Pakistan’s growing literary space has created opportunities for writers to earn through Publishing. Daastan helps authors market their books and reach their readers. Think about the last book you bought. Were you sliding past the ‘South-asian books‘ section and randomly picked a book because it looked interesting? Or did you surf the internet for top 10 south-asian books, consulted your friends and short-listed books to finally cross your fingers and buy the best pick? We’d do the latter. And so did our Writer, Ms Sijdah Hussain make sure her book lands in your top picks!
‘Sijdah Hussain’ Chose Daastan To Market her First Book – ‘Red Sugar No More’
Daastan has been publishing hundreds of Books each year. But one thing most of you don’t know is that you may not necessarily publish with us to market your book through us. The literary enthusiasts that we are, we will always be ready to show off a good book. This recent book that we have endorsed is the best example of an unconventional Pakistani English book that you will read in 2020. Red Sugar No More takes you to a journey of healing and self-exploration through the tiny life lessons learnt by the author in the process of compiling this book. Let us learn more about the book, through the writer herself.
Sijdah Hussain and Her Sugar series!
A mental Health activist, Sijdah Hussain is a debut, modern-day, Messy writer who works as a Content Marketer in Lahore, Pakistan. While her writing is mostly based on her experiences and other real-life inspirations, it does have a flavour of hyperbole at some points. She first got the idea to turn her poems cum songs into a chapbook when she started to see a pattern in them. They were all intertwined intricately to form something more than just one song or two. This is a story of someone going through a rush of emotions from blaming others to herself, every now and then.
When did you discover your talent for writing?
I don’t quite remember how it happened, in all honesty, I just remember watching cartoons and reading books and wondering if I could do that too, some day – one day. I wanted to write something fun like Mary Kate and Ashley or the famous five, ha-ha. I actually wrote a lot of excerpts and freelanced as a ghostwriter before writing my own book & that too with rhymes and whatnot. You know I failed a poetry course in my Bachelor’s degree and had to repeat it. I promised that teacher I’d write a poem one day … a good one. I graduated from the Government College University with BA(hons) in English Literature and Language in 2017. I guess I’m just keeping that promise.
How was your experience writing your first book? How long did it take you to finish writing it?
I sort of started writing as a form of catharsis, I used to do social work and that too a lot, before switching to writing permanently because when I started working I didn’t really have that much time to just go to an orphanage whenever I wanted. The book took quite a lot of time because it wasn’t written in a day or 2 it was written in I guess 2 years and it has a lot of experiences & stories within each stanza; each lyric has a different story in it so I am just a bit scared, what if people don’t really understand where I’m coming from?
You work full time, how did you manage writing and working together?
Writing has never been difficult for me because I write out my feelings most of the time. As a content marketer when I am writing something for the sake of marketing – I focus on the feeling my words would give to a reader. Therefore, whenever I had the time and felt like I needed a break I would scribble down a few lines. Once I used to start, the words just used to pour out of me on their own. It used to feel like either someone else is writing through me or I’m in an entirely different world. It used to be a different experience every time. I used to stop talking, listening etc and just, you know, focus on my train of thoughts turning into black and white gloriously. Now when I edit or format the book over and over again, I come across some points when I have to ask myself if I really did write that and I don’t remember the intensity that made me write that.
How was your experience publishing your first book? What are the difficulties you faced?
Let’s face it the biggest problem in Pakistan is that although we are on our way to becoming a developed country – we are still very much under developed especially when it comes to publishing. We don’t have the sort of literary publishing houses who could help us format books. We need to figure it out on our own and it gets frustrating at times. I had been thinking of publishing the book for a year and now. In 2020, I thought maybe it’s time. The beta readers, whom I gave my copies, loved it. So my friends thought it’s better if I just push it out rather than hide it somewhere never to be found.
Amazon is a great self-publishing service for unsolicited writers but they don’t deliver to Pakistan as often nor do they give Pakistanis a chance to add their bank account to the KDP. You need to really get into it to figure it all out. Thankfully, Ayesha Muzaffar helped me with all my annoying questions, big time. However, once Amazon was taken care of the next big question was how I would be distributing my books in Pakistan. That’s when I approached Ommer from Daastan and told him I wanted to go for the POD option. Since then Ommer and Daastan have been nothing but helpful throughout the procedure. After getting it all sorted, I stumbled across Pakistan Book Readers Club (I’d been inactive on social media for quite some time) & their team as well as members are the most supportive human beings I’ve come across after my friends, haha.
Who inspired you to write Red Sugar, No More? Tell us a little about the book.
It’s a very common notion that healing only takes 7 steps to accept and let go of denial, guilt, regret and whatnot. However, when you actually do have to heal it’s a totally different story. It takes so much time and emotional investment to move on from one step only to come back to it after some time again. It’s a complete try, try again situation. You get tired. You get angry. You get frustrated at yourself and the world. You start to see negatives in every single thing around you. You start to romanticize pain & believe that you don’t deserve anything better. Self-doubt is your meal and depression, your lover. Healing is a very difficult process and it does not come that easily. My book Red Sugar, No More is all about that. It portrays the mental space of a person who is in the process of healing.
What advice would you give to young writers?
