Jo Dikhta Hai, Vo Bikta Hai: What Sells and Why?

Posted on May 7, 2010 in YKA Editorials

Farha Alam:

Its usually said, that people respond to art, with either people, or the color red in it. And certainly, there’s always been a “Who sells best” between Van Gogh’s lyrically rythimic and emotional paintings and, Leonardo’s scientific and smooth natured paintings. Artists, often craftily, evoke emotions, which usually illustrates their own ,or a per-say,’ My life on Canvas’. Lets also mention the case of a ever-clean painter, portraying cigarettes, nightime-scenes, booze and much, to totally and completely, just ‘identify’ with his target audience. And here, skillfully (and not cunningly), comes in the magical quotient of selling. What connects (for intellectuals, cleverly arranged hidden meaning), is mostly, what sells.

“Write what you know, and what you can sell”. Its hard to appeal to every taste, harder to chose. As I said, art tries to evoke emotions,to successfully make the reader see more than just a procession of events.A creative technique, its usually done by mentioning childhood events, emotional escapades, feelings of guilt.(a classic example of identifying with humans!) This frequently used theory, has been outrightly rejected by many now and then.
Next, popularity. One thing I know that makes a book popular is the author. I know a lot of people will be sure to buy a Sarah Dessen book, despite the cover or what it’s about, simply because it’s Sarah Dessen. But a similar book could do less well if written by a less-known author. Not always, though. World sales of the highest-selling Bible are more than 100 million every year, has different authors to its credit, languages too. Transparent enough, here, it’s the message, that makes it sell. A message that makes people believe in hope and cure. Ironically, The Da vinci, comes somewhat next in the race, famously controversial and criticised by Christians for its overt thoughts. I’m sure, even for the hatred, many must’ve given it a shot. And we then come to the intense role of ‘evoking emotions’ being surpassed. Its now, an intense interplay of various compelling forces like a spark, author recognitions, a ‘good’ name (or simply because the book was controversial like ‘The God Dilemma’, or as I said about ‘The Da Vinci Code’). It’s just a cycle.

A hearty reference should be given to advertisement, for lending its ever fun-form of communication to our dull lives, and making things (and people!) easier to infer, and persuading us (in mind-bending creative ways), to take effective action.

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