The Gujarati community has a long tradition of seafaring and a history of immigration to foreign lands. The mercantile culture resulted naturally from the Indian state’s proximity to the Arabian Sea. Although air travel had replaced sea travel by the time I was born, this innate restlessness I feel to explore new lands is something that is irrevocably embedded in me.
I’m at that point in my creative journey where writing for myself or for the sake of creating something holds very little appeal to me. I have come to view my work as an act of worship, devotion and dedication.
The creative entrepreneur walks a different path from the technology entrepreneur. She/he needs to wear two hats. The first is the artist hat to define the creative vision of their product or service. The second is the business hat to understand the dynamics of their chosen marketplace and sell it to as many people as possible.Wearing two fundamentally different hats is not easy. Dipa Sanatani leads us through her journey of this balancing act in The Merchant of Stories.
Most people will never work or be part of a startup so they simply don’t have the skillset to comprehend – or even imagine – how to make things work. Way too many of the people I meet these days think of a startup as either some glamorous venture that’ll take off overnight or just a hobby to keep you distracted from how unfulfilling things are at your day job. But a startup is a lot more than that.
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?