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Archive for July 4th, 2008

On average I get a phone call a day from a journalist who’s doing a story on chicklits. Sure, the themes vary. Someone’s doing a story on the emergence of new age Indian writers, someone’s doing a story on young professionals giving up well-paying, established careers to pursue writing.

Chicklits are hot. But before you give up your own career and make a retirement plan based solely upon earnings from novel writing, think again.

The phenomenon of Indian readers lapping up original creative writing in English by Indian authors is relatively recent. Before this, any book by an Indian author that sold about 5,000 copies was considered a bestseller. Gasp! All that many? But consider the average cover price of Rs. 200. At the average rate of ten percent royalties that worked out to a princely sum of Rs.  1,00,000. Thrilling!

And while Chicklits and Dudelits have managed to cross the 5,000 copies barrier, the million mark is a tad more distant.

Then why write? Apart from the fact that you must, of course. You must write because whether or not your sales propel you into the Fortune 500, there are a lot of fringe benefits. Based upon your fame as a writer, you get to write columns and copy for a bunch of other stuff. And who knows, maybe your book will get made into a movie and then you’ll have proceeds from film rights to add to your hitherto miserable kitty.

So, as I have been saying before, it’s best to develop related crafts. Screen writing, book reviews, columns, copy for corporate brochures etc.

And who knows, maybe someday (hopefully soon) Indian lit will find and international audience, like Bollywood has in recent times. Then you are truly made. I’m keeping my finger and toes crossed.

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