Contrary to popular beliefs, writing does not come to you by reading too much. Writing comes to you through your heart from your feelings & experiences – from what you know because you can’t write about anything that you don’t feel connected to. We actually had quite the debate on it as well in one of our classes that if a writer does not write something he feels strongly about, maybe the writing is not worth reading because it’s fake. Obviously, it’s just a debate and there are pros and cons to everything; there are different styles of writing as well. However, you don’t have to read too much just so you could write.
Readers and writers are two very different sorts of people. Understand that and don’t be hard on yourself. Writing would come to you when it is the right time for you! My only message for you is to never stop believing in yourself because if I can make it work … anyone can. And an even more important message for your friends and family is that if you know someone who is trying to launch themselves in whatever capacity, please support them by promoting their creativity, by buying their skill not by asking for it for free that’s just rude and harsh to someone who’s trying to make it out as a newbie.
This is Ms. Sijdah Hussain. Her book ‘Red Sugar, No More‘ is currently available for Pre-order here. We are proud to help Ms. Sijdah Hussain reach out readers and wish her the best of luck for her book!
Urdu writers in Pakistan have been decreasing lately. One reason for its downfall is the traditional publishing methods used by Urdu publishers. There has been a decline in Urdu language since English writers and publishers in Pakistan have grown quickly in the past few years. It is a crucial time for Urdu readers and writers to save the glory of the dying language. Daastan has been working towards the improvement of the literary space in Pakistan. Through digitizing the publishing process, Daastan seeks to revive the reading and writing culture in Pakistan.
How Daastan Supports Urdu Writers
Since its inception, Daastan has been keen to promote education, literacy and healthy learning in Pakistan. Daastan has always laid equal importance on literature in Urdu as well as English. At Qissa we have published around 70 Urdu books and are working on many more. We believe the best way to keep a language alive is to read it. Since Urdu is our national language, we know it a lot better than English, which means we can write better in this language. While writing in English, most writers struggle with translating their thoughts into words. With Urdu, it is a lot easier consequently producing finer stories.
Services For Urdu Writers
Daastan provides Editing services for Urdu writers. Our Urdu Editorial works with the author to help them improve their book. A basic level editing includes spell check, and editor’s advice on improving the manuscript. This level of editing is required for ebook publishing. Level 2 for Urdu editing includes grammar check, fixing the sentence structure and formatting the text. Our Editor will discuss your story, layout and characters in detail and work with you to improve the text. At the third level, our Editor will guide you with formatting the book for print, after a detailed overview of the text. Any required changes will be made with the help of expert Urdu Editors to ensure good quality of your book. Our Urdu Editorial also offers a customised Mentorship program for writers where you can learn and explore different genres and writing techniques through exercises.
Importance Of Urdu Language
The world today is no longer disconnected. Countries are interdependent in terms of economic, political and social activities. In this global village, sticking to regional languages seems like a backward idea to many. Most writers want their name to be known all over the world. Pakistani writers too, perhaps carry the same vision. To broaden their market and reach out more people, writers stick to English language. On the contrary, protecting and safeguarding your language is probably more important today than ever. With an increasing threat to smaller cultures and languages, we need to make sure that our language survives and flourishes.
If you are an Urdu writer, Daastan is the best place for you. We do not treat your books as merely a product that has to be sold. For us, it is our cause. Publish your book with us today and join our mission to revive the reading culture in Pakistan!
Good writers are always known for their writing skills. Many writers have tremendous stories to tell but only a good story-teller with a polished writing style will find their way to the reader’s heart. The Pakistani publishing industry is growing at an incredible pace. However, as publishers, we come across beautiful stories that lack communication and skill. It is always the hardest task to reject a brilliant story that is not well-written. For this very reason, Daastan has worked out a perfect plan for you to improve your writing skills! Grab a pen and paper, and start the exercise today!
Your Go-to ‘Writing Skills‘ Work-out Plan!
1. Warm Up the brain!
Your mind needs experiences to store new information. Human beings learn from the social memory that they build through interactions with others. Your writing skills require the same warm up. Read! Before jumping off to experimentation, make sure you have the required equipment. Read as much as you can and learn different writing techniques. Reading more will help you differentiate between a good book and a boring one. Identify what keeps you glued to the book and then use that trick to catch your reader. Is your brain active enough now? Great, because its time for you to jog!
2. Onto The Jog..
This is your time to build up that stamina. Hold on to all you have gathered from reading and start applying. Begin with the grammar skills. Tiny mistakes can leave a lasting impression. Your warm-up stage will help you a lot here. Since your memory is fresh with the reading, you are exactly at the right jogging track! (Pun intended) Secondly, don’t forget to look out for your imagination. Your reader needs to explore the universe created within your story. For that, you need to explore it first. Map out your story, characters and situations. Measure each tiny detail intricately. You are the creator of your story. Make sure you leave no loopholes. If you begin with an idea in your story, do not leave it hanging. Reach a conclusion and inject it into your reader.
3. Squat Out Your Expression!
Learning to write well? Why not show it off? Once you have a grip over your grammar, its time to pull the reader deeper into your universe. Work on your descriptions. Talk about each and everything you can to paint the most realistic image. Use your creativity and characterize your surroundings. Make the reader immerse themselves in your story. If you talk about the wind, describe how cool or hot it is. Is it dancing or swinging softly? Use the auditory senses and talk about the whistling sound your wind is making. In short, let your reader feel and view what they are reading.
