Tag Archives: self-publishing

The first review!

A big thanks to everyone who supported me and spread a word about my book, How I tamed the dragon named fear. Thanks to you guys, I was able to reach 35 people yesterday. And one of the readers was kind enough to leave a review, this soon:


What should I say, that felt great! I guess positive feedback feels especially good if it comes from someone you do not know at all. Thank you Milan for reading the book and sharing your thoughts.

Once again, huge thanks to everyone who spread a word about this book. Also, a big thanks to everyone who downloaded the book yesterday. I hope you find it a good read. And if you do, please leave me a review!



How my beta readers made my book better?

As writers, we are often so close to our writings that we fail to see the flaws that our writings have. While I was writing my recently published second book, I took care that the book did not suffer from such shortsightedness. In December 2016, with much self-doubt and suspicion I sent out a very rough draft of the book to a couple of friends and bloggers.

The feedback I received was immensely helpful towards building the finished product that is now live on Amazon.

The book, How I tamed the dragon named fear, is self-help book that draws heavily from my personal experience. In the book, I have talked about things that make me afraid and how I have learned to deal with them over the years.

The major chunk of feedback that I received from my beta readers went somewhat like this:

  1. The book is immensely personal, hence the range of fears is limited, should try and broaden the horizon
  2. The chapters were initially designed to be stand-alone capsules – Anand from Anand’s Parodies suggested I try connecting each chapter so they have a continuous flow
  3. Adding visuals

I focused on points 1 and 2 and tried to re-create the book from a new angle. Speaking and emailing with my beta readers gave me the much needed clarity. Besides, being the nice folks that my betas were, they supported me strongly even for that really messy rough draft. That act of kindness hugely motivated me to continue work to the finish line and helped me in not doubting myself while I on it.

So, thank you Anand, Rachana and Neeladrita (my lovely school friend who’s currently working towards a Ph.D. in Mohali). Thank you so much for the time you guys took out and gave to this book. You have truly made the book a better one.

Have you ever had your work-in-progress read by beta readers? Did it change the course of your book? Share your experience with me in the Comments section.

P.S: If you have not downloaded How I tamed the dragon named fear yet, do it ASAP. It’s only a few more hours that it will stay FREE! Buy it here.



Free Book Promotion | How I tamed the dragon named fear

As I mentioned in my last post, How I tamed the dragon named fear is now available on Amazon! Woo-hoo!


I have been flooded with congratulatory messages on Facebook. It really feels great!

How I tamed the dragon named fear available for FREE TOMORROW!

To add to this happiness, I am making the book available for FREE on Amazon tomorrow (11th February, 2017). I want to reach as many of you as I can, as soon as I can. For all of you who own a Kindle, I please download the book tomorrow. For those who don’t, you can download Kindle app on your smartphones/tablets as well and then download the book.

My humble request you all to share about the book and the  FREE PROMOTION on your social media platforms! Feel free to link to this blog post! Thanks in advance to all of you!

There, now I can get back to my actual work! Hope to hear your feedback on the book soonest.

Finished the first draft!

After a really long time, I have gotten around to finish a WIP, which I can safely call a rough first draft. For those of you who do not know, I published my first book of fiction in June, 2015. It took me close to 15 months to get the first draft of my second book out. But well, finally it’s done. I just emailed it to a couple of friends for review, post which I will be doing another round of edit.

The book is currently titled How I tamed the dragon named fear. It is a non-fiction piece with an autobiographical element. The theme, as might be self-explanatory from the title, is fear and how to handle it. As an individual, I have struggled with fear and anxiety for a long time. Last year, before I came to Bangalore I was a wreck at the thought of living so far away from my family. It was then the idea to keep a fear journal came to me. I started writing down the things that made me anxious and trying to find solutions for them. In the process of doing so, I realized I could share it with a larger audience.

I am really excited about this book for two reasons:

  • This is my first venture into non-fiction
  • Through this book, I actually tried to address a problem that I have faced for a long time and I am excited to see if my experience helps others

I am planning to do a February, 2017 release, even though I still have to narrow down the final date. I think it will depend on the kind of feedback I receive from my beta readers. I need to know if the book is actually working in the way I want it to.

Meanwhile, I am going to utilize December to chalk out promotional strategies and other things that go with publishing a book. Do let me know if you have some tips for me for the book promotions.

Time for me to cook myself some dinner and jump in joy! After all, it’s not everyday that you finish a book! What say?


Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and KDP Select: Update after two month self-publishing journey

If you have been following this blog, you probably know that I published my first (and so far, the only) book through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program. At that point of time, I had no idea that I could self-publish a book. So, for me it was a big deal! In fact, if it wasn’t for Amazon KDP program, I wouldn’t perhaps haven’t written a book at all.

