How to become a successful writer

Ditch the online courses and self-help books for a name change and the right literary connections

Ditch the online courses and self-help books for a name change and the right literary connections

Listen up, all aspiring writers. Stop buying those useless books that claim they can make you a successful writer overnight. Also, don’t join these online classes offered (buy a pair of Bata flip flops instead). Below – completely free – is everything you need to become a successful writer with immediate effect.

Correct name

First and foremost, the name. If your first name is Muniyandi, recognize it, you will never be a successful writer. Ideally, you need a three-name name. And it must be the right combination unlike mine… which is Golt (for the uninitiated, it’s Teluguvaadu). Alas, I found out too late that the Golts don’t sell. The infallible combination would be a Bong Mallu to mix together. 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. It doesn’t matter if you are a hairy man with a stomach like a ghatam, you will sell.

Good connections

There are ten people, all in Delhi, who can make you. Or ignore you. They include three editors, two enlightened festival 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. Look for them. Lie down in front of their doors and refuse to move. Guaranteed bestseller.

correct title

Forget content, what you need for a bestseller is the right title. With current market sentiment in mind, here are a few examples of stocks I invite you to use freely: A concise dictionary of Nehru’s faults; How I Learned to Love Hindi and Stopped Worrying; My nation is the greatest in the world, Shuttupp! Shut your mouth ! Shut your mouth ! Or if you want to take the romantic road, I’ll meet you on Valentine’s Day…with my stick. I have a hundred more that you can have for free.

Good work

Are you a diplomat? The CEO of a Fortune 500 company? An NRI Bharatanatyam dancer who is ready to buy back 10,000 copies of her own book to resell them to her students for exorbitant prices? A Bollywood star? Because they are all successful writers. Nope? Do not worry. Become the guardian of Taimur Ali Khan’s pediatrician’s neighbor. Or Raj Kundra’s lawyer’s assistant paper delivery boy. And write books about them. Bestseller! Recently, a guy I know pulled out a book about a deceased movie personality – someone he never met – after picking his name from a bottle that had a bunch of movie actor names in it. Not only didn’t he write the book, he didn’t even read it. Bestseller, LOL!

Good attitude

When you want to be a successful writer, you have to be prepared. No matter where you are or what you do, selling your book should be your priority. Recently, a writer friend turned a funeral into an impromptu venue and sold 50 copies before the ashes could be collected. That’s the kind of spirit, if you’ll pardon my choice of idiom, the never-say-die spirit that you need. Natural disasters, sites of bloody accidents, upanayanamsriots, loos at airports – these are all potential selling points.

good look

If Gurudev or Bernard Shaw had been born in present-day India, they wouldn’t even have been invited to the Gilakaladindi Literature Festival. Have the look. Use Botox. Having a gastric bypass. Ask Rajamouli to do CGI on your face. Hire a beautiful person to impersonate you. No look, no book, buddy. Sorry.

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