How to be a bestselling writer

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Ditch ‘conline’ courses and self-help books for a name change and the right literary connections

Ditch ‘conline’ courses and self-help books for a name change and the right literary connections

Hark, all ye writer aspirants. Stop buying those useless books that claim they can turn you into a bestselling writer overnight. Don’t join those conline courses on offer either (buy a pair of Bata flip-flops instead). Given below – completely free of cost – is all you need to become a bestselling writer with immediate effect.

Right name

First and foremost, the name. If your given name is Muniyandi, face it, you’re never going to be a bestselling writer. Ideally, you need a three-name name. And it has to be the right combination unlike mine … which is Golt (for the unversed, that’s Teluguvaadu). Alas, I found out too late Golts don’t sell. The foolproof combination would be a Bong-Mallu mix. It’s unbeatable. For instance, if your name is Kanakasabai, change it to Sadviniyog Menon Bandopadhay. 5,000 copies guaranteed. Or better still, Ananya Sengupta Chakkaparambil. It doesn’t matter that you are a hairy man with a belly like a ghatam, you’ll sell.

Right connections

There are ten people, all of them in Delhi, who can make you. Or ignore you. They include three editors, two lit fest organisers, one gora, three lit agents and an All-in-All Alagaraj who has navigated every literary wormhole there is. I will give you their phone numbers and Aadhar Cards if you message me. Free. Seek them. Lie down in front of their doorways and refuse to budge. Bestseller guaranteed.

Right title

Forget the content, what you need for a bestseller is the right title. Keeping today’s market sentiment in mind, herewith a few sample titles that I urge you to use freely: A Concise Dictionary Of Nehru’s Faults; How I Learnt To Love Hindi and Stopped Worrying; My Nation Is The Greatest In The World, Shuttupp! Shuttuppp! Shuttuppp! Or if you want to take the romantic route, I’ll Meet You On Valentine’s Day … With My Stick. I have a hundred more that you can have for free.

Right job

Are you a diplomat? The CEO of a Fortune 500 Company? An NRI Bharatanatyam dancer who is willing to buy back 10k copies of her own book to sell them at a premium to her students? A Bollywood star? Because those are all bestselling writers. No? Fret not. Become Taimur Ali Khan’s paediatrician’s neighbour’s watchman. Or Raj Kundra’s lawyer’s assistant’s paper delivery boy. And write books about them. Bestseller! Recently, a guy I know put out a book on a dead film personality – someone he’s never met – after picking his name out of a bottle which had a bunch of film actor names. Not only has he not written the book, he hasn’t even read it. Bestseller, LOL!

Right attitude

When you want to be a bestselling writer, you have to be prepared. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing, selling your book has to be foremost on your mind. Recently, a writer friend turned a funeral into an impromptu venue and sold 50 copies before the ashes could be collected. That’s the kind of, if you’ll pardon the choice of idiom, never-say-die spirit that you need. Natural disasters, gory accident sites, upanayanams, riots, airport loos – they are all potential retail outlets.

Right look

Had Gurudev or Bernard Shaw been born in today’s India, they wouldn’t have been invited even to the Gilakaladindi Literature Festival. Get the look. Use Botox. Have a gastric bypass. Get Rajamouli to do CGI on your face. Hire a good-looking person to impersonate you. No look, no book, buddy. Sorry.

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is a satirist. He has written four books and edited an anthology.

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