This is 12.40 am, September 15th 2021. At 12.40 am on this date exactly a year ago, I was super nervous. My book had been released on Amazon.com 40 minutes ago, and within a few hours was due to be released on Amazon India. My first ever book! What do people call it? Debut book?
I was praying, and wishing and praying. A sudden fear of failure had swept my mind one more time. On one hand, my thoughts were: it’s just an e-book as of now. On the other hand, I was thinking: Good Lord! It’s still my first ever book!
Only a few days ago, on the night of uploading the final manuscript of this book, I got cold feet. The whole world was about to see, read, feel what I had felt. I was putting a part of myself out there, for the world to see.
I rushed to my brother Abhishek’s room, and asked: Do you think I am making a mistake? Releasing a poetry anthology of poems full of my emotions? He said something that would forever stay with me:
It is what it is. You are making a choice. And then he added: Prepare for impact!
I laughed thinking: I would just be happy if a bunch of friends and family read it and enjoyed it.
Within 24 hours of thinking this thought, I found my book as the No.1 New Release on Amazon.com. I stared at the computer screen in utter disbelief! I rushed to my parents’ room, texted my brother and we all celebrated at 1 am! I remember making “urgent chai” and then my father praying over me for the blessing.
Do I need to say I couldn’t sleep that night? By 5 am, my book was trending as No 1 in Amazon Hotsellers, Christian Poetry, Poetry and Anthology categories. And remained among the Top 100 for several weeks that followed.
Just like that! I got my I-came-I-conquered moment!
Months of hard work and lots of pre-release promotions had paid off!
Also those days, I was on my knees several times during the days and nights. Yes, a blessing like that must get me on my knees. It should have, and it did.
A huge shout-out to Abhishek
Abhishek designed the cover of my book and many people said they were inclined to buy it after they saw the cover. For once, I am okay with people judging the book by its cover. This guy stood like a rock throughout my book writing and publishing journey. Design was just a tiny part of it. He is such a huge blessing.
Behold the anti-climax
Despite that I knew deep down that God had given me a blessing that I had so desired most of my life, I was starkly aware of its fleeting nature. The moments of discovering my book among the bestsellers, to the time I celebrated, everything was a blur! A mechanical reaction at best.
The euphoria lasted for a few seconds, believe me! I didn’t doubt the talent at that point, nor the gift of writing that God had so freely given me. But I was also aware of all my promotion exercises, and the marketing tactics that a Youtube video had taught me: How to get your book to the bestseller list without paying anything?
A plan had, for once in my life, gone exactly the way I planned it. With that realization came a strong sense of emptiness. Weird emptiness. What now? I got what I wanted, what’s next?
While dealing with these thoughts, I geared up to release the paperback version of my book that came out 10 days later. A Canadian publisher Ukiyoto Publishing had agreed to print and distribute my book in India and the rest of the world (since Amazon doesn’t fulfill print orders for Indian authors for reasons best known to the company).
During this time, I began to honestly evaluate book reviews and feedback. I was waiting for a more human impact, something I would cling to or attach the book’s success to. Bestseller tag hadn’t given me the kind of triumph I had expected. I prayed about it: God, I also want my book to influence people, in believing in you, in putting their faith in you.
Some heart-warming moments
God did bless me with a lot of heart-warming experiences from readers. Some readers found my book as a way to be more hopeful with life, others found answers they had been looking for. In the Dedication section of my book, I had named a lot of my friends as a gesture of gratitude for their support.
The funniest and the most tear-jerking reactions came from that section. A friend Jaideep penned down a full-length poem expressing how overwhelmed he felt to find his name there. I was teary-eyed by the end of that poem. One of my school friends, Varun Pauddar gave me a heartfelt shout-out on Instagram. A friend Kristen bought a copy for her 90-something year old grandmother. I was thrilled to know she loved the book. Another friend Emily included my book among their Christmas gifts. If I listed down all such things, this blog will go on forever!!!
Some of my friends showed their names proudly to their parents saying: see we helped her write the book. That cracked me up every single time. My best friend from school Nidhi Airen showed my book to her husband and daughter saying: do you guys have any friends who would dedicate your name in a book?
But there are two incidents that will stand out for me.
The first was one of the responses I got when I set aside some copies for some special people. One of my aunts shared a copy with her neighbour, who then asked her about my faith. The conversation eventually led to a full-length Gospel sharing. Hallelujah! God heard my prayer and was still working His way.
