Publishers go blog-hunting for content

A visit to the vegetable mandi brought home a strange cucumber that bore an uncanny resemblance to the letters ‘Om’ in Sanskrit. And the family that bought it thinks there’s a divine intervention at work. 
Within minutes, there is chaos ruling. Neighbours come rushing in and so do print media and news channels.
Such a cock-eyed and fictional look at a “holy” incident that happened with a middle-class family in Mumbai has got blogger B. Keshav stand a chance to get his story featured in Penguin India’s compilation of short stories from the web — Blogprints.
Many publishers like Penguin are going online to gather material for their publications. Meaning, they are picking up outstanding creative blog posts, be it short stories or poetry, and putting it together into a book.
Small wonder, the trend has got the unsung creative talents like Keshav and Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan much excited.
“It’s a reason enough for me to keep my blog updated with the best short stories. Sulekha.com will soon be choosing one author per month from its vast set of bloggers for publishing their work,” says Keshav. 
But with thousands of posts and creative talents on the net, its not easy for the publishers to sift through hundreds of the posts to pick out the best of works. So, they have devised strategies like online creative contests to find fresh talents.
Apeejay Group’s Oxford chain of bookstores has been running e-Author since last five years. The online short-story contest, which invites entries from aspiring writers, has roped in publishers Harper Collins and Readers’ Digest this year to partner in the hunt for new and emerging talents by going through the web route.
The short stories would be subsequently published in Reader’s Digest and the winning novel would be published by Harper Collins with Oxford retaining the IP for two years.
However, opening of the floodgates has its cons too. V. Karthika, editor-in-chief, Harper Collins India, says, “You have 20-somethings writing on blogs and sending their transcripts to publishers. The approach sometimes is very amateurish and one ends up sifting through a lot more work than one would really be required to.”

Source: DNA, Mumbai


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