When I published Bound by Life through Kindle, I had automatically enrolled it for KDP Select program. For the uninitiated, KDP Select allows authors a few special features. For one, every author gets 5 days of free promotion in which the book can be made absolutely free! Plus, there is a new feature that Amazon has introduced: the pay-per-page-read concept. Under this, if your book is borrowed from the Kindle Owners Lending Library or downloaded through Kindle Unlimited, then you get paid for every page read of your book. As per available statistics, you get paid about 57 cents for every Kindle Edition Normalized Page (KENP) read.

On the flip-side, if you enroll your book in KDP Select, you can not sell your book on any other online platform, including your website.

For more details, check out KDP Select FAQ.

There is an ongoing debate in the author community as to whether KDP Select is worth it or not.

As for me, here are my statistics: Bound by Life has sold about 30 copies during the free promotion. I am not sure if I should call that a good number. I have read in other blogs of authors selling thousands of copies on the free promotion days and mine is not even in hundreds. Then again, I have only started and I have probably not marketed the book as well as I should have.

Only recently I saw some activity in KENP Count – so far it has been read completely just once. In fact, it was only when I saw some activity in KENPC that I took to reading about KDP Select in detail, and the result is this post. So whoever read Bound by Life through KU or KOLL, if you are reading this now, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. My heart jumps in joy every time I see some activity on my Sales Dashboard, and I was so glad to see the blue graph (that’s how Amazon represents the KENP Count in the Sales Dashboard) finally take a sharp hike! I have no idea if you liked my book, but if you did, please leave me a review letting me know.

I complete my 90 days in KDP Select program in September. Will I continue using the program for another 90 days? I do not think so. Amazon KDP has made my publishing dreams come true. But it is time to test new waters. I hope to launch Bound by Life through Smashwords towards end of September. I guess it is time to reach new readers – not all of us use the Kindle app or devices for our digital reading, do we? Don’t forget to let me know in the comments how your read your favourite ebook and maybe, I will publish my ebook in your preferred format.

Are you a self-published author who has enrolled in KDP Select? Do you think it is worth it? Don’t forget to share your experience with me.

P.S: If you have an Amazon Prime membership or a Kindle Unlimited subscription, you can borrow my book, Bound by Life for FREE on your Kindle Device. My book is also part of Kindle Countdown Deal, so even though it is priced at $5.99, you’ll probably get it for less if you decide to buy it. Do give Bound by Life a try!

On publishing the first book, ‘Bound by Life’

If you have been on my page, you probably know about Bound by Life by now. For those who are not familiar, Bound by Life is my first book of short stories, set to come out on June 20, 2015 on Amazon Kindle.

When I started to write earlier this year with a goal in mind, I could only write from experience. That meant I was only writing about things I have seen and experienced for myself. For many weeks I had this question in my mind: Could one really write something well if s/he did not have at least some amount of personal touch to it? The question baffled me, and I wanted to throw it to every writer out there.


Hence confused, I realized I was not ready to write an entire novel. Somehow, since my genre borders on real life stories with all its trials and tribulations, I did not feel mature enough to write about many things.

I did start my novel though, and it has about three chapters in it now. But then I decided to start out with something small, something that I would feel confident in writing even with my limited experience. I decided to write a book of short stories. Before my resolve weakened, I decided I should name the book and fix a date, so that I actually went somewhere with it. Hence, I logged on to my bookshelf on Amazon, and chose the very last date available to publish a ‘pre-order’ category book (something that I was not publishing immediately) that day, and the chosen day is June 20, 2015, the due delivery date of my special baby!

I have grown up reading short stories, but somewhere along the way novels replaced them. It was only after I decided on writing short stories myself that I started reading them again (on magazines where I wanted to send my writings to and in Jhumpa Lahiri’s books). I researched, at the time, about publishing trends and found that the big publishing houses weren’t as enthusiastic about publishing short stories as they were about novels.

But I wasn’t going for traditional publishing right away, so I could put that thought away for a little while. So, for the next weeks, I concentrated on my short stories. Meanwhile, I sent some of them to magazines (see my post on that here). I was rewarded with an acceptance by the eFiction magazine for my story, I am Mala. It is available now on Kindle and the eFiction website.

Along with success I have met with failure. I sent this story, The Silent Victim, to Out of Print magazine. They informed me, with regret, that they could not publish my story. It felt bad, but I realized that I did not have much faith in that story myself.

So, this Sunday, I sat with that story, trying to edit it so that I could shape it for my short story collection. I saw then what the editor had seen, and silently I agreed with him for rejecting the story. In spite of the edits I had done before I submitted the story, there were still a few typos. The sentences did not flow so well. I deleted entire paragraphs which were clearly unnecessary to the main text. I realized this in the process: one must try and put as much time as s/he can between writing of a story and the edits. You really need that time to see the problem areas clearly. As of now, the story reads better, if not the best that it can be. I intend to return to it later for another round of edits.