4. Stretch And Chill
The last stage of your exercise is the most crucial one. You can’t leave your warmed-up body just like that. You need to stretch and let it cool down. Similarly, your draft needs stretching. Proof read your text over and over again. Check for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and discard any unnecessary details. The more you read your draft the better you can fix it. Imagine being the reader and explore your story. Make the most of this stage because once you publish or submit your manuscript, you immediately leave your impression.
Great Job, your writing skills are coming in shape! Try out this easy and simple workout plan to get fit in what you do best. Once your manuscript is ready, Daastan will help you design, publish and market it. So start working out today and reach out to us for technical assistance at any time. We are just a click away!
You already know by now, how obsessed we are with Book Launches. A group of people, all book lovers, gather around to celebrate the launch of a new book! What else can be more exciting? Our recent Book Launch was almost the best example of a growing literary space in Pakistan. Our talented writer, Dr. Shehzad Ali Baloch launched his book titled ‘Laboratory Interpretation on Fingertips‘. Here is a small flashback of the event.
How We Celebrated!
On 18thMarch2020, we celebrated the launch of Dr Shehzad Baloch’s book ‘Laboratory Interpretation on Fingertips‘ at Qazi Mazhar Auditorium, Indus Medical College in Sindh. The event was attended by teachers and students. The honorable guest for the event was the Vice Chancellor of Indus Medical College. Through this platform, students interacted with professors and the writer himself in order to learn about the book. We love the literary aura of such gatherings where one can learn from the experiences of fellow writers and teachers. Read Book here :
First and foremost, however effective social media marketing may be, word-of-mouth and physical interaction with your target audience is the best way to channel your message. Apart from spreading your message, events like these are highly informative and interactive. People who genuinley crave to learn will attend such an event consequently, producing a very filtered audience to engage with. If you have published your book, you should market it well, and the first step to market is a book launch!
So become a part of our struggle to broaden up the literary space of Pakistan. Sign Up with Daastan to be invited to the next literary event. Who knows, you might be the next host!
After successfully providing publishing opportunities to thousands of national and international writers, team Daastan decided to dig deeper into the writing niche. We thought what else could help writers earn money through their skill. We found that one of the biggest and untapped niches in Pakistan was the freelance market! However, while there was a huge demand for freelance content by both established and new organizations, only a handful of individuals were actually availing these opportunities.
We found that surprising and after some research realized that there was a lack of communication between companies and writers. A large number of writers were willing to work, but they did not know how to look for jobs and those who did were disappointed with the apparent lack of work. We decided to fix that and so launchedDaastan Freelance Wing-– a less-competitive freelance marketplace exclusively for Pakistani writers.
Daastan was able to connect writers with career opportunities. We helped writers monetize their consequently creating a name for themselves in their respective professional fields. In its first year, the freelance wing saw an overwhelming number of writers signing up.
Writing encompasses all fields, which means that we were able to create opportunities for career growth for individuals in a number of different fields. These included Literature, Finance, Medicine, Sports and more. Our army of writers was building up which resulted in an increase in numbers day after day.
Impact of Freelance Wing
We ran a 12-month prototype and initially had 20 active freelancers. Catering to over 30 clients in 10+ countries, our writers were able to finish 105 orders in a short period of time and earn an approx. 5000 Rs, per month. By the end of the year, our freelance family had grown from 20 to 70+ active freelancers strong. We reached a point where we were distributing 1.5 to 2 lac rupees per month in the team. With such numbers in hand we decided to go public and opened a beta version of Daastan’s Freelance Marketplace.
A total of 55 positions were opened for the beta access wing initially, with 15 slots for Engineering, 14 for Finance, 5 for Medical, 13 for Arts and Humanities and 8 for Literature. Today, Daastan’s Freelancers cater to a large number of local and global clients with professional and engaging content, edited to perfection for a lasting impact.
Want to become part of our team? Join our Facebook page or signup for Qissa to publish your next book!
Pakistan’s publishing industry is growing at a fast pace. Among the few things that limit our development, resources for writers is at the top of the list. Daastan is working tirelessly to produce and provide resources for writers so as to better equip them in writing. Through extensive research, our team has produced a number of programs that can help writers in writing and publishing their work. From brainstorming to financial support – we have got your back!
Resources for Writers
Here are 3 main resources for writers that we are currently offering :
1. Book Writing Course
We offer a customized book writing course as per your needs. In a one-to-one session, twice or thrice weekly, we help writers with all the basic and advanced book writing skills that they require. It may start from scratch with basic writing and grammar skills, or simple editing and story narration skills, depending upon individual needs. We cater to all sorts of writers with whatever level of learning they may choose.
2. Book Resources/Book Recommendations
At Daastan, we firmly believe in reading to improve writing. Good writers are always good readers. However, one thing good readers are always short of, are book recommendations. Through our Instagram, we feature weekly book recommendations with the hashtag#recommendaweekend. Secondly, we are building a book resource with the best book recommendations for readers of all types. The book resource will cater to three bands of readers, Level 1 being beginners and Level 3 – mature readers. The resource will also be divided into genres so that readers can choose the best suited book for themselves.
Another vital resource that Daastan offers is crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is the process through which Daastan appeals readers to pre-order your book before it is printed, to cover the printing expenses. With Pre-order money, the book goes into print and the writer does not have to worry about printing costs. Daastan has currently published a dozen books through crowdfunding. If your manuscript is ready, nothing can halt your book from getting published!