The second came in the most unexpected way. This was just two weeks before the nation-wide lockdown in March 2021. One of my close friends, Shanee was in town with her whole family. She decided to pay us a visit. I am particularly fond of her three children: Joya (12), Gus (10) and Lucy (9). We eventually got into the subject of my book. Her two girls grabbed a copy and found their mother’s (Shanee) name. Then Lucy came up to me saying: would you include Joya’s and my name in your next book? OFCOURSE, I said, hugging her.
But that wasn’t all. Shanee posted on her Instagram later that the children were suddenly very interested in writing stories, because I inspired them to write. They would gather over the weekend on their dinning table and just pen down the things of the day. I read that post and I was like:
What? So I am a role-model now?
No other achievement is more important than this. If I were married and had children, I would want my children to see me as a role model. And I would feel exactly the same way I felt when I saw the effect my book had on Shanee’s children.
Through the course of my journey in writing my first book, I felt God made me see quite clearly the kind of things that matter to me. I realized I find deeper joys in just setting good examples and standards before those who look up to me. And yeah, I like that I value this more than any other material achievement. Hallelujah!
You can find my book here
21 Comments Add yours
I am so happy for you! It’s so amazing that you’ve traversed this beautiful journey, and I’m sure your book will continue to break the barriers that you think are in place for it. I’m gonna buy this book, looks beautiful.
Thanks for your kind words. Thank you also for your desire to buy my book, I really do hope you enjoy it.
You’re welcome, you deserve it :)).
super like the journey and these milestones that u r gathering…keep the ball rolling…best wishes…were do i lay my hands for the hard copy…plz update…
Hello thank you for your heartfelt and constant support. You may easily find the paperback/hardback on Amazon India. I have pasted a link here for you – https://www.amazon.in/Poems-Chai-Cup-Vol-1/dp/9390414679/ref=rvi_1/257-6239453-8069827?pd_rd_w=EUGjg&pf_rd_p=952d3327-3a6f-4a5f-9074-89f45ae60137&pf_rd_r=63MVGK15S4CN3HSBPZAG&pd_rd_r=5146862a-22c6-4585-8f1a-a75e5c104899&pd_rd_wg=DdQ08&pd_rd_i=9390414679&psc=1
I’ve enjoyed reading your story, dear Mukti, and thank you for sharing. Following all of the time, effort and, of course, transitory doubt, associated with the journey of your book debut, it must have been very rewarding to see your #1 rating on Amazon! However, as noted, it’s a much more important achievement to have your work engage the hearts and minds of readers both young and old, through conversation and aspirations – that is a true blessing!! In addition to being a very, very beautiful woman, you are also assuredly an admirable and inspirational role model ~ keep up the good work, my friend. I wish you much peace and happiness. 🙏💖✍🏼😘🍀
Phil, you are such a beautiful person yourself. I always enjoy your heartfelt reactions to my pieces. Thanks for your constant support and all your good wishes. I wish you happiness and peace too. God bless.
You are most welcome, Mukti, and I very much appreciate your kind words ~ thank you. God bless.
Hey Mukti really enjoyed reading this and will enjoy reading the book too I’m sure. Well I agree with your school best friend and I do hope I can find myself a friend who dedicates my name in a book and I’m sure you’ll set a lot more good examples and standards for all generations of peole. Best of luck and once again it was really fun and insightful reading this.
Hey thanks so much. I sincerely do hope that you enjoy reading the book as well.
Thanks a lot Rajni
Wow, im happy for you .You have a book? Congratulations,you are really a woman of faith.Your story inspired me i hoping that one day i will have the same testimony.
Glad it did. If you have it on your mind, well, it will 🙂
congratulations Mukti and so nice to meet you through Phil. What a beautiful piece he wrote about you.
I am now following you. Would love to see you visit sometime when you have a chance. 🌷
Thanks for visiting Cindy 🙂 Glad you enjoyed my blog. Surely visiting you today.
Congratulations and the best to you, your creativity and words are moving to the mind, spirit and soul, respect and keep doing your thing
Thanks a lot for stopping by and for your kind words.
Congratulations Mukti on the publication of Poems in a Chai Cup. Love the title and this lovely post!
Thanks a lot Harshi. Happy that you specially liked the title. God bless 🙂