Booknomics

Publishing, Print on Demand, Self-publishing in India from Pothi.com Team

October 9, 2019
by Neelima
0 comments

That’s the Word For It: Sotto Voce

Sotto voce means to lower the sound of your voice, not out of embarrassment or fear but more for emphasis. it’s a dramatic technique and also used in music and screenplay writing. I especially liked the Wiki reference to Galileo Galilei’s sotto voce utterance “Eppur si muove (And yet [the Earth] moves’.

Some more quotes from literature:

“I still can’t believe,” Michael said, sotto voce, “that you came to the Vampires’ Masquerade Ball dressed as a vampire.”
― Jim Butcher, Grave Peril

“Is it life-threatening?” they asked. They said it slightly sotto voce, but you could hear the thirst for sensation right through it: when people get a chance to come close to death without having it touch them personally, they never miss the opportunity.”
― Herman Koch, The Dinner

 

October 1, 2019
by Neelima
0 comments

That’s the Word for It: Salvo

The word salvo has more military connotations but you can also use the word figuratively as in the case of opening salvo, which refers to the first in a series of questions or statements used to try to win an argument.

Some instances of this word in literature:

“Agnes shut her eyes, clenched her fists, opened her mouth and screamed.

It started low. Plaster dust drifted down from the ceiling. The prisms on the chandelier chimed gently as they shook.
It rose, passing quickly through the mysterious pitch at fourteen cycles per second where the human spirit begins to feel distinctly uncomfortable about the universe and the place in it of the bowels. Small items around the Opera House vibrated off shelves and smashed on the floor.

The note climbed, rang like a bell, climbed again. In the Pit, all the violin strings snapped, one by one.
As the tone rose, the crystal prisms shook in the chandelier. In the bar, champagne corks fired a salvo. Ice jingled and shattered in its bucket. A line of wine-glasses joined in the chorus, blurred around the rims, and then exploded like hazardous thistledown with attitude.

There were harmonics and echoes that caused strange effects. In the dressing-rooms the No. 3 greasepaint melted. Mirrors cracked, filling the ballet school with a million fractured images.

Dust rose, insects fell. In the stones of the Opera House tiny particles of quartz danced briefly…

Then there was silence, broken by the occasional thud and tinkle.

Nanny grinned.

‘Ah,’ she said, ‘now the opera’s over.”

― Terry Pratchett, Maskerade

“It has been calculated that what with salvos, royal and military politeness, courteous exchanges of uproar, signals of etiquette, formalities of roadsteads and citadels, sunrises and sunsets, saluted every day by all fortresses and all ships of war, openings and closings of ports, etc., the civilized world, discharged all over the earth, in the course of four and twenty hours, one hundred and fifty thousand useless shots. At six francs a shot, that comes to nine hundred thousand francs a day, three hundred millions a year, which vanish in smoke. This is a mere details. All this time the poor were dying of hunger.”

― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

September 30, 2019
by Neelima
0 comments

Interview: Rajalakshmi Prithviraj

We spoke with Rajalakshmi Prithviraj, author of Silence Under The Blue Sky and Love Under the Blue Sky

Rajalakshmi Prithviraj is a military educationist and an air warrior by profession, a psychologist, psychotherapist, life coach and military strategist by qualification and a Veer Nari as well as a mother of two angelic kids in her personal life. She grew up in the Silver City of Odisha, Cuttack and considers herself to be an eternal child at heart

Tell us about the story behind your story Silence Under the Blue Sky.

Silence under the Blue Sky is a story that echoes the sentiments of every individual associated with a martyr. Silence represents the unspoken words of this clan and the Blue Sky symbolizes the Indian Air Force.  Though the story revolves around one martyr’s family, it is a tribute to every wife whose husband dies while serving his first love – our motherland. It is a toast to the spirit of every child who is forced to grow wise beyond his or her years due to the sudden and eternal absence of a father. The story also attempts to serve as an inspiration to Veer Naaris (War Widows) that life does not end with a death in the family. It symbolizes a new beginning. It also attempts to bring out that love is eternal.

