A neglected writerWhen Susant quit his IT job to become a writer, he had no clue the challenges he would face.
“It’s not going to happen,” Susant murmured to himself and slammed shut his laptop after reading the rejection letter sent by one of Nepal's most popular publishing houses. He had sent his manuscript a few months ago, and he was sure that they would consider his work this time.
Susant had quit his job at an IT company to focus on his writing career. His passion for literature drew him to the world of writing and made him leave his well-paying IT job. After being rejected five times by various publishing houses, his dream of becoming a published writer wasn't going as planned.
Giving up a stable job to become a writer was a risky call, and it was beginning to dawn on him. But he was not among the ones to easily accept defeat. He believed he could write well and that people would find his book interesting. But to his surprise, his manuscript was not even accepted by any publishing houses.
After closing the laptop, he stared at the ceiling and sank into deep contemplation for a few minutes. He kept wondering the reasons that could have made the publishing house reject his work. When the fifth publishing house rejected his manuscript, he had re-worked to the best of his ability. He wondered if he had failed to describe the characters and scenes in his manuscript sufficiently.
Taking the printed copy of his manuscript, he went out to the balcony. The balcony offered a view of distant snowcapped mountains. Ever since he started working on his manuscript, it had become a habit for him to describe every scene in his head. This, Susan believed, helped his writing. So this time, too, he described the various scenes and characters in his mind.
Susant was very passionate about writing, but as an IT professional, he had limited knowledge about the technical aspects of writing. Even his family members and relatives were against his decision to quit his IT job to focus on writing. This made him feel that he had no support; the only person who supported his dream of becoming a writer was his girlfriend. Although his girlfriend was also not happy with his decision to quit his IT job, she believed that Susant would realise his dream of becoming a published writer.
“Don’t worry, dear. Someone will accept your book. I’m sure they will,” she would say every now and then.
Sitting on the balcony, Susan took out a cigarette and began to smoke. The numerous failures had made him smoke and drink more often than he used to. After smoking two cigarettes in a row, he began to check his rejected manuscript once again. He doubted that his inability to describe characters and scenes was the reason behind the rejection. He decided to re-work his manuscript, and he was determined to make it the best version.
For the next two months, he worked on his manuscript and finally finished it. Each time he finished reworking his manuscript, he would hold a meeting with his old friend Rajnesh and the two would discuss it. This time, too, he went to meet Rajneesh.
“Did the publisher say why they rejected your manuscript?” Rajnesh asked Susant.
“No. They said nothing. At least, they should have told me what is wrong with my manuscript.”
“No publishers have ever stated the reason behind their rejection, right?”
“No, they haven't. I don’t know why they never tell me anything.”
“Maybe, they are too busy to respond to every manuscript.”
“Only God knows. I’m exhausted,” Susant said and let a deep breath. “I think book publishing companies in Nepal find it risky to publish English fiction."
There are very few readers who read English novels,” Rajnesh said.
“Yes, there are limited English readers. But publishers accept good books. For them, it’s not always about money.”
“Maybe you need to focus on becoming a writer. Maybe your writing isn't at the level the publishers want," Rajnesh said.
“You’ve read the script, haven't you? Don’t you find the story interesting?”
“The plot is fine, but there are areas that need much more work. See, your language is not so good, and the story lacks that natural flow. I like the way you’ve raised social issues, but there is still a lot of editing that's required."
“I have already thoroughly edited it more than five times. This time, I feel like I’ve done well.”
“You never listen to my suggestions. Please hire a professional book editor, someone who can check every aspect of your manuscript."
“Never. Book editors charge too much. Plus, they think about maintaining originality. It’s not worth paying them.”
“Fine. It’s your choice. Choose another publishing house and give it a try once again. And don't forget to send me the recently edited manuscript. I’ll go through it tonight,” Rajnesh said.
“Sure,” said Susant.
A few days later, Susant sent his edited manuscript to another book publishing house. Forty-five days later, Susant received an email from the publishing house. After reading the mail, a fuming Susant threw his laptop in anger. The laptop crashed against the wall and broke into several pieces. He got down on his knee and cried for hours. Later that evening, he drank a bottle of whisky. From that day onwards, he started drinking every night.
The sixth rejection hurt him like never before, and this made him depressed as well. For the next few months, he didn't leave his home. The only time he did was to buy alcohol. As months passed, his savings started depleting. He didn't want to ask his parents for money as they were still upset with him for leaving his IT job. His friend Rajnesh had also left Nepal and was living and studying in the US. He felt more alone than ever. There were days when he felt like giving up his dream of becoming a writer, but he believed he would succeed someday.
One day, while he was sitting on the balcony, a new idea popped up in his mind. He decided to write a new novel, and he chose to write his own story of struggle to become a writer. He entered his room determined and hopeful. “No matter how many times I get rejected, I will never give up,” he murmured to himself and started writing.