Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Writers, Investment Banking, and Big Advances

First, there was Mohsin Hamid, a Pakistani in the US and an investment banker by profession, who hit the jackpot with his Moth Smoke.

Then, there was this news about Kaavya Viswanathan (discussed in a previous post) who is on her way at Harvard to become an investment banker. She has just received $500,000 advance for her Opal Mehta novels.

Now I hear about Lavanya Sankaran who is also an investment banker. Her novel The Red Carpet is releasing today. Nine publishers auctioned hotly for her book, finally ending in a ‘‘substantial six-figure advance’’ won by Susan Kamil of Dial Press, an imprint of Random House. The UK rights were bought by Headline Review, which is also distributing it in India.

What do you say to this? Money attracts/begets money?

Meanwhile, I read the cautionary tale of Keith, a thriller writer, on THE TROUBLE WITH BIG ADVANCES. Quite an instructive read.

Tailpiece: The Outlook reports that Vikram Seth's much awaited WW II saga will come out end of the year. Avid readers will have to wait! "The jacket is ready, the announcement has been made, but the book is not yet ready," Seth confessed recently in Delhi.


she said...

hi zafar
sankaran is the topic of a great deal of discussions here. and i have read one of her stories that was published in the atlantic monthly a while ago. it was readable but nothing to justify that huge advance. or, maybe i am just being jealous! ;-)
and i do like seth's quote.

Zafar Anjum said...

Thanks Asya. You never know the ways big publishers work and push their authors. For me it is simple: if I like it, it works for me. Otherwise, forget it. We should all learn to look beyond the hype in these days of everythig-is-marketing.

iFaqeer said...

What do I say? I say South Asian writers becoming not not just the exceptions (like Rushdie or Arundhati were in their early days) is good for all of us!

Zafar Anjum said...

You mean the more the merrier...I don't know. Sounds encouraging. However, I am afraid if people would stop caring. Remember what happened to once hot Latin American literature? I think Rushdie and Roy will always remain special.

iFaqeer said...

The first is always special :D. But when we don't have to sell ourselves (excuse the expression) as this exotic, weird product form out East, it might be easier--because there is often just "space" for one or two of the exotic items in any mix, be it media coverage, entertainment, and so on.