About the author: Anish Sarkar is an IIT-IIM graduate and a senior executive with Capgemini, a French multinational company. ‘Benaami‘ is his debut novel.
The author agreed to do an interview for my blog, and here it goes.
1. Firstly, congratulations to you for your debut novel ‘Benaami’! Why have you decided to take up writing this seriously? What or who is your inspiration behind writing?
Thank you. Well, I started writing BENAAMI six years ago, mainly out of a desire to do something different. Writing is something you can do any time, any place; while continuing a nine-to-six job.
2. You have been a successful Software professional for long. Do you think you will able to do full justice to your passion of writing? I mean, how do you plan to balance your professional life along with your life as an author?
I plan to continue writing, but part-time. I believe that it is always possible to find time from your regular occupation to do something like write a book, as long as you remain passionate and committed about it. But I need to finish my next book in less time than BENAAMI took!
3. Why thriller as the genre of your book? Are you a fan of thrillers as a reader too?
Yes, my favourite genre is the thriller and I felt that this is the genre I would be able to write best in.
4. Since you are a first-time writer, what all expectations did you have from the Indian publishing industry?
Not much, really. Like all first-time writers, I was apprehensive about finding a publisher for my work. But based on everything I was hearing during this time, it was clear that the Indian publishing industry was expanding dramatically – more readers, authors, publishers, genres… So I tried to remain optimistic.
5. Were your expectations fulfilled in a positive way? What all obstructions did you face to get a publishing house for your book?
I had my share of rejections but was lucky to find a great literary agent, Anuj Bahri; who is now a friend and mentor; and then a home for BENAAMI in Amaryllis, an excellent new imprint of Manjul Publications launched under the leadership of Sanjana Roy Choudhury. All in all, although the process took some time, it was pretty much what I had been mentally prepared for.
6. Do you think how a book fairs in the market depend much on how it is publicized? How have you used social media networks for the publicity of your book? I will like to know your perspective on this matter since you’re an IIM graduate.
Certainly, promoting a book plays an important role in its success. I have used social media like Facebook (there is a BENAAMI fan page with over 4,000 fans now), as well as the tried and tested city-wise book release approach. Besides, several important publications like Hindustan Times, Deccan Chronicle and Outlook magazine (to name a few) have featured reviews of BENAAMI. However, what ultimately determines a book’s success is the content between the covers.
7. Apart from online publicity, did you participate in offline publicity too? Organized events, contests, give-aways?
We’ve had book releases in Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai so far; and we’ve done one BENAAMI Quiz (on the 1857 Mutiny) on Facebook. Planning a few more things in the near future…
8. Are you satisfied with the outcome of the sales volume of your book? If not, are there any marketing aspects you would have liked to work on if given a chance?
So far, so good. But a book is a slow-burn product so one needs to keep up the marketing to maintain the momentum.
9. What do you think about the current English Writing scenario in India? Do you really think it is a good time to take on writing as a full time profession?
I think so. As I said, the publishing industry in India has witnessed unprecedented growth and has thrown up plenty of new opportunities for writers, publishers and of course, readers!
10. Finally, as a writer, do you prefer the keyboard or the good old pen and paper? Why?
The keyboard, of course. For all the reasons that we prefer e-mail over snail mail!
It’s not rare that an IIT-IIMian turns to become a writer these days. But it’s rare when they do not compromise on the quality of what they write. Anish Sarkar’s debut novel ‘Benaami’ is different. The effort behind this good work has not gone in vain, in all certainty.