Meanwhile, I started to read about how to format the book for Kindle. I created the front page with the name of the book and my name below it, read some stuff about copyrights, and added the dedication page. I also learnt so many things on MS Word in the process, about page breaks and Active Table of Contents. I have settled on a font type (Georgia) and the page margins.

So far, I have about five stories completed and the others are underway. I am trying to speed up the process as much as I can, for May is going to be a busy month with my final semester in college (but we all now how moody our muses can be, so I can be as fast as my muse allows me to). There are project and lab reports to complete, and circuit diagrams to draw. Our departmental farewell is in a few days. Finally, in about a month, I am going to graduate!

Nonetheless, I look forward to June when I can invest more time to my book alone!

Like my Facebook page for all the updates on Bound by Life. What was your experience of publishing the first book? Do you have any suggestions for me? Tell me in the comments below.

The Pilgrim’s Journey – Part One

Welcome to a new series at Scribbles@Arpita. But before I start, let me ask the old-timers something: When you landed here today, were yourself confused about this blog’s identity? Were you about to hit the close button when you suddenly found the interview with Tammy L. Gray on writing and self-publishing from last Wednesday and realized what was different?

Yeah, I know. Scribbles@Arpita is changed! Big time! I promise there won’t be such a drastic change again in the near future, but please do let me explain to you why that this change was necessary.

Oh, before I do that, a warm hello to my new visitors! For context, here’s what my blog used to look like before it underwent The Great Transformation!

Earlier version of Scribbles@Arpita

Earlier version of Scribbles@Arpita

Earlier version of Scribbles@Arpita

Earlier version of Scribbles@Arpita

Now, jumping on. Throughout my college life I have wanted to publish a book by the time I graduated. By the time I got serious about it, it was March 2015, only three months short of my graduation. There are a number of steps that I have started to take since and that is going to be the subject of ‘The Pilgrim’s Journey’. It’s going to be a long series in which I will pen out my wayward journey into the creative world of writing and the difficult world of publishing.

Why do I think this series will be a help to you? That’s because I research a lot about writing and publishing. And in doing that, I often come across awesome tips from various people in the writing and publishing business which I believe will be of much help to those who are starting off like me. I am sure you do your research well. The aim of this series is not to replace that; it is here to help accentuate it. Oh, you have something to add on to my experience? I’d be happy to host you as a guest in my blog. Just leave a comment below if you want to share your experiences here and I will get in touch with you.

So, in the first installment of ‘The Pilgrim’s Journey’ let me tell you what I have done since March this year.

  • The idea to get myself published coincides roughly with the birth of this blog. I believe a blog is a good way to garner readership and build your brand. It’s a great medium to carve out a relationship with your readers, letting them know what you write and also see what they want to read. I was recently reading Jane Friedman’s Guide on blogging. Do read it and you’ll know why my blog underwent this huge plastic surgery.
  • Then all of a sudden I came to know about Amazon KDP, where you can self publish your books at no cost at all. I published a story as an experiment. Let me tell you here that it has sold no paid copies so far, and even the free copy sales were meager. But it taught me a great deal about how to publish my second book, Bound by Life, which will come out on June 20, 2015. So, mark your calendars!
  • After I published the story on Amazon KDP, I created my author page at Amazon Author Central.
  • While I was on this creating spree, I stumbled on Facebook, and created my official Facebook page to reach out to readers. It doesn’t have many followers yet. But I just started!
  • I started looking for free Kindle books and came across this beautiful novel on YA by Tammy L. Gray. I wrote to her on Facebook, asking her to do an interview with me. Luckily, she agreed, and I happened to have the very first interview on my blog, which by the way has many good tips for beginning self-published writers. I hope to do more of these interviews in the coming months. So, if you know an author who cares to be interviewed by a beginning blogger, do let me know.
  • Since I started to write seriously, I have checked out various online contests (read, free online contests – I have this strong policy of investing money in writing only after I have got some initial monetary return through my ebooks. Call me a miser, if you like but I refuse to budge!). I participated in a Flash Fiction contest and was even shortlisted, but well, did not make the final cut.
  • I have also been checking out magazines which publish short stories. I sent out my writings to a few like Out of Print, eFiction and StoryShack. But then I realized that I was yet to match their standards. Plus, I have my own project (Bound by Life) to tend to which consumes all my creative energy these days. So, I am going slow in the magazine sector as of now. But as soon as I am done with my book, I will be sending out new stories to the magazines.
  • I started to read more since March. I read Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘The Lowland’ recently and loved it! Currently I am reading a book on Indian history, ‘Freedom at Midnight’ by Dominique Lapierre.
  • I signed up for free newsletters from some of the veterans in the publishing industry: Jane Friedman and Chip McGregor. I LOVE Jane’s website! It has just the right tips and suggestions for me.

