If you attend the Jaipur Literature Festival—in whatever capacity, as author, journalist or star-struck reader—you expect to pick up lots of quotable quotes: Erudite, highbrow ones, certainly, but a few ear-popping ones too. I didn’t have to venture far this year. During a session I was moderating, the words came at me from just two feet away. The other people on the panel were saying them, and most of the audience was cheering in response.

What does it mean to be a literary agent in India? Kanishka Gupta reveals it all in Scroll.in

Many authors have no idea about the print runs and the advances prevalent in the industry. A writer from the film industry wanted Rs 1 crore for a seven-book deal. “If Ravi Subramanian can get it, why can’t I?” Subramanian delivered three smash bestsellers too, you see, but this fact went completely unnoticed by this particular writer.

Some authors expect the potential print-runs of their books to be a certain percentage of literate people in India, and sometimes even of the entire population of India. “We are a country of one billion people. I think it would be fair to do a first print run of ten lakh copies.”

Readers increasingly swapping Agatha Christie and Dan Brown for compatriots with a focus on fast plots and happy endings: The Guardian

book stall Kolkata
A stallholder waits for the customers at a book market in Kolkata. Photograph: Piyal Adhikary/EPA

At the Om bookshop in a mall in southern Delhi, Prabeen Kumar has been watching the browsers for years. There are the young people who usually head directly for the love stories. There are the “mature” readers who go to the classics. And now a new category has arrived, in search of India’s new wave of thriller writers. “It is a big thing now. There are more and more liking. All sorts of people … gentlemen and ladies,” Kumar enthused.

The new wave of homegrown writers are climbing the country’s bestseller lists, challenging the dominance of international heavyweights such as Dan Brown, John Grisham and Tom Clancy, and even affecting the tenacious local taste for Agatha Christie.

ravisubIn writing about gun rights and academic malpractice, Ravi Subramanian strays from his usual subject to decidedly mixed results: Tehelka

It’s one of the most clichéd pieces of advice given to new authors of fiction, both literary and commercial. Write what you know. It’s good advice; one of the worst things a new author can do is seem inauthentic. Indian commercial writers certainly follow it to the T, with a conveyor belt of engineers writing about being engineers, bankers writing about being bankers, college students writing about being college students.