On The India Book And Publishing

I’m thinking of putting the Naxalite Rage blog to bed. I’ll keep an archive available, and start over with a new India-focused site when I can. Came to this decision after, oddly enough, talking it over with an agent interested in representing the book.

She thought we could be successful with a Naxals proper book with one of the big houses. Which was cool to hear. Assuming a quick sale. I’d have till sometime mid next year to write it, and then it would be published the following year. So in two years, I’d have a book out on the insurgency. But my friend Eric is already writing that book – plus he’s spent more time on the ground than I have in the last few years. Genuinely excited about that coming out, and using it to think about a another India book.

Because, over the past four years, my thinking on India has evolved along with my own general focus. Less of an emphasis on the mechanics of war, and more on India’s systemic flaws and vulnerabilities. A lot more resilient community thinking. And that’s more of the book I’d like to write now. When I asked about that, she said we’d be less likely to pull it off, and suggested I should work on my platform and try again next year for a 2015 book. Which makes sense.

The original intention with publishing an India book was I felt I needed the validation of going through the traditional publishing pipeline. Don’t really feel that way now given the limitations. The timeline is just too long. The content wouldn’t be what I want.

Which is why I may just do the exact opposite.  I’ve been spread pretty thin over the last year or so, and haven’t been able to give it sufficient attention. My schedule is clearing out a bit now, but the next year is shaping up to be hectic as well.

So I’m leaning towards wrapping up the Naxalite Rage blog entirely. Instead, focus on writing stuff of sufficient length and quality to build my reach and succeed through the new publishing channels. Already have some fiction kicking its way out of my head. And there’s a big think India book to be had as well. Just ship.

Would love your thoughts/feedback/suggestions on this.


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  • Go for it. It takes some courage to eschew the traditional validation pathways, but now, perhaps for the first time in a while, the opportunity costs of those pathways are looking pretty unattractive.

    Best of luck, mate. Keep on fighting.

  • Thanks friend. Seems to be the consensus.

  • ben helton
    Dec 5, 2011

    I think publishers are all scareed these days, as printing has become more cost heavy via publishing different routes. I like your material, sense, and you’re approach. I think you should keep your content in more professional form, like a publishment, but this day and age needs to move more electronically. Use the web and its power to duplicate your thoughts infinitely. With enough relative content and resources, your success will be better derived one way or another. This way is just more sustainable for the world, and still in your control.

    What does to take to distribute an e-book? Amazon sells more of those than they do regular books.

  • Anthony
    Dec 7, 2011

    I’ve been looking at many of the same tradeoffs with a serialized graphic novel project I’ve been working on and the plan that emerged was to simultaneously sell online via large networks such as kindle and from a base website, and do a small print run with a small traditional publisher, (who like most in that position is eager to get involved in such a project,) then see whether it makes sense to approach a larger publisher from there.
    If you wanted to follow a similar course for your book I can suggest Melville House; (http://mhpbooks.com/about/,) I found them when they published David Graeber’s recent history of debt which I enjoyed a lot and which would probably have significant overlap of audience with the book you’re planning.

    • Shlok Vaidya
      Dec 7, 2011

      Wow, didn’t realize the Debt book was an independent house. Thanks much.

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