K.I.S.S mantra of IPL and Indian neo-literature

Outlook Cover Page 18 July

Outlook Cover Page 18 July

Bookshops and coffee shops have been my favorite hangout places in the last few years. Little did I realize that the section devoted to the Indian authors in the book shop and the readership of these books has increased over the last few years. As has the airtime and following of the new short format of the cricket Twenty-Twenty (read Indian Premiere League, IPL). This blog aims to draw parallels between the neo-Indian literature (referred to as Aam Janata Writers) and T-20 format of the cricket on some major themes.

Success Mantra: “Short, Light and Cheap” are the success pillars of the books by the new breed of writers and of the new cricket format. The books are short and meant for light read (generally less than 250 pages), written in plain language and priced around 100 INR. Similarly the new format of cricket offers an entertainment window of 3 hours (short), peppered with hosts who speak plain English (light as cricket jargons are kept minimal) and comes at a cheap price (ticket price).

Promotion and Marketing: The marketing and promotion of the two products has contributed to their success as much as their content has. The below two paragraphs gives a peep into the marketing tactics of these products:

– The posse of new writers has tested new channels to market and sell their books. YouTube has been used to stream trailers of the book, social media channels like facebook, twitter has been used to engage with the readers directly; free samples of the book are distributed to create buzz. The neo-books are easily spotted in most of the households in towns and cities of the country.

– IPL has created buzz by bringing glamour, money and entertainment together to the gentleman’s game.  IPL has revolutionized the way cricket has been marketed to the mass and has been made it a household discussion topic.

Exclusive Audience: Both the products have managed to create exclusive following for themselves.

– The readers of the neo-writers want to hear stories about themselves – story on urban office life, a call center, a love tragedy, an affair across religion. The new audience likes to read in language easy to comprehend unlike the classical way of story telling done by literary heavy-weights like Amitav Ghosh, Salman Rushdie etc.

– IPL similarly has created a fan following which views cricket not as sport but as a medium of entertainment (recall your wife/girlfriend watching and discussing IPL games with you) as against the audience of test matches who vet their appetite to watch classic cricketing shots.

The success of the two has been astonishing but will the two new formats consume the other forms? I think Indian audience has room for both and appreciates variety. While the two forms will maintain their exclusive audience but the audience of both the forms will gain the most.

P.S: This blog has been inspired by the recent cover story of Outlook July 18 Edition – The New Aam Janata Writers. K.I.S.S in the title of the blog is the abbreviated form of Keep it Short and Simple.