Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Dilemma of a writer! Would you make it sexy to sell?

It was in the year 2005 when I first stumbled through the pages of Bridget Jones Diary and that changed everything. I read the book in one sitting. It was hard to put it down. It was for the first time I felt that books could be fun and lively. Back then I wasn’t aware of ‘women fiction’ genre and it's writers for that matter. Hence every time I wnet to the book store I used to look for the books, similar to BJD but couldn’t find much. One day I asked the book shop owner to help me find the book similar to BJD and he found me The Devil Wears Prada. I finished the book within 24 hours and then I wanted to read more. It was like that BJD got me addicted to this whole new section of light, hilarious and romantic books. These books were such a pleasant change from the Paulo Coelho books (I read a lot of them).  After reading few more books like The Dirty Girls Social Club and The Nanny, I thought of trying something from Indian writers. After searching through and through I managed to find only one worth reading book, The Village Bride of Beverly Hills by Indo-American author Kavita Daswani. That was that. From the year 2005-2013 things haven’t changed as much as I expected.

Even today I struggle to find a single women fiction book by Indian writer which is hilarious, magical, mesmerizing, romantic and fabulous. BUT if I look at west, there is no shortage of women fiction/chick-lit. On an average I read-review five chick-lits every month and before I can finish one book I have another in my hand and i never get tired of reading book after book because they are totally mesmerizing and gorgeous.

Anyway, Two years back I decided to try my hands and write a kind of book which I would love to read (or people like me). I wrote a synopsis and three sample chapters and sent it to all four of the big publishers in India. While the proposal was rejected, two out of four publishers said that they liked my writing. It was a silver lining. One and a half year later I finally decided to sit and write a full-length chick-lit novel. After 6 months of hard labour I had a manuscript in my hand and this time I sent it to one of the literary agents instead of directly sending to the publishers.

Here is what he said:

“Though I like the story and your writing but it’s not up to the mark. It’s not as sexy as it should be”.

Sexy? Seriously? What about witty, engaging and fresh? Sorry Mr. Agent it’s not an erotica or romance!

 Well then I decided to go back to my original plan and sent it to the publishing houses directly. The book has been rejected but some of them said in their rejection letters that either they liked the writing or the story but still it doesn’t match their publishing programs. They were probably right because when I checked on their sites there were hardly any chick-lits from Indian writers. When I read few of those published books, I seriously had no idea that how those books could be published? More than chick-lit they were family dramas or plain chaos. Books in India who are written by women for women are either extremely dark or full of a lot of sex advices and non realistic take on life and career. There heroines are not lively, bubbly or even ambitious like the protagonists of Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk, Jane Costello, Claudia Carroll, Holly McQueen, Polly Courtney and Scarlett Bailey. There is no magic or glamour in those books. I don’t know what’s wrong in Indian women fiction/chick-lit market! But I do need an answer. Anyone?

I seriously doubt the quality and supply of chick-lit in Indian market. Why my book is needed to be sexy if I want to publish it? Well since all big publishers think that somehow in spite of being a good story or writing they can’t publish my book I think I am gona look for more options. But I am not gonna give up or add couple of erotic scenes in the book to make it fit for the publication!


  1. Don't convert your story into one of those silly 99 buck wali books. Keep at it, and I'm sure some publisher would be willing to try you out. ATB! :)

  2. Thanks Sushmit for your support. You'll be glad to know that i would rather be happy to keep the manuscript locked away in my drawer instead of making it a trashy read!