Anuya’s Vision For Books On Toast
For Anuya, being an entrepreneur and bringing up her YouTube Channel, Books on Toast is like being a parent without dirty diapers. “There are painful excel sheets but, that can be dealt with,” she says.
Risking a well-settled job role as the Creator Community Manager for YouTube India to start her very own YouTube venture, she skipped the stage of being a naive new YouTuber to someone who takes her endeavours seriously on both online and offline platforms. Her channel largely consists of weekly episodes revolving around discussions on literature.
In the first genre – BoT (Books On Toast) Cast, there is a new topic and a new guest every week while in the second – BoT Shorts, there are ‘how to guides’ related to reading.
The offline part includes – BoT Shops, a series of workshops which cater to critical aspects that can help aspiring writers reform their art; Shakespeare for Dummies, a talk session on how Shakespeare become the Big Boss of Literature; Stories on Toast, an open mic for unpublished authors; The Clueless Critic with Kunal Kamra (who is not an avid reader) but, is in a discussion with an author; and a few other events like live conversations with authors and book exchange events.
Most of these events take place in Cuckoo Club, Bandra which happens to be Anuya’s workplace too.
“….It’s run by my partners in the company, Sharin Bhatti and her husband Sudeip Nair. So, I just squat there like a squatter and make them give me free coffee.”
Bringing About A Change Via The Passion Engine
To us, people like Anuya remove the phrase ‘couch potatoes in front of a computer’ from a YouTuber’s description and make it more legit. Being a full-time YouTuber isn’t easy and that’s why most of them are passion projects. When talked about the financial part, Anuya said that it wasn’t huge a number but, helps them fund the online part,
“…and that’s okay for now until we have numbers online. We all have day jobs and BoT is a passion project, we can’t focus on money right now.”
As long as it crosses the break-even stage and adds value to the community of the fledgeling writers too, there’s no harm in going forward with the venture. It began obviously because she is a book lover and in the pursuit of giving something to the community of book-lovers.
“….It was more about starting something that made me happy and I knew would make others happy, but is probably not going to make me money for a long, long time.”
For Anuya, nothing is more fun than reading and then talking about it. She mentions that her reading patterns have also changed and that she has starting reading widely. She now picks up stuff that she normally wouldn’t pick up, understands the Indian writers’ ecosystem and discovers new authors. In no way would she want to trade such a life.
The Risk And Reward Mechanism…
Anuya said that she could have done something with humour but, mentioned that she was already doing that. The witty and extremely hilarious a person that she is, Anuya has been one of the writers for many of the AIB videos namely, The Bollywood Diva Song starring Kangana Ranaut, A Woman’s Besties, and few others. BoT because “Why not do something infinitely tougher that won’t make me a dime.”
When talked about other channels that talk about books, nothing was similar to BoT which takes it away from the herd. But, yes there are a few inspirations.
“….The closest channel we want to emulate is Screen Junkies, though we haven’t hit upon our Honest Trailers-esque idea yet. All in good time.”
The very basic criteria to be able to professionally belong to a creative space is having the support of one’s parents.
“…My father loves it that I’m doing something in the reading space and couldn’t be prouder. I’ve been blessed with liberal parents who’re always more about my happiness than how much money I make or if I become an engineer. They love it that I do offbeat things and yet somehow manage to live independently. They raised me like that, so they can’t really complain,” says Anuya.
For YouTubers, spontaneity is the very spice of life. All you need to do is go with the flow. Anuya says that she has never been someone with a plan.
“I’ve taken life as it comes, and so far it has really worked out for me. So if you don’t have a plan, don’t fret. Focus on getting better at what you do, find ways to learn and grow as much as you can, and take the risks that make you happy. Everything else will follow.”