Jyoti Jha: The Self-Publishing Journey

Hello Readers

The world of writing witnesses the rise and fall of several writers every day. While we each choose our own mediums to express ourselves (via blogging, journals, social media writing, authoring, etc.,) the journey of a fellow writer can greatly inspire us. I met Jyoti Jha during one of the blogging campaigns in the early years of blogging. What drew me to Jyoti’s posts was the near precision and professionalism with which she presented them. She was methodical and clear in her approach. After the first eBook authored by her (Around the World Through My Lens), she took the blogging world by surprise as she came out with three back-to-back releases in a short span of a year and a half (The Realms of Human Emotions & Aanandi). This is no ordinary feat and requires great discipline, determination and the willingness to write, all qualities that I deeply admire in Jyoti. It is said that doing a little bit of writing every day adds up to something significant. And sometimes, the result is three books in a short span of time, each a significant proof of the evolving craft of the writer.

It is assumed that getting self-published is easier than traditional publishing. I requested Jyoti to share her journey with us to bust this very myth. And now, it’s over to her.  

Jyoti Jha

An HR-turned-Author, Jyoti Jha has been associated with corporates like Infosys and Whirlpool and has resided in the USA and UK for almost a decade. An esteemed winner of ‘The Times of India Write India Season 3’, she has been a proud panellist and guest speaker in talk shows at prestigious institutions like IIM Lucknow, IIT Delhi, IIT Jammu, and Christ College. She has been an honourable Jury Member at the Literary Club, IIT BHU for Storytelling. A literary critic, columnist and blogger, Jyoti has three books to her credit. ‘The Realms of Human Emotions’ and ‘Around the World Through My Lens’ have been received well by readers and prominent media houses alike. With her most recent book ‘Aanandi’, Jyoti has debuted in Hindi literature.

THE SELF-PUBLISHING JOURNEY

The Beginning

With my literature-ingrained upbringing, I have always had a flair for books, for reading, and a deep longing to see my name on one of the books someday. Years passed, and whereas my reading gained momentum, the desire to express through writing never surfaced. When I chance-participated in the Write India Contest, and luckily my very first submission was chosen as a winner, the writer in me was unleashed. I have always been inclined towards storytelling and fiction, however, after Write India, I moved towards blogging where I wrote movie and book reviews, participated in BlogHops and blogging challenges. 

As the gloomy times descended on all of us in the form of the pandemic, confined within the four walls of our homes, I started missing the traveller in me. Thankfully, a whole virtual world of blogosphere and a friendly community of writers, bloggers, and authors, saved me from drowning back in my shell. I continued writing and survived the tough times where I also learned to self-publish my very first book, a travelogue. The journey began with an eBook on Blogchatter, and moved on to KDP, and eventually the paperback via Notion Press.

During my blogging experience and quest for publishing my book, I participated in ‘The LIT Fest’ by Literia Insight, where I was a winner in the ‘Best Reviewer’ category. I came in contact with the Co-founder of Literia Insight, Mr Nitish Raj and while conversing on various topics related to books, literature, and publishing, I happened to send him sample stories written by me in English and sample chapters from my Hindi novel as well. He was extremely impressed with my writing style and encouraged and guided me to continue working on my two books. I remember him saying after reading my sample chapters from the Hindi novel, “Why are you even writing anything else if this is what you can do in Hindi”.

And since then, there has been no looking back, exploring various avenues in writing, each day and every step trying to achieve the milestones as an author, learning throughout, and evolving forever; it has been the most fulfilling, delightful, yet challenging journey. Challenging because I believe nothing is laid on a platter. You have to earn it, that’s how it has been for me.

The Writing Process

As I had been working simultaneously on two of my books, ‘The Realms of Human Emotions’ and ‘Aanandi’, I already had the first drafts ready even while I was blogging and publishing my first book. Also, a few chapters of ‘Aanandi’ were in progress. So, I would say all of my books were published within two years with a little gap in between. However, I had to undergo the rigorous process of drafting, redrafting, editing, reading, and rereading several times before the final manuscripts happened. My first beta reader for the two books was Mr Nitish Raj, who also happened to be the editor of both.

My writing routine has been crazy and I am thankful that my family learned to survive through all the madness around it. I tried to keep a fixed time slot for writing, however, there is no fixed time for ideas to pop in the head. I have followed normal writing routines and I have been a crazy writer in the wee hours. Sometimes writing for hours together, and at times simply jotting down points within a few minutes.

