Blog it and be booked

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Bloggers Inc? Pen down your thoughts online and your work might be spotted by publishers
Bloggers Inc? Pen down your thoughts online and your work might be spotted by publishers

Is your blog well-written and getting you more page clicks? You may get lucky and see your work in print. Sangeetha Devi Dundoo tracks the movements

It was during one of those mundane searches on Google to find a telephone number that lead a city-based writer stumble upon the first-of-its-kind Blog Print contest in India. The announcement invited bloggers to post their work of fiction or non-fiction. The entries would be judged by Penguin and the winning entries would be published. Hooked on to the idea, she wrote her first-ever fiction, Culture Curry, and posted it in on her first-ever blog. A year later, she is glad she did do. Mala Roy is Hyderabad’s only winner among the selected 25 whose blogs will soon be published as a book by Penguin India.

The Blog Print contest comes at a time when publishers worldwide are eyeing blogs to tap potential writers. In fact, Mala believes that writing for blogs is a better way to be spotted by publishers: “I think this is a faster and easier than sending manuscripts to publishers. Also, when you post blogs you get quick feedback from people and that helps,” she says. The eagerness to see her work published in a book form made her take to blogging. “I had never blogged before. As a writer, I always wanted to write a book. Since the Sulekha-Penguin Blog Print contest gave bloggers that opportunity, I registered and started blogging. Writing for the blog helped me explore a different side to my writing. I’ve written serious stuff before, never a humorous story,” says Mala.

There are an estimated 40,000 regular bloggers in the country, according to NDTV, with profiles that include professional writers and those dabbling with writing to pen down their thoughts at random.

In India, publishers looking up blogs to tap writers is still at a nascent stage. “Blogs have emerged into a new medium that’s hard to ignore. We’ve seen some good writing being posted even before we announced this contest. To popularise blogs, we were giving out cash awards for blogs that were well-written. There were a number of entries ever since we announced the Blog Print contest, from first-time writers and regular writers,” says Neha Xavier of Sulekha. Blogs were rated in terms of page clicks, popularity and number of recommendations posted in addition to the quality of writing and each blogger whose story was selected for the book was given a cash prize of Rs. 10,000.

Sisters in Rhyme is an earlier book that was published as a collection of poems posted by women bloggers. “We are planning to publish coffee table books, books on humour, food and travel. These books will also be available for sale on India Plaza,” adds Neha.

Bloggers-turned-writers aren’t complaining. An architect by profession, B.S. Keshav another addition to the writers’ world thanks to his blogs. His first book to be published, Subbu Chronicles, is a collection of his blogs. The book tracks the adventures of a journalist in Mumbai. “I had written a few pieces earlier and had sent them to publishing houses. There was no response. Once I was initiated into blogging, I found an alternate medium to express my thoughts. There is instant feedback to blogs, which helps you improve your quality of writing,” he says. The possibility of seeing his work in print has boosted his confidence. “My work keeps me busy. But I am keen on taking time out to write more.” In this case, like most individual writers, Keshav has the rights to the content and the share of profits that come from the sales of the books.

Bloggers have a reason to smile, for the right reason. And you thought blogging is for those who have all the time on earth and have nothing better to do!




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