To get your child to think out of the box, first get him/her inside the box : the ENCHANTICO box

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What does your child need as he/she grows up to be someone who will make you proud ? The child needs the right friends, the right mentors, the right places to travel to, the right stimulants to his fertile mind. The child will also need something that will make him world ready. And if you think of what is that something that will give our children all of the above? Isn’t the answer simple ? Its books !

But hey, that isn’t that simple. With so many books and so little time, how do you ensure that you pick the right books for your child? While you can always go right with classics, there is so much of new literature coming up – it is very easy to get lost. That’s exactly where Enchantico comes in. Enchantico is a delightful box that comes with age-appropriate curated books delivered right at your door-step. Here’s how delight opens up as your child opens up the box:

A brain-bill served monthly: Enchantico is a subscription service that delivers two of the latest books in childrens literature plus activities and collectibles right at your doorstep – month after month. All yours for keeps.

Age appropriate and Curated: The Enchantico box doesn’t just have books, but books curated by some of the best minds in childrens literature. This means in a year, you will receive 24 of the best books released in the recent past. These books are meant for 4 different age groups – 5-6, 7-8, 9-10 and 11-12.

Readers to Leaders: The books are curated with a plan. To introduce your child to the best minds and authors in childrens literature. To develop their language, imagination, creativity, empathy and make them world-ready.

Books and More: Enchantico goes beyond books and also features activities based on books. Activities meant to engage and deepen their bond with literature. Also packed in are collectibles based on superheroes and characters your child is excited about.

The World of Enchantico: Enchantico is also in the process of creating a whole ecosystem for literature – A soon-to-be-launched digital platform and a series of literary events including an exciting childrens litfest – Litomania.

At the end of it, making sure that your child thinks out of the box, is entirely in your hands. Getting him or her into the world of Enchantico box is entirely in your hands too.

Gift your child an ENCHANTICO box today and see the kid transform from a reader to a leader. See him metamorphose into an out of the box thinker.

Here is a sneak preview of the books that went out to the Enchantico Subscribers in September. October promises to be even more exciting.

Click here to know more about enchantico and subscribe to the best gift that you could give your child – A gift for his future. www.enchantico.in 

 

To see what Enchantico Box Subscribers got in August, see here  : Enchantico August Box

Copy Credit : Sangram Surve

 

 

 

 

Enchantico : August Boxes

Here is a sneak peak into the Enchantico Boxes that were sent out to subscribers in August. Enchantico : The best gift for your child. You can order your own enchantico box here : www.enchantico.in

Enchantico box for age group : 5-6 Years 5-6 August

Contents of the Enchantico August Box for Children aged 5-6

  1. The blue eyed Mouse and the Green Eyed Mouse- Bob Gill
  2. The Milk Moustache by Vikas Khanna
  3. Author Cards for Vikas Khanna and Bob Gill
  4. Apron with a white moustache stitched on it
  5. Moustache shaped Silicon moulds
  6. Recipe for making chocolate in the moulds
  7. Children table mat with the book cover of Milk Moustache on it
  8. Badge which says “Booked for Like”
  9. “I can read everywhere”, Poem Postcard
  10. Highlighter set in the form of a foot
  11. Special Puffin Notebook
  12.  Personalised “I am your reading buddy – Enchantico” mug

 

Enchantico box for age group : 7-8 Years7-8 August

  1. Monster Garden by Jerry Pinto
  2. The Shy Supergirl by Shabnam Minwala
  3. Danny Dreadnaught Saves the World by Jonathan Emmett
  4. Make Your own Superhero Mask and Armband Kit
  5. Marvel Civil War Jigsaw
  6. Badge which says “Booked for Life”
  7. Reading of all books, Postcard
  8. Author Cards of Shabnam Minwala, Jerry Pinto and Jonathan Emmett
  9. Special Puffin Notebook
  10.  Personalised “I am your reading buddy – Enchantico” mug

 

Enchantico box for age group : 9-109-10 August

  1. Grandpa’s Great Escape – David Walliams
  2. Horrid high 2 – Payal Kapadia
  3. Author cards for Payal Kapadia and David Walliams
  4. Make your airplane kit  with colours from Fevicryl, Glue and brushes
  5. “Certified book Addict” badge
  6. “Who will you meet in a good book” postcard
  7. Exclusive Puffin Diary
  8. Personalised “I am your reading buddy – Enchantico” mug

 

Enchantico box for age group : 11-1211-12 August

  1. Time traveling with a Hamster- Ross Welford
  2. Murder most Unladylike – First Class Murder by  Robin Stevens
  3. Author cards for Ross Welford and Robin Stevens
  4. Become a Detective kit in a pouch.
  5. Hermoine’s Time Turner Unisex Necklace
  6. Booked for Life Badge
  7. “In the end” Postcard
  8. Exclusive Puffin Diary
  9. Personalised “I am your reading buddy – Enchantico” mug

For parents of children who read and also for those who don’t!

