Yes! a patriotic poetic-story "Ye Desh hai Un Verro ka" based on Kargil War around July-August 1999 and later that year it was published in a regional Hindi newspaper "Rashtriy Sahara", I was 11 years old and that feeling of reading my work in printed form with all the newspaper formatting, ads was beyond words-special-memorable.
What is your Writing Process
My first objective is to make my basic story idea unique by trying different permutations & combinations of backdrops, characters, scenes, sub-plots in my mind and finally selecting few. Then proper use of language customized as per character, situation. I often notice authors using same words-style to save their time which is harmful in long run. There is less flexibility in research, non-fic compared to fiction or poetry but focusing on less covered subjects especially analyzing the statistical part can do wonders.
Though, I am quite random (+ Effort Level: Minimum) when it comes to comedy, poetry, tragedy, dark & related themes, usually complete such stories-poems within couple of hours but surprisingly readers average feedback-ratings on this stuff is better than on everything else I write with more efforts-giving more time.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
*) - Regular & targeted activity on various Social Media websites - Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Orkut. Blogging Communities. Book & author listing websites like Goodreads, Writers.net, Published.com, Smashwords. This increases the latent online reach of the book through listings, backlinks, keywords, reviews and recommendations. These websites also offer paid book promotion services offering various schemes.
*) - Regional Newspapers, Magazines, Publication and NGOs can be approached for the book launch, press release and promotional activities. In case of NGOs please make sure your book's general theme or any of its chapter, sequence deals with the issue that NGO is fighting against or at least you are benefiting that organization in terms of publicity, books, money, service etc.
... & even if there is no book launch one can focus on developing the author brand by event appearances, organizing contests, online Q & A, volunteering during events especially in creative stuff.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in multiple cities (U.P. India) as my father is an Uttar Pradesh State employee, yup! India also follows federalism. Lucknow, Agra are the 2 cities where I spent most of my childhood-teenage. In early 90s India was recovering the gear change from closed-license raj country to much more liberal economy which gradually reflected in almost everything. India offers extreme contrasts & diversity which are beautiful & thought provoking at the same time like witnessing these awesome globalization linked changes and still encountering few relatives who have unreasonably strong opinions about certain things, regional variety, religions, languages, locations-topography etc. I regularly write in social issues with Indian backdrops & every time the uniqueness, beauty (Self Praise Alert!!)..oops... :) never ceases to amaze me.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kobo and Kindle. Devices are user friendly & epub format is superhit but I want to see economical devices for mass reach & to increase the share of ebook market in near future.
What do you read for pleasure?
Comics, Research Journals, Non Fiction. Unfortunately, read very few books especially novels in my life till date (January 2014).
When did you first start writing?
At the age of 10 I wrote few devotional songs during a 9 day Hindu festival Navratr. Then during Kargil War wrote my first poetic-story. Extra curricular activities were not encouraged in my school but I wrote on topics that fascinated me, mostly current affairs. College was a pleasant change for me as there were no school boundations & the dormant-hibernated writing bug as a revenge bit me so hard that she knocked me unconscious, I am infected since then.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Once in a while I work on a research project on unexplored subjects for a change from monotonous creative schedule(attached social work is a bonus), Postpartum Reproductive Health : India is a redacted report, a sociological study on postnatal health & related medical, economic issues faced by Indian women.There are large number of studies on various dimensions of health, but despite all there are few studies on reproductive health & no study which focused on postnatal reproductive health care.There was this need to conduct such type of study which explore various aspects of postnatal reproductive health illness and care. Co-Author: Shanu Sharma, Survey Location - Saharanpur, India.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I try to write on various genres, topics and in the process often rejected by publishers who find many of my works way too experimental, noncommercial in nature. Sometimes they publish my work but my mainstream rejection rate is high therefore going indie is the only way to release the large volume of experimental stuff I write. For me getting that mainstream commercial balance is not an issue, but convincing myself to self censor or compromise is...I hope this rejection rate drops to 0% in future (..will still publish Indie work).
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
*) - Thousands of downloads & new readers.
*) - Enhanced my Online image.
*) - Offering my books in various formats.
*) - Regular feedback from renowned authors active here.
Thank you! Team Smashwords. :)
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are like renewable virtual wealth, which is spent on your brand & motivation to continue what you are doing. Their number & response gives you strength to not only write your heart out but also to format, edit, proof read your work (which almost all authors hate). Their feedback guides you & proves to be a catalyst in evolving your approach in certain genres or your writing as a whole. Best part is sometimes few of them surprise you by sharing random facts about you & your works.
*) - Humongous backlog of poems, stories in Hinglish typed back in the days - I have to retype them in devnagri Hindi to be able to sell them. The volume of pending work is scary but will soon publish couple of story & poem collections.
Who are your favorite authors?
Bharat Kumar Negi, Gregory David Roberts
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The stats...86400 seconds! The Creativity..this, this, this to be done! The Job...for the sake of records-society-schedule! The Love...!
How do you approach cover design?
I collaborate with uber talented illustrators and/or colorists. Great results every time!
Is 84 Tears your best work till date?
Not the best but perhaps most successful till date (around 700, 000 downloads in 2 years). Special Mention, 84 Tears Artist: Mr. Ravi Shankar.
Due to language-text formatting issues related to languages, copyright issues I am unable to share all my works on smashwords. For complete info on other listings please visit official weblinks on my smashwords profile.