An Insight into the Publishing Industry with Syed Ommer

Syed Ommer Amer, CEO of Daastan has been a part of numerous live sessions this quarantine to educate the masses of Pakistan about emerging literary trends. In today’s blog, let’s have an insight into the Publishing Industry through Syed Ommer’s lens.

Live Session with Saim Malik

The live session was hosted by Saim Malik. Saim is a student of Bs Psychology, who is using his social media platform to create impact. He is an active volunteer in youth programs. Currently, Saim hosts an interview series “Connected Pakistani and Institute of Peace” on facebook. Until now, he has hosted almost 100 interviews. Moreover, he has been associated with House of Wellness and Hult Prize Foundation. 

Most Asked Publishing Industry Queries

While publishing a book as new author, there are many questions that surface one’s mind. A long list of how to publish, who to approach, what to do first, etc  are the most commonly asked questions. Therefore, Saim began by asking Ommer about these queries.

Saim:  Can you talk us through the publishing process and what are the pre-requisites of publishing for a newbie author?

Ommer: Before approaching a publisher, make sure you have your first draft ready. A first draft is your complete manuscript, preferably in soft form. Also remember to get your manuscript reviewed by a professional. The person who reviews your manuscript can be your teacher, friend or anyone who has a command in that language. After this, start working on your book cover. For designing the book cover, there are three ways you can go about. Firstly, use online designing tools to make a cover. Secondly, you can approach an artist to make the book cover for you. Or you can let your publisher handle the designing. Then focus on building your readership and recognise your target audience. Once you know that you have enough audience, approach a publisher. Here’s a few ways you can find a publisher:

  • Through Online Platforms
  • By participating in Writing Competitions

Publishing Industry

Debunking the myths regarding the Writing Industry

Ommer shares his experience of entering the world of literature and publishing as a challenge. In his university days, when he first thought about transitioning from engineering to literature, he faced a lot of criticism. People argued with him the insignificance and narrow scope of writing. However, he knew that was not true. Therefore, today Ommer is debunking some common myths regarding the writing industry.

  • Scope: It is a norm in Pakistan to consider literature and art as fields with no scope. Ommer makes a compelling argument against this point. According to him, the horizons of writing and publishing are broad if one is consistent and steps out of the comfort zone.
  • Significance: People often believe creative pursuits to be in vain. Whereas Ommer believes that literature plays a significant role in shaping nations. Therefore, he aims to equip the youth of Pakistan with content that breeds critical thinking in them.
  • Applications: Being associated with literature, the career possibilities are becoming endless. For instance, one can be a published author, critic, part of publishing industry and journalism, do content or technical writing.

Revolutionising the Publishing Industry

As a debutant in the world of writing, an author faces a lot of difficulties. For instance, publishers do not take up their books. And even if they do, there is no transparency. This takes away so many opportunities from the authors, says Ommer. To help the authors, Daastan believes in transparency. Syed Ommer provides a platform to the local talent through Qissa. He and his team works to create a marketing plan to get the authors maximum reach and exposure. In addition to that, Daastan makes sure the author gain full access to their royalties. Therefore, Saim is of the opinion that Daastan is revolutionising the publishing industry in Pakistan.

Fighting the Digital War

At the end of the session, Saim asked Ommer about his aim and vision with Daastan in the long run. Ommer talked about his vision along the lines of, “Reading Allama Iqbal gave me a new perspective towards our society. Growing up I always saw the world media represent Pakistan as a terrorist country. I wanted to break that notion. However, to do that I realised I needed to work in my full capacity to change the narrative. So, I started Daastan in hopes to help the youth of Pakistan fight this digital war of narratives.” 

We hope you enjoyed Syed Ommer’s insights. For more literary goodness, stay tuned!

Noor Hashmi
Noor Hashmi is a student of literature at Numl University. She is an aspiring poetess. She runs a blog by the name of “Diaries of Huda” sharing her journey through poetry. In her free time, she loves to paint and bake.

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