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If there is one thing I am sincerely thankful to God for, it is the fact that my daughter Anusha is a voracious reader. I meet a lot of people who bemoan the fact that their children don’t read and they don’t know what to do to encourage the habit of reading in a child. Great leaders have often been seen to be voracious readers.

Let me lay out some facts (rather widely accepted opinion) here.(in no particular order)

  1. If you force children to read, they will start hating it.
  2. Put them in reading classes, it becomes curriculum. Anything that is curriculum, is uncool and is boring
  3. Many children look at parents who read, as role models and develop the habit of reading. But if you as a parent, don’t read, then how does one nudge the child towards developing the habit of reading.
  4. If the passion for reading is developed at a young age, it stays with you for life.
  5. Parents often don’t know which book to buy for children and go by current trends.
  6. Bookstores, sadly, don’t stock Children’s books the way they used to. A number of wonderful written books don’t even make it to the book shelves. Hence they never get seen and picked up.
  7. A number of brilliant Indian authors who write for children, don’t get their place in the sun.
  8. World over, Childrens books is one of the largest and fastest growing categories. In India, while it is growing, it is not growing at the same pace as the number of children who can read/write. In other words, there is growth in absolute numbers, but degrowth in terms of relative growth vis-a-vis the target market.

This has been one area I am passionate about and have always wanted to do something in this space. So I got together with a couple of other like minded friends (Sangram Surve who heads a marketing agency Think Why Not  and his wife Shalini who is also a wonderfully creative mind) and Enchantico was born.

Enchantico is everything that the children books ecosystem in India lacks. Aimed at putting the fun back into reading for the kids. It presents books to children in a cool and fun manner so that they take to reading without any coercion. For those who do read, Enchantico provides them with exposure to specially curated age appropriate books that they would not have picked up in the normal course, thereby broadening their horizon and of course, their choices.

To become a member of the Enchantico ecosystem, you have to subscribe to it. 3, 6 and 12 month subscriptions to the Enchantico box are currently available. Once you pay the subscription fee, every month, on a pre decided date, your child will get an Enchantico box  gift-wrapped and delivered at your doorstep. Each box will contain a minimum of two books, specially designed book related activities and a host of other cool collectibles that your child will love. The books are curated by a special team which is led by Lubaina Bandookwala, who is an institution in the world of childrens books. These books are curated from the domestic and international lists of all the key publishers. (over 50% of the books that we look at, you won’t even find in book stores – for book stores just don’t stock the entire range of childrens books). The activities that go into the box are designed by our in house team, keeping in mind the lead book in the box.

To see what went in our August Box, click here ENCHANTICO BOXES – AUGUST

We will also be building the entire ecosystem around the world of books and authors. Literature festivals special targeted at children, author interaction/talks in schools, publisher engagement, contests etc are just  a few of the things that we plan to do, to get children to savour the world of books and reading.

The core objective of Enchantico though is to get Children to discover something new each time they get an Enchantico Box and to put the fun back into reading.

Am really thankful to the host of publishers who have come forward to support us in this initiative.

Together lets make the world a better and well read place.

 

How do we get our children to read?

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Reposting a post from 2013… so relevant even today.

Yesterday I was asked a very interesting question by Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, a friend. It was about my daughter Anusha. “How did you get Anusha to become such a voracious reader?” she asked me.  I didn’t have an answer. Honestly if  I look back at the last 13 years of Anusha’s life, the only thing that Dharini (my wife) and I did was introduce her to books, and thereon kept supplying her with a steady stream of books. We didn’t try to influence her choice of books though we did censor the kind of books she read. And now she gobbles up three books in two weeks. (Well almost …. because if a new Rick Riordan book comes out, she reads it so very slowly in order to make it last as long as possible)

In my opinion most children will read if introduced to books at the right age and time, and if they are allowed to read books that they want to. So here I am, giving my first parenting advice on how to get children to read. A lot of it is gut feel and common sensical. As parents, if you don’t agree, its perfectly fine, do your own thing. I am only outlining things which worked for me.

