How to be a bestselling writer

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

Listen, all the aspiring writers. Stop buying those useless books that claim to make you a best-selling writer overnight. Also, don’t join those conline courses on offer (buy a pair of Bata slippers instead). Below – completely free – is everything you need to become a bestselling writer with immediate effect.

correct name

First and foremost the name. If your first name is Muniyandi, be honest, you will never become a best selling writer. Ideally, you need a name with three names. And it has to be the right combination, unlike mine… which is Golt (for the inexperienced, that is Teluguvaadu† Unfortunately, I found out too late that Golts don’t sell. The infallible combination would be one Bong Mallu to blend. It’s unbeatable. For example, if your name is Kanakasabai, change it to Sadviniyog Menon Bandopadhay. 5,000 copies guaranteed. Or better yet, Ananya Sengupta Chakkaparambil. No matter you are a hairy man with a belly like a ghatam, you will sell.

Correct connections

There are ten people, all in Delhi, who can make you. Or ignore you. They include three editors, two lit party organizers, a gora, three enlightened agents, and an All-in-All Alagaraj who has navigated every literary wormhole. I will give you their phone numbers and Aadhar cards if you message me. Free. Find them. Lie in front of their doorways and refuse to give way. Bestseller guaranteed.

Right title

Forget the content, what you need for a bestseller is the right title. With current market sentiment in mind, here are a few sample titles that I recommend you use freely: A Concise Dictionary of Nehru’s Mistakes; How I learned to love Hindi and stop worrying; My nation is the largest in the world, Shuttupp! Shutuppp! Shutuppp! Or if you want to take the romantic route, I’ll see you on Valentine’s Day…with my stick† I have a hundred more you can get for free.

right job

Are you a diplomat? The CEO of a Fortune 500 company? An NRI Bharatanatyam dancer willing to buy back 10,000 copies of her own book to sell to her students for an additional cost? A Bollywood star? Because those are all best-selling writers. New? Do not worry. Become the guardian of the neighbor of Taimur Ali Khan’s pediatrician. Or the paper deliverer of Raj Kundra’s lawyer’s assistant. And write books about it. Bestseller! Recently, a man I know published a book about a dead movie personality—one he’s never met—after he picked his name from a bottle with a bunch of movie actor names. Not only did he not write the book, he didn’t even read it. Best seller, LOL!

Correct posture

If you want to become a bestselling writer, you need to be prepared. No matter where you are or what you do, selling your book should come first. Recently, a writer friend turned a funeral into a makeshift venue and sold 50 copies before the ashes could be collected. That’s the kind, if you’ll forgive the choice of idiom, never-tell-that-ghost you need. Natural disasters, bloody accident sites, upanaynamsriots, airport evictions – they are all potential selling points.

right look

If Gurudev or Bernard Shaw had been born in present-day India, they would not even have been invited to the Gilakaladindi Festival of Literature. Get the look. Use Botox. Have a gastric bypass. Have Rajamouli do CGI on your face. Hire a good looking person to impersonate you. No look, no book, friend. Sorry.

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


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