Dear Miss Snark,
I would like to present my literary fiction novel (fiction novel!!! Achhhh!!) for your consideration. At about 90,000 words, 'title' (I redacted the title but it's pretty good) tells the story of an Indian programmer's quest for meaning and identity as he embarks on a project that will rescue his outsourcing company from bankruptcy.
Walloped by the murky reality of the software outsourcing industry – from 90-hour workweeks to fixing code written before his birth - young programmer Vinod Dhote has only one month to prevent a layoff from his company in Bangalore. His last opportunity to save his fledgling career is to deliver an unrealistic, crucial project for an US client that must succeed if his company has to survive the 2000-01 dot-com burst. Can he combat his ex-managers determined on ruining him, conquer his self-doubts, and recover from the trauma of a failed love affair to salvage the project? Can he make sense of the contrasts around him, and build an identity in an environment that thrives in providing cheap labor for menial tasks?
Though 'title' is my first novel, my essays have appeared in Indian magazines and local newspapers. I am a software developer in Mumbai working for a global IT company. Given the concerns and furor about outsourcing, this first fictional work based on that setting might appeal to an international readership.
I would be happy to send sample chapters or the complete manuscript on an exclusive basis.
I thank you for your time, and look forward towards your response.
First Page of title
Bugs, Vinod rued, creep when you expect them to, like when you are in a hurry to catch the last train home after an 18-hour shift. Staring at the frozen cursor, he asked Sugar, 'When did your ARM crash?'
'2:30 PM PST,' Sugar replied. 'After midnight our time,' he added, almost as an afterthought. Pointing at the Speakerphone, he said, 'Guha sighted it first.'
'We are in deep shit,' Guha's voice quivered from the speaker. 'The order shipment has stopped. Mrs. Travers demanded an Accounts Receivables calculation when we were shutting down for the weekend. I wouldn't agree, not once the file backup starts, but you don't say no to the client manager. I restarted ARM. It hung. What a disaster!'
Vinod grunted, glancing at the screen's bottom-right corner. The clock displayed 1:05 AM. Was he to miss the train? Flinching, he input values that he thought might persuade ARM to spit some data, and jabbed Enter. Damn! No effect. He prodded the key. The keyboard juddered. The screen lay numb.
'Make it move,' Sugar said, shifting on his chair, 'now.'
Vinod glared at Sugar. Irritated, he asked Guha, 'Did you try restarting ARM?'
'Thrice. It refuses to budge.'
'I expected a more professional approach,' a woman's voice boomed from the speaker, 'not hocus-pocus or trial and error. I suppose that's the best you can offer?'
'When did you arrive, Mrs. Travers?' Sugar asked, clutching the knot of his tie. 'Please permit to remind you that the failure is the first critical situation this July.'
'Delighted to hear you speaking sense for once,' Mrs. Travers said. Her voice rose. 'You bet this is a crisis! ARM is our central package. And it's been failing every time we use it!'
'Today's incident -'
'Today's screw-up,' Mrs. Travers hissed, 'again demonstrates your off-shore team's incompetence. What does Ashworth have after outsourcing our inventory maintenance to you? Crippling production failures! System shutdowns! Red-flag emergencies!'
Sugar hit the 'mute' button and cussed. Mrs. Travers continued.
'Unless you compute the account receivables, we can't ship the order. A two hundred thousand USD order, no less! I want ARM to run ASAP!'
'You can start other shipment activities in parallel,' Vinod said.
'I don't need Indians to preach me on how to run our business!' Mrs. Travers thundered. 'The inventory check is running. But it's useless if ARM fails! If I don't have a fix before end of the day – my day -'
'That's only two more hours!' Sugar gasped.
ok, a couple things here. First, I'm looking very closely at anything with exotic location, in a voice that isn't over represented. This qualifies. Second, this sound like reverse chick lit...the protaganist is a guy but the situation is "can he save his job before the world comes crashing down" is pure chick lit set up.
I'd read the rest of the pages and hope it was going to be very very funny.
Now, for all of you who are ready to scream "but wait Miss Snark you xenophobic beast, you said no clients offshore..or even off continent". Well, I didn't say that. I said the bar was higher. That's still the case, but Indian lit is hot, this looks like it might be a nice fresh voice, so I'd read this without my usual X-vision.