1. Don’t thrust the reading habit on children : Children these days have a mind of their own. And often they are smarter and quicker than their parents. They don’t like to be told things. If you try to thrust reading on children, you can be sure of one thing, they will not read.

2. Children learn by looking at their parents : If the parents don’t read, convincing children to read is going to be slightly difficult, if not impossible. If you want your children to read, start reading yourself. Atleast one of the parents must do so if you are serious about developing a reading habit in your child.

3. Make it cool : Children these days like to do things which are cool. Things which add value to their bragging quotient at school. While reading can be cool, it can be geeky too. The latter is a bit of a put off. Help children read books which are the “in-thing”.. which get discussed in school.  A lot of parents cringed when Wimpy Kids came out, but who would have thought a few years back that the Wimpy Kids series will push Jeff Kinney into the list of highest grossing authors in 2012. A number of kids read them and liked those books. Same with Geronimo Stilton.  Let children read contemporary stuff. Don’t push them to classics. If you have to… then negotiate. For every two Wimpy kid or Rick Riordan books, they will have to read one classic. I am not not sure that this strategy will work, but worth a try.

4. Do not draw up a schedule for reading : Library hour never worked in school, why do you think it will work at home? Many so called child psychologists have suggested that its best to set aside an hour a day for reading. Trust me, if you do that, the child will dread the ‘reading hour’. I have found that the best time to read is before going to bed. 90% of the reading population reads on bed. Why not children? Let them read before going to sleep.  If they read, and are engrossed, let them knock off 15-20 minutes of their sleeping time and continue reading. Its a good habit. Yes they will lose a bit of sleep. But what the hell, there is more fun in going to sleep late, despite “mom imposed” sleeping time. And this fun element will also get them to enjoy reading. Long term gains. remember. (and btw Dharini will kill me if she reads this)

5. Sign up for a library and let children order themselves : This is exciting.  I signed up for Librarywala, and Anusha ordered her own books. Yes, we censored the books to make sure that she read books appropriate for her age. But over the last two years, in our family, she is the one who has ordered the maximum number of books from Librarywala. This also becomes relevant because of the fact that children these days are very choosy. They have a very short attention span and very strong likes and dislikes. If you keep buying books, you will get frustrated with the fact that for every five books you buy for them, they will junk one or two. In such a scenario, a library works well. And there are lot of good ones these days : EasylibKwenchLibrarywala, Justbooks are only a few of them.

6. If you are one of those privileged ones for whom affordability is not the issue, it might make sense to make your child future ready by getting him or her to read on the Kindle.  Ebooks will rule the world in another five years (by the time your child grows up). No harm in making sure the child enjoys the benefits of technology. The instant ‘word look up’ option that most ebook readers give you will surely be instrumental in improving your child’s vocabulary. (in a paperback, its too much of an effort to pick up the dictionary and get to know the meaning of difficult words). And ebook readers are definitely ‘cooler’.

7. Encourage your children to exchange books: I have seen Anusha read some books multiple times.But these are books she loves. (at best 10% of the books she reads). The balance 90% are never read again. I am sure the same is the case with most other children too. Do not sell such books to the Kabadiwala. Either exchange these books with other children or else donate them to a library or a foundation which supports reading. It will help another child read and develop the habit. More importantly it will also develop the habit of sharing in your child.

People tell me that reading to a child works. I do not have much of an experience at that, so not sure if it works.

A few days back, in an interview with Radio City in Bangalore, I was asked if i have any message for the people of Bangalore. All I said there was that reading is a great habit, which our children must cultivate. It makes them develop as well rounded individuals and broadens their horizons. It improves vocabulary, and can possibly make them more confident. Hence if we have to pass on one trait to our children, let it be the habit of reading. Its like breathing, like walking, like swimming, like cycling. Once you develop the passion for reading, you will never get out of it. And what better an age to get into it, than your formative years.

God Bless all our children.

Another way to get them to read could be to Subscribe to  Enchantico :India’s first book subscription box. You can subscribe to Enchantico at http://www.enchantico.in or by clicking on the image below.