If you are a writer who is looking for the first step to begin your journey as an author, we are the perfect choice for you. From writing to funding and publishing, we take care of all your needs. Sign up with us today and never stop dreaming!
As the last episode of Mused by Daastan aired last week, we experienced a plethora of emotions. On one hand we are sad to pause this journey of learning – while on the other, hopeful for the future. The response we gathered is inspiring and motivating enough to push us further. Have a look at what our host Ms. Summaiya Naveed had to say about this.
We started Mused with the vision to help creatives—a vision we will take forward as the series advances. For now, I hope the first season has helped aspiring writers and given them a nudge towards achieving their dreams. I’ve had a great time creating such content for you and an even better time having conversations with the viewers. You’re an inspiring lot and you give our team the motivation we need to keep putting in our part in the development of the Pakistani Literary industry. What is needed most now is work. Work to distinguish ourselves as a people of superior intellect and an awe-inspiring amount of talent. The first season of Mused leaves me hopeful that we’re talking a step towards achieving that very goal.
Ms Summaiya Naveed expressing her feelings on the last episode of Mused
A Recap of Season 1 – Mused
This season, Summaiya discussed in great detail, the issues related to writing and publishing. We started off with learning the common writing mistakes, Do’s and Don’ts of writing and errors that most writers and publishers make. Then we moved on to the state of our Publishing industry,scope for writers and the condition as well as future of the writers’ community of Pakistan. We were joined by two guests who shared their own experiences and gave useful tips along the way. We had a special episode on writing poetry– on account of the proliferation of poetry writers in our community.
What We Discused In Episode 6
1. Issues With English Language
Firstly, Summaiya shared her opinion on the use of the global lingua franca – English Language. According to her, Languages have socio-political importance. In South Asia, specifically the areas affected by colonization, English language became a symbol of status. The higher classes who merged well with the British and learned the language, associated an attitude of pride with English. We have perhaps inherited the same behaviour. Summaiya condemned this attitude and explained how languages are primarily a means of communication only. Language should not be used to claim superiority or make someone else feel belittled.
According to Summaiya, the role of English in dividing social classes has created a hindrance for those who wish to improve their language. The fear of being ridiculed for pronouncing something incorrectly keeps people away from actually learning the language. Summaiya advised us to change this behaviour towards the language and encourage people to learn in a healthy way.
Secondly, Summaiya discussed the issue of plagiarism in great detail. First and foremost, she explained how plagiarism is a serious crime. In simple words, it refers to the act of copying someone else’s work and putting it as your own consequently, giving no due credit to the owner. This is plainly cheating on someone. It is morally incorrect and demotivating for creatives to work. Summaiya expressed her concern over the absence of laws to protect creatives from plagiarism. There needs to be a certain amount of accountability to avoid crimes like plagiarism. Publishing companies should regulate the content brought by authors to make sure it is not plagiarised.
Daastan is proud to have shared this journey with you all. It is our mission to promote literary activities and discussions through such platforms like Mused. We hope that writers benefited from these Lives sessions and we aim to keep bringing informative content for our followers. Sign Up at Daastan and keep yourself engaged in similar content!
Intellectual theft is the act of using someone else’s work without giving them credit. While it may not seem as big an issue in a country like Pakistan, it does affect us in many ways. Recently, a National Award winning Science WriterMr. Muneeb Ali raised his voice on the issue. The sad part about his effort was the absence of any response from the media, journalists or the government, who would otherwise happily use his content for their own means. Have a look at what he had to say :
He even took his message to more heated social media platforms like Twitter but found no luck.
Next, he made a video on YouTube, providing the video of Mr. Mubashir Lucman as proof of his claim. In the video, Mr. Mubashir Lucman was reading out the exact words from Syed Muneeb Ali’s article – portraying them as his own. Have a look at the video:
Fighting Issues of Intellectual Theft
In Conversation with Syed Muneeb Ali
Why do journalists feel entitled to own any content for their show? Why, in your opinion, are people not concerned with giving credit to the content creator?
Well, this is a long debate but in my opinion, the reason behind this is ‘insult’. We feel ashamed in saying “I don’t know” about things we actually don’t know. Let’s suppose if the piracy scandals of mainstream journalists got exposed and they’re entitled as the ‘content narrator’ then their audience will be in the condition of doubt and will try to seek the original content creator for a more authentic information, consequently affecting their viewership. To escape from public embarrassment, they don’t mention the author’s name and present the content as if it’s their own property.
As a writer, how do you plan on safeguarding your content in future?
Being a writer, it’s more difficult and painful for me to see my content freely distributed without my name than to make a blog story on any topic. I’m aware of the fact that media piracy happens worldwide, but the system of law enforcement is what makes a difference between the world and Pakistan. I can’t do anything to safeguard my content except creating awareness through social media. However, it’s a fact that when the source is out of reach, then you can make consumers aware of the fact and this will automatically affect the so-called reputation of the source.
What measures should law enforcement agencies/government take to ensure protection of intellectual property?
If we want to see the originality or authenticity of the content being generated by some company or a country, we’ll first research about the intellectual property protection in it. In Pakistan, where we see the content being stolen, we need to make the National Response Center for Cybercrime active in not only catching the harassment or bullying cases on social media but also in responding the piracy reports. Interestingly, in copying content both senior and junior writers are equally active in Pakistan (Here is the Equality! Ah!) but only seniors are caught because they are popular among the audience. Back in 2019, 50+ articles written by me which are originally published at DAWN news were copied to about 200+ websites which includes the websites of Hassan Nisar, Javed Chaudhary and newspaper ‘Nai Baat’ etc.
