Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Will New Thriller Make Indian Publishing History?

India is hungry for fiction writers! Apparently a big market has developed in India and they are eagarly seeking more commercial thriller fiction writers!

Have a good fiction thriller manuscript laying around? Send it to HarperCollins-India…

This plucked from IANS (Indo-Asian News Service):

The yet-to-be released thriller ‘Johnny Gone Down’ by Karan Bajaj is set to make publishing history with a first print run of 50,000 books, billed as one of the biggest ever in India for a work of fiction.

The thriller will be published by HarperCollins-India at an affordable price of Rs.99. ‘It is the first time HarperCollins-India is aiming to achieve nearly 100,000 copies in a year with the first print run of 50,000 for an Indian author at such an attractive price,’ Lipika Bhushan, head of marketing at HarperCollins-India, told IANS.

The book narrates the racy tale of 40-year-old Ivy League scholar, Nikhil Arya (aka Johnny), who is broke, homeless and minutes away from blowing his brains. An innocent vacation turns into an intercontinental journey that sees Nikhil first become a genocide survivor, then a Buddhist monk, a drug lord, a homeless accountant, a software mogul and a game fighter.

Bajaj is also the author of ‘Keep off the Grass’. His new book is also being used by the publishing house as a brand emblem to promote mass market commercial fiction and thrillers with a multi-pronged publicity campaign, sources said.

A source at HarperCollins said: ‘The publishing house was promoting commercial mass market fiction this year. It is a genre we have been promoting over the last couple of years very aggressively.’

‘Books such as ‘Almost Single’, ‘The Zoya Factor’, ‘Bombay Rains’ and ‘Keep off the Grass’, ‘Married But Available’, ‘Secrets and Lies’, and very recently ‘Keep the Change Year After Year’ have been a series of titles from Indian authors for the Indian audience that end up doing big numbers,’ Bhushan said.

The publisher is using the book as a ‘brand symbol’ for the genre of commercial thriller that is beginning to come of age in India with a new crop of young writers, who are fusing western classical thriller models with ‘desi’ sensibilities, sources at HarperCollins said.

The publishing house had earlier mounted a similar publicity blitz for Sam Bourne’s thrillers in India.

‘As Johnny, the protagonist, is an interesting character, the marketing drive is to get readers inquisitive about Johnny with a ‘Who is Johnny Campaign’. The USP of the campaign that will roll out in the next two weeks will comprise a mix of great price point, quality content, advertising (all media) and retail level promotions, events, and heavy online promotion,’ Bhushan said.

Author Bajaj said the novel was a ‘deeper darker Forest Gump-ish adventure’.

‘It relates the almost bizarre, almost surreal series of events that transform a pretty ordinary NASA scientist into a genocide survivor, then a Buddhist monk, a drug lord, a homeless accountant, software mogul and then a game fighter,’ the writer told IANS.

Bajaj said he was inspired by both films and literature.

‘I was influenced as much by the dark, gritty mood of films like ‘Oldboy’, ‘The Deer Hunter’ and ‘Amores Perros’ as by the incredible journey of ‘Forrest Gump’ (which is one of my favourite novels and a mighty decent film as well) and the surreal adventures of Sonchai Jitpleecheep, the Buddhist detective-protagonist of John Burdett’s Bangkok novels, ‘Bangkok 8’, ‘Bangkok Tattoo’ and ‘Bangkok Haunts’,’ he said.

For a book summary: ‘Johnny Gone Down’

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