In conversation with Suhasini Kirloskar. She has rolled out world’s first story to unfold entirely on Facebook. Experience it at www.facebook.com/ItsComplicatedOnlineFiction. Feel free to ‘Like’ her page.
ReadMyStori (RMS) caught up with Suhasini to understand her concept behind the story and how she plans to reach out to a wider readership.
RMS: What inspired you to write a book? and why in this format i.e. snippets on Facebook?
Suhasini: I’m fascinated by the emerging trends in media consumption among young audiences. My observations led me to believe that current and future generations are opting less and less for print books for their need for stories or entertainment. In fact, the nature of content on our TV channels has led them to move away from TV as well.
So where are they getting their stories from (as I believe we all love stories)? I came to the conclusion that people are consuming them from posts – on Facebook, WhatsApp and other tech platforms that their friends use. Here they find stories, humour, videos, inspiration and photos.
So I thought that it’s time fiction was also served on such as platform, and Facebook was my choice for a number of reasons. I initially thought about it as an experiment in creative writing plus social media. I decided to write the first story that unfolds entirely as Facebook posts. I searched and searched, but it hasn’t been done before.
The format is unique – it includes text, of course, but also photos, screenshots of WhatsApp messages, and we will soon have a song and a video. This is just the way in which we read posts on social media. I believe this is a new and enriched phase in fiction.
I now know this has worked well – the readers love it!
RMS: Any social message you are trying to pass on? If not, what is the theme of your Novel / Book?
Suhasini: The theme is love and relationships in the current social context. I feel that there are many questions that young people are grappling with. The story is a way to share some of these questions, and discuss, while not offering any set answers. Some of the themes in the story are:
- The dilemma between ‘settling down’ and pursuing ambition.
- Inter-religious love
- Whether marriage is still the goal for young people
- These are just a few of the things that we come across in ‘It’s Complicated’.
RMS: Are you planning on writing another book? If yes, please share some insights?
Suhasini: Yes, I’m looking for ways to make this an economically self sustaining activity, possibly with some subtle brand placement, for example. If that works out, I am looking to publish another book, and considering co-authoring one with another writer. The theme would have some crime and a lot of humor and adventure. However, it would cost – to organize the photoshoots, models etc. So we have to see how we can do it.
RMS: What is the kind of reader base you are trying to reach? Is there a Foreword which would give potential reader a base to settle with?
Suhasini: For ‘It’s Complicated’, I am targeting the 18-25 age group in India, who read in English. My current reader profile, of almost 8000 readers, matches this age group. Somewhat surprisingly, 55% are men, although I had thought that romance and relationships is of more interest to women.
RMS: Are you planning to use other social medium to approach Readers? e.g. Twitter or Wattpad or similar?
Suhasini: I’m planning to add an Instagram and Twitter channel for ‘It’s Complicated’ but there’s some work to do there. However, the full experience would be on Facebook. Facebook posts offers the flexibility I need, plus the ability to exactly target the audience.
RMS: Thank you Suhasini for your time during our conversation. We wish you the best for your unique effort in rolling out your story. We will be happy to host a compilation of your book on our platform to garner more readers.