Name: Vasudev Murthy
Book Title: Sherlock Holmes, the Missing Years: Timbuktu
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published. Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author: I didn’t decide. It happened to me. My first book was about Classical Music. As life happened, I had new ideas and inspirations and was impelled to write. Sherlock Holmes in Japan was first published in India by HarperCollins. It has now been published in Portuguese, Korean and Japanese and was published by Poisoned Pen Press in the US. I was encouraged by the editor, Barbara Peters, to write another Missing Years book. It had to be based in Africa. Timbuktu was the most interesting place I could think of from many angles – geography, popular perception, history, culture, music and more. And so, Sherlock Holmes, the Missing Years: Timbuktu happened. I had to learn two different scripts and immerse myself as best as I could in the culture of the Tuaregs.
Is this your first book?
Author: No, my sixth. Here is the list
What the Raags told me – a novel based on Indian Classical Music – Rupa
Effective Proposal Writing – Sage
The Time Merchants – LiFi
Sherlock Holmes, the Missing Years: Japan – HarperCollins, Poisoned Pen Press, Editora Vestigio and a Korean and Japanese Publisher
How Organizations Really Work – Bloomsbury
Sherlock Holmes, the Missing Years: Timbuktu – Poisoned Pen Press
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: I went with the best publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, and I have no regrets. I don’t know or care what box they are considered to be in. They had done so well with the Japan book that there was nothing to consider.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? The pros and cons?
Author: Over the past ten years or so, I have been lucky to be published by several well known publishers – Rupa, Bloomsbury, HarperCollins, Editora Vestigio, Poisoned Pen Press, Gamesman (Korea), Kokusho Kankokai (Japan) and LiFi. But as I write across genres, the journey has restarted often, with new twists and turns. I don’t mind that. I don’t wish to be boxed as I have numerous interests in fiction (Crime, Humor, NOT romance!) and nonfiction (Management, Classical Music) and am not particularly interested in becoming a brand. Yes, at this moment, Sherlock Holmes is my muse. I suspect a book on Animal Rights is around the corner.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: Ultimately, it seems that the brand of the publisher contributes less to the author’s satisfaction than the health of the relationship with the editor. Find an editor who understands you, and never let go or him or her. If she switches publishers, switch too.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: Yes. Find an editor, not the publisher. If your book got published really fast with no challenges, you must be a genius or there is a problem somewhere else. Good writing that passes muster is a result of hard work. He who likes short cuts will be cut short.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Words are fickle lovers and will leave you without notice.