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Tuesday, May 01, 2018

01.05.18: A writer’s grumble

Most book lovers from India know Mr. Chetan Bagat, a popular writer of fiction and non-fiction. In my search to know how Indian authors in English write books I have read his few books too. Not only his, but a few other Indian authors too. While I am happy and proud that an Indian author like Chetan Bagat gets an attention and distinction of being roped in for a six-books-million dollar deal, a number of writers must be feeling left out high and dry in the market.

A couple years ago, I had read in a book titled: “Gutenberg to Zuckerberg” about how the invention of printing technology during the 14th/15th century disrupted the whole world of knowledge and how the subsequent invention of internet deepened this disruption in immeasurable ways. One of the important unintended outcomes with the onset of internet, among other things, is that more and more people read and write. Write, importantly. Writers, of all grades, varieties, standards have sprung up everywhere and these writers are craving for attention from others. The present day social media like Facebook, WhatsApp etc., gives some satisfaction to these writers. Yet, the attention like the one Chetan Bagat and a few other writers got is a matter of envy for most writers, including me.

I know for sure many write well – as decently as some of the today’s writers or maybe, even better. The problem is: When will these writers get some attention from the larger readers, big publishers, media, etc.?

I also have a feeling that for most writers, as they write more and more, they start grinding the same or similar stuff again and again and what they write is less and less interesting to read. I have seen this happening to writers like David Baldacci, Dan Brown, and maybe, Chetan Bhagat too in the recent days. Whereas, in the earlier years, I have read almost all the novels written by Earl Stanley Gardner, Arthur Hailey, Irving Wallace, Leon Uris, Jeffrey Archer and the likes and I loved every one of them and read them with the same interest similar to the one when I read their first book.

Most small time writers who wish to become popular do not have the kind of marketing skills, PR contacts, Literary Agents, Media friends to take their writings to light. And their writings languish forever. I think the days of writing ads a job for the sake of earning money are gone. Today, more people write to gain attention, popularity, and acceptance of their worldviews. There are few agencies to recognize the hard work of such small time writers.

Will we be recognized at all in our lifetime, I don’t know. I am a writer too.

Am I jealous?