Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Don't hate the player, hate the game

Publishing a book isn't all sunshine and butterflies, as I've come to discover. Most of the journey has been fantastic and I'm overwhelmed by Desperate in Dubai's success, despite barely doing any Marketing (given my anonymous status). There have been no book launches, no book signing events, no book tours, no TV interviews. There have been no ads either, no publicity gimmicks. Whatever publicity that has been generated, has basically been from my blog, Facebook page, Twitter and a some interviews I've given. But evidently, it has been enough as the book has dominated the Number 1 spot in the UAE Bestsellers list for weeks now :) It's also sold out for the 5th time in Kinokuniya.

But, as with everything in life, there are always different opinions, different expectations, different tastes from the thousands of different people in the world. Desperate in Dubai isn't everyone's cup of tea, and I wouldn't have it any other way. However, I have to admit, it's difficult when people who don't like the book start slating it and sending me nasty messages, mainly Emiratis who feel that my portrayal of Lady Luxe was unjust and unfair towards their culture. To an extent, I don't blame them. I was expecting this from people who are finding it difficult to comprehend that Desperate in Dubai is a story with characters and a plot. Just because a character is crazy, doesn't automatically mean that the writer is trying to say that all women of that particular nationality are crazy.

When we read The Catcher in the Rye, did we think that all American teenage boys were off their rockers? When we read The God of Small Things, did we think that all South Indian women had big bums and love affairs?

The list can go on and on and on.

One particular ignorant message came to me via Twitter - when a woman said that Desperate in Dubai is obviously my desperate attempt to overcome my failure at bagging a wealthy, already married Emirati man. Erm, I'm actually very happily married :) And thankfully my husband only has the one wife.

Another surprising comment came from an Emirati author who obviously doesn't realise that one author slating another just isn't the 'done' thing. It is tasteless and uncouth. I would never reciprocate with negative comments on her work.

You know what, though? The first negative comment I got really got to me - but as I get used to this business, my skin not only gets thicker but I actually start finding it amusing. After all, only one in 10 comments I get is negative - most of them are fantastic - so when that one person starts saying all this stuff on Twitter or whatever, all it does is generate more publicity. And we all know, there's no such thing as bad publicity :)

Wasn't it Oscar Wilde who said that 'The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about?' ;)


24 comments:

Elspeth said...

Absolutely agree with the thick skin part.

And I think you should be proud of how you're stood up and done something wonderful- getting published!

I was excited to finally find a copy, and throughly enjoyed it.

All the best with it, stay beautiful and strong!

http://elspethholden.blogspot.com/

Ghost Writer said...

Thanks Elspeth :) Appreciate your comments.

I visited your blog and really want to read it but found it difficult to find the first chapter - perhaps you could arrange section with the chapters linked easily (like how I did with mine) to make it easier to navigate through? Also the font is really small and difficult to read. Sorry, don't want to offend but just want it to be easier to read as it will encourage more people to check it out!

x

Saloume said...

I think thats it is an amazing story - so well written and regardless of what people say, its very close to the truth and thats why people love it soo much.

Saloume said...

you should go read my blog as well, i have come across so many blogs and i thought it would be nice to write my own story...
http://theconciergebysalmasalim.wordpress.com/

E. said...

Haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate! ;)


Esha A.

Shireen Baig said...

I loved your book thoroughly which is why I was excited to find a copy of it on a holiday to India. After Girls of Riyadh it your book that had me up all night, started at 10 PM and finished at Fajr. Your style of writing is very engaging and kudos to that.

As for the haters, you know what they say if there's no truth behind a story there would be no noise... and I agree with you that just because your character was portrayed in a way, it does not generalize all locals.
I know some emiratis who if given a chance would ditch their culture in a second, and at the same time I know of emiratis who are deeply connected to the culture, the values and their families.

Media Junkie said...

I've been an avid fan of your blog and I'm delighted to be able to see your published work and have a little piece of home here in Canada. Of course, things are not 100% real and this is a work of fiction, but explaining where I come from was made easier when I gave my mom-in-law my copy to read :)

I love supporting local and home-grown talent and I can't wait to see what else lies in store from you and for you :)

Anonymous said...