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Pic courtesy: Guidingstar.ca

THE BESTSELLER SHE WROTE : Read the 1st chapter of my new book here (Book releases on 19th October)


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The chatter in  the packed auditorium at the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru, had reached its crescendo, when a member of the organising committee walked up on stage and addressed the audience.

‘He has arrived, everyone. He’s talking to the Diro right now . . . should be here in three to four minutes.’

Almost immediately the conversations died down. The noise level dropped and everyone, including the two hundred students and faculty in the room, trained their eyes at the door.

‘Why him?’ someone in the front row whispered to the person seated next to him. The front row was reserved for the faculty members. The neighbour shrugged his shoulders.

‘Possibly because he brings in both perspectives—corporate experience and creative excellence . . .’

‘Don’t think so,’ the first gentleman responded with disdain. ‘I am sure it has something to do with the placement season. Pampering these corporate types always helps.’ His neighbour nodded and almost immediately stood up as did most of the people in the auditorium.

He had just walked in.

A tuxedoed emcee strode onto the stage and announced, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to present to you Shri Aditya Kapoor, Director—Branch Banking at National Bank, and an alumnus of our own institute,’ he paused for effect and then proudly added, ‘the Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru!’ The firm and effective baritone, blaring out from the public address system was completely drowned in the thunderous applause that followed.

A beaming Aditya walked up to the stage and stood there, taking in the ovation. Returning here felt extra special and it showed on his face. ‘Thank you, thank you,’ he mumbled with his hands folded even as he bowed down a couple of times, in humility. ‘Thank you everyone.’

This time the applause was louder than before.

‘But today,’ the emcee said, ‘he is not here because of his achievements as a banker. Friends, even though Aditya Kapoor needs no introduction, he deserves it. Let me at least make an attempt. Not only is Aditya a banking professional par excellence, he is also India’s numero uno writer. With four books to his credit, all of them topping the fiction charts, he is the most successful new generation Indian author. In a country where 95 per cent of books published sell less than 5000 units, his books have sold over four million copies. Two of his bestsellers have already been made into films. And that’s not all; unlike the rest of his breed, Aditya Kapoor has managed to achieve the unusual feat of keeping the masses and critics equally enthused.

Today he is going to talk to us about pursuing our dreams; about his journey from a boring banker to a bestselling author. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting to you, the Paperback King of India, Aditya Kapoor. India’s most successful author . . . ever!’

The whole auditorium resonated with applause. Aditya Kapoor, who had been standing in one corner of the stage, walked up to the podium. Holding the stem of the mic, he pulled it closer to his mouth. The emcee who had been using the microphone earlier was a good ten inches shorter than Aditya’s six-foot-something frame. He cleared his throat, an act which he had rehearsed a number of times in the past and spoke into the microphone: ‘Good Evening.’

His deep baritone could make many a woman go weak in the knees. ‘It feels good to be back after fifteen years,’ Aditya carried on. There was an awed silence in the auditorium. ‘Isn’t it surprising that IIM Bengaluru has never invited me to talk about my professional exploits, something for which this institute trained me, prepared me? Instead, you have given me the honour and privilege of speaking to all of you about what I have achieved by pursuing my passion, my dreams.’

He paused and looked around the room. ‘I am here to speak not about what I have achieved, but about what I have enjoyed. Someone once said, “Find what makes you happy and go for it with all your heart. It will be hard, but I promise it will be worth it.” The fact that I am standing here in front of all of you, talking about my exploits, only goes to show that it is, in fact,’ and he again paused and looked around the room, ‘. . . that it is, in fact, truly worth every single minute that I spent pursuing my dream.’

Aditya continued, ‘When I began writing in 2008, it was for my own self. I became a writer, not only to tell a story but to broaden my own perspective. I don’t know whether readers took away any message from my books or not, but for me, writing was a process which left me intellectually enhanced. It transformed my personality completely.’

There was another round of applause.

A confident orator, Aditya went on to talk about his books, the writing process and getting published. The audience listened to him in rapt attention as he talked about his experiences and how he was able to differentiate himself in a crowded marketplace.

‘Every author puts in a fair bit of effort when he or she writes a book. But not everyone markets it well. Remember the easiest part about writing a book is . . . writing the book. The hard work starts once the book is written. The task of marketing the book and bringing the product to the reader is . . .’

