Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Beaten by Bhagath! A Tale of Two Writers is author S. V. Divvaakar's second book. Its blurb reads: "'I'm sure you can do a much better job than Bhagath!' When BB hears these inspiring words from his sexy lady boss, his staid life as a successful analyst in an MNC goes into a tailspin. Bitten by the ego bug and smitten by her, BB sets off on his quest to write a book that's better than India's greatest writer Dr. Bhagath's blockbusters. Nothing unusual about this for BB, who likes a good fight. Except that he and Bhagath had been classmates and friends at college. What follows is a roller-coaster voyage of the debutant author and his book, with all the twists and cul-de-sacs. Brushes with publishers, celebrities, retailers, book chains, and competition with the alliances among giants, mark the challenger's journey, upping the stakes at every stage. Will BB catch up with his famous friend? What will their encounter be like? Written from inside the ring, 'Beaten by Bhagath' is a gripping tale...the first-ever about the unseen side of the wonderland of Indian fiction."
The book is light and easy-to-read - the author takes us through the entire process a writer goes through right from the time he decides to write his book to how he goes about it (affecting his family in the meantime) to the painful search for various publishers (including the waiting time till eternity). It gives the reader an insider's view about the whole thing. The author has done quite a bit of research into the entire publishing industry - as a reader, we never think about what exactly goes on behind the scenes before a book is actually published.
And, it does not just stop with the book being published. One also needs to market it on a large scale for it to sell well. Usually, these days, a book launch is invariably done in the presence of a major celebrity. This book does have some hilarious scenes revolving around the same!
Divvaakar's writing style is simple and the narrative flows freely throughout the book. He has also managed to incorporate calculations pertaining to how an author makes money and how online websites are able to sell books so cheap (which was quite a revelation for me).
The negative for me was the several sexual innuendos scattered throughout the book; I felt these were not required. For instance, the author says, "Somehow, the thought of a celebrity unveiling the book reminded me of the old Nath Utarni tradition at the famous kothas of the Nawabs. The Nath Utarni - the ceremony of the deflowering of the virgin prostitute - was always at the hands of an important man, usually someone from the nobility."
To sum up, go read the book if you are keen on how the publishing and book-writing industry works. The book talks about Ketan Bhagath - unless you have been living under a rock, you will figure out whom it is hinted at :) I don't know if the author knows but there is actually a Ketan Bhagat in existence - http://www.ketanbhagat.com/