BHUBANESWAR: Are books products? If so, what best can be done to market those? The topic for the sixth session on the second day of OLF-2016 'How to market your product and find new takers,' was clinically dissected by best-selling author Ravinder Singh and Chief Editor, Harper Collins Publishers, India V Karthika. The session was moderated by acclaimed author Radharani Mitra.
"A book is never a product till the concept and idea remains in the mind of the writer. The quality of the content may be compromised if the writer starts assessing the commercial aspects of the book at the writing stage. Yes, once the copies reach the shelves, a book is certainly a product,'' said Singh.
To a question raised by Mitra on transformation, branding and packaging that the industry has witnessed in the last two decades, Karthika said publishers today are focused on reaching out to a wider reader base.
The customer base is no more limited to readers residing in metropolitan cities, as was the notion earlier, Karthika said and added, ''Today, we target readers from all parts of the world including suburbs and backward areas. The platforms may vary from web-portals, electronic gadgets and e-commerce.''
Karthika stressed on the concept prevailing in the market today that it was the author whose name and popularity made the difference when it comes to saleability. ''Earlier, the readers had a penchant for the title of books,'' she said.
Singh said though an author may be popular, unless the story has a spine and the content is powerful with emotions to strike the right chords, a reader may not opt for the book.
''My book 'I too had a love story' was written eight years back. Today scenarios, relational values and bonds have different interpretations. A story on similar lines may not find a significant reader base today. So writers need to innovate, reinvent and improvise to make their works appealling,'' he said.
Singh, also the author of bestseller 'Can Love Happen Twice', said he wished that writing is acknowledged and appreciated as a profession in Indian society someday. "I meet my readers, take feedback, analyse their demographics. But I am often questioned, 'apart from writing what do you do to eke out a living'? This is saddening,'' he stated.
As a publisher, Karthika said, her biggest risk was taking up Aravind Adiga's 'The White Tiger' as the author was a first time writer and not famous. ''We were certain to lose money, but it came as a big surprise when the book bagged the Man Booker Prize,'' she said.
A publisher can always bet on a well-told story which is beautifully written. Later on, effective marketing and good reviewing can push the book into the market, she added.