Fiction for Children

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M Venkatesh

Venkatesh is in a fulltime job that involves being journalist, bookstore owner and children’s litfest organiser.


An open letter

Dear publisher,

After three books, I baulk at being introduced as an “Indian” children’s author and being told, “That’s interesting.” Holding your breath for the next question can result in a blue face – there is not even a courteous supplementary enquiry about what I may have written for my audience.

As you are my publisher and best friend – one that I have placed a childlike trust in – I have 10 questions that I was afraid to ask after my first book.

  1. Since my third book too has been commissioned, it must be fairly good. Wouldn’t you want to market it a little more aggressively than you have with the first two?
  2. Everything was discussed comprehensively. So why did the cover design again look like it was designed to turn away the potential reader from bookshelves? Don’t tell me to not judge a book by its cover.
  3. Surely there is better paper available in the market?
  4. Do you want me to get a J K Rowling, Rick Riordan, Jeff Kinney or Anthony Horowitz to write the foreword for my next book?
  5. How come your rep did not tell the distributor who did not tell the retailer that a new children’s book by an Indian author was on its way?
  6. Why does your distributor’s rep sit in a children’s bookstore and try to sell books for grown-ups?
  7. When I am invited for an outstation children’s litfest, will you foot my bill or leave me to my own devices?
  8. Do you have a digital strategy?
  9. Do you really know what young India wants?
  10. Wouldn’t you love to have a few Chetan Bhagats in children’s books?

There is a story in each of the questions. However, if you don’t have the time, do send me a text with short, one- or two-word answers. For example, 1 <space> No or 5  <space> No Clue.

Yours Sincerely,

Category: Guest Column