Legal Opinion On The Scandal
We discussed the issue of Intellectual theft with a Lawyer, Mr Omer Imran. Mr Omer has been an active lawyer in advocating social issues in Pakistan. Here is what he had to say on Syed Muneeb’s issue:
There are laws in Pakistan protecting IP and copyright. Under the law of Pakistan, all cases related to IP infringement (an act which carries civil and criminal liabilities) lie towards specialized IP Tribunals. Under our copyright laws, you cannot blatantly copy any original work of an author and reproduce it without credit and make a profit. (You cannot in many cases even reproduce it with credit to the original author if you are making money from the reproduction) unless you have the permission of the copyright owner.
This clearly shows how journalists, as mentioned and proven by Mr Muneeb Ali, are commiting a crime by openly using content that does not belong to them. However, neither writers nor the targeted individuals know how and when to take action.
Is Intellectual Theft Really That Harmful?
Well, yes! It is rather more harmful than stealing a material possession. A material possession will eventually run out and probably only benefit the thief. However, stealing an idea will discourage the content creator from sharing his content any further. This will consequently slow down intellectual development of an entire society. It is time for us to learn as a society, what should matter more and why. Daastan has been promoting intellectual development from the get go. It is in these collective priorities that we define ourselves. We thank Mr Muneeb Ali for raising his voice on such an important issue. We hope that our priorities and attitudes towards scholarship, ethics and morals will change.
If you have any similar experiences then write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and Sign Up to receive updates on similar issues. Together, we must change!
Here is a Step-by-step guide to easily publish yourself with Daastan. Follow these 6 simple steps and become a published author:
Step 1 : Sign Up
First of all, signing up with Daastan is a fairly easy and quick procedure. Click on our Sign-up button and fill a form with your details. We make sure to take your contact details to smoothen up our communication with you and keep you updated with the progress of your manuscript review.
Our digital system enables you to upload your manuscript on your own. Just copy and paste your file and upload it on our website. If you do not have a typed manuscript, you can avail our services for digitizing your manuscript by sending us pictures of your hand-written text.
Step 3 : Get Reviewed
At this stage, our Editors will review your manuscript as per Daastan’s Content Policy. If your manuscript is up to the mark, it will be approved and you will be notified through Email. In case our Editor feels any need for improvement, you will be suggested to avail our Editing services. We make sure your manuscript is refined to its best before sending it to print because once sent for printing, no changes can then be made.
Step 4 : Designing A Book Cover
This stage is optional as you might already have a cover for your book. Let’s take a look at how to design a cover:
We have a professional design team on-board that is responsible for some of the most ground-breaking cover designs to come out in recent years from the Pakistani book industry. Revisions on designs are offered as per the package chosen, so that the author is absolutely satisfied with the final result.
Step 5 : Publish Your Book
For publishing, we provide two options; digital (ebook) and print (hard copy). If you choose to publish an e-book or digital publishing then you have to cover only book registration costs whereas print publishing requires you to cover theprinting costs and the book registration cost.
Step 6 : Market Your Book
Finally, when your book is published, you need to build your readership and attract buyers. We make sure that your talent does not go unnoticed. It is our mission to help you get visibility on our digital space. Our team helps you market the book in following ways
Arranging a book launch
Carrying out dedicated social media campaigns
Distributing your book in book stores and online at qissa’s website
How To Earn From Publishing
To earn from publishing, you first need to polish your writing skills. Learn from mistakes that most writers make. “They say if you’re good at something, never do it for free. So why not earn a few bucks while you’re writing amazing stories for the world? Getting published is the most traditional way to earn through writing.
Here’s a secret to getting published: If you know the preliminaries of writing a book, the chances of your manuscript getting accepted increase ten-fold! An editor only ever reads the first few pages of your book before they make a decision. Avoid those lazy, common writing mistakes as they can make a terrible first impression.
But if you already know all this, then we’re preaching to the choir. What you need is a way to get published, already! Publishing in Pakistan is getting increasingly easy but that can also mean that the quality of work is decreasing. Publishing houses are willing to take any manuscript and you do not want to be associated with a name that has a bad reputation.
At Daastan, we strive every day to become just a little bit better at the services we provide and the quality of the work we put out so that writers are facilitated and promoted. Here are 5 ways Daastan can help you achieve your dream of getting published.
With these 5 simple steps, you can easily publish your book and earn the fame that you deserve. We make sure that our authors are well known, not only in our local literary space but also globally. If you have any queries regarding our process, write to us at email@example.com and sign up below to get started
The month of April is national poetry writing month (NaPoWriMo). Writers from all around the world join together to celebrate the art of poetry writing. We at Daastan took this opportunity to engage our followers in a poetry chain contest. Every day, we shared a prompt verse and asked our followers to continue the verse. The next person to comment would continue thereby making a chain of poetry as a combined effort.
Selected Poetry From #NaPoWriMo
We shared prompts, both in English and Urdu language on alternate days. This activity was thoroughly enjoyed by the participants. The talent and zeal showcased everyday was commendable. The standard of poetry was beyond our expectation, leaving us in a difficult position to choose the best ones. However, we selected 2 poems from English and 3 from Urdu to feature in our blog. The selected English poems are:
English Poem #1
This crimson house with its crimson walls
Set on fire with the love calls
Is this love or just another bloodied stain?