I don’t know when I will hold my first book in my hands (a real book made of real paper). I don’t even know if what I am doing right now is going to help me do what I want to. But I have a feeling it will. Either way, I am allowing myself a year to fail. To fail and to learn: that’s the motto for me in 2015.

See you around in the next part of The Pilgrim’s Journey, and I hope I shall be able to share some good news with you by then.

Before you leave, please let me know how you like the new look of Scribbles@Arpita. Does it attract you and make you want to read on? Or is it too cluttered and distracting? Your feedback is my guide, my compass.

On writing and self-publishing: An interview with Tammy L. Gray

The world of publishing has been revolutionized by the digital domain. No longer does an author need to go door to door of the traditional publishers begging them to read her work. Online bookstores like Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and Apple have brought to the fore fresh talents through self-publishing.

Today, I give you Ms. Tammy L. Gray, Kindle best-selling author for her Winsor series and Mercy’s flight. She self-published her first novel of the Winsor series, Shattered Rose, two years back on Kindle. Her genres encompass Romance and Young Adult. In her books she says that her mission as a writer is “to provide clean, culturally relevant romances that incorporate messages of hope and healing.”


Shattered Rose is available for free on Amazon Kindle, and it was through that I came to know Tammy. With the very first few pages she had hooked my attention, so much so that I finished to novel in a single day. I intend to go back to it from time to time, for such is my love for Avery, Parker, Jake (that’s the one I loved best, in spite of all his flaws) and Issy. Y

You can imagine my delight then, when after hardly much convincing, Tammy agreed to be interviewed for this blog, which is also the first interview on Scribbles@Arpita. Thank you so much, Tammy.

So, read on as Tammy talks about the writing process in general and gives out these great tips on how to be successful in the world of self-publishing.

When did you first decide to write a book and publish it?

For the last ten years, I felt a call to write a book about self-esteem and how Christ is at the center of our worth as women. I didn’t know what it would look like, but I just knew I would write it one day. In November 2012, after a very hard weekend, I felt absolute surety that it was time to write my book. Only, instead of a non-fiction memoir, I decided to write a fictional story about a young girl who suffered from a terrible sense of self worth.  I published that book in April 2013, and the response was so positive that I kept on writing.

You first self-published your books 2 years back.Tell us about the journey so far.

After I finished writing Shattered Rose, I did go through the process of trying to find a literary agent so I could get a publishing deal. What I found what that the window is very small when it comes to traditional publishing. They are looking for very specific types of books. My book really didn’t fit within any of the boundaries. So, I decided to self publish at that point. It’s been a fantastic experience for me. Amazon makes self-publishing easy and I’ve been very successful in sales through the eBook market. Now, I am considered a hybrid author. I have books that I self publish and also books that were published through a publishing house.

What have you learnt in the process of self-publishing? Any tips for new self-published authors?

Look for high quality, freelance cover artists and editors. This is the biggest thing. You want to produce a high quality book with a great cover. That will get readers to pick your book out of millions on Amazon. Once you do that, use the price marketing tools to bring in new readers. I highly recommend you have 2-3 books ready to go before you self publish. Amazon likes quantity, so the more books you have uploaded, the better they are seen. After the first six months, put your first book out for free. You will have thousands of downloads.

Do you edit your books yourself?

No. I have beta readers and also editors that I hire out.

What are the required skills to be an author?

We all have different talents or skills, so I can’t say there is any one type. But I will recommend that you get some training or education on writing craft. Margie Lawson academy is very good. Also, there are great plotting and characterization books on the market. Your first book will not be your best one, but with each new novel, you learn and grow and get better and better.

Do you think the promotion that an author has to do today (especially on social media) takes a toll on her creative self?

No. It takes a toll on your time, but if you are careful to organize your time, then you should be able to write and market effectively. Marketing has always been a must. It just looks different in this technology era.

Most of the published fiction books these days are novels. Is the short story dead?

I really don’t know. I don’t read short stories or write them, but I’m sure with research, you can find a way to do it effectively. There is a website, WATTPAD that is good for uploading stories. It’s free, though.

Does the process of writing get easier with time, as one writes more or does it depend on the topic/genre the author it writing on?

Yes and no. Yes, the process gets easier. As a writer, you find your voice and feel comfortable in your skill. You know what works for you and what doesn’t. You have a trusted circle that can help you stay focused.  No, because the more you learn, the more you realize you need to learn. So as you get better, you continue to see flaws and challenge yourself. If writing ever stops being a challenge, an author should probably take a step back and see if they are growing.

Tammy can be reached at her Facebook page. Also, do check out her website for all the latest news. Picture Coutesy: Facebook