My ten-year-old (TYO) has, in the past year, developed a healthy concern for understanding finances. It has resulted in a rather conscientious spender.

However, it does lead to funny conversations.

Most nights, bed time is the moment when my children remember all the day’s activities and pose questions designed specifically for long conversations. One such discussion happened a couple of nights ago.

TYO: “How are your books doing?”

Me: “They’re doing well.”

TYO: “Are you in profit or loss?”

Me: ” I’d say profit since I haven’t travelled for readings at my own cost, as I have done at times in the past. (And because I can’t just let things be) There is the notional cost of time and effort that goes into writing and publishing a book, which is hard to quantify. But yes, profit.”

TYO sounding happy: “Great! So of our family income, would the split between what papa and you earn be 70-30?”

Me: “Ummm. Not quite.”

TYO: “80-20?”

Me: “Not really.”

TYO, sounding increasingly appalled: “90-10?”

Me: “More like 99-1…”

TYO, jumping out of bed like a scalded cat: “WHAAAAT? But you’ve written eleven books and you work really hard and and and… it’s not fair!”

Me, trying to calm him down: “While that is true, I do have the joy of doing something I love, which is more than what many people can claim. It is a blessing. Also, I get to have all the flexibility to be around you two monkeys. I get to discuss my work with you and hear your opinion, which is quite special.”

TYO: “And my friends think you are cool.”

Me, now smiling like a cheshire cat: “Some things are priceless.”

TYO mumbling but slightly appeased, finally gets back into bed.


Having said that, I’d love for the equation to change, as would my husband who is constantly hoping that my next book will lead to early retirement for him. At the moment however, even the 99-1 split is an exaggeration. It’s possibly 99.5-0.5, if that. While individual writing, destiny and a multitude of unknown factors play their part, I wish that things that could be improved would get there, rather quickly. One such wish is for better stocked bookstores.

Nilanjana S. Roy in a recent article in the Business Standard, The Kids Are All Right, states:

“Twenty years ago, the complaint about Indian children’s books in English was that you didn’t have good production or innovative local storytellers and writers. You have both today; what’s missing is the bridges that connect publishers with readers.
There are few imaginative, well-stocked children’s bookstores; the decimation of books pages to one-tenth the space has meant that children’s books don’t get reviewed outside of individual blogs; and there are almost no children’s magazines that carry thoughtful, useful books pages. But at least the books and the writers are there – perhaps the Invisibility Cloak around them will drop soon.” Read her entire article here. 

Here’s to shedding the Invisibility Cloak soon!