‘Product? Rubbish!’ someone in the gathering exclaimed.

The voice was loud enough for at least a few in the room to have heard it. Aditya heard it too. Stopping for just a brief moment, he glanced around before moving on. He had been in such situations before. The person who had made that remark was in the minority and could be ignored.

‘Marketing the book and bringing the product to the reader is a very critical task in the entire product life cycle. If you don’t get the product into the buyers’ consideration subset, how will he or she buy it? Isn’t that what they teach you in your two years at management school? In my case, the book is the product and the readers are our consumers.’

‘Balls!’ This time the voice was louder. It sounded out like a whipcrack. ‘It’s a book for god’s sake, not a product.’

Aditya stopped as heads turned. The sound had come from the right hand corner of the auditorium. If anyone had missed it the first time, they were sure to have heard it now.

From where the sound had emanated, were two young girls. One of them looked quite embarrassed, which was enough for Aditya to confirm that it was the other one who had spoken.

‘Sorry?’ he questioned, upset at being rudely interrupted.

‘What was that?’ The girl had been a bit too loud. Maybe she didn’t realise it, but now, for him, it was a matter of his fragile male pride.

Neither of the girls responded to Aditya’s question. After what seemed like thirty seconds of uncomfortable silence, the girl who had made the comment stood up. All eyes were on her, including those of the outraged academics sitting in the front row.

‘Pardon me, Mr Kapoor, but a book is not a product,’ she spoke up. Despite her ostensible apology for her impropriety, she didn’t need any coaxing to stand up and speak. ‘A book is an expression of an author’s creativity. Do not demean it by calling it a “product”. We respect you as a good writer, as a successful professional and as a senior from our campus, but that does not mean that anything goes.’

A few whispers went up in the auditorium, gradually escalating into chatter.

‘Young lady,’ Aditya began, the quiver in his voice quite apparent. Camouflaging his thoughts had never been his strength. His face had gone red with anger. He was not going to be shown up by a young kid.

‘You are correct, but only partly. A book is not a product when an author is writing it. At that moment it is a dream. It is the purpose of existence for the author. But the moment you put a price tag on it and place it on a shelf in a bookstore, it becomes a product.’

He looked at the others in the audience and after an intentional pause, added, ‘Otherwise why even bother to sell it? Give it away for free.’

He was angry, but he had learnt that in this day and age of social media, being rude and arrogant to the audience, especially in public, was a recipe for disaster. Someone might just record it and upload it on Facebook for everyone to see, putting him at risk of brand erosion.

‘Sure,’ the girl said, ‘but there has got to be a difference between peddling a bar of soap and selling a book. A book is a lot more personal, a lot more involving. A book is not a movie. It may be entertainment, yes, but not cheap entertainment. The romance of a book is lost by the in-yourface promotion that you guys do. In any case, most of the new Indian authors write rubbish. In the name of romance, trash sells. And on top of it, you guys call a book a product! It reveals a mindset of mediocrity. Push any book, however mediocre, through an aggressive sales campaign and you have a bestseller.’ She was worked up now and sounded irritated.

Aditya forced a smile. Blood was still flooding his cheeks, rendering them pink. ‘Mediocre? Young lady . . .’ he said, catching on to the last point and conveniently ignoring the rest. He looked around the room. Everyone was waiting for his response. ‘I am sure you haven’t read my books?’

Seeming a bit embarrassed, the girl nodded in agreement.

‘Read them,’ Aditya spoke with forced humility, ‘and then call them mediocre if you want to. Half the people, who have an opinion on current Indian authors, haven’t even read them.’

He raised his right hand and pointed directly at her. ‘And as far as marketing my books is concerned—it’s simple. If I spend a year writing a book, I will leave no stone unturned in making sure that everyone knows about it, and buys it. I don’t mind my books adorning bookshelves as long as the bookshelves we are referring to are not in bookshops, but in people’s homes.’

The girl just looked at him without saying a word. Her friend sitting next to her held her hand and pulled her down. ‘Sit down,’ she whispered.

‘If after reading my book, you hate it, please write to me. I can’t refund your time, but to make up for it, I will gift you ten books of your choice. Think of it as kind of a money back guarantee.’ He attempted a smile.

