Anushka and I thought we were old hands at this publishing business. Been there, done that, we thought airily—now we just wanted to do it all better. We had the usual stresses: will we find authors we love? Will we able to sell their books as well as we want to?
But now we are discovering a whole new set of things we know nothing about. So here are some did-you-knows for people who want to set up their own publishing companies:
a. To be on the board of a company, you need to list the names of all the Indian clubs and associations of which you are a member.
(Utter panic! Do I list my gym? Do I list an informal book club? Do I list the fancy Gurgaon club which I am a member of, but never go to? And what about the past? Will someone come and de-direct me if I have failed to mention membership of some club I might have joined in my long-gone youth and which now escapes my middle-aged-and-failing memory?)
b. To be on the board, you also need to supply information on all your relatives. Starting from wife (no husband option, so I guess Indian company law sensibly disregards these peripheral add-ons), and going all the way to son’s daughter’s husband and daughter’s son’s wife.
(I feel inadequately familied.)
c. Everything needs to be attested, at least three times, with stamps, and by People in Sufficiently High Places.
(Now most of the people I know are children’s writers, fecked and feckless, and children’s booksellers, charming as a group but unlikely to be People in Sufficiently High Places. So we traipsed around town, hunting. Fortunately, Anushka is related to PSHP, so we spent a few days haunting their house, holding out stacks of photocopies. I felt like I was back in college.)
d. The intense pressure to publish.
(Ha! Bet you thought we were talking about books. No, that bit is easy. The daily pressure is to publish our communications to you, Dear Reader, who, we fondly hope, wait to be entertained and edified by us even in this prebook stage. Midnight oil is burnt.)
e. Everything takes very long.
(Patience, and positive truckloads of it. We are now registered but there are still several miles to go—or at least milestones to cross—before we are the Real McCoy.)
Publishing a great book is easy by comparison!