My book has a home

I’m pleased to announce that my humorous novel will be published in 2010, around July, by Hachette Book_Facebook India, a branch of the world’s largest general books publisher. Hachette has been in India for only a few years, publishing its first local book, My Friend Sancho, this past May. The novel, by Amit Varma, was the highest selling fiction debut of the year. I hope to follow in Amit’s footsteps — that’s why I’ve decided to title my book My Friend Pancho.

Actually, my book will be called Sancho Takes The Plunge. No, wait — it’s Bala Takes The Plunge. As reader Viswa aptly put it, the novel is also about me taking a plunge. I’ve been writing humor columns for almost 15 years and enjoyed doing so, but I consider that period somewhat of an apprenticeship. It has allowed me to experiment with humor, to see what works and what doesn’t. The time has come to plunge into something new, without giving up the old (not yet, anyway). I hope to write more novels in the coming years, even if I have to publish them myself and sell them all to my mother. (If you happen to be one of my relatives, please buy 10 copies of Bala Take The Plunge, even if you have to make two trips to the bookstore in your Nano.)

My book will be launched in Chennai — and hopefully go high enough to reach other cities. I plan to visit Chennai and a few other cities to promote the book. If you don’t live in India, you’ll still be able to buy the book online, perhaps from India Plaza. You can also wait until the book is published in your country. But if you live in Saudi Arabia, I wouldn’t hold my breath. (The Saudi authorities are eager to see me take a plunge — into the Indian Ocean.)

I’ll keep you updated on any book news. And, of course, I’ll create a Facebook page for the book, so we can easily exchange messages about it.

Me: “Did you buy the book?”

You: “Yes.”

Me: “How many copies?”

You: “Just one.”

Me: “Just one?!! What about your dog? Don’t you want to buy a copy for him?”

You: “My dog can’t read.”

Me: “So what? Neither can my relatives!”

You: “Is that true?”

Me: “Well, a few of them can’t read. But they’re still buying my book.”

You: “Why are they bothering?”

Me: “I told them that I mentioned them in the acknowledgments page.”

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. Cool. I have been following your columns for years now :)- ரஜினி பத்தி எழுதி இருந்தா தமிழ்ல மொழிபெயர்த்து தரேன் :)- I am sure your book would go well.

  2. Thanks, Mani. I’ll have to get my wife to read the Tamil for me!

  3. Congratulations Melvin. I love your sense of humour, so I doubt you’ll have to worry about your mother being your sole customer!

  4. Thank you, biakka. I think I’ll sell at least three copies: my mother, my sister and you!

  5. Melvin,
    i am sure you want to beat Chetan Bhagat by selling more number of books than all his books combined, your publisher would make you travel more miles (US is farther than Mumbai). so please negotiate with your official airline for frequent flyer registration and make sure you travel to all the states in India. FYI, at last count there are 28 states of them.
    being in Hyderabad, I would be happy to see you in your promotion (assuming that you come over here just to try out the famous biryani), whether it is in Telangana, AP or HYUT (Hyderabad Union Territory). 🙂

  6. Thanks for making me laugh, Jigruksh.
    If I sell one-tenth as many as Chetan has, my publisher will be ecstatic.
    I will definitely try to come to Hyderabad — or whatever it will be called by then.

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