The Accidental Author

HE TOO HAS A MARKETING MIND: Ravinder Singh sees his books as his ‘babies’ and refuses to abandon them after the writing process (Photo: RAUL IRANI)

It’s possible you’ve never heard of Ravinder Singh. Till a month ago, I hadn’t either. It might surprise you, as it did me, to know that he is Penguin India’s topselling fiction writer, with combined sales across all titles exceeding half a million. According to Anand Padmanabhan, vice-president, sales, Penguin India, pre-orders for Singh’s latest book, Like It Happened Yesterday, released just this month, were upwards of 200,000 copies. Unsurprising, since his second, Can Love Happen Twice?, sold more than 250,000 copies in its first year of publication, becoming one of Penguin’s topselling titles, second only to APJ Abdul Kalam’s Ignited Minds. Singh’s first book, I Too Had A Love Story, was published in 2008 by a small Delhi press, Srishti Publications, and re-released in 2012 by Penguin. Five years after its publication, it is still among the most popular on Flipkart.

I Too…, Singh says, is “by far the oldest book to remain in the top ten—even after five years, it’s standing”. It is number six on Nielsen India Consumer Rankings’ list of the ten top-selling fiction books in India in May 2013 (the most recent available list). Occupying the first three positions on this list is Amish Tripathi’s mythological adventure trilogy, which re-imagines the life of Shiva. Also populating the list are a couple of other myth-fics and the latest offerings from familiar bestsellers Jeffrey Archer, Paulo Coelho and Chetan Bhagat. Singh’s is the only one classified under ‘Romance & Sagas’—Archer, Coelho and Bhagat find themselves huddled together under the ‘General & Literary Fiction’ umbrella.

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