Silence Under The Blue Sky

Tell us a little bit about the book and the person who inspired its creation.

The book attempts to bring out every single detail associated with the trauma that the protagonist goes through. It’s about her pain, the way she deals with the news of her husband’s death. This is a true story, hence, every single element is true and all the characters are alive. Therefore, names have been changed to protect their identities. The person who inspired me to create this story is my husband, Late Squadron Leader V Manoj. To be honest, this is our story, narrated verbatim, exactly the way things happened on that ill-fated day of 30th August 2012 in a nondescript place in India.

Has your background in psychology aided your writing and characterization ability?

Honestly speaking, I didn’t use my background in psychology to write this story. It is a chapter from my life book. So I narrated each and everything exactly as it happened. There was no exaggeration, no distortion. The only fictional element is the futuristic narration. However, as things are progressing in my life, I am sure, it will be a reality soon. Writing this story was my first step towards inner peace.

What is your take about the literature available in India about the Air Force?

The literature currently available all revolve around operations and autobiographies. Personal narratives are also available as parts of anthologies. However, the genre of military reality fiction, especially related to the Indian Air Force, is still limited.

When you narrate a real-life incident, what kind of caution do you take? What kind of advice do you have to share with writers who are struggling to write stories about their own lives?

While narrating a real-life incident, the most important thing is to protect the identity of characters who exist in real life. In my case, the story involves men and women in uniform and hence their true identities cannot be disclosed. However, the people I’ve mentioned are aware of which character represents them. My only advice to writers struggling to write about their lives is to write from your heart. The moment you start visualizing the incident, start writing about it first. The editing can happen later. When you write from your heart, your words have the power to touch the innermost corners of the reader’s soul. Also, it is important not to stick to one phase or one incident only, unless it is the very theme.

Every individual’s life is a unique story in itself. Hence, as a writer, it is important to identify which portion needs to be written about. One more thing, our life book has chapters that are happy, sad, bitter, memorable, embarrassing, painful and the like. It is important to choose portions that do not hurt anybody. We all may be negative characters in somebody’s life story, right?

Tell us about writing as therapy.

Writing is therapeutic for sure. In my case, it helped ease my pain. So I would definitely recommend writing as a tool to get over the trauma, deal with pain and attain inner peace. Words have a power of their own. While writing helps to pour out feeling, reading the same brings out a calming effect, like a catharsis. For me, writing my story has been the therapy I had been wanting to undergo. The loss of a loved one is painful for sure and when there is no scope to mourn in the initial stages, this bottled up pain can be really harmful for the psyche. In case anybody is unfortunate enough to undergo this kind of trauma, I would recommend writing for sure. Penning down feelings is like giving an outlet to pent up emotions.

Tell us about your experience with self-publishing.

I didn’t want to give away the ownership of my story to traditional publishers, not because of fear of rejection but more because the story is my life story and I didn’t want to give away its rights to anybody. Hence, I went the self-publishing way via Pothicom, a self-publishing platform in India, and it has been an amazing experience. Pothi.com has a simple dashboard and an uploading process that is a blessing in disguise for technically challenged people like me. Also, the team is really very friendly and responsive. The writer in me is really happy because self-publishing gave me the opportunity to share my story with the world without the hassle of losing my rights over it.

Your favorite fiction.

My favorite writers are Thomas Hardy, Harper Lee and Pearl S Buck. I have grown up reading To Kill A Mocking Bird, The Mayor of Casterbridge and The Townsman; these three are my all-time favorites. I love Mitch Albom’s writings and stories by Nicholas Sparks as well. Gone with the Wind is yet another story I love to read again and again. The stories that always bring out the child in me are those by Enid Blyton. I can spend hours reading the adventures of the Famous Five and Secret Seven or vanish into the Magical forest atop the Faraway tree or enjoy the ride of my life on the Wishing Chair.

