We are in the final week of NaNoWriMo and the excitement levels are shooting up as much as the wordcounts are. “Writing must be relished and the writer must be unafraid to be naked in their writing” says Author Sreemoyee Piu Kundu in her peptalk to the wrimos who are still to reach the 50K mark and also gives some publishing advice.
Over to Sreemoyee Piu Kundu:
I am often asked to give writing tips to aspiring writers and I think the best thing I can say is that listen to the beat of your heart. Honestly speaking I became a writer because I relished writing – it was and continues to be, despite the struggle to be heard in all the publishing clutter, the only way I know how to live – freely and fearlessly.
It was a natural progression thus when I look back today at my decade long career in print journalism.
The thirst to tell a story:
On the same lines, my eventual move to become a full-time novelist relinquishing a lucrative PR Vice-President job and forsaking the lure to return back to journalism honestly feels more like a continuation of the same journey. The thirst to tell a story, for it to have a larger and more diverse audience and finally to be limitless in terms of scope perhaps influenced my final plunge as a novelist four years ago when I started writing Faraway Music, that was my debut novel, published by Hachette that released in 2013.
Today, I feel writing has become hugely aspirational thanks to the whole ChetanBhagat phenomenon, and also due to the pressure of social media where everyone is posing with celebs and in search of their fifteen seconds of fame – but that to me personally, is not the reason one should be compelled to write a story.
Unafraid to be naked:
- The aim should rather be to shed your layers and be unafraid to be naked.
- Don’t judge the mistakes your muses make
- Explore sensuality
- Take risks and
- Don’t copy trends of what books you think are selling and consumed by the need to join the best-seller bandwagon.
I think diversity is one of the biggest plus points of a good writer, and being able to surprise the readers is a huge asset that always works.
When I wrote my hugely successful novel, Sita’s Curse, for instance I had no idea it would be labeled as India’s first feminist erotica, and neither did I deliberately write a book that explored a married housewife’s suppressed sexual desires because I thought there was a vast market for the Savitha Bhabhi sort of writing – staying true to the intent behind a novel I think is critical, and determines the quality of writing that can easily be distinguished from a wannabe writer who’s just desperate to add the word writer to his CV.
Post NaNo Tips:
Also, one mistake a lot of young writers make is to fall into the pressures of publishing – how to impress a publisher and therefore they will do anything to please them – changing the manuscript, inserting more sex and violence just to be published at any cost. Always stick to your guns is my suggestion.
Another tip- ask for a marketing plan. I was told for instance by my publisher on the day my first book went to Print that they have zilch marketing budget. Bargain harder and never let your innate desperation get in the way of a sound book deal. Also getting an agent to represent you maybe a good idea. They can hard sell your book and are usually well networked.
Also, don’t fall into the celebrity endorsement trap – getting celebs to pose with your book or write a line or two or launch your book, unless you know someone personally. Books must sell on their own merit and stand their own ground. And you being the author must believe it will. Stand up and by your own creativity, as you are the biggest brand ambassador for it.
About Sreemoyee Piu Kundu:
Sexuality, women, popular culture and gender is what defines author Sreemoyee Piu Kundu’s exciting career, preceding her literary foray. Having covered the broad gamut of national lifestyle and features – Sreemoyee held Senior Editorial positions in prestigious newspapers. After being at the helm of a flourishing media canvas, Sreemoyee then diversified into PR with senior mandates of building key media strategy and leading lifestyle & entertainment verticals at Genesis BursonMarstellar and Hanmer MS&L, New Delhi respectively.
Sreemoyee made her literary debut with Faraway Music, (Hachette) in 2013. Sreemoyee’s second book, Sita’s Curse (Hachette)– an erotic fiction which earned her the epithet of Erotica Queen, launched in May 2014, was a national best-seller and widely covered in leading publications.
Sreemoyee’s third novel that is just out and already on the Bestseller list, You’ve Got The Wrong Girl(Hachette)breaks new ground as a woman writer foraying into the realm of lad lit in India, made famous internationally by writers like Nick Hornby and Matt Dunn. Sreemoyee has also completed her fourth novel Cut!signed up by Fingerprint.Written like a play in ten acts, Cut!pays a moving tribute to the parallel worlds of stage and screen as seen through the chequered life and times of thespian Amitabh Kulashreshtra.
Sreemoyee is also a leading columnist on women’s sexuality and gender issues with Quint, Yahoo, I.diva.com& Daily O.A regular in television debates and newspaper columns, she’s also the recipient of the L’oreal NDTV Women of Worth award in the category of ‘Literature,’ this year and is also the Recipient of the Author Award by the Indian Council of UN Relations, from the Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit on the occasion of Women’s Day in 2014.
Sreemoyee has just been signed up for her fifth book, her first non-fiction on single women in India, Status Single by Amaryllis. She is an alumnus of Loreto House, Kolkata, and a gold-medallist post graduate from Jadhavpur University. She was recently a Tedtalk Speaker at IIFT, New Delhi, speaking on the plight of single women in India.
Sreemoyee now resides in New Delhi.
Know more about Sreemoyee’s books here:
Faraway Music – https://www.facebook.com/Faraway-Music-341486359282781/?fref=ts
Sita’s Curse – https://www.facebook.com/SitasCurse/?fref=ts
You’ve Got The Wrong Girl – https://www.facebook.com/Youve-Got-The-Wrong-Girl-1666284060303263/?fref=ts