Lacroix and Verboeckhoven, the Belgian publishing house is said to have undertaken a massive publishing campaign for Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miserables’ six months ahead of the date of publication. It was somewhat unheard of in those days. However, publicity has become an integral part of the publishing industry now. If we try to ignore or overlook the role of the media we’d be living in fool’s paradise. They are the titans who shape and manoeuvre the way we think. However, the media, exclusively, cannot exist by itself. It needs us for its propagation and sustenance. Today it’s become very important for any writer to obtain publicity of his or her works through the various channels of the media. Unless we, the readers, get to know about the books, how do we read them? The media, print, electronic or digital, plays a pivotal role in book promotions.
When a certain book wins an award – nationally or internationally – it is the media which brings both the news and the book to the readers’ notice. Digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram hold online events with the authors and we get to know both about the author and the book at these literary events. Now-a-days, most of these virtual sessions are open to all— anyone interested can join for free. We get to know about the hurdles that the authors had to overcome in order to choose a writing career and, as in most cases, to get their books published.
Blogging: The First Step Towards Good Writing
Writing offers one the best medium for self expression. If one is so inclined, there is no way of stopping/hindering him or her. Frankly, I started out with my writing career with blogging. I wrote in random blogs and made it a habit to contribute to them on a regular basis. Blogging offers a writer with a vista of opportunities. The topics can range from about anything and everything under the sun. There are a host of blogging platforms and sites which promote new writing. All one has to do is to search for them on the worldwide web.
The print media had provided many popular writers with their very first exposure. My own writing journey had begun with sending in contributions to The Statesman. It was the English daily that had initiated and sustained good writing in the English language in Calcutta ever since its inception in the pre-Independence era. But ever since the digital and online media made their forays into the world of publishing, there’s been no looking back. We no longer spend the entire Sunday afternoons reading interesting feature articles published in the dailies. Instead we love to spend the same amount of time browsing over interesting stories published in social media platforms. Our lives have already become confined within the clasp of our hands – in the rectangular shape of our smartphones.
Lit Fests: An Exchange of Ideas
Literary fests are a great way to promote one’s book. In most cases, these are sponsored by media houses and hence reports of these events are made for the benefit of the reader community. The Kolkata Literary Meet held at the Victoria Memorial Hall precincts and the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival held at the Oxford Bookstore on Park Street during the month of January, are the two prominent ones in the city’s cultural calendar. In these fests, both established and upcoming authors and poets talk about their works. Hence a confluence of ideas as well as an exchange of idioms occur for the benefit of the participants and the audience likewise.
Media personnel rule, shape and mould our lives. Our preferences, thoughts and even dreams are born by dint of media promotions. Post lockdown, when most of us are still confined indoors, it’s the media that’s always been ticking away, keeping us alive and breathing with hopes for better tomorrows. If anyone negates or refuses to accept the role the media plays in our lives today – be it in any aspect – he/she will surely be deemed ‘out of step’. We, as readers and lovers of books, get to know about new launches and newer books that are bound for the market via the media. The media makes us conscious of contemporary issues which do not exclude books.
Media can Hardly Be Ignored
Would it be a great fallacy to say that certain books and their impact are made by the media itself? How does one account for the fact that we get to hear about certain books more than we do about others? Some people even believe that the media ‘makes’ or ‘breaks’ an author or a book. But I am of the opinion that if a book really has merit (read literary content) then it is the media who first brings it before the general readers.
Not to confuse ourselves with Euripedes’s Greek tragic queen Medea, who had murdered her own children, in today’s world the role of the media is titanic. Love them or hate them. But one can never ignore them.