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The other day a friendly fellow from a newspaper gave me to understand that a new book must have something of news value to get a coverage on the pages of his newspaper. In other words, it should earn its publicity through newsworthy means.
I was then reminded of a book I read years ago. It was one "The Almighty" by Irving Wallace and it underscored one point again and again throughout the book: "News is not to be collected; it should be created".
So there is a lot of truth in what the newspaper fellow told me, rather expected of me. I reflected. A book in order to be regarded a newsworthy object must have a few things at the minimum. Let me try to enumerate.
1- A catchy title catches. I've not given any catchy title to my book, like "Seven Ways to Hit the Jackpot", or "Who Moved My Kebab" or 'The Secrets of a Long Life". But then I've given it a name "The Remix of Orchid", and doesn't it sound a bit weird? So, if everything weird could be a style, won't it apply to my book?
2- The book must stand for something widely believed, or even go against it, say vegetarianism or Zionism, to get (appropriate) a stage already established. People have made names by writing on Indian poverty, animal rights, Yoga, or if I go back a century, on white men's burden. The literary fad these days, I'm told, is feminism, Dalit literature and Marixism. Then what does "The Remix of Orchid" stand for? Reading pleasure-does it subscribe to any belief or "ism"? Patriotism-does it make any substantial sense at present when thinking global is the fad? The struggle for existence-does it convey sense in an age when excellence, not existence, is the motto?
3- Sometimes what is written is not as important as who is publishing it or what he is publishing it for. Books are made to order. If it is to be marketed among women, make it a tear-jerker, say a mother-in-law troubling her daughter-in-law; a hubby hobnobbing with another "bad" woman. That's not all; I've read stories in the net involving father and daughters, not the step-daughter but the real ones, and they are such as would shock the sensibilities of one and all. There are gay themes, violence, drug abuse-to name just a few. All these have been written to write something fresh, to tread a path untrodden. As for "The Remix of Orchid", the book is not something that is made to order; it's just an expression of the writer's love for writing, expressing himself through text craft. So, should I expect a great success with such a traditional treatment of creativity?
I've taken some time from my newspaper friend to come back to him and explain him why he should give coverage to my book. Still I'm looking for an appropriate way to articulate. Possibly, I can't say that the book has a foreword by Mr Ruskin Bond and that's why he should write a feature about my book on his newspaper. Even before I could have thought of saying so, he has made it clear.
A. N. Nanda
Labels: book promotion