Literary: A romantic novel, Chronicle of a Love Foretold, by Monu Tamang became the first Bhutanese “crowd funded” book to be launched by the Writers Association of Bhutan (WAB) on Saturday.

Rather than find a company to accept the manuscript or attempting to raise the money from a single source, the writers association helped Monu Tamang to publish his novel by adopting a funding model that has been gaining popularity in Bhutan in recent years .

The association crowd funded or sought as many donations from as many people who felt Monu Tamang’s novel should be published.

Eventually, over 30 people invested in the novel as “partners” who would also be responsible for marketing and selling the book.

A total of Nu 150,000 was committed although not all of it has been collected yet said Passang Tshering, a co-founder of WAB. After the partners reacquire their investment and returns through sales, a portion of the profit is passed onto the author for his story and intellectual property. It was also pointed out that the author would receive the most profit among all the partners.

He said that the association has many young writers who do not have the financial means to publish their works. With the association also not having any funds, its other co-founder Nawang P Phuntsho recommended that crowd sourcing the required investment be attempted.

The result was Monu Tamang, 24, a physiotherapy student in India, being able to publish his first novel and second book. His first book The Joy of Beautiful Dreams was published in 2011.

His novel was launched in a simple and touching ceremony attended by the President of the Royal Thimphu College, Thakur S Powdyel.

The author recalled how his mother, a farming housewife, ensured she built a large fire in their wood stove every night so that he could read, write, and learn in its flickering light when he was in school. His novel is dedicated to his parents.

The novel, while a romance, also addresses some social issues, for one, respecting parents. Monu Tamang said no one should feel ashamed of their parents no matter what background they come from. The book’s launch was almost cancelled because the author could not afford to bring his mother from Tsirang for the event, he said.

With the help of the association, Monu Tamang’s mother was able to attend her son’s book launch.

But the author’s inspiration to write the novel came from his ex-girlfriend, he admitted rather sheepishly. It began as a diary he wrote for her every day so she could read at night. Eventually, it turned into a novel but the couple broke up before it was published.

Thakur S Powdyel praised the author for adding to the country’s literary bank, and the association for its funding model.

“Many people want to write books, they want to be authors but they hesitate because they feel the book may not be good enough” Thakur S Powdyel said. He added that he tells his students to pursue what they’re good at, be it dance or writing, because every single local production counts in building the country’s culture.

With publishing the book now completed, the association will now see how the marketing aspect plays out.

“We’ll polish this a little bit and try this with a few more books,” Passang Tshering said referring to the crowd funding model.

The works of potential candidates will be screened by the association’s members and readers.

Gyalsten K Dorji