When I wrote my first book, I wrote for me. I was sure it would never get published anyway. So I wrote the first thing that came to my mind, build a story for the sake of a story and throughly enjoyed myself doing it.
Now, it’s time to ‘grow up’ as an author. The modern literary world isn’t an airy-fairy, Parisian bubble where artists live in youth hostels, travel the world with only the clothes on their back and spew out works of art that people will understand generations later, once they have already chuffed their ears.
The modern world is all lines and numbers-it’s about agents, commissions, marketing and money. There is no pink.
So in short, I have to choose the subject of my second book keeping in mind two motives.
1) The motive of Profit- Since the author only gets a percentage ‘commission’ on his own book and books are dirt cheap (if they are not pirated) in India anyway-I need to get access to the dollar market. Or get Bollywood to remake my film; so what if they murder it and do not give me any credit. It’s ‘inspired’ baba, not ‘based on’, haven’t you heard of Anu Malik? It’s like the mother cow selling her lamb (cow selling lamb?-that is why I did not get an award) to be slaughtered by rich merchants who shall swallow it without a burp. But kya karen? Paapi pet ka sawaal hai and all that.
2) The motive of Respaact- All my life my dad has only talked about ‘respaact’. I could not take arts because no one will ‘respaact’ me. I had to get distinction in college even though marks don’t really matter because of ‘respaact’. He continues working at this age (he’s above 65) because he enjoys the ‘respaact’ he gets in office. (We respaact him anyway, but we don’t really matter).
Yes, respaact is a really big thing for me. A book could be popular but it may not be respectful. Infact in most cases if a book is ‘popular’ it is not very respactful- like Mills and Boons, Archies, Playboy, Burnt Toast. (OMG! did I just compare Burnt Toast to Playboy? I can already see sales going up exponentially!)
Of course, there are super talented (or supermotivated?) people who manage to do both. Like Arvinda Adiga who not only won the Man Booker Prize in 2008 but also dominated UK top 50 titles sold (in POUNDS!) for weeks after that. In recent years the Booker prize nomination lists is littered (need to choose better words if I want that award) with many authors from the subcontinent.Of course that lead to dollar sales. And Respaact
Ok, so need to write Booker-worthy novel. Something about oppressed, deprived, down-trodden Indians that can chill the bones of angrez gentlewomen sitting in woolies next to electric heaters in picturesque countrysides.