Your future projects.

My future projects include writing more stories in the Under the Blue Sky series that would bring out different facets of the life of air warriors. Again, all reality fictions for sure. I am also penning poetry, especially couplets. So those are in the pipeline as well. I am also working on two non-fiction writing projects at the moment. So right now, the writer in me is busy juggling time with the professional and the mother in me.

Thank you Rajalakshmi, it was such a pleasure talking to you! Look forward to your future work!

September 27, 2019
by Neelima
0 comments

Visual Friday: Writers of India – Amitav Ghosh

 

Want to embed this post on your blog or website? Use the following code.
<div style="text-align: center; margin: auto;">
<href=https://i0.wp.com/pothi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/amitav-ghosh.png?resize=410%2C1024&ssl=1" alt="Visual Friday: Writers of India – Amitav Ghosh">
By Pothi.com
</a></div>

September 25, 2019
by Neelima
0 comments

That’s the Word for It: Excursus

The literary term excursus has to do with a more neutral sort of digression. An idea is expanded upon mostly in the appendix or the footnotes. Maybe the subject discussed will be of interest to only certain readers and maybe the information will benefit those readers who are more interested in back story. If you are familiar with Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, you will find that the novel makes extensive references to whaling, a kind of excursus in its own right,

Some instances of the word in literature:

“You are sure that I would not be well advised to make certain excisions and eliminations? You do not think it would be a good thing to cut, to prune? I might, for example, delete the rather exhaustive excursus into the family life of the early Assyrians?”
― P.G. Wodehouse, The Inimitable Jeeves

“But there is another class of assassinations, which has prevailed from an early period of the seventeenth century, that really does surprise me; I mean the assassination of philosophers. For, gentlemen, it is a fact, that every philosopher of eminence for the two last centuries has either been murdered, or, at the least, been very near it; insomuch, that if a man calls himself a philosopher, and never had his life attempted, rest assured there is nothing in him; and against Locke’s philosophy in particular, I think it an unanswerable objection (if we needed any), that, although he carried his throat about with him in this world for seventy-two years, no man ever condescended to cut it. As these cases of philosophers are not much known, and are generally good and well composed in their circumstances, I shall here read an excursus on that subject, chiefly by way of showing my own learning.”
― Thomas de Quincey

 

 

September 16, 2019
by pothi
0 comments

5 Success Tips for Non-fiction Authors

writing pencil creative light technology thinking web symbol bulb office business paper lightbulb energy education font power art sketch drawing creativity design vision strategy inspiration plan organ calligraphy information idea imagination intelligence success innovation invention brainstorming

Source: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/714869

Non-fiction is a genre that, despite its wildly successful nature, rarely gets the props it deserves in popular culture. Non-fiction is often seen as being dry and boring, but nothing could be further from the truth. And the sales speak for themselves – well-written educational books, textbooks and self-help books fly off the shelves. Unlike in fiction, where an author has to work extra hard to narrate a story that hasn’t already been told in some form, the topics and subtopics that can be covered under non-fiction are practically limitless. 

But having something important and informational to convey about a topic is only the first step. Here are five things you can do to increase the chances of success for your book:

 

  1. Tell a Story to Spread an Idea

    Remember, just because you’re not writing fiction doesn’t mean you can’t tell a story. Readers are always drawn to an interesting narrative, and you can use it to break down a complex topic and make it more accessible to readers.Ensure that the writing style is engaging and concise. Set out information in a way that is easy to read and remember. The use of visual aids such as tables, side bars, and bullet points will come in handy.
  2. Cite and Refer Generously 

    Be sure to include plenty of references to other works on the same subject. This way the reader gets to benefit not only from your expertise, but also from the work of other authors in the same field. Citations and references also boost the author’s credibility, increasing the reader’s confidence in the author’s knowledge.
  3. Nurture the Community

