Why Jeffrey Archer loves and complains about India

Best selling author Jeffrey Archer said that India was his biggest market, and was more important to him than the United States. That said however, Archer said that there was a "not so subtle difference" between 'reading' and 'buying'.

"Barely a few days after the official release of my books, you wicked people buy cheap copies from enterprising industrialists who get my books on to the streets at a quarter of the price, with the exact same cover and everything!", he said to a packed auditorium at the Taj Lands End hotel in Mumbai on Sunday, where he was launching the latest installment of his Clifton chronicles, Best Kept secret.

"A few hours ago, I had a little urchin come up to me, tap on my car window and ask if I wanted the latest Jeffrey Archer. I told him that I was the latest Jeffrey Archer. He's probably still wondering what that was all about", he added.

Jeffrey Archer at the event launch: Publicity image

Jeffrey Archer at the event launch: Publicity image

The dynamic, irreverent Archer who kept his audience riveted throughout the interaction, also warned of a "great revolution" that had already overrun the United States and England and was about to come to India - the Kindle. "Thanks to the Kindle, authors are seeing a decline in paperback sales of their books because they no longer have to wait to read it - books are also getting cheaper as a result. Do you know I found Life of Pi for just 20p last night?", he said.

The 70-year-old author added that authors needed to "get a grip and understand social media" if they were to get anywhere, although he complained that they had taken away the thrill of book signing tours.

"When I published Kane and Abel, I did a tour of 17 cities in 21 days. But now they tell me they don't want me anymore - all they want is for me to shove out a few tweets, a couple of blog posts and update a Facebook page because apparently that reaches more people than a tour ever can. That's the world we live in today", he said.

Archer runs an active Twitter account which can be seen here.

Best Kept Secret, which focuses on the life of Harry Clifton, is according to Archer, a retelling of his life. The book picks up from 1945 and follows the protagonist to America where he attempts to promote his latest novel. (More about that here) It also focuses on Sebastian Clifton, Harry's son.

The second book in the chronicles, was a best seller and Archer said he had high hopes for the latest installment. He also revealed that after completing the draft for the fourth novel he had realised that there was no way he could finish the chronicles off in five books as originally planned. "I realised that at some point, I have to kill Harry off! And that's not happening any time soon, so I'll have to make it at least six to seven books", he said to applause which he claimed was 'only from his publisher'.

Apart from the book, Archer ribbed the audience about the Indian cricket team's defeat to England, but said he was thrilled that India was 'thrashing those sissy Australians". He also complained of cyclists slowly pedalling along Mumbai's newly constructed four lane highways adding, "You people have quite some way to go before it all works out".

However Archer's fondness for India was evident throughout. 'People keep asking me why I launch my books in India, but for me its not a question. The crowds keep coming, and the kind of questions I get from the audiences are amazing. I had a ten year old boy in Chennai have a go at me over one of my books and he said he had read all of them! That for me is modern India", he said.


Updated Date: Mar 11, 2013 21:49 PM

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