: the tinder box waiting for a set of matches.
And of course, the monsoon, after which the book is named.
I’ve tried to remain the neutral observer, but who knows how far I’ve succeeded.
Reviews have begun to trickle in, and call me a show off, but I’m listing a few excerpts below. Writing books is purgatory: allow me the indulgence of wallowing in reassurance. I know these are early days, and those who hate the book will also find it. For now, though, here are a few snippets from Netgalley and Goodreads:
“I was warned that there was some graphic violence, so I was wary, but the worst violence is shown only in its aftermath, not while it’s happening. One of the things I love about Biswas’ work is how she communicates a depth of culture and structure within the flow of the story, not as a lecture or “info-dump”. Another thing I love is how she gets me into the heads of all her characters, and never shies away from having her protagonists and her antagonists represented as people with flaws and virtues, who have to navigate between good against better and bad against worse. “
“As a reader, I was immersed in the sights and sounds of Mumbai. I began to feel the highs and lows, the joy, the fear, the worry, and the constraints as if they were my own. Reading this novel, I was in a world of cultural and religious differences far beyond my knowledge. But beyond what is unique, some elements are universal in the differences between law enforcement officers seeking justice for victims, while some are there for the power to elevate themselves before others, whether through bribes, corruption, or lies. Only power is important. The universal sameness of the reasons for crime, from jealousy to territorial conflicts, the hunger for power, and greed. The universal sameness of managing conflicts between career and family. The universal sameness of need to protect one’s family regardless of relationship within the family.”
“The city remains intriguing and seductive and at the same time menacing and deadly. Blue Bar’s sun-seared sweltering dread gives way to Blue Monsoon’s unrelenting rain and noon-to-sudden-night clouds. Killers lurked in blazing sunlight in Blue Bar but in Blue Monsoon death rules the shadows, dark halls, and dank factory floors.”
“This is a shocking, gritty almost noir story with non-stop action and complex story lines. You will learn tons about India and power systems along the way – Mumbai is very much it’s own atmospheric character in this book. If you like police procedurals, learning about countries and culture via reading or just love a gritty and graphic mystery then The Blue Monsoon is for you!”
I’m not linking the reviews, because I don’t want to bother the reviewers in any way, but if your review is here and you’re reading this post, know that I’m thankful.
Immensely thankful, because if writing books and selling them is hard, harder still is to find a supportive community: your people who like what you do, who might listen to what you have to say, and who cheer you along. Your book family.
My book family is kind and strong. You all have my back in more ways that I can count, and besides feeling an inner compulsion to keep writing, you’re the best reason there is to torture myself, book after book. Writing books will remain a passion, thanks also to you all.

What about you? Do you find writing books easier than promoting them? If you are a writer, what keeps you writing? As a reader, do you ever worry about the writer’s life?

My literary crime novel, The Blue Bar is on Kindle Unlimited now. Add it to Goodreads or snag a copy to make my day. The sequel, The Blue Monsoon is up for pre-orders! And if you’d like to read a book outside the series, you can check out You Beneath Your Skin.  Find all info about my books on my Amazon page or Linktree.

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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 next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 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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  • It’s a process for which I was not prepared. Writing is purgagive, and cathartic, but there IS a downside,right? Unfortunately, self-promotion has little to do with talent, yet becomes a necessity. Good luck to you. I’m certainly interested.

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti – you do write so well … I’ve never been to Mumbai, but a friend of my brother’s has moved home from the States to Mumbai, and she sends out the most amazing letters … and I can so relate to her home city in India …

    Equally – we are exceedingly lucky to be amongst friends within this blogging fraternity … as you say: lots of support around and encouragement around. Cheers and good luck – all will well … time will work its magic!! Hilary

  • Congratulations on your continuing excellent reviews and acceptance as an established author of note.

  • With those great reviews, you shouldn’t have to worry!

  • That was fascinating to read, Damyanti. I don’t think of it at all that way–because I suppose, I’m Indie. What a great peek behind the curtain. Wonderful reviews for your upcoming book. I can’t wait to read it.

  • Christine Robinson says:

    Awesome reviews, Damyanti. For me, writing takes a long time with first pass editing. I use a structured beat sheet to work in what’s needed. The debut book self promotion marketing was intense the first month, then writing the sequel took over. My promotion plan is different for both books. Let’s see if it works. I’m amazed at the many ways you promote your book.A how to do it lesson for me. Christine

    • DamyantiB says:

      I’m glad you found the post useful, Christine! Good luck with the promotion of your books. Hoping that both promotion plans give you great success!

  • For me, it’d no contest between writing and promoting it. I find promoting my work very, very difficult.

  • Wow–fantastic reviews! “…in Blue Monsoon death rules the shadows, dark halls, and dank factory floors.” As a writer, I feel like as soon as one starts querying, the claws come out in some. It really is a lonely business at that point–lonelier than when writing the novel (alone), because there are writing group friends helping at that point, beta readers, etc. I’m querying now–ugh, tough stuff. But if I fail it’ll be alone–for good and for bad. I feel for authors like you during the very public phase of releasing a book out into the world! Thank you for talking about this honestly, Damyanti! And I’m crossing all my fingers and toes for much success for this new book of yours!

    • DamyantiB says:

      Thank you so much, Rebecca! I really appreciate your kind words, and the time you took to comment. I wish you all the best in your writing journey, and everything that comes with it.

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