An interview with Majula Bhadraswamy, author of Kathaa Gucchha, a collection of short stories

Publishing is no longer an arduous process of finding the right publishing house, and of them accepting an author’s work. Progress in printing technology has given way to self-publishing where an author can print their book in limited numbers, avail of editing guidance, and design book covers within a few weeks at a moderate cost. The advent of social media has simplified the process of publicizing a book and announcing it to the world. The voices and stories of different people can now be heard in a manner the author sees fit.

One of our up-and-coming self-published authors is Mrs. Manjula Bhadraswamy who has penned a set of short stories in Kannada, titled Kathaa Gucchha. The book was published in 2016 and has received positive reviews. In an interview with us, Ms. Bhadraswamy talks about her book, her  journey to become a writer, about her influences and inspirations.

SapnaINK (SI): Tell us about your latest book.
Mrs. Bhadraswamy (MB): Kathaa Gucchha is a collection of short stories in Kannada that was published in 2016.

SI: Tell us about the beginning of your interest in writing.
MB: I won many essay writing competitions in school and college. My father recognized my interest and ability to write and encouraged me to seriously pursue it. I never did, until 2012 when a break in my studies and career allowed me to write. I have been writing since 2012. I sent a series of stories I had written to Star of Mysore, an evening daily. They accepted and published the stories in series. The response I received from readers was heartening and I was encouraged to continue writing.

SI: What inspired you to begin writing?
MB: I developed a reading habit at a young age. I spent time in literary events and activities and have always wanted to write a book. These events have a positive atmosphere of encouraging writers and readers that I began writing. There was no looking back.

SI: How did you come up with the title of your book?
MB: Kathaa Gucchha was inspired by my life as a student and life in general in the US, in the San Francisco Bay Area in particular. The title seemed apt given its inspirations.

SI: Are the experiences in your book inspired by someone you know or events that occurred in your life?
MB: My stories have evolved from events in my life in the US.

3SI: If you could change one aspect of your book, what would it be?
MB: I have talked about US politics. In 2016 when I was writing the book, I was prone to many conversations with my professors about politics and elections. It was the hardest part of the book, and I wish I could’ve done their opinions justice by expressing them better in Kathaa Gocchha.

SI: Is there a message in your book for readers?
MB: Yes. I want to tell them that struggles and hardship are a part of life, and although they may seem unbearable at the time, think of them as a temporary phase in life. Winston Churchill puts it perfectly, “Success is not final, failure in not final; it is the courage to continue that counts.”

SI: Did you have to travel to write your book?
MB: No.

SI: How was the experience of writing a book?
MB: I learned that regularly writing is the best way to improve.

SI: What books have influenced you the most?
MB: Books by RK Narayanan, SL Byrappa, DV Gundappa, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Robert Frost, and Somerset Maugham have greatly inspired me. Robin Sharma’s, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is my absolute favorite.

SI: Who is your favorite author, and what strikes you about their work?
MB: Somerset Maugham and BL Byrappa. Maugham is a British playwright, novelist and a master storyteller. His stories are simple, yet interesting with surprise plot twists. Byrappa on the other hand, digs deep into human nature. His narrative skill is truly engaging and his work is well researched and is characterized by philosophical knowledge.

SI: If you could choose, which writer would you consider to be your mentor?
MB: I’ll name two. Somerset Maugham and SL Byrappa. I greatly admire their books.

SI: Have any of the new authors caught your attention?
MB: Yes, Khaled Hosseini and Michelle Schaper.

SI: What would you like to tell budding writers?
MB: Keep writing. That’s the only way to improve your skills.

SI: Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers?MB: Encourage the habit of reading books in this era of digitization. Support your friends who want to become writers and help them succeed.

We couldn’t agree more. Sapna INK is a self-publishing house that encourages and promotes budding writers and first-time authors to self-publish books. At Sapna INK, we’ve got you covered every step of the way to publishing a book including, editing, publicizing the book via book launch sessions and showcasing the book in book stores in India. Find out more at www.sapnaink.com

10 steps to publishing a book

  1. Build your idea.

Come up with an idea and keep it as original as possible. Publishing data shows that there are only a few kinds of stories, but an engaging twist to it makes all the different.

  1. Think about your story

Once you have an idea, look at it from different angles. You should be able to answer any question about your story, characters, plot, the progression of the story or its cohesion.

  1. Outline your story

Once you have your story with characters, plot et al, write an outline. Break it down into parts without detailing too many aspects. Cohesion and flow are things to focus on at this juncture. 

  1. Time to draft

Write everything you have to write at this point. It’s alright if you deviate from the plot as long as the characters move towards the intended goal and the story adds up.

  1. Edit for grammar

Editing is one of the biggest, most important steps to writing a book and getting it published. Expect to be editing over and over: spelling, grammar, trimming the fat, tie up loose ends. Read dialogues out loud to make sure they sound right.

  1. Edit for style

Tweak your language according to the situation in the story. Using Ks and Fs for fights, Ss and Ls for romance are ways to express the intended emotion. Using discretion with this tool is advised.

  1. Edit again

Now edit for sentence formation such as active and passive voice. Now is also the time to approach a professional or an online editor.

  1. Get a second opinion

Ask a trusted person to read your edited draft. This will highlight errors you might have missed.

  1. Think about Publishing

Consider your options to publish your book. You could approach a publishing house that has its own advantages, or self-publish which gives you so much more freedom.