‘And just to complete the discussion on promotion of books by authors, all I have to say is that after giving it their everything, an author cannot just sit back and hope that the world will appreciate his or her effort and automatically flock to stores to buy the book. So it has to be brought to the customer, quite like a product, with full focus and energy. If you still don’t agree, I am happy to engage with you offline.’

He smiled triumphantly at the audience, looked at the girl again and asked, ‘Deal?’

The girl smiled, and gave him a thumbs up. He reciprocated the gesture. Truce was called. However, the interjection had a terminal impact on his speech.

He stopped his lecture soon thereafter and they broke into a Q&A.

 

TO Preorder : http://www.amazon.in/dp/9385152386

 

Video Promo1 :

 

Video Promo 2:

 

 

A good writer is also a good storyteller

More about THE BESTSELLER SHE WROTE

From DNA AfterHrs Page 4,  … by Deepali

Aditya, the protagonist, is a banker and bestselling author, just like you. He, too, is an alumnus of IIM Bengaluru and like you, he does not want to leave his job because he thinks writing would then become just another job for him. Is The Bestseller She Wrote your most autobiographical work till date?

(Laughs) No not at all. This is a theme wherein it is genuinely advisable to not be autobiographical. On a serious note, most of the bestselling authors around are IIM graduates. So when I started writing a book about India’s No 1 author, he had to be from the IIMs. Bengaluru was just a matter of my personal comfort. Yes, the protagonist in my book also has a great parallel corporate career. Like me, he too believes that writing will lose its charm if it becomes a full time money spinning job. It would be right to say that a lot of my thoughts and beliefs about the way authors should (or should not) behave have made their way into the book. My thoughts about books, bookstores, marketing of books, publishers approach to books etc, do stare at you from the pages of The Bestseller She Wrote.

Why digress from a genre you had become known for? Are you more nervous about this book than the earlier ones, since romantic intrigue is a new genre for you?

A good writer is one who is a great storyteller. And storytelling should not be restricted to one genre. An author who boxes himself in a particular genre is not doing justice to his craft. And I have already written seven banking thrillers thus far. It is clearly time for me to experiment. More than reaching out to newer audience, this book is an attempt by me to tell myself that I can tell interesting stories set in a completely different field. This will be my first foray in a genre of Romantic Intrigue which does not exist in India. Romance writing in India has been synonymous with teeny college romance, and have little or no takeaways for the reader. The reader remembers the book only as long as he or she reads it. In The Bestseller She Wrote, the reader will be in for a Romantic Intrigue which is a cross between a thriller and a romance.

Your contemporaries, such as Amish Tripathi, Chetan Bhagat, Ashwin Sanghi and even you get mentioned in the pages. Did you speak to them before including their names?

Well, tell me, what value is a story based in the world of authors in India, which does not even mention these great guys, even if it is in passing. I know a couple of them are surely looking forward to reading the book. I have not asked them, for they make an appearance as themselves. I am eagerly looking forward to their thoughts on the book. This is the first book written in the glitzy world of bestsellers and about the personal life of authors. So they will also be eager to read it, I am sure.

It is not only them, there are a few others too. There is a Vaishali Mathur, in the book who is Aditya’s editor, a few journalists come in as themselves, there is an Anurag Kashyap, who makes a cameo appearance. There are a lot of real life or near real life characters. That adds to the appeal and relatability of the story.

The movie rights have already been sold. Can you give us more details on that? How involved are you in the process?

The way it happened is a story in itself. We will be making the announcement on this soon. I am involved in giving creative inputs for the project, on a need basis. Discussions are on for getting the casting right. I’m hopeful that the project will be greenlit soon.

The movie rights for God Is A Gamer have been brought. What is the progress on that front?

It is currently in the scripting stage. Given that God is a Gamer is a complex thriller, it is taking a lot of time.

 

You can Preorder The Bestseller She Wrote Right here :  http://www.amazon.in/dp/9385152386

Why Write India is such an Amazing Campaign?

IMG_4154When was the last time you walked into a bookstore, saw so many Indian Authors and wished that your name adorned a few of those books? When was the last time you wanted to write? Am sure for many of you, this would be a regular occurrence.

Let me tell you an interesting incident, which happened yesterday, when I was at the Pune International Lit Fest, at a session moderated by Vinita Nangia. Tuhin Sinha and Madhuri Banerjee were the other two participants. In an auditorium packed to the hilt, with people squatting on the floor, in the aisles and even in the space between the dais and the front row, there were quite a few who wondered how to start writing. Their premise was that they wanted to write, but were not sure what to write about.

