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.
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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!
It is sad how hundreds of stories are not published because of a lack of confidence or funds. The labour that goes into creating and nurturing a story is unmatched. Although there are numerous challenges a writer faces while publishing their book, it is yet priceless, to finally hold your own book and see people reading it all across the globe. South-Asian writers in particular, have to deal with both, the limited options available while publishing their work, and a lack of funds available. The inadequate laws regarding plagiarism and intellectual theft are further barrier. Many countries have weak law enforcement which is why plagiarism is common. Despite these drawbacks, to publish your own book is not an alien idea anymore. If you are a budding writer shying away from taking the first big step, here is a guide to help you start off.
How To Publish Your Book
Step 1 : Work on your Content
If you have a story ready, skip this step. If you’re starting from scratch, begin by drafting your story. Make a rough outline of the events that will take place at the beginning, middle and at the end of your story. Sketch out your characters and develop them beyond the premise of your story. Knowing your character well is one way of making sure that you’re presenting them in an authentic manner. When you start writing, maintain an undertone that will set a theme for your story. Stick to your theme, tone and style to engage the reader and allow them to familiarize themselves with your story. Keep writing and do not lose your will. Set a daily/weekly target and abide by it. And, you’re ready to go!
Step 2 : Format the raw content
If you have hand-written your story, begin typing it. This will help you re-read and edit any mistakes. If you have your text typed already, choose a good font. It is best to go with basic fonts like Times New Roman, that are familiar to your readers. You can take help from an online manuscript format like William Shun’s. Check it out here. To get you started, set your font size to 12 points, leave margins on both sides and use a black color for text. Remember, do not make it fancy, let the reader focus solely on your story.
Step 3 : Proof-read and Edit
It goes without saying, proof-reading is an essential step on your way. Look for spelling/grammar mistakes. An easier and faster way to do this is using an app to check it for you. If nothing fancy, just put your text in Microsoft Word and fix the tiny errors. It is also important at this stage, to alter or edit any phrases you feel are repeated, unnecessary or cliché . Reading out loud also helps make sense of your expression. Try reading your manuscript to a friend or use an app that will narrate your text. Listening will help you pick mistakes easily. One common error that writers often make is using one word over and over again. Pick that word and try replacing it with another. Can you guess the next step? Publish!
Step 4 : Publish!
Step 4 is as challenging as it can get. We here at Daastan help you make it easier. From editing and formatting to designing your cover page and then launching and marketing the book, we have got you all covered. To have a detailed idea of our process, give a look at our blog ‘5 Ways Daastan can help you launch your dream book ‘ We aim to discover and channel all the hidden, untold stories of brilliant writers like you and promote local writers. So, take Step 5 and sign up with Daastan and Publish your book now!