Home / Books / “If you are being harassed, involve your parents, teachers. Go to the police if need be,” says author Novoneel Chakraborty
A few minutes into the conversation with author Novoneel Chakraborty and you get a glimpse of the honest, no-fuss persona that often translates into his writing. After establishing himself as a crime fiction writer, he is now dabbling with horror and supernatural. Chakraborty is actively writing short stories for various publications and interacting with his readers on live sessions. “I have done Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) sessions. I like to interact with them individually because that way I can answer more questions. It gives a personal touch and is a good opportunity to connect with them,” he says.
Social media and the internet, while opening up a world of possibilities for the young minds, also expose them to harassment. Given that his readers are mostly young adults and teens, he addresses the issue for both parents and the kids. “I see the problem as three-pronged. Parenting in India has taken a backseat and has been outsourced to maids/help. Parents should be aware of these things and step up in their duties. Secondly, our education system needs to include classes on gender sensitivity. Lastly, zero tolerance policy. If you are being harassed, involve your parents, teachers, or anybody you can confide in. Go to the police if need be. When a 16-year old laughs at a rape joke, the problem also lies with the kind of environment given to them; it is not a disease, rather it is a manifestation of their stimuli,” he says.
His social media is open to those who want to reach out to him. He makes an effort to stay connected with his readers, as is evident in his endeavours. Recently, he decided to offer his books at a discounted rate. “This was when books were not being delivered. I was getting a lot of requests, and after discussing the idea with my publisher, I decided to make my books available for under ₹ 100. Social media also helped spread the word and the response was heartening. People tag me on their posts where they are reading my books, and message me about the story and characters,” shares the 33-year old who has authored 17 books.
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With sales facing a slump and no new material coming out, there is always the looming question of revenue losses. Piracy is another issue when it comes to the creative fields, adding to the losses. “There are illegal PDFs of my books whose income neither I, nor the publisher will get. I had a book planned for release in August, but it has been pushed back,” he says. The future of publishing, as with any other industry, needs a rethink. “We (publishing industry) will just be catching up with the losses till the next financial year. It’s not just a matter of a handful of stores reopening in Delhi or Mumbai; there’s a deeper penetration in smaller cities which will require an overhaul. There is a looming uncertainty,” he argues.
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