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Yesterday I had an interview with the BBC for their India Business Report programme. They are doing a snippet on the English publishing industry in India. The reporter asked me the usual questions like what prompted me to give up a cushy job and take up writing? And did I find it difficult to get published? What did I attribute the success of chicklit/dudelit/contemporary fiction to?

Now, I’ve covered most of these in my earlier posts – the writing market and chicklit is hot and also in several press interviews which have been put up on the Kkrishnaa’s Konfessions site. But he also asked me some questions which I haven’t covered. For instance, he asked me whether it is the right time to be an author in India and for how long did I think the opportunity was going to last.

In my opinion, it was the right time for people trying to make it as authors in the English language because publishers were on the lookout for interesting stories about intriguing characters set in heretofore, unexplored fields. And they’re not too picky about the language. As long as you can string together words into a grammatically correct sentence, it’s fine. They’re not looking to get floored by your imaginative use of the language and visual imagery. It’s fine if you can’t come up with a Ratatouille of a metaphor which conjures up the reader’s childhood. All they’re looking for is a good story.

However, it’s equally true that since more and more people are trying their hands at writing, the slush piles at the publishers’ are getting taller and the reverts from them are longer in coming. But, the good news is that most publishers are still growing their catalogues and so, are still on the lookout for fresh talent. Very soon, their catalogues will fill up. It may take five years, or, the way the industry is exploding, as soon as two to three years.

Then, the way it happens in the west and other developed markets, the publishers will have their hands full dealing with their existing repertoire of authors and will simply have no time to go through unsolicited works by new authors. The spotting and nurturing of new talent will be left to literary agents. Hopefully, by then, readership will also have widened and the authors who are already published will enjoy greater commercial success.

So, friends, if you want to write, the time is NOW. The window of opportunity is still open. Barely.

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