    An active presence in the community, both online as well as offline, is the most important asset for promoting your book. One of the ways you can get started is to read and review other books in the same genre you write in. Make sure to tag authors when you post the reviews publicly.You can also conduct discussions on the subject. Organize Ask Me Anything sessions on sites like Quora. This will reinforce your credibility with regards to your subject and boost the visibility of your work among your audience. Remember, a rising tide lifts all boats!
  4. Present it Well

    Unlike a fiction book, bad presentation can kill a non-fiction title. Typeset the book professionally to ensure that your visual elements and textual information are placed together neatly. Well-spaced books with a moderate amount of white space are easier to read. Ensure that standard fonts that promote readability are used. 
  5. Take your Book Out for a Test-Drive!

    Feedback from the intended audience is critical, and wouldn’t it be great if you could get it before your book is published?! 

    Find a small circle of people who fit the demographic you are writing for – students, professionals, hobbyists, etc. and release the early drafts of the chapters of your book to them, for free. Your beta-readers benefit from information about a topic they’re interested in, and you get valuable information on how to optimize your book’s potential! You can find interested readers among bloggers, and on social sites like Twitter and Instagram.Above all, your book is a labor of love. And with non-fiction books, the reward tends to be proportional to the effort, so spare no effort, and pour your soul into your work.

September 16, 2019
by Neelima
1 Comment

Interview: Surjit Singh

We spoke to Surjit Singh, author of Edwina: An Unsung Bollywood Dancer of the Golden Era, The Illustrated History of Punjabi Cinema (1935-1985) and Indurani: An Unsung But Unforgettable Heroine Of The Early Talkies.

My photo

Professor Surjit Singh is a retired Theoretical Physicist. He has been watching movies since 1952,  collecting Hindi songs, movies and magazines since 1969, and has been writing about these topics since 1996. Check out his website for more.

Tell us about your writing journey.

Even though I chose Physics-Mathematics-Chemistry in the ninth grade, I always enjoyed reading and writing essays. I learnt how great essays were organized into paragraphs and how the ideas flowed naturally and logically. I used what I leaned when I was publishing Physics papers (I have almost 90). While I was at the Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, I jumped at the chance to be co-author of two Physics books. I always planned to write lots of books. I am glad that I am able to publish them using Pothi (India) and Amazon (USA).

You are a theoretical physicist. Why did you choose to write about Bollywood’s forgotten faces?

I started watching films when I was in the seventh grade, bunking school. Liked stunt films and was fascinated by the details of film production. Just as in Physics, one looks at stuff happening behind the scenes (at atomic/molecular level) to understand laboratory phenomena, I was inclined to look into details and I did not fail to notice the same minor and character artists appearing in Hindi films again and again. I started to collect music, films, books, magazines, articles and other film-related stuff about these people in the late sixties. Naturally, I started writing about them.

How did you compile Punjabi cinema’s history? While writing about movies, you must spend a lot of time watching them. Do you take notes for every movie you watch?

I really cannot take much credit for that. This was Bhim Raj Garg’s baby for almost 30 years, during which time he had been collecting data. I kept pestering him to publish it and, finally, I helped him to do so on Amazon and Pothi. For my work on Hindi films, of course, I take detailed notes. I write down the names of actors not mentioned in the credits, the ones on whom the songs are picturized, any interesting connections with other Hindi/Panjabi/Hollywood films, interesting bit of dialog, something special about the setting, scenery, historical place, about Sandhu Transport trucks, cars, just about anything I may need for my books.

How do you do research to write a book with a Bollywood theme?

As I said I have been collecting source material for almost 50 years now. This includes books and magazines published on Hindi cinema since the 30s! I have a huge collection of songs and films, again going back to the early talkies. Also, in many cases I have been lucky to be able to interview the actual people (Edwina Voilette for the book on her) or their relatives (Salim Shah for the book on his mother Indurani).

Tell us about your experience with self-publishing.