In such a situation, it is always about the first step. The first push. It is the first few words that liberate you from your sense of inadequacy about your own writing. The problem with most of the want-to-be authors is that they are unable to focus. Either they have no idea of where to begin, or they have hundreds of ideas and don’t know which one to pick. Both scenarios leading to one result… they give up even before they start.

This is where Write India comes to the fore. Conceived and curated by Vinita Nangia, a respected journalist and a bestselling author, Write India, brings together Eleven well known authors who have, over the years, established themselves in the field of commercial and literary fiction – Anita Nair, Chetan Bhagat, Amish, Preeti Shenoy, Ravinder Singh, Durjoy, Ashwin Sanghi, Jaishree Mishra, Madhuri Banerjee, Tuhin Sinha  and yours truly (Ravi Subramanian) are a part of this initiative. Vinita Nangia recognised that when combined with the might of Times of India’s distribution, this ensemble of Authors could be a potent combination. A combination, which could inspire a generation to give writing a serious try. And this is what led to her giving shape to Write India.

How it works is that, every month, one of the eleven Authors is designated as the author of the month (The author of the month for September is Ashwin Sanghi). A passage written by the Author of the month is put out for the general public to read. These passages can be read at

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/books/writeindia.cms

To participate one has to write a short story based around the passage. The only requirement is that the story must contain the passage in its entirety (beginning, end or somewhere in between doesn’t matter). One short story will be selected from the submissions made by readers, every month. At the end of the campaign, Times of India will publish eleven best short stories thus selected in a book. Not only that, the eleven writers whose stories have been selected will also attend a unique writers camp in Diu wherein they will be mentored by some of the featured authors.

There just cannot be a better chance than this for people to get published and learn from Authors who are willing and happy to share their experiences and knowledge.

Looking back, what Write India essentially does to you is the following

  1. For those who don’t know what to write about, this effectively channelizes their thoughts and creativity in one direction and helps one make a beginning.
  2. It helps aspirational writers kick off their own insecurities and motivates them to pick up a pen and write.

Write India, the way I look at it,  provides you both the context and the motivation to start writing. After that it is only about your creativity and your will. It is about how intense is your desire to get published.

When Vinita Nangia approached me with her dream project and asked me to participate in the Write India initiative, I didn’t have to think twice before I said yes to it. The following were my reasons for getting excited:

Who would miss an opportunity to be cast in a project, which has the best of Indian writers in it? If writers like Amish, Chetan Bhagat etc. were a part of a project, would you miss an opportunity to be there?

Would you ever let an opportunity to be a part of a program that brings to life the creative instincts of hundreds of thousands of Indians, pass by? As authors we know that it is very difficult to unleash ones creativity. A creativity that is so personal and latent. If you were given a choice to be a part of a team that inspires writers to write, would you ever let it pass? Obviously the answer is NO.

There were many times in my initial days as a writer, when I had felt the need to talk to someone, to leverage on someone’s experience, to learn from someone who had written and published a book. But there weren’t too many forthcoming Indian authors around at that time. Vinita had come up with an excellent platform for youngsters to learn from established authors. Why would I ever pass an opportunity to do something, which as a struggling author I always wanted but could never get? The Diu writer’s camp at the end of the program will be worth its weight in gold.

Vinita Nangia’s dream for Write India was so strong that one HAD to be a part of it. An initiative, which didn’t have a commercial goal to it, but was purely driven by her passion to get people to write, Write India as a concept didn’t need to be sold. Neither to me, nor to the other authors participating in ti

Now that all of us are in, I would implore everyone out there to go ahead and participate. It can work wonders to you, for your confidence and for your desire to be an author.

Think about how awesome it would be to see your name on the book alongside the selected authors, whose books you have always read. And from what Vinita tells me (though she refuses to share exact figures with me) the number of entries they are getting is beating their own expectations…. that too by a mile. Isn’t it heartening to see that someone is getting whole of India to write?

So if you are reading this and want to write – All I can say is …Go ahead and Write India… Write.

*****

Read THE BESTSELLER SHE WROTE, Releasing on October 19th. You can preorder your copy here : http://www.amazon.in/dp/9385152386

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