Etched with rivers while the calm moon gazes
And the night whispers softly, lyrical phrases
Though it was bygone – forgotten
The secrets it holds, remained unspoken
Hold a prisoner inside with dusky eyes.
& me with my poems
Engulfed by unheard echoing calls
English Poem #2
The city is alight, with hope it’s bright
The light of its sunrise, envelopes
the darkness and fills everyone with delight
Its air is rich in music and it’s
echoed with the sound of dancing feet
Go to your window and inhale this treat
The darkest hours will pass by,
with resilience you and I will fight
Similarly, response on our Urdu prompts was equally energetic and competitive. We chose the following 3 poems:
1 نظم / Urdu Poem #1
سرحد کے اس پار
جی چاہے اک بار میں جاؤں
جہاں زندگی ہماری طرح ہنستی تو کبھی روتی
کچھ لوگوں سے شناسائی لگتی ہے
کچھ قصے پریت کے، کچھ وعدے من میت کے
جو اب بن کے رہ گئے کتاب کی کہانی میں
وہاں جلترنگ ہواؤں کا ہے نگر
جو یادوں کی داستاں لیے
ہم جیسے انسانوں کی ایک بستی ہے جہاں ملتے ہیں زمیں و آسمان
نظم 2 / Urdu Poem # 2
میں نئی امید ہوں
جیون کی تمہید ہوں
فرحت بخش دید ہوں
اک سریلا گیت ہوں
ہوا میں بکھری بادِ نسیم ہوں
اور تم اس مین ایک استعارہ ہو
تاریک دنیا میں سحر کی دلیل ہو!
قوسِ وقزح کے رنگوں سی
اک نئی صبح کی نوید ہو
نظم 3 / Urdu Poem # 3
میری سوچوں کی پرواز کہاں تک
پنپتے خوابوں کی آواز کہاں تک
ہے میرے خوابوں کی اڑان کہاں تک
تیرے نغموں کى آواز جہاں تک نیلے آسماں سے دور کہیں
اونچا اڑتے ہیں جہاں الفاظ میرے
مگر یہ بھی سچ ہے اس خاک کی اڑان کہاں تک
Honorary Mentions For Our Poetry Campaign
We have selected Mr Obien Mayo and Ms. Amna Shah as active participants and we acknowledge their contribution to our campaign. Their active participation speaks for the love for poetry and Literature that they possess. We thank all our participants for showing interest and contributing to our effort.
Are you excited for our next month’s campaign? Well, we surely are! We have another interesting theme to follow in the month of May. So follow us on our Facebook and Instagram pages and Sign Up at Daastan to catch up on our monthly Literary activities!
The Pakistani writers community has long been under-appreciated. A lack of recognition, funds and opportunities have resulted in a stunted growth of our literary activities. Despite showing promise, attaining Government funds has been out of question. This episode of Mused looked at this aspect of the writers community in Pakistan. Two special guests joined our host Summaiya, in a discussion over writers in Pakistan. Their main concern was the unfortunate fact that pursuing a career in arts is still not accepted as a viable option in Pakistan.
Guests From Writers Community
We were joined by two immensely talented writers and founders of Rhizomatic Literaties, Ms Anum Sajid and Ms. Fuzeela Zubair. Anam Sajid is the Initiator and Creative Head of Rhizomatic Literaties. She is an educationist who believes in building an egalitarian book culture in Pakistan. She moreover promotes and celebrates amateur literary diversity. Fuzeela Zubair is the Project Manager of Rhizomatic Literaties. She is a book blogger. With Rhizomatic Literaties, she hopes to take a step towards expanding the reading culture in Pakistan.
Anum and Fuzeela shared their experience of publishing their first book with Daastan. The writers expressed how Rhizomatic Literatiesis more than a book for them. Their book is a movement towards building a literary community and empowering young writers. Anum and Fuzeela talked about the barriers that our writers’ community has to go through. The biggest barrier, according to them, are writers themselves who shy away from publishing due to a fear of rejection. Giving the example of instagram writers, Fuzeela explained that Pakistani writers need confidence the most. Even if we are not producing good content, we should keep putting up our work to improve the standard. She believes that fear of being judged overpowers a writer. She therefore advised us to not look at writers only with the intention of criticising them.
Advice For Young Writers
Anum and Fuzeela talked about fear in writers while publishing their work. They pointed out a progress in Pakistan’s literature in terms of exploring genres like fantasy. This progress itself highlights the acceptance on part of the reading community. Anum also mentioned that our writers community does not require facilities rather opportunities. They suggested writers to write consistently. Anum explained the contribution of self-publishers in our literary space. Platforms like Qissa have played a huge role in promoting literature in Pakistan.
Rhizomatic Literaties and Women Empowerment
Anum and Fuzeela now await the second volume of Rhizomatic Literaties. This volume carries a basic theme of Female Empowerment. Their main aim behind choosing this subject is to normalize discussion on women. The book will explore how women are independent and unique in their own way. This volume will also break all stereotypes related to women and showcase their diversity. We hope that their book receives all the love and attention it deserves. Anum and Fuzeela have without doubt inspired many young authors and we thank them for their struggle in our cause.
