Vapour Trails – Navigating the publishing process
by Author Abdul Qadir
With my debut novel in hand, I had thought that writing the damn thing was supposed to be difficult; It turns out that navigating your way through the mean streets of publishing is trickier than fixing a paragraph or adjusting a sentence that just doesn’t vibe. I was published traditionally, which I was told is a little more “highbrow” than self-publishing is perceived to be. And then I came across works that were self-published… works that were later picked up by publishers of good repute. There goes another misconception, I thought cheaply and continued to pore over the annals of all the information google was feeding my already crowded brain.
I’m new to this, and the learning curve is steep. I understand that some work needs to be done from my side to promote this book of mine, which can be characterized as a sick little travelogue through Pakistan, where I’m from. Vapour Trails took me a year to write, and another 6 months to polish. It took me another year to find an agent – the net had to be cast outside of my country for fear of censorship (or once again, at least that’s what I was told). But then I found out about some local outfits that were willing to take those risks. There goes another misconception, I thought cheaply and continued to bug my agent incessantly on finding a publisher.
It was about 3 years later, a time where I had accepted that the only way to get my story out was to self-publish, when my agent sends me a text that said an outfit was interested in publishing my book. A fist-pump worthy moment, I just wanted to know where I had to sign. It took about another 8 months for Vapour Trails to be slotted in for publishing. I think I’m beginning to figure this out, I thought triumphantly to myself, and set about reviewing my bio, blurb, etc., albeit much later than I suppose I should have. Editing was painless. I was ready.
And then, pandemic. As long as it had taken for me to get to the gates, I figured this entire experience had taught me patience, which I now truly understand to be a virtue. So, during these strange times, I have been published. You’ll like my book if you’re into reading about crime. I write about people and their flaws, who often live in the grey area between right and wrong. My key literary influences are Hunter Thompson, Charles Bukowski, Louis Ferdinand Celine, Joseph Wambaugh and Ed McBain.
Vapour Trails is a darkly comedic story of morality lost that takes the reader on a transgressive tour of Pakistan; this is a world that is both bleak and colourful on the same palette and is sometimes as delightfully weird as some of its characters. It follows the misadventures of 2 friends from Islamabad (Pakistan’s sleepy capital), who enjoy a good but legally questionable life as they wade through the seething appetites in their proximity. Ultimately, Vapour Trails is a classic story of guilt and retribution told in as raw and hardboiled a style as I could write. I do sincerely hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
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