As you have noticed, I have been interacting with a lot of people these days. Active or passive interactiveness, as it may be called on wish (as me and S had a lengthy overnight discussion on the same).
Today, I have on my blog, Prem Rao, the author of ‘It can’t be you‘, the book with a caption ‘a spiral of vengeance’ coined by the author himself.
About the author: Mr. Prem Rao, an alumni of XLRI, Jamshedpur has worked as a Talent Management Specialist for 35 long years after taking up the goal of fulfilling his ambition to become a published author. Not only his first book got published, but also how!
1. Firstly, congratulations Sir for your first book! Why have you decided to take up writing this seriously? What or who is your inspiration behind writing?
Thank you, Bastab. A great pleasure talking to you. I have decided to become a full time writer not at the beginning of my career, which is the biggest challenge for most people, but at the end of my career! To me writing fulfills an old passion. I am glad I now have the time and the inclination to write fiction. Although I am passionate about thrillers, my favourite author remains P. G. Wodehouse. He is truly inspirational!
2. After having a successful launch, you were featured in Indian Express lately. How do you feel about that?
It was nice to see the coverage in The Indian Express as indeed in other newspapers like The Hindu and The Deccan Chronicle. It is gratifying to see your work being recognized. It is a good feeling when your work comes in for praise from someone who is neutral and objective. I feel particularly good because through these articles more readers came to know of me and my debut novel. I hope this will lead them to enjoying my book as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
3. You have a professional job as a talent management specialist. Why did you want to become an author?
As mentioned, I was a talent management specialist for over 35 years since I passed out from XLRI way back in 1974. I felt the time had come for me to re-invent myself before it was too late! I wanted to fulfill my ambition of becoming a published author. My professional work in dealing with people gave me tremendous insights into the minds of thousands of people. I am sure this helps me in my writing.
4. Since you are a first-time writer, what all expectations did you have from the Indian publishing industry?
As a newbie, it has been a great learning experience for me. The entire world of publishing was new to me. I had no idea how things worked until I had written a book myself, mainly because I was in a very different profession. I didn’t quite know what to expect. I did know, of course, that these days the world over, it is largely the author’s responsibility to market the book. The days of the author writing a book and hoping for the best are long gone!
5. Were your expectations fulfilled in a positive way? What all obstructions did you face to get a publishing house for your book?
I was very happy about most things. I don’t think I faced any major problems in getting the book published. My editors, right from the start, felt my book was distinctively different in the thriller genre. I particularly liked the cover designed by my publishers. It was striking, it stood out and came in for a lot of favorable comment. I would have liked to see a better standard of proofing and editing.
6. You have a very good blog too. While writing posts like ‘Advice for New Writers’, do you actually think you can reach out to all the budding authors out there? What steps do you take to publicize your blog posts so that your blog gets more hit?
Thanks for saying so. To be honest, now that I am busy with my second book, my attention to my blog has slipped somewhat. I do post at least once a week. I try to post material that would be of particular interest to people who would like to become authors. I would be very happy if some gained from the insights and experiences I share in my blog “Writing to Be Read”. I think word of mouth has a large role to play in publicizing your blog. If people like it, they are bound to talk about it as, may I say, you are doing now.
7. 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?
We are in very, very exciting times. India is one of the few countries where readership of English fiction is taking off like never before. We see a new generation of readers- and authors. I am sure the average age of authors in India must be far lower than that of most other countries. However, at times when I look at the books published I wonder if the standards aren’t dipping as every man and his uncle rushes to become a published author. I may sound old-fashioned but I would advocate getting into writing as a full time career only once you are well established (or you have other sources of income). I don’t see too many people making a good living only on the strength of their writing. I would suggest that people pursue writing in addition to their professional work, however difficult that might be, until they have firmly established themselves as major authors.
8. As a writer, do you prefer the keyboard or the good old pen and paper? Why?
Oh, the keyboard any day. The biggest advantage of the keyboard is that it facilitates editing, making it a whole lot easier. Fortunately, I have been using computers now for the last 25 years or so. I do use the good old pen and paper when I want to polish a particular piece I have written. I some times write a paragraph in my own handwriting and work on improving it, using my favourite fountain pen and black ink!
9. 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 am sure, like anything else in today’s world it’s success will definitely depend on the publicity it receives. I have been using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for years and these came in handy in providing me with a strong platform when I became a full time writer. A good platform by itself does not guarantee success for your book. It will have to be eminently readable. Yet, the lack of a good platform could result in some gems of books being lost in the deluge of published work! I have Facebook Pages for my debut novel and for my novel in the making and a website/blog for my debut novel “It Can’t Be You’. I enjoy tweeting about India, writing, books and authors.
10. Are you working on any new project? When can we readers expect it to hit the market?
My second novel is also a thriller. It is called “Lucky For Some, Thirteen”. I am very excited about this project. I am in the final stages of editing. I will look around for a publisher and hope to have it published by end 2011. Initially at times, I wondered if it would turn out to be as good as my debut novel “ It Can’t Be You”. Now I am convinced that if anything it would be even better. . This will be in keeping with my new ambition to be a Thriller A Year author.
Thanks a lot to Mr. Prem Rao for his time. Here’s me wishing the best for the success of his works!