LITERATURE


SHE HAS A DREAM: A PUBLISHING FAIRY TALE



" Let me explain: belief has introduced me to three people and these three people, myself included, are one and the same. . . . The beginning—a coherent place to start. The exact moment was three years ago in a Books etc in central London. I stood there imagining my book on the shelf and a pile of books on a table. . . . My images combusted as the woman in the store asked me if I was going to buy anything and I was brought firmly back down to reality with the thought of my own five hand-written A4 pages.
by Preethi Nair

Copyright © 2001, 3 A.M. MAGAZINE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Preethi Nair walks into the room. She is calm, her eyes feel intense and look at me inquisitively as though I will be one of the characters for her next book. Author of Gypsy Masala: A Story of Dreams, she feels almost embarrassed that the book is doing incredibly well. Pru Menon, her promoter, and Director of the Creative House, interjects. Pru is the epitome of a bulging ego. She seems to get bigger as she reels off the list of papers, magazines, TV shows, promotional activities that Preethi has been involved in and she ends an already crammed sentence by telling me how many book stores have Gypsy Masala as their choice pick. “It’s all about having a strategy, you can have talent but you need a strategy,” she continues. “Ultimately though, both are dreamers, fuelled only by belief.”

This last sentence hits me between my fluffy eyebrows. Resonating somewhere within, it makes me understand the craziness of the scenario and the madness of the last year and a half. Let me explain: belief has introduced me to three people and these three people, myself included, are one and the same.

I’ll introduce myself: Preethi Nair, Author of Gypsy Masala: A Story of Dreams, also known to some as Ms Pru Menon, Publicist and Director of The Creative House and Publisher going under the alias of NineFish. NineFish? Don’t ask me why.

The beginning—a coherent place to start. The exact moment was three years ago in a Books etc in central London. I stood there imagining my book on the shelf and a pile of books on a table. One hand was occupied by a glass of red Bordeaux and in the other, a blue fountain pen. Casually sipping away, I began signing away copies of my first book. My images combusted as the woman in the store asked me if I was going to buy anything and I was brought firmly back down to reality with the thought of my own five hand-written A4 pages.

For three years, I began scribbling on the underground on my way to work and every spare moment I had. Hours of sleepless nights overcoming writer’s block, belief, energy, my heart and soul poured into my manuscript. I felt that I had given my book absolutely everything, so much so, that I didn’t want to leave things to my friend ‘chance.’ I think ultimately, that is why the strategic part of my brain did what it did. It needed to know about the intricacies of what happened to manuscripts once they left an editor’s desk and how authors were promoted. My research was conclusive. At the time, I felt that nobody could possibly believe in Gypsy Masala as I did. I decided the best way forward was to publish and promote my own book.

Having left “proper work” in a moment of insanity, Pru Menon, my alter ego set up The Creative House in a back bedroom of a make-believe multinational. Through joining various circles, I had established a list of contacts, and months before the release date of Gypsy Masala (the books were being printed), I began unashamedly hyping up a fantastic first time novelist by the name of Preethi Nair. Pru/Preethi sat down together and began writing press angles, ideas, anything. Pru began calling and calling and calliing . . . things eventually started happening.

I had invested all my savings into my first consignment of 3,000 books. They arrived. All 3,000 had a missing page 179. I cried that whole night, thinking it was a sign that the venture was doomed from the beginning. I cried the next day too and there came a point where I could blubber no more so I spent the next 10 nights inserting 3,000 pages 179 into the page missing books (the printer admitted error and was doing a reprint in the meantime). These books I handed out at the London Book Fair and to Press.

Pru in the meantime kept on going. She was busy setting up interviews for Preethi, and Preethi was busy doing them. Changing voices, making weird sounds with the telephone so that people would think that they were holding whilst being connected.

The “R” word has to be introduced at this stage because strangely enough, without it, I don’t think I would have come this far. It is a word I absolutely hate. REJECTION. As a writer, I should be able to take criticism, but I can’t. Rejection sends me off somewhere into a void of pessimism, and yes, there have been several of those along the way.

There was the woman who called Pru from a national newspaper and told her how much she hated Gypsy Masala and asked that in future not to send such books. “Sure,” said Pru so calmly and collectedly, only to blubber as Preethi into a helpless heap after putting the phone down. I remember traipsing around in the rain with bundles of books giving them to store managers who promised to stock but didn’t. Somewhere though, I don’t know exactly where, doubt and rejection have their place, maybe they just strengthen conviction. I kept on going.

Somehow, we have managed to come to the end. Yesterday I was told that Gypsy Masala: A Story of Dreams hit number one in Books Etc. Finchley. Sharon, the store manager rang me up, full of enthusiasm to say that is how Louis de Bernieres’ Captain Corelli’s Mandolin began his journey (as a staff pick that found its way into one store and then another and then . . .). So being the ultimate dreamer, I have to end by saying that dreams do come true . . . but only if you want them to.


Gypsy Masala is available from:

http://www.amazon.co.uk

Check out Preethi Nair’s website: http://www.gypsymasala.com

3AM Magazine will soon be publishing an extract from Gypsy Masala.


SEND CORRESPONDENCE TO:
preethi@gypsymasala.com


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