  1. Publish your book

Once you’ve chosen how to show the world your work of art, go ahead with it. Don’t forget those book signing events and talks that are so important to get attention.

Although the road to publishing a book might seem arduous, the result is immensely satisfying. Don’t lose hope! There are plenty of services and tools that simplify the process for you. Sapna INK is one such self-publishing house that gives guides you with editing, publishing and promotion, all over 15 days.

How to get rid of writer’s block.

writers-block

Writer’s blocks can happen to any writer at any point, and last a short duration to (gasp!) years. It’s important to take it in stride and not be discouraged. Take a break or do any of these other 9 things to color your thinking and find your way back.

Here are 10 ways to get your thoughts flowing and clear those blocks so that you can get to work as soon as possible.

  1. Begin tomorrow’s work today

If you’ve finished writing for the day and have ideas or a plan on what to write the next time you’re at your desk, write it down to help you get started faster tomorrow. A few sentences or points should do. This will save time and get you into that head space to begin writing without pause.

  1. Always carry a pen and notebook

Inspiration can strike at anytime. Be prepared to store your thoughts by keeping handy a pen and paper if you’re oldschoolcool, or a nifty app on your phone such as Google Keep, or OneNote. You can always return to your comfort zone later to elaborate on your thoughts.

  1. Write anything

If you’re unsure about where to start, write the first things that pop into your head, all of them. Once the initial clutter is cleared, your mind will guide you to that thread of thought you most need to follow.

  1. Voice your ideas

Telling your friends and family about your ideas and thoughts is an excellent way to stumble upon points that wouldn’t crop up in isolation. People tend to say things that mean the most to them while speaking, and is a great way to find a lead.

  1. Keep your research in order

If you’ve got multiple sources to write your next big piece, using highlighters and colorful post-its are an attractive way of grabbing your attention to things you want to come back to later. Having a pencil around to take notes as you read, is also a way of keeping your thoughts on track.

  1. Review your past writing

Losing that thread of thought can be frustrating. Re-reading past notes and the progress you’ve made so far could get you back on track.

  1. Mind mapping

When your mind is buzzing with a number of ideas, write them all down. You can figure out how to piece them together once you have them down.

  1. Practice

If you’ve just started writing, and are in need of inspiration, writing prompts are the way to go. Simply Google them and begin writing to get your thoughts moving. The more you write, the more your brain is accustomed to think creatively.

  1. Taking a break

We’ve been there where we’ve been writing for a while now, and thoughts simply don’t move. Take a break. Watch a funny video, talk to someone, or nap. Your mind needs to reboot.

  1. Work somewhere else

Grab your things and head to a different spot, be it he library, a quiet corner at work, a coffee shop, or a space with a pleasant view. A change in scenery is at times enough to jog your creativity.  

 

5 famous authors who self-published their books

A writer with a story in hand has two ways to publish his/her book: Approach a publisher, or self-publish via guidance through Sapna INK and many others currently available. While the former can be a long drawn process beginning with the acceptance of the story by a publisher, to editing to marketing and selling the final book, self-publishing guarantees your story is out in a fraction of the time, and in a form you want your book to be in. Progress in printing technology also ensures that you can print-on-demand copies of your book at an arguably good price to save resources. Self-publishing has been a platform for many now-famous writers, some of whom you might be surprised to hear started out on their own. Here’s a list of five famous authors who made their fame by being self-published authors. Breaking into the print world is no mean feat, and self-publishing has given these famous writers and many success.

1. Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Dickens took on the costs of publishing his now-beloved, Christmas Carol, the story of old and miserly Ebenezer Scrooge who is visited by the ghost of his friend, Jacob Marley on Christmas Eve who encourages him to be a kinder person. The book took six weeks to first appear on shelves, and continues to be published across the world. Although he ran into printing issues at first, subsequent public readings tremendously improved popularity and sales.

2. Fifty Shades of Grey EL James

The author began his efforts at self-publishing by popularizing his work online as Twilight fan fiction. His stories quickly gained popularity, encouraging EL James to self-publish the first volume, Fifty Shades of Grey in the series.

3. Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi

Tripathi is considered to be the author of one of India’s most popular books on Shiva fiction. Not only did Tripathi invest in publishing his book after being rejected by publishers, he took admirable efforts to market his work offering initial copies of his books for free. All the books in the series are best sellers and have been translated into a number of Indian languages.

4. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Blades of Grass is a collection of poems that depicted life, humanity and sensual pleasures at a time when such themes were unheard of. Although the initial versions of the collection of 14 poems were published by professionals, subsequent productions were handled by Whitman who revised his work multiple times over the course of his life, by editing and adding poems, pictures and illustrations to his heart’s content, concluding with 400 poems just before his demise.

5. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust

The autobiography was rejected thirty times after which Proust paid for the publishing himself. First copies of the book were an immense success and is now a considered to be a masterpiece in English literature.

Self-publishing your book gives you complete control of your work and quick results. In the past, this method put the onus of editing and marketing on the author, self-publishing companies now provide guidance on these matters. One such self-publisher is Sapna INK that provides editorial guidance, book launches and guarantees placing your work in fourteen popular stores in Bangalore, India, a technology savvy metro inhabited by the young, to bring you recognition. You can mail them at info@sapnaink.com or visit them at http://sapnaink.com/ to get editorial and publishing guidance, or self-publish your work in 7 days.