We thank our viewers for supporting and liking our Live sessions. It gives us hope to see your positive feedback. Share your own suggestions for future discussions and write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you like our content, Sign Up with us at Daastan!
English poetry in Pakistan has only recently become the ‘talk of the town’. A number of social media accounts are dedicated to writing and sharing poetry from within Pakistan. In the latest episode of Mused by Daastan, our host, Ms. Summaiya Naveed talks about the scope, status and popularity of poetry as well as issues relating to its publishing in Pakistan. Summaiya began the show with a positive note on how English poetry in Pakistan is getting better by the day. Let us look at what was discussed on the show.
1. Issues Of Publishing English Poetry
In Pakistan, publishing has become common in the past few years. Publishing English poetry, however, is a lot different than publishing prose. While editors look at prose in terms of the plot, flow of the story, characterization etc., poetry has a completely different criteria. Since the idea is expressed in very limited words, it should appeal to the reader and make a statement. There is a general misconception that anything which rhymes is poetry. This is not true. Poetry is complicated and beautiful way of expression and it has evolved as as art. But even then, it observes a few basic rules. Poetry is composed of a rhythm in units of feet— a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables combined together in a meter— the number of feet per line. A lot of editors in Pakistan do not look at these technicalities of poetry because they don’t even know about them!
2. What Is Lacking In Pakistan’s English Poetry?
Pakistan’s publishing industry is growing at a fast pace. English poetry is one area that we have explored greatly (and yet much is left unexplored). Among the upcoming young writers, there is increasing competition when is comes to English poetry publication. Since a lot of people are writing English poetry now, editors see more and more poetry book submissions. The bar is being raised and poets have to work that much more to be able to get accepted for publishing.
Having said that, a lot of poetry writers are young adults with who do not have comprehensive knowledge of poetry. This produces immature work. On top of that, an excessive use of free-verse poetry has also limited the variety of poetry being written in Pakistan.
3. How Can We Improve Our English Poetry?
To improve English Poetry, Summaiya suggested we experiment more with different poetic forms and styles. Free verse is one style of poetry that is excessively used in Pakistani English poetry. It is important that writers try new styles like Haiku, narrative poetry, sonnets etc. Summaiya pointed out that a lot of poetry writers frequently write couplets mostly. She explained that in order to reach a mark in our poetry, we need to write serious, well-designed poetry that narrates a substantial idea in a unique style. Summaiya stressed on learning the technicalities of poetry. She gave examples of poetry forms:
And explained these technical terms:
Verse : A rhythmic line arranged in a meter
Rhythm : A Combination of stresses in a verse
Feet : Units of rhythm
Meter : Number of feet in a verse
With this she wrapped the 4th episode of Mused. We hope that you enjoyed and learned from this amazing discussion on poetry in Pakistan. If you wish to learn more or take our mentoring services where we help you improve your writing skills, you can sign up with us at Daastan and polish your talent. See you next week with another episode of Mused. Stay Tuned!
What is a writer’s dream? Is writing an ultimate goal for a writer? Well, typically speaking, writing does fulfill a writer. But the dream is always way bigger and higher. Rhizomatic Literaties’ book launch, for example, is one one such dream. Becoming a published author, receiving acclaim for your talent and being known for your book is the actual dream. Similarly, our three talented leads of Rhizomatic Literaties did not settle for less.Rhizomatic Literaties is a special book for Daastan because it is composed of numerous entirely diverse minds that take you into a journey of exploration. You can read the book at meraqissa.com. Have a look at Rhizomatic Literaties Book Launch here.
On 7th March 2020, Daastan arranged Rhizomatic Literaties‘ book launch at Plan 9 Tech Incubator Arfa Towers, Lahore. Literary enthusiasts from all fields joined us to celebrate this milestone in our journey. Our panel of discussion engaged the visitors in a healthy talk over struggle and most importantly, literature and publishing in Pakistan by sharing their own stories. Ms. Amanda from Australia was our guest of honor who moderated the panel discussion.
About Rhizomatic Literaties
We take immense pride in Rhizomatic Literaties which is one of our masterpieces as per the unique and outstanding nature of the book. The idea behind this book was to bring together the hidden talent of Pakistan’s literary industry to put them on the forefront. Secondly, this book also speaks for the nature of our publishing industry that is inclusive and non-discriminatory. We promote writers from all sections of society. The 12 different narratives that make up this out-of-the-box book, showcase the diversity and celebrate the power and beauty of women in Pakistan.
Have Your Own Book Launch With Daastan
It is our mission to bring together writers, literary enthusiasts and all people who are eager to act as an agent in order to push forward, the wheel of our publishing industry. Start writing now and launch your book with Daastan. We believe you can! Sign up at Daastan and begin your journey today.
The wait is now over! We are back with our weekly review of ‘Mused’ as promised. For those joining us now, Mused is Daastan’s first Live show hosted by our editor Ms. Summaiya Naveed. Every week, Summaiya shares important and useful tips for writers to help them write and publish their work. Summaiya has been inspiring our viewers who send us positive feedback every week. This week’s show was based on 3 pertinent issues, following a general theme of Publishing in Pakistan.
1. Scope of Publishing In Pakistan
Although Pakistan’s publishing industry has been active since we came into being, the number of publishers, readers and writers have always been limited. From the get go, most of our publishing industry revolved around Urdu literature. There has been significant development of Urdu language but low literacy rates always meant fewer readers. With a lack of readers, comes a lack of buyers. Consequently, there are very few incentives for writers to publish their work. All of these reasons combined hindered the development of our publishing industry.
