30 November, 2020


How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got In gives a new NRI twist to chicklit, but how did The Scent of Wet Earth in August make it to the NYT bestseller list?

This is probably the first time a publisher is waiting for an author to finish her school exams before throwing her open to press interviews. But Indian-born 18-year-old Harvard undergrad Kaavya Viswanathan has scored enough firsts in publishing history to make her publicists euphoric: at 17, even before she joined Harvard to study how to become an investment banker, she became one of the youngest authors when a book she'd written as a timepass was auctioned to America's most prestigious publisher, Little, Brown (now part of Time Warner); she bagged the highest advance it had ever paid a debut novelist: $500,000; her book, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got In gives a new, NRI twist to chicklit and is already heading for the bestseller lists, having already sold film rights.

Talking of bestseller lists, status-conscious authors are no longer satisfied with figuring on the dozen or more bestseller lists...



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