A good publishing house needs to compete in the market for both authors and customers. One of the main takeaways I had from attending the London Book Fair in 2019 was that even industry veterans have no idea how well a book is going to do. It is difficult to predict what the next great novel will be. Even big hits that provide an influx of sales can later fall off the radar. Some books start off slow and then suddenly take off a few years later.
I gazed up at the skies as I made my way to Singapore Chinatown’s Sri Mariamman Temple. The slightly darkened clouds signalled at the rain that was about to fall. I walked as briskly as I could in my heavy maroon lace saree. It had been twelve years since my last chopda pujan and I never thought I’d see the day where I’d preside over my very own. I watched my great-grandfather perform the ceremony annually growing up, but I never thought one day I’d be next in line. Life must know things that I don’t.
In traditional publishing, an author writes a book and then sells the manuscript to a publishing house that takes care of the editing, marketing and other promotional activities. In self-publishing, the author has to manage the dual tasks of creating the work as well as polishing it and promoting it to an audience. There are pros and cons to each decision.
What does it mean to be a business owner? What does it mean to come from a long line of entrepreneurs? What is the legacy that they’ve left me? What is the legacy that I’m meant to carry forward for future generations?