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How stars are born

Social media platforms are helping budding authors market their books and content, especially if they first become influencers

“The truth is you are at war/with yourself/and that’s why you find yourself/at war with others,” wrote Ashish Bagrecha, author and entrepreneur in one of his short poems on social media app Instagram. Bagrecha is one of the most famous Instagram personalities and works as a CEO at IT company Crux.

He is one of those who have been scripting their own success story in the past one year. He gives credit to the social network which made it easier for him “to reach a larger base, that too in an economical manner.”

Youngsters are getting ample chance to write these days. Millennials have several platforms available to them to write and share their views. The advent of Instagram, YourQuote and Writing app by WittyFeed are making people write more and consume more content than ever before.

The eco-system behind such rapid increase in in an author’s popularity is credited to the availability of smartphones and internet in most of the urban areas, with even tier-2 and tier-3 cities joining the band wagon. Bagrecha told Patriot, “Social media like Instagram are a huge platform. People are living their life on social media. A lot of our time is spent on virtual times and this is where all the attention is. It helps not only the authors but other professionals as well who want to build the brand value of their company or name.”

Bagrecha has close to two lakh followers on Instagram and his healing short poems have become instantly famous on the platform, which get juxtaposed with a world where love, betrayal and inefficiency are making people miserable. Using the platform to its fullest, he conducts live session on Instagram every other day in order to interact with his audience directly and even invites some of them to his live video chat session to ask questions and share their feelings or issues.

His recently launched book Dear Stranger, I Know How You Feel made its mark as it opened as no. 1 best seller on Amazon India during its launch in November 2019.

The emergence of Kindle, story apps and other tools which opened the arena for youngster and teenagers to write, is bringing a revolution in the industry and even in social media marketing. Literary agents have started working in that pattern. A person first makes his presence felt on social media and only after that publishes his book which starts getting good response even before the launch.

Self-publishing is another factor which widens the market for millennial authors. The prime example is Savi Sharma, whose book Everyone has a Story was first self-published, and was later picked up by Westland Publications as it had started receiving positive reviews and response on the social networks. Patriot reached out to her but she was unavailable for comment, as she was travelling on a tight schedule for her next book launch.

Stuti Changle, an author and digital creator opined that social media is a blessing in disguise for the young authors and entrepreneurs and it also helps in cutting short the budget. Interacting with Patriot, Changle said “Social media is a blessing for young authors as it helps us in acquiring readership. Offline marketing is tedious and expensive. On the other hand, online marketing is structured and cost-effective. I have not been an active user when it comes to the apps but I’m sure it’s helping other authors reach out to their audience.”

Elaborating about Instagram, she added “Instagram has worked wonders, till date most of my sales happen through that. I can reach out to readers in the remote corners of Arunachal Pradesh with ease. My books aren’t available at a store there but social media and Amazon make sure that I am not missing out on readers.”

Changle’s debut novel On the Open Road was a hit among millennials and received positive reviews on Amazon. Although one of India’s most selling author, Ravinder Singh said during a literature festival, “It’s only the top 5 or top 10 who earn enough to sustain their life and need not have any other backing option but for all the others, it’s tough to be in this profession as a full-time one.”

Even Ravinder Singh was a software engineer in Microsoft when he published his first book. Later he resigned from his job after he realised that his words were working magic.

IAS officer turned author Vivek Atray, who is also a motivational speaker, weighed in to compliment the role of social media in taking the graph of success of today’s writers to a new level, with the rider that if the platforms are used in a right manner, it surely gives results.

“Authors of today have a much wider platform to choose from these days. Printed books or even Kindle versions are not read as extensively as social media posts. I use Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn a lot to publish my articles and to promote my books.”

Atray further adds, “Authors love writing and getting a book published and holding it in their hands. But social media channels have a greater outreach and quality writing can reach corners of the world which no other medium can access.”

While millennial authors are giving a writing career a shot, the ballgame of the literary industry has entirely changed, with social media acting as the king maker these days. A network is created and sponsored content is first embedded in the scroll-down menu of Facebook and Instagram. When the author realises he/she has a considerate number of followers, a new book gets launched which can get more than 30,000 pre-booking orders, as in the case of Ashish Bagrecha. The possibility of going viral and achieving fame has reached a new level.