An idea germinates in my mind, a storyline develops, and I simply pour it all out on my laptop. Sometimes the end result is completely different from how things have been planned. The story and characters take their own path. All the technicalities of writing come later when I start revising my drafts and hand them over for scrutiny by editing. The very first draft that I create is free from any technical aspects hovering in my mind. It starts with just an idea and its progression and transformation into a story. I would only say that consistency is important. To be at it without the fear of failure or judgement is the only way to be there.

On Being a Bilingual Writer

Writing is therapeutic for me, it is liberating. I like expressing myself through written form and contributing to the literary world as much as I can. I try to continue working on that goal and keep up with my motivation.

In my opinion, every story chooses its own form and language of expression. Like for me, ‘The Realms of Human Emotions’ could only have been in English, and for ‘Aanandi’, it was naturally Hindi. The story and expression begin in my head in the chosen language somehow, how much ever weird it may sound! As I was simultaneously working on my two books, there was a natural transformation and seamless switch when I would sit with either manuscript.

I began writing in English as I come from an English medium school, and also since English has more outreach. Having lived and visited several English-speaking places across the globe, it was the natural form of expression when I began writing. So, my first two books are in English, and of course, there are going to be more by the grace of the Almighty.

When I started conceptualizing ‘Aanandi’ , the kind of storyline and setup that it has, there could be no other language than Hindi to best express the story. Also, since Hindi is my native language, there was an ease of expression which felt close to my heart and soul.

My mother was a Hindi teacher, and I used to score quite well in Hindi even in my school, combining all factors, writing in Hindi for me has been as enchantingly effortless as it has been in English.

From Writing to Marketing

I used to think writing is a tedious job until I was introduced to the process that comes later! Writing is the easiest part I have started believing. Encapsulated in your world of imagination and pouring out your thoughts, ideas, expressions, is better! Once the manuscript is ready and after undergoing the churning process of publishing and finally getting over the challenging yet delightful journey, we are introduced to the herculean task of marketing and branding. To target your readers, introduce them to your literary contribution, and convince them of its worth, is the most satisfying yet strenuous process. I have been lucky to have the support of the heartwarming literary community. Whether it was Blogchatter, the ‘Books As I See’ group, the Write India Community, or the handholding of Literia Insight, my books have been fortunate to see the day of the light and receive much love from the readers, some prominent media houses, and the literary fraternity. And it has all happened due to the combined help, support, guidance, and appreciation from the entire community of friends, family, bloggers, authors, writers, publishers, and my PR and Literary agency.

The importance of social media has increased more now with the current scenario of the pandemic that we all faced. When used wisely and strategically, social media provides maximum outreach and exposure to market our books. Digitization has helped the readers, writers, publishing, and literary community to adapt to newer methodologies and not only survive the impact of covid but also innovate and flourish with modish avenues. The sale of books through online channels is effortless and also easier for the authors to keep a track of the progress.

While it is important to keep exploring on our own, sometimes a guided direction helps a lot. For me personally, it has worked wonders. So, I would suggest to the self-published authors to join hands with the community, like-minded people, or experts from the literary fraternity to explore various marketing strategies. Being a part of reading and writing groups is beneficial in more ways than one. They provide perspective in bringing out the best in you whether as a writer, reader, marketer, or any role that you choose in the literary journey.

An Onward Journey

For anyone who wants to be a creative writer, being consistent and determined to be at your writing table every single day, is the only way forward. I already have three ideas and I am in a hurry to jot them down as soon as I can. Writing is my second inning, and I want to contribute as much as I can and as long as ideas and stories keep churning in my head. Although I have a vast experience of life to my advantage, I am relatively new in the field of writing. I am learning each day, growing with every step, and evolving continuously. I would love to see the year 2022 is as productive and even more so as an author, as the year 2021 has luckily been for me.

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I hope you enjoyed reading about Jyoti’s inspiring journey. Thank you for being here. Following are the links to her books.

Around The World Through My Lens

The Realms of Human Emotions

Aanandi

5 thoughts on “Jyoti Jha: The Self-Publishing Journey”

  1. Sonia, this is certainly heartwarming and as joyful as your wonderful support and encouragement has been throughout my writing journey! A beautiful person that you are, it is also reflected in your writing and work, and that radiates and reaches others. Thankyou so much for the feature! Feeling glad and honoured 🙂

  2. An incredible journey and I’m happy to say that I’ve been associated with Jyothi from when she was a winner at the Write India TOI. It’s inspiring to read her journey and the heights she’s reaching. I wish her good luck and best wishes.
    Thank you Sonia for bringing this to us.😊

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