Sep 10, 2012

How to sell a book?

"Narayana! Narayana!", sage Naradha chanted the name of Lord Vishnu when he entered sage Valmiki's hut. "How are you Valmiki, author of 'The Story of Ram'?", he asked.

"Good to see you sage Naradha", Valmiki welcomed Naradha into his Ashram. "To be honest, the book is not doing well! I'm worried about my royalty", Valmiki replied with a sad expression on his face.

"Alas! Several years ago, all the Devas including Lord Indra prayed to Lord Vishnu. They prayed to the supreme God to restore Dharma and bring in peace to the earthlings. That was the time I asked you to write a book on Lord Ram!"

"I remember that day very well sage Naradha! Back then, I was a bandit with no home or family to look after me. It was at that time that we met when you showed me an alternate way to live a life with dignity."

"True indeed!", replied Naradha. "Narayana! Narayana!", he chanted the name of Lord Vishnu again.

"With blessings from Lord Vishnu and you as my beacon, I went to Ayodhya and other places where Lord Ram had been to, interviewed lot of people and wrote my first book. I even chose the title of my book as "The Story of Ram".

"Narayana! Narayana! I heard that the book had captured the life and messages of Lord Ram very well?"

"True, sage Naradha. The book had come out very well. I submitted a draft version to the publishers and they felt very happy!"

"Then what is your problem sage Valmiki? What is the reason behind the sadness on your face?"

"The publisher sent me a pigeon mail yesterday saying there is a steady decline in the demand for my book. They added that they have no choice but to stop the production until there is a demand enough to at least recover the production cost"

"Narayana! Narayana!", sage Naradha exclaimed in surprise!

Naradha walked out of sage Valmiki's hut, became oneness with nature and contemplated, "What is wrong with the people of Ayodhya? What made them decide that they no longer want to read or hear stories about the great hero who is the architect of Ayodhya and established Ram rajya!".

"Narayana! Narayana!", sage Narayana chanted the name of Lord Vishnu as he entered into sage Valmiki's hut again. "I found a solution", he said, lighting up sage Valmiki's face with a smile for the first time.

"Sage Naradha, you are my God! You first changed my life from a bandit to a writer, and now you have a solution to my problem in selling the book! I have no words to express my respect and gratitude towards you"

"Narayana! Narayana! Let all credits go to Lord Vishnu, the saver of all life", both sage Naradha and sage Valmiki meditated on Lord Vishnu for a minute.

"What should I do now, sage Naradha? I am waiting for your command", sage Valmiki asked Naradha.

"To become a successful author, writing a good book alone is not enough! You should have a marketing strategy to popularise your book"

"I cannot see your point sage Naradha! Can you explain about the marketing strategy further?"

"Its simple Valmiki! Introduce some controversial chapters at the end of your book which will take care of popularizing it!"

"I see your point now, sage Naradha! The controversial chapters will make people talk about my book and soon words will spread about it!"

"You got it! But there is a difficulty, which I will leave it up to you to face it", sage Naradha said with a meaningful smile on his face.

"I can see the difficulty myself, sage Naradha! People had accepted Lord Ram as the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the true saviour of every life on mother Earth. The controversial chapters may not appeal to the people, and so they may collectively decide to discard my book!"

"Shrewd!"

"I know how to deal with that problem sage Naradha! I will introduce a controversy in Ram Rajya by telling people that Lord Ram had accepted Goddess Sita after she spent a year with the evil Lord Ravanan"

"But sage Valmiki, did not Lord Ram asked Sita to prove her chastity by invoking Agni Pariksha?"

"Sure, he did. But Goddess Sita invoked the Agni Pariksha in Sri Lanka, which is far away from Ayodhya! I can use this point to separate Goddess Sita from Lord Ram"

"Narayana! Narayana! Sage Valmiki, I am afraid you are out of your mind!"

"I understand why you are saying so, sage Naradha. But with all due respect to Lord Ram, believe me Naradha! This controversial chapter will only intensify the love between Lord Ram and Goddess Sita".

"How so, I wonder", said sage Naradha.

"Goddess Sita is pregnant now. The separation will allow Lord Ram to focus on administrating his country while Sita devi will be looked after by Shri Hanuman and myself at my Ashram".

After contemplating on Valmiki's idea for a while, Naradha said "But I still do not think that is enough to popularise your book".

"True Naradha! That's where the final chapter comes in"

"Please tell me about the final chapter as well sage Valmiki", said Naradha

"I will raise Goddess Sita's children and educate them with all that I had learned so far. When the time comes, I will teach them "The Story of Ram", and will ask them to sing and popularise it to the people of Ayodhya and other countries as well".

"Very shrewd! The controversial chapters will become more authentic because it would be sung and popularised by Lord Ram's children themselves! That's a clever marketing strategy, sage Valmiki! My best wishes to you for becoming a successful writer"

"Please accept all my respects for you", sage Valmiki prostrated before sage Naradha and sought his blessings.

"I bless you that "The Story of Ram" will become a successful epic. Generations to come will sing and praise Lord Ram's life and his messages and may you live even after your life through your book", blessing sage Valmiki thus, sage Naradha chanted "Narayana! Narayana!" and let sage Valmiki to finish the final chapters, the life of Ram after Ramayan.

Sep 2, 2012

Turning Points: Young Jammy Came Out of School in Flying Colors.

The year was 1999. One misty March morning, young Jammy, then a class XII student, was summoned by the newly joined Physics teacher to her room.

"Ma'am, you asked me to come and meet you", he said entering the teacher's office.

"Yes, come in", she said. She stopped evaluating the term test papers, kept the bundle aside and asked him, "How much do you think you'd have scored in the term test young boy?"

"I'm not sure Ma'am", he replied, his face lowered.

"I saw your report card. Your performance was consistently poor in all the tests conducted so far", the teacher said with a concern.

"Focus on MPC. That's what will get you into Engineering", young Jammy recollected what his brother said at the starting day of Class XII.

"But what is MPC brother?"

"Maths, Physics and Chemistry. Its enough if you score a pass mark on other subjects", his brother adviced him.

"If you do not take your studies seriously, you are going to fail my dear boy", the teacher said, breaking his chain of thoughts.

Jammy looked out of the room through the window staring into empty sky. The rising sun had made the mist disappear by then. "I'm saying this because I know that you are from general quota, and you need to score well to get admit in a good college", the teacher said, trying to catch his attention. "At least, try not to fail in any of the subjects", she added in a dictating voice.

He thanked the teacher silently and left her office. After a few weeks, Jammy went again to meet the teacher, but this time without a summon. The exam results were announced by then. Seeing that she was busy with his classmates, he waited outside of her room. He could have entered inside, for she was congratulating only his classmates for their scores and suggesting them to apply in the best university. But he opted to wait so that he can meet her alone.

Though the teacher was aware of his presence outside of her room, she did not want to meet him. She thought she was not ready yet to hear the bad news when the other boys were telling her about their remarkable performances and how they are going to apply in some of the best universities towards their graduation.

After a while, when everyone left, she called Jammy in. "So, how many subjects did you fail?", she asked.

"None", he replied.

With a big expression on her face, she asked the next question, "How much did you score then?"

When she was expecting the score in 40 to 45% range, he replied "84%" silently and left her office.