Literary agents Jayapriya Vasudevan and Preeti Gill, and Publisher Aditi Maheshwari-Goyal interacting with the ZEE JLF 2017 Blogging contest winners
Rahul Nair, Official ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2017 Blogger
‘The experience of winning was euphoric, but what has been even more profound is the experience of working in the intense, fast-paced environment that I’m revelling in at the Jaipur Literature Festival.’ Rushati Mukherjee, Blogging Competition winner
Jaipur BookMark (JBM), the sister event to the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, aims to effectively facilitate communication between different areas of the literature industry. The New Writer’s Mentorship Program saw pioneers of the publishing industry such as Jayapriya Vasudevan, the brains behind Jacaranda (India’s first ever literary agency), Preeti Gill, Senior Commissioning Editor and Rights Director at Kali for Women and Zubaan (India’s first feminist press), and Aditi Maheshwari Goyal from Vani Prakashan, coming together to interact with the winners of the 2017 ZEE JLF Blogging Competition to enable an exchange of ideas.
The annual Jaipur Literature Festival Blogging Competition attracts hundreds of creative and non-fiction submissions from all over the world. It is a showcase of hitherto undiscovered literary talent, and an opportunity for 10 unpublished writers to attend and extensively write about the largest literary festival in the world as official bloggers.
The Jaipur Literature Festival website is visited by approximately 500,000 people a year, which makes it a tremendous chance for writers to have their work read, as well as interact with industry professionals, meet the heroes who inspire them to write, and celebrate the joy of being in the midst of the what has become a true celebration of literature. The winners also become part of Jaipur Literature Festival’s Bloggers Programme, which commissions and mentors writers for the Jaipur Literature Festival blog year round.
The JBM session covered a number of topics from how a writer should approach his or her material, to the role that social media plays today to the importance of practice and experimentation. ‘Emotion and connections are the basis of everything’ is what Vasudevan had to say when asked about what makes a good piece of literature. For a writer or a poet, having a voice of their own is absolutely vital.
As far as blogging goes, Goyal remarked that because the reader is absorbing it via a digital interface, it is necessary to work on the design and structure of the blog along with its content. Short attention spans have led to people frequently jumping across pages and it is essential that the layout of the blog is stimulating to the reader’s eyes.
Gill emphasized the fact that one needs to take the time to develop one’s own voice instead of following what is trending. ‘If you are convinced, you can convince the agent, and the agent can convince the publisher,’ she stated. One of the advantages of social media has been that an author can use it to build an audience, but it is necessary not to get carried away by ‘likes and retweets’ while doing so.
All three mentors agreed that the relationship between an author, an agent, and a publisher is a sacred one. It’s a relationship that is built on respect and transparency; the same qualities that help the book achieve its full potential and reach as many people as possible.
Photo Credit: Chetan Singh Gill