It would appear that being a published author in India is not about having attended creative writing courses, or writing workshops, or even about having an inherent flair for writing and storytelling. From the authors most prominently displayed on bookshop shelves or on the home pages of the Indian sites, one gets the impression that the overwhelming criteria for writing fiction is a business degree.
Not having been to Business School ourselves (occasionally teaching Business Laws as visiting faculty does not count, nor does having a brother who is an MBA), we can only wonder at the creative writing instinct which is nurtured in people who attend such institutions.
LL: Do you think it could be the writing of business plans, inventing of magical businesses with fantastical profits; fictionalising everything including the probable sales, probable products and the most brilliant probable employees?
PS: Or it could be the strategy formation, the implementation of grandiose ideas, the puffing required in advertising which provides a ground work for creating fiction. Maybe all of that combined with marketing skills…
LL: You mean sales?
PS: Yes, that. And the HR management which helps them manage the publisher effectively.
LL: And here we thought that the lawyers knew all about fictionalising.
PS: But the problem with lawyers is that they are only capable of presenting their story before a judge. Whereas, the MBA knows how to sell his/her fiction to the world.
LL: Don’t bother implying gender equality. One of the reasons we are having this discussion is because most MBA novelists seem to be men.
PS: So let’s see… there is Chetan Bhagat, Amish Tripathi, Ravi Subramaniyam, Ashok Banker, Ashwin Sanghi, Karan Bajaj, Karthik Iyengar, Durjoy Dutta, Ravinder Singh, Aroon Raman, Nilanjan P. Choudhury, Mohan Vizakhat… and it goes on.
LL: Insane! But have you noticed that none of them started off their careers by writing?
PS: No, most of their book blurbs or Wikipedia pages imply that they started writing as part of a midlife crises. So the question that begs asking is – Why doesn’t it happen to people facing midlife crises in other professions?
LL: It probably does and they are probably equally capable of writing. It’s just that they don’t get published because they don’t have the required skill sets to sell to the agents and publishers.
PS: There is the possibility that the publishers prefer MBA novelists because then, beyond printing the books and putting them on the shelves, the publishers themselves don’t have to do as much to ensure sales. The authors are savvy enough to handle the marketing and moreover they seem to enjoy it.
However we can only guess at the true reason. If anyone else has any other theories, do let us know.