Getting your book published is not an easy task. Meet Kanishka Gupta, India’s leading literary agent
9/1/2016 3:53:17 PM
|written By : Nithya Subramanian|
American writer Philip Roth said, ‘When you publish a book, it’s the world’s book. The world edits it,’ But finding that publisher can be quite a daunting task, especially with so many manuscripts vying with each other.
Writer’s Side is one such agency that has placed over 500 books (across the spectrum of genres) with major and reputed publishers from across the world.
India Se speaks to Kanishka Gupta, founder of the Writer’s side whose first novel, History of Hate, was long-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize, 2009.
India Se: Tell us a little about your background/education. Were you an avid reader as a youngster?
Kanishka Gupta: I was very academically inclined in school and my whole world revolved around examinations and rankings. did not have a smidgen of imagination or creativity. I was not a voracious reader either and never looked forward to the library period. I took up commerce in 11th standard and had plans to establish a career in the financial sector.
India Se: What prompted you to enter the world of publishing?
Kanishka Gupta: After a serious illness at 18, I turned to writing and reading books and lost all interest in formal education. Though I did end up doing management from a second-grade institute, it hasn’t helped me at all. After a lot of grappling and exorcising my demons I managed to write a book. It did the rounds with some publishers and even the great Khushwant Singh found it‘too verbose’.
I was a victim of one of the most notorious publishing scams in the UK in early 2000, with a fraud Scottish agent who never actually made any submissions. Then an uncle introduced me to Shobhaa De (India’s leading social commentator and author) who not only helped me but kept me motivated.
Sometime in 2008, I dashed off a Facebook message to Mita Kapur of Siyahi, asking if she would consider me for a role in her new literary consultancy. She responded immediately and for a brief period, I read manuscripts for her agency. Since it was a freelance position, she also put me in touch with the proprietor of Platform magazine and novelist Namita Gokhale. I proof-read some issues of the magazine. Those seven months with Namita Gokhale changed my life. All of a sudden, I was thrust into the close-knit world of authors, editors, literary gatherings, festivals and so on. She even predicted that I would make a mark in publishing.