From my side, I get the impression that it is difficult to get a first book published in any genre in India. Literary fiction, poetry, chidlrens fiction, non fiction, all have their challenges. I recently interacted with a national award winning film critic, Mr. M.K. Raghavendra, who has had four books on films published by OUP and Harper Collins, and he too said that his first book took many years to get published. He began writing it in 2000, and the book saw publication in 2008.
In my own case, I began this novel (yes, its a full length novel, 174 pages long) in 2002. Any long work of fiction or non fiction takes years to write, revise and polish.I swapped critiques of entrie novels with other writers. That itself was a lot of work, but it did give me fesh insights and ideas for improvement.
In Feb 2008, I entered this manuscript anonymously in the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival Open Book Pitch, where it 'won' the nod of approval from Zubaan Books.
From then on, there were a series of revisions, exchange of ideas between me and Ms. Anita Roy, the Commissioning Editor of Young Zubaan on phone and e-mails. She patiently did much hand-holding and gave priceless advice to give the book that much needed final polish.
The contract was awarded in 2008 end.
The book is now published in August 2010.
From this point, I'm told that the book will take a month or more to reach bookstores all over the country. On line bookstores may of course be stocking up much sooner.I've heard that distribution and sales is another huge hurdle that many first timers face.
My baby is now leaving my hands and setting out into the big world. If it strikes a chord in the hearts of young readers (and oh yes, their parents and the young at heart) it will be my greatest reward.