The Dubai Twit Book club selected Desperate in Dubai as one of its selections. I liked the book for its sense of place. The other members said, 'It's just Dubai-this and Dubai-that and who cares?' de gustibus

Orson Scott Card says that every book has four aspects, which he calls Milieu, Idea, Character, and Events (MICE), which most literary texts call Sense of Place, , character, and plot. And emphasising one of the four means less time for the other three. Desperate in Dubai paints a great picture of Dubai, so the fact that plot and character aren't as good as the sense of place wasn't a problem for me.

The book seems to have been hastily written, since the plotting is inconsistent, and is hard to follow. Lady Luxe is a memorable character, but is hardly a realistic portrait of an Arab princess, while the other three viewpoint characters are somewhat generic.

But it was still a great portrait of Dubai, and the city was the real central character of the book.

So I really liked it.

Princess Aisha H. said...

I am wondering if you don't mind sharing how much did you earn on your book deal (this the first one, right?) and what's the percentage do receive per book? Thanks for sharing your posts :)

Anonymous said...

I have been gifted your book from my friends (who all love the book) and I can't put it down... It's making me cry and laugh at the same time...Don't let the haters bring you down, keep doing what you love, it's your life afterall. There will be always people that don't see the beauty in life but it's really their problem. Don't take it personally because whatever negative things they say is just a reflection of their unhappiness. Take the constructive criticism, use it as an opportunity to improve whatever areas you want to improve and keep going... Whatever your background,age, family history to me you are a fantastic inspiring and amazing woman and I can't wait to read more of your work. Thank you, Paola

imran o Kazmi said...

You really are an amazing lady and if I may years ahead of your time if not decades

Anonymous said...

So I have a question.
Is your book available in epub format? I have simply looked everywhere, and decided that maybe the fastest(or not)answer might come from here?

Eva said...

Forget about the haters.

The book is fantastic i bought 3 -for my friends too.

Look fwd to your next one!!!!!

Muslimah Delights said...

Ramadhan Kareem! I recently recieved a copy of your book. Can't wait to read it iA :)

Sahar said...

Thank you so much for writing this novel. It portray's the realities of society in Dubai. Keep you're head up, and don't let negativity sway you from your amazing talent.

Your book was touching, funny, and thoroughly enjoyable!

Anonymous said...

I have just finished reading your novel & it was a very good read :) my husband was getting jealous for spending more time with the book than with him :)) anyways just wanted to say thank you & hope to see more novels coming our way!

All the best :)

Irena D world said...

I really really want to buy this book where can i get it in UK? Thanks

Susanna Vesna said...

I just recently found out about the book and started reading it a few days ago! It's quite awesome to finally be reading about something I know well (living in Abu-Dhabi for 10 years and having studied at in Heriot Watt University Dubai)- the culture, the problems & barriers that women face in here! I am half Ukrainian and half Yemeni, so u can imagine what stories I have in bag! (If you ever wish to write Part 2)
:D

Best of luck and I dig your courage of speaking out and writing about the "other side" of the local culture, which every one tends to hide and ignore!

pr dobs said...

Really your book is amazing and its a great joy to read it. I read this during my trip to dubai, so specially I like it the most.

Things to do in Dubai

Arni @ Travel Gourmande said...

I'm so happy to have discovered your blog. I just read the first part of Chapter 1 and now I can't wait to read your book.

Anonymous said...

Im so excited to read your book!
Don't listen to any negative comments, sometimes people need to overcome and deal with thier own issues but instead they lash out on others. Keep writing more books.

Ghost Writer said...

Thanks for your lovely comments everyone. I've definitely developed thick skin now & the negativity no longer bothers me :)

If you're looking to get hold of DID outside the UAE, you can now download it on Kindle :)

To engage with me directly, please join my FB group (www.facebook.com/desperateindubai) or follow me on twitter: @ameerahakawati

Amirah said...

I came across a piece about your book in a magazine about 3 days ago while holidaying in Dubai. Rushed to Dubai mall to get my copy and finished it in a day and a half! Loved it! Thank you so much for writing the book. I will deff be passing it around to family and friends. I've never picked up a book where the background of a character is almost identical to mine. I'm also a British, Indian Gujerati living in Stamford Hill! I hope to read more of your work. Thanks again :)

Jose Oriol Lopez Berengueres said...

congratulations on the book.