Aaah, missed the Kala Ghoda lecture by Chetan Bhagat. No worries! Apropos this post about Anita Roy’s observation that the Indian mid-list writers are making it good (after all, more than 10,000 copies sold is a good figure in India, as Chetan’s and Amit Varma’s books have demonstrated), I feel the Indian publishing scene is a different brew altogether. The English love tea, the Americans like coffee, but India is brewing another concoction altogether.
Write in a simple style, nothing high-funda, add a bit of angst, position it to appeal for the youthful class (Yes, my son worships the deity of Chetan Bhagat, he says he is cool and hot. He has read extensively on Chetanspeak. Natch he doesn’t like what I write. After all, dad is “ghar ki murgi,” or, “murga.”) and price it not more than Rs 200, the price of a film ticket, or, a CD. And if you promote it a bit, I am sure you can sell 10,000 copies because the book pirates won’t duplicate something which is so cheap, no fun, yaar. Sell at pavement stalls (“This book is original, sir, not nakli.”), college fests, youth jamborees, whatever. That’s a cool profit, hai na?
I guess the publishing industry that priced books at Rs 395 got it all wrong. They were aiming at the higher income, inner city (I don’t mean this in the pejorative sense, Malabar Hill and Colaba crowd), convent educated class (who speak in accents) while the real readers were from small towns and suburbs. Don’t aim for the 300 million middle class. The MTV guys got it right the first time. The reality show participants are from Chandigarh and Bhopal, not Breach Candy and Pedder Road. The middle class is hugely segmented, and if you target the young you will at least get a 0.003 per cent of the readership which will assure you “best-seller status.”
That’s so much gyan. Can you digest it?