It has been wonderful! My other two books on Physics were published in the traditional manner. The publishers did publicize and lots of copies were sold, but I was not happy that the royalty was such a small percentage. For my current books, I was thinking of having copies printed and then selling them from home, as many of my friends had been doing. Then I saw one of my Facebook friends (Aditya Pant) publish his poetry book on Pothi. I asked around if you guys were any good, my friend Pavan Jha (of Jaipur) said that Pothi guys are good. So, here we are 🙂

Your favorite movie? Are you fond of contemporary movies as well?

I am a huge fan of 30s-40s films, in particular I like any film starring Saigal or Noor Jehan. Saigal’s Tansen (1943) and Noor Jehan’s Jugnu (1947) I have watched many times. I also like Madhubala and Dilip Kumar. I do watch current films, may be one or two a year. Story-wise and musically they are so much influenced by Hollywood that, in my thinking, one might as well watch the original Hollywood films on which they are mostly based.

Your favorite Bollywood book (if any) or book in general?

My favorite Bollywood book is the world-famous compilation of detailed information on Hindi Films and their songs, the six-volume Hindi Film Geet Kosh by Har Mandir Singh ‘Hamraaz’. I am an avid reader and have many hundreds of books, some of which I bought in the seventies. List of my favorite authors and their books would be very long, for now let me just name Shakespeare, Kalidas, Wodehouse, Wilde, Christie, Ghalib, Nanak Singh, Devaki Nandan Khatri, Acharya Chatursen, Ibne Safi, Manto, Asimov, Gardner, Koestler. For most of them, I have most of what they have published. As you may guess, if I like something, I would rather read it again than reading something new 🙂

Any advice you wish to give potential authors who wish to market their books?

Announce it on social media, tell friends and relatives, prepare a press release and email to relevant newspapers and websites.

What are you working on right now?

I am usually working on 2-3 books at the same time. I will soon be publishing a book on Hindi film extras or junior artistes. More books on character artists and background dancers are in the planning stage. Another big project I am working on is to put all the information in the Hindi Film Geet Kosh in the form of a searchable database on the internet.

September 11, 2019
by Neelima
0 comments

That’s the Word For It: Skeuomorph

A skeuomorph is a derivative object that retains nonfunctional design attributes from the original.  This means that the design features of a contemporary product is modeled on objects that the user is already familiar with. Take for instance a software calendar that looks like a desk calendar or a calculator app modeled on a real calculator.This simplifies things for the user but now designers are moving away from this trend.

I was hoping to find this word in some sci-fi literature but came across more definitions:

“Skeuomorphic is the technical term for incorporating old, familiar ideas into new technologies, even though they no longer play a functional role. Skeuomorphic designs are often comfortable for traditionalists, and indeed the history of technology shows that new technologies and materials often slavishly imitate the old for no apparent reason except that is what people know how to do. Early”
― Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things

“A multitude of design trends has come and passed over the years, often conditioned by external technology innovations, such as the birth of social media or the first iPhone. From the 90’s guest counters and solitary guestbooks to skeuomorphism, from flat design to parallax scrolling, the core of any good website has always been and will always be the user experience.”
― Simone Puorto

September 4, 2019
by Neelima
0 comments

That’s the Word For It: Fugacious

The word fugacious deals with emotions and interestingly also to the idea of withering leaves in botany.  Fugacious derives from the Latin verb fugere or flee.  Some derivative words include fugitive, refuge, and subterfuge.

A beautiful word to use in literature:

“Love is a fugacious word. Rounded and comfortable, it lifts the tongue and fills the back of the throat, before slipping beyond reach as the sound is exhaled from the mouth. Yet the word eludes meaning. Love teeters on the edge of the unknown beyond which it becomes almost impossible to speak. It moves us beyond words. We speak about love when we define our longing and desire and yet we fall into silence when we attempt to speak about it in the present.”
― Jonathan Rutherford, I Am No Longer Myself Without You: An Anatomy of Love