Poetry blog: http://poetecstasy.blogspot.in
Short story blog: http://unendingstories.blogspot.in
1. Where are you currently living?
New Bombay, India.
2. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
I have learnt that writing is a process of developing the skill needed to listen and record things about your thoughts, feelings, and actions. With practice comes experience and with experience comes an awareness of how to convert your thoughts into poems, short stories, novels, and critical articles. The process is worthwhile to practitioners though initially it may appear tough.
3. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
I always record everything. That’s why I carry a notebook everywhere. But what I write is not necessarily what I have written in the notebook. It turns out to be entirely different. But the notebook is for the rough sketch as many writers have done before me. Hemmingway carried a notebook with him, a Moleskine, so did Van Gogh. I also use Moleskine notebooks though they are expensive. The point I am making is when the notebook is expensive you are extra careful about what you write in it.
4. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
Never self publish. It doesn’t work. Always have someone else do the editing.
a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?
I have not been published so far. Except in anthologies. One anthology was Penguin’s India Smiles anthology. Another was Grey Oaks’ Bright Lights anthology. My poem was published by Poetry Rivals based in UK.
5. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I am a great believer in e-books as I read mainly on the Kindle these days. I find that I can get all books at cheaper prices on Amazon. Moreover, it’s easier to carry a Kindle than a physical book. But the quality of e-books need to improve and hopefully it will in future. Conventional books will survive but a migration will take place to digital publishing. The whole template of the publishing world is changing.
6. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
My only tip is to write and read as much as you can. I write a regular blog. Start a blog and maintain it. This is a sort of muscle developing exercise for my writing. Hopefully, it will pay dividends in future, which I am sure it will.
7. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
I don’t have an agent yet. But I am sure to get one soon as my novel “Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard” is being readied for publication.
8. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?
My only suggestion is read as much as possible and write as much as possible. Once you have crossed 10,000 hours of writing you will see the difference in your writing ability. You will find that you have evolved as a writer, and thereon the journey becomes easier. But, by all means write.
9. What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?
Writing is full of surprises. One most surprising thing was that you could be wrong in what you are writing. When you write you are expressing deep-seated thoughts. When you read them again, immediately you realize how wrong you were. Then the editing process starts. That’s why I edit everything before I send it out.
10. How many books have you written?
Almost one, my novel is being readied for publication. (he has published poetry and short stories)
11. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?
In fact, none. There are no tricks to become a better writer. It’s all effort and hard work in the form of reading and writing. If you want to be a writer, be prepared to work hard and be passionate about it. That’s the only way you can be a good writer. There are no shortcuts, no tips and tricks.
12. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?
These days’ publishers and readers look for a hook, or, a twist. This has to be done at the plotting stage. Think deeply about a hook, a twist and you will get it. All good plots are based on a good hook. You will get it if you become obsessed about your story. Even a short story needs a hook to keep a reader hooked.
13. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?
There are several factors involved. Design is one thing. I am very particular about cover design having come from a marketing background. I am also a sketcher and artist. I have a concept of what a cover should be and I will discuss it with the publisher when the time comes. And all stories, novels should have a good plot. There is no point meandering over a thousand pages and saying nothing. A good design, a good plot, and an engaging style of writing will always be appreciated by readers.
14. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
For my novel I will be using the social media in a big way. This is because I am familiar with online marketing and advertising, having worked in the field.
Besides, the traditional way of book readings and discussions can’t also be ruled out. Ideally I will combine both traditional and modern elements to promote my work.
15. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?
I would use technology, as we are living in a technology-driven world. I learned search engine optimization when I was working as a content writer and I know the ways in which online ads and promotions can help sell my work. So I would be using both traditional and modern methods to see that my book reaches the intended audience.
16. What would you like carved onto your tombstone? Or what saying or mantra do you live by?
Years ago I wrote a poem, “If I die.” I would like it to be carved on my tombstone. To that I would like to add, “Here lies one-time writer and poet John P. Matthew who didn’t care much for recognition.”
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