Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Rohit Shetty author of Murdered To Moksