Marketing a book is as important as writing it and a critic is as important for a writer as a lamppost for a dog, author Ashwin Sanghi told aspiring writers at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Thursday.
Speaking at a session titled ‘Of Mysteries and Spreadsheets’ presented by Hindustan Times, Sanghi, the author of bestsellers like The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Chant and The Krishna Key, told writers not to take rejections and negative reviews too seriously.
“Assuming you have a good story, I advise you be really thick-skinned when it comes to rejections you may face from publishers,” he said.
“Don’t take reviewers too seriously,” he added. “The relationship between an author and a critic is like the one between a dog and a lamppost.”
The 45-year-old said he had himself faced rejection for his first novel.
“No mainstream publication was ready to write about my book and I had to approach bloggers. I told them you write good, bad, ugly, but please read my book and feature it.”
Sanghi, who wears two hats of a businessman and an author, had a word of advice for budding writers.
“A writer must be besharam (shameless) in marketing his book to ensure that it reaches a large audience,” he said. “You have spent considerable amount of time and energy in writing a book, why should you not market it properly?”
Sanghi said groundwork and research were very important for a writer, adding that he spends 12-18 months on research before he gets down to writing.
“I draw an outline before I write even the first word. I don’t face writer’s block,” said the Yale management graduate, whose mythology-laced crime fiction novels have earned him comparisons with Dan Brown.
Sanghi, who also collaborated with author James Patterson for an India-based crime thriller, said it was foolish to see other writers in the same genre as competitors. Authors should instead vie for people’s time, added.
“I compete for the time of someone who is going to a movie or playing a video game. If am able to make the person spend that time reading my book, I succeed.”