As of now, Pakistan’s publishing industry is, as Summaiya puts it, in a ‘transitory‘ phase. With increased focus on English language, there is a greater number of English readers and consequently, more English writers. However, this shift towards increased English readership is quite limited. Most of us do not read books beyond our school/college curriculum. Even if we do read English books, we mostly prefer reading foreign books and writers. According to Summaiya, the greatest challenge that our publishing industry is facing right now, is the need for loyal readers. One reason for this lag is insufficient support and funding for creative fields like fine art, creative writing etc. Neither the government nor our public is ready to accept the need and benefit of creatives in our society. In such circumstances, it is hard for writers to pursue writing as a full-time profession.
2. Future of Publishing in Pakistan
A lot of work is being done to upgrade the literary industry of Pakistan. Qissa has digitized the literary space to make publishing in Pakistan easier. Online publishing platforms are becoming the hub for readers and writers. A lot of young emerging Pakistani authors are now writing and publishing their work with greater frequency. However, as Summaiya pointed out, there still remains a need for experimentation and exploration. Readers look forward to unique stories, relevant characters and different genres like sci-fi, thriller, horror etc. Most writers cling to classic genres like romance or tragedy. We need to innovate and step outside our comfort zone to attract a local and global readership.
3. How can we improve Pakistan’s Publishing Industry?
Role of Self Publishers
Self publishers are those publishers who help edit, format, design, and publish your book for you. They only charge you for their services and the earnings you earn from royalties are transparent. Some self-publishers, like Daastan, also help market your book to increase sales. Recently, Daastan generated over 1 lac PKR in sales for Lareb Soomro’s “Autumn’s Curse”. Lareb Soomro is Sindh’s youngest writer who has taken over the hearts of our readers with her out-of-the-box creativity and imagination in writing.
The role of self publishers is very important in accelerating the publishing industry because this industry runs solely on readers and writers. By empowering writers, we inspire them to write and publish more. This generates a smooth cycle of writing and publishing which broadens our literary space. We unfortunately have very few publishing options available to us which limits our growth.
Role of Readers and Writers
While many Pakistani writers are making their name in the literary space of Pakistan, they still have to work hard to establish themselves, globally. As much as it is the writer’s job to produce quality work, so is the reader responsible – by supporting local writers and their books. There are very few acclaimed writers like Mohsin Hamid, who have made a name for Pakistani literature in the global market. Still, most well-known “Pakistani” writers spend either all or half their time residing outside of Pakistan. Since the publishing industry depends on reader’s demands, the more readers indulge in buying local books, the more our writers will write and as a result, the scope of Publishing in Pakistan will flourish.
Summaiya also emphasized on the need to revolutionize the concept of “Pakistani writers”. Up until now, any renowned author who is remotely connected to Pakistan has been considered a Pakistani writer. However, a true Pakistani writer is one who has lived in this country, been a part of its culture and grown up among its people. A writer who writes with Pakistani characters in Pakistani settings. This is the criteria we need to use to define a “Pakistani” writer.
This sums up our third Episode of Mused. We promise to return next week with yet another interesting live session. Do give us your feedback at email@example.com. If you like our show, sign up with us at Daastan to keep enjoying similar content. See you next week!
One of the key roles of Daastan, apart from Publishing, is marketing, advertising ,distribution and promoting Literary activities in Pakistan. Bleed, Breath, Sing is a book from a young author. We at Daastan believe in empowering young authors. Through a smooth transparent system, we establish a direct link between authors and buyers with the help of Literati Choice consequently, benefitting the writers.
On 21st Februrary 2020, Daastan arranged a book launch for Ms Komal Salman’s latest Book “Bleed, Breathe, Sing”. The event was held at National Incubation Center, Islamabad. To our surprise, more than a 100 people turned up to support and congratulate the young author on achieving this milestone. Students, teachers, social activists, researchers and even families were eager to be a part of such Literary activities, who joined us to celebrate local talent and the future leadership of Pakistan.
‘Bleed, Breath, Sing’ – At the Book Launch
The event started off with an energetic and optimistic discussion on Pakistani Society and the importance of such Literary activities in our community. Our panel included Ms Anum, the design lead at Daastan, Ms. KomalSalman, author at Qissa, Mr. Ayub a social activist and Mr Ommer Amer the founder of Daastan. These panelists discussed ways of bringing social change in light of their own unique experiences. The significance of social change in our community and its impact was their key focus.
Activities at the Book Launch
The best part about Literary activities is the audience. When literary enthusiasts meet, creativity, talent and art is bound to emerge. Our guests were no less artistic themselves. Performances and recitals by local artists were also arranged. Through these activities, we realize that it is not the lack of talent or hard-work but a lack of avenues and platforms that hinder our youth to excel in their respective fields. At Daastan, we do our best to ensure that our local artists are provided with every opportunity.
The book launch concluded with a one-on-one meetup with the author Ms. Komal Salman, herself. She gave out signed copies to our guests as a token of appreciation.
To sum up, we are proud to have helped our talented writer Ms. Komal Salman in achieving her dream. We hope to keep connecting these emerging authors to readers and buyers in an attempt to upgrade the literary industry of Pakistan. If yousupport our vision and wish to be a part of our literary activities, join us by signing up at Daastan to build our community!