By

Arup Bose is publisher at Srishti Books, India’s number 1 publisher of romances, which introduced Indian readers to Ravinder Singh, Durjoy Dutta, Preeti Shenoy, Novoneel Chakraborty, Nikhil Mahajan and others (yes, all of them!). We asked him the ingredients that make a great love story, and what makes a bestseller. Read on:

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What are the ingredients that go into India’s favourite love stories?

The love for romance in our country is well-documented, and so are our famous romances. From Heer-Ranjha of yore to Rahul-Anjali of today, the number of love stories in India is innumerable. What sets apart some of these stories is that they connect with readers on a primal level – whether emotional or inspirational. This connection of the story with the readers is one of the main ingredients of success, I believe, that is common among the best-loved stories across the country.

What have you learned about Indian readers after working at Srishti?

Indian readers are a heterogeneous and discerning set of readers. There are those who like to read voraciously across genres, then there are readers who read only their favourite authors. You cannot box them into any particular category. Indian readers are truly open-minded about what/who they read, and are unique in their devotion towards their favourite author.

What are the three things that a bestseller must have?

A bestseller should have, most importantly, a good story. A story that is new, yet touches a chord with millions of readers, is the most important but elusive ingredient. Quickly following it on the scale of importance is the language, which should be easy to read and colloquial. The book must not force a reader to open a thesaurus or dictionary. Last, but definitely not the least, is the marketing. The third of the triumvirate, this is something a few authors ignore, and a few focus on too much. A good product without marketing can never take off, and similarly, a bad product with great marketing cannot sustain itself in the long run. All bestsellers have these three factors in common.

How did you think of the idea of short novellas under your Quickies imprint?

The younger generation today believes in instant gratification and quick entertainment. Gone are the days when they would patiently read a thick tome for literary stimulus. Today, a quick shot of intrigue or an instant hit of romance is what they crave for. This is where Quickies comes in – a quick read, easy-to-carry set of books which can give instant satisfaction. Although initially planned with the younger generation in mind, the books have clicked well with people across ages. If you have to wait for your lover, have a short journey to cover, a bus/Metro ride back home, or even a lot of time sitting on the commode seat in the morning, Quickies is for you!

A love story you’ll never forget?

Love in the Time of Cholera.

The last love story you read?

A soon-to-be-published manuscript about two brothers who lose the ones they love and drift apart. One phone call leads them to re-forge their bond of brotherhood and reach the depths to which a heart can go to win back lost love.
A must read, it will definitely be one of the top romantic releases of 2016.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

• Start small – write a blog, a short story, a paragraph or even a bunch of tweets. Keep learning how to express yourself and develop that itch to write into a skill.
• Start writing – this might sound like an oxymoron but many aspiring writers aspire, but never start writing. Start writing. Today.
• Write every day – if you eat, drink or sleep every day, you need to start writing every day. Even if it is a few paragraphs. Just write.
• Persevere – do not let the fear of failing keep you from trying out your skills. Everyone faces rejection. Get over it, rework your manuscript and submit your manuscript again.

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