Get ready to be addicted to the sms soaps on your mobile screens! AVS Sreenivas, a Bangalore-based HR consultant, short story writer and editor of a neighbourhood newspaper ‘Wednesday Digest’ is working on exactly that. Currently, 500 women have signed up. This is what AVS Sreenivas told Techgoss about this endeavour.
Techgoss (TG): Please tell us about yourself. Are you a techie or a writer or both? What is your background/experience in writing?
AVS Sreenivas (AVSS): I am an Editor and run a neighborhood newspaper Wednesday Digest in Bangalore. This newspaper is a fortnightly and is circulated complimentary to 40,000 readers in Bangalore East. I used to write short stories that were published in Deccan Herald, Vijay Times etc.; I am writing a book titled ‘Seven Notes of Freedom’ – that deals with the times that we live in. This is a fictional novel, which will focus more on Freedom/Independence of human spirit!
TG: How did you get this idea of the sms novel? Any specific reasons behind writing this?
AVSS: The idea is to connect with the reader, daily! Since, my newspaper is a fortnightly; I thought the best way is to connect via mobile daily. In that way, I may ensure that TOM (Top of Mind) awareness remains!
TG: Tell us about the sms novel, when did you start this, how many people have subscribed so far and the general details about it that you can share… like have you finished writing it already?
AVSS: The story commenced from 19th Nov 2009. As on date, around 500 women (which include 20 friends of mine) have subscribed. This service is now FREE! The story is interactive and I write it daily. It will be a total free-wheeling one!
TG: What are the technicalities of this format that makes it popular? Where do you see this format in future?
AVSS: Popular! I don’t know yet! It could become, one day! The format is such…all it takes 5 seconds to read. If a writer can make his audience glued to the story, in the shortest duration…why not attempt? Future! Probably, more such could come. This definitely has varied commercial possibilities!
TG: Why have you tailored it specifically for the women audience?
AVSS: Simple! Because my newspaper’s audience (90%) are women! Though, the newspaper is a general/local digest!
TG: How popular is it right now? How many woman subscribers do you have currently? How many men?
AVSS: I have answered it already! Men! Only Three! Myself, my colleague (Head – Marketing) and my best friend!
TG: I read in a press report that you have said that this is the first sms novel in India. But there seems to have been another one in 2005, called The Cloak Room which stopped halfway. Then the known writer Pinki Virani has also attempted this format in this very year, slightly before you. Any comments on this? I mean is your novel different in any way from these formats?
AVSS: Yes! First-time to readers of a newspaper! I too did research. Thanks for the links, anyhow! I did check it out. The facts are
Cloakroom: Same format; but in a Game format!
Pinki Virani: It is only for Reliance subscribers! And, I guess it is paid!
Definitely, my concept is entirely different! I wouldn’t wish to spell out the strategy behind my attempt! The format maybe the same, but the concept is probably the first time in the world! (No boasting!) It would take a turn by January 2010! I shall let you know then!
TG: The concept does not seem to have worked in 2005, what factor has made you believe in the success of the format now?
AVSS: I don’t know, if it has worked or not in 2005! But, I am sure of the success, because of the strategy! Once, it happens, I shall let you know. Success depends on the popularity of the novel and the number of subscribers! Let’s see! The main factor, that would make this work, is the ‘concept’ not the ‘story’ per se!
TG: Do you plan to make this a stretchable mega serial type or a serial which ends? Then will you do another story? Would you welcome other players into the field with new stories that have sms appeal?
AVSS: The story will have an ending! When…I don’t know. Our country is a democratic state. Anyone is free to try it out.
Are you in Bangalore and want to try it? Go ahead and register, it’s free.
(More details at twitter.com/wedstory)