For nearly forty years Ashok Chopra has been responsible for publishing some of the biggest names in India: Khushwant Singh, Shobhaa Dé, Dom Moraes, Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins are part of his illustrious list. In this candid and colourful memoir, Chopra brings his long experience to explain what works and what doesn’t in the Indian market: Why do some books last and others don’t? Is there a winning formula for publishers and writers? What do readers in India want? How to go about commissioning textbooks and reference guides? What should one do about bans and censorship? And how is the market holding up in the age of e-books and digital readers? While going into the commercial aspects of publishing, he does not forget the human stories.
Be it while sourcing manuscripts, chasing celebrity authors like Dilip Kumar, Raaj Kumar and Anupam Kher, scoring historic deals in the cut-throat world of publishing, or managing egotists, eccentrics and windbags, Chopra’s adventures and ordeals are unfailingly entertaining. If he celebrates the hits (the runaway success of Freedom at Midnight, for instance), he does not leave out the misses (such as the fiasco over Shalimar, the movie tie-in, one of the historic flops in Indian publishing).
Scandalous episodes, wild parties, and lavish book launches on warships and boats add a distinctive flavour. Filled with rip-roaring revelations and honest reminiscences, this is the definitive story of English book publishing in India—tracing its journey from the winding lanes of Daryaganj in New Delhi to glamour of high-profile launches.