With a plethora of successful Indian authors writing for the domestic audience, it becomes imperative for them to be seen and heard in the crowd. And, Facebook and Twitter are oh so routine. So apart from the usual hoopla of book launches and book signings, which happen about once a year when a new book comes around, what more could an author do to remain in readers’ memory? Well, some take to writing columns and even judging dance shows. Some, like Ravi Subramanian, launch their own apps.
Called Author Ravi, the app has stuff like information about Subramanian’s books, some exclusive news about his forthcoming titles, besides routine features like feedback, news and updates and conversations with fans.
Knowing that a new book comes out only about once a year, Subramanian plans to hold downloaders’ interest with regular contests and even serialised stories that he will post regularly. Interestingly, in case you allow the app to access your location, it will send you a notification if you happen to be close to a book shop: “Have you picked up Ravi Subramanian’s book?”
The app also directs you to the author’s social media sites, besides broadcasting almost every movement by the author. Sample this: “If you are around Breach Candy tomorrow, do come in for a chat at 11 am”, posted on June 5.
“It’s the first app in India by an author, but the concept is routine in the West, where celebrities have apps to keep fans posted about their latest,” says Subramanian.
He also plans to launch the cover of his latest book, a ‘romantic intrigue’ novel that Chennai-based Westland will publish, on his app. This is a new genre for Subramanian, who is known for his financial thrillers. However, he has no plans to give up those, or Penguin Random House, publishers for his thrillers. In fact, just a day before Westland announced a collaboration with Subramanian, Penguin Random House shot off a press note announcing Subramanian’s new thriller set to be published in 2016.
The move is a sign of the times where authors are no longer mysterious figures, giving only a mugshot glimpse of themselves to readers through back covers of books. Literature festivals brought authors in contact with the general public, and the savvy lot of popular writers like Amish Tripathi, Chetan Bhagat, Ashwin Sanghi, etc, have taken things a step ahead to connect with readers through various means. Today, a lot of them enjoy star status and adorn news and Page 3 gossip pages as much as people connected with the movie and TV industries. An app is obviously just another step to stardom!