Paging through the pandemic

The past couple of months have upended our regular ways of being.

As stepping out for leisure takes a backseat, millennials have taken a detour from activities they usually engage in and have found a way forward in engaging with digital celebs, influencers and public figures via podcasts and social media lives.

The arrangement appears to offer young authors the leeway to be more connected than ever to what matters the most–their readers.

In a refreshing trend of sorts,  authors claim they have been finding it a lot easier to expand their reach and build a better connect with their readers at a time when the world feels more disconnected than ever.

Sanya Khurana is a software engineer who authored One Action, a work of fiction that sheds light on patriarchy as a bug in the minds of humankind.

“In the initial days of quarantine, the readership went low as people were suddenly locked inside their homes as they were anxious about all that was happening to the world. And it became difficult for some people to read books regularly. But as they settled into the ‘new normal’, dealing with life in times of the pandemic, readership started picking back up though gradually,” explains Sanya. ‘I was invited to more virtual events as a speaker and conducted book readings as well. My Kindle book sales have also increased. And as the world is connected virtually now, I have become more reachable to my readers. Recently, I conducted a live book reading gig sitting in Ghaziabad, with most of my readers who attended the event joining in from Mumbai.”

Interacting and understanding

Nitish Bhushan, author of Love Swipe Blackmail, believes the time is ideal to connect with one’s reader base-in the digi-age, when smart networking makes a world of difference.

“I have had quality interactions with my readers during the pandemic, as I’ve never had so much time on my hands. And these interactions have given me a great deal of insight into my readers’ thoughts, ranging from obvious questions such as wanting to know about me as the author, my book, its characters, my reasons and inspirations to write the book and future writing plans to seeking help, suggestions, guidance and sharing of ideas,” says Nitish.

What’s more, for Sonia Sahijwani Saini, author of Yours Legally, a collection of short stories, the “stay indoors” phase has been a great way to grow. “This time taught me not to take my audiences for granted,” she offers.

"I read each review of my book thoroughly. It amazes me that each reader could have such different takeaways from my books.”

For those who harbour dreams to pen their musings down into a book, Ranju Gobbll, YouTuber and author of We Will Be Together, has a word of advice.

“At the outset, writing a book could seem to be a Herculean task. However, with proper planning, it becomes a very enrapturing process,”says Gobbil.

Gobbil even offers a tip to wannabe authors with respect to encountering the writer's block. “Doodling has helped me retain my sanity,” she says with a light chuckle. “So, maybe whenever the writer’s block bites you, try drawing random shapes, lines, squares, stick people, kittens, etc.

It helps me squash the writer's block in me and gets me raring to go once again because this activity unclogs my brain. Maybe it will help you too. Something I think anyone should make the most of is by following one's instincts-they always know the way forward.”


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