Guest Blog Post: Self-Published Author Nadira Cotticollan

Traditional publishing, the kind that engages literary agents and monolithic publishing companies, has always been a challenge for writers. In my quest to find either for my soon-to-be-released novels, “Flamenco & the Sitting Cat” and “Tango & the Sitting Cat,” it feels akin to winning the lottery. Fortunately, self-publishing is rapidly becoming a mainstream empowering alternative. What’s your experience with either buying or publishing self-published novels?

A blogger from India, Nadira Cotticollan, shares her recent venture into releasing her fiction on her own…

When she’s not writing novels, Nadira Cotticollon loves being a grandmother.

“The Winnowing Waves” and Self-Publishing by Nadira Cotticollan

I belong to a  Muslim community from the coastal state of Kerala in South India. We are said to have been winnowed out from the rest of the Kerala populace by the inter-marriages that took place between the Arab traders and the local women. Most of the cultural aspects continued to be picked up from the customs prevalent in Kerala, with some changes to create a distinct identity.  But there was a marked Arab influence as well.

During the years I grew up, there were many changes that were happening which were, in fact, slowly erasing the differences in dress and lingo and the social mores of confining women indoors, etc. A female like me, therefore, got the benefit of education, which was a rare thing during my mother’s generation and almost non-existent before that.

Then, there was a  turn towards more strict observance of the religious customs although there was no going back on the education, fortunately.  In part, this had to do with the political changes that saw an upsurge of right-wing sentiments and the political events that they ushered in, as also with the influx of the Wahabian influence brought in by those who had found a livelihood in the Gulf countries. These attempts at aggressively establishing religious, political, and cultural identities between the Hindus and the Muslims, is now gradually bringing in a subtle divide and disturbing the harmony that had existed for thousands of years.

My novel has been woven through this backdrop, but it is in no way discourse on any of those aspects. It creeps in through the different characters, of course, but not stridently so.

The story is told from a woman’s perspective for the most part.

I am sixty-two now, and I have always cherished the idea of getting something that I wrote published. After finishing this novel, I did tentatively explore the regular publishing route. I realized that it would take a very long time and that there was no certainty of any of the established publishers taking it up. So I decided to look for self-publishing platforms. My children offered to bear the cost.

Notionpress, who I approached, came across as very professional, with a good team who managed the different aspects of the publication process. I chose the minimum package which would take care of the formatting, the cover design, the copyrights, and the online listing on their online store as well as on Flipkart and Amazon India. The editing is a facility available with a higher package. So I did the editing myself. They did allow for post-publication correction of the grammatical and spelling errors and a couple of errors in the names, etc. The whole process was completed in two weeks.

They do not do any promotion with this package, nor will the books be available in the bookshops.

But I’m happy.

My friends were the ones who read the book first and gave me feedback. They have liked it and assure me that they can relate to it, that the flow is smooth, that it speaks to them of what I had wanted to convey and so on.

With the money I earned in the last two months, I decided to upgrade the package, which would make the book available outside India on Amazon.com

The pricing they suggested appeared to be almost the same as that of many well-established authors, and I expressed my doubts to them about that. I was told that my book would be printed only as per demand, which would hike up the production costs, as compared to the mass production of the books of established authors.

The royalty I get on the sale of one copy after they deduct the production costs and half of the profits (that was the agreement) is only about 2/5th of the MRP if purchased through the Notionpress store and much less (about 1/8th) if sold through Amazon and Flipkart.

But what’s more important to me is that more people get to read the book.

da-AL’s kind offer to let me put up a blog post here about it is therefore very much appreciated.

I do hope some of you will pick it up from Amazon.com and give me your feedback after you’ve read it. Go to Notionpress here. Go to Amazon here.

Thank you all very much for reading this ☺

27 thoughts on “Guest Blog Post: Self-Published Author Nadira Cotticollan

    • Thanks a lot . I enjoyed the writing for the most part .It was tying it up that proved a challenge. Ending a story well is much more difficult I think ,particularly if you hadn’t coneptualised the whole plot at the beginning itself.I was just cruising along with the waves 🙂 So yes, in that sense,it was an adventure 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for those words. My book may never have seen the light of day if I gone the way of regular publishing and when is getting on in years, the patience to wait is not all that high. I am glad I went the self-publishing way

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s fascinating to learn of the social, religious and cultural changes in your country, but I’m sorry it’s been rather tumultuous and has been leading to a disruption of the harmony, as you well put. I love the idea of your novel weaving through characters and indirectly using this history as a kind of backdrop, and I think you are incredible for having it published, you should be very proud! I can tell from your article here alone that you’re an excellent writer as you write, eloquently, intelligently and with grace. Thank you for sharing this with us – wishing you all the very best! 🙂
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you kindly. I was sceptical about whether I would be able to convince myself about its readability. I had given a few chapters to a couple of my friends to read and assess its worth as a book, but they got busy , which increased my doubts. But they were genuinely busy and then my daughter convinced me to go ahead and complete it. I’m glad I listened to her. Your kids will tell you as it is, I figured 🙂 So here it is now.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear friends,
    Thank you all for all the appreciation here and thank you so much da-Al for introducing me here. It is indeed an honour , believe me.

    The responses I have so far received has been extremely heartening. They have said that it is a story well told and that the descriptions have made it come alive for them. Not everyone in my own country are quite closely clued in to the social and cultural details of my community and for that reason , they have found it engrossing. I would really love it if some of you picked it up online to read it and give me your take on it. It would be interesting to find out if you can relate to the emotional content of the novel even when the characters and their lifestyles are so very far removed from your own.

    Much love to each and everyone of you.

    Liked by 1 person

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