My experience with getting published in The Times of India

Thursday, November 29, 2007

If you are here looking for information on how to get published in The Times of India, then you are in for a disappointment. I've spent every waking second trying to get information on how to make an edit page submission to The Times.

Alright, here's the deal. I am very new to this writing game and I am not familiar with the unwritten rules; so I play by the book and deal in black and white. Now, you know how it works in India; until you've tried a zillion times for anything, success is not guaranteed.

I've had success in getting my work published to wherever I've sent so far. So, why The Times now, you might ask? Every evening when my husband returns from work, he looks at my distraught face knowing what I've been up to and asks, "Again? today, too? Why? Why just The Times? There is Mint, DNA, Hindustan Times, The Hindu, Deccan Chronicle and rattles the list." I sigh; if you have to ask you wouldn't understand. Call it my obsession or whatever you want. My morning starts with this paper everyday; it has been that way for the past 7 years of my life which makes it difficult to just turn away and give up in a day. Getting a work published in the edit section of Times of India is my dream, even if it's just for once. I know what you're thinking - very ambitious indeed for a person who started writing just a few months back. So what, I've had no rejections so far. I have a piece ready to be submitted to Times and my gut says, it wouldn't get rejected. I've closely observed and analysed every single column submitted in the past five months and I feel I am ready to try it.

Most of my writing ideas are inspired by day-to-day events and some occur in the middle of the night. Very few of these ideas transform from thoughts to articles.

Back to the Times of India story, I started this exercise of getting the editorial contacts a week back. During this period, my list of disappointment from the largest publishing house in India with a readership of 68.28 Lakh, has just grown and grown. Sample this : they have a few phone numbers listed at the back of the print edition. Since I live in Pune, these are local numbers. On calling them, I am told that the edit page articles are published from Delhi and I would have to get in touch with someone there - no information available about the Delhi contact numbers. That should be easy I thought - look up their website for the Contact Us page and just get the numbers. But, that was not meant to be. All the pages in TOI have only the Indiatimes numbers. An Indian lady with a fake westernised accent trying to pretend she didn't have a second in the world to spare was kind enough to give me the Times of India office number.

Did you know the editorial section in a newspaper office is different from the edit page section? I didn't: dumb schmuck. I thanked my stars when I spoke to a gentleman from the editorial section who promptly directed me to the edit page section..I've been trying to get through to someone for the past 3 hours while my long distance phone bill keeps increasing.

On a closing note, I've not given up; atleast not yet, just a little disillusioned right now as to why our publishing houses can't be more organized and give sufficient information on their websites or bloggers/writers/journalists in India who can put up this information such as this one.

What I would like to see are:

  1. Editorial/ submission guidelines like the one for New York Times

  2. Editorial Contacts such as this one at LA Times

  3. This is stretching it a bit too far citing reasons for rejection, but wouldn't it be nice.

  4. A rough time line before which you would get back for promising articles

I don't have stats to compare the readership of Times of India with New York Times; but what I do know is that it doesn't hurt anyone to be organized and give information right away without wasting your time and ours thereby inviting opinions at e-mail addresses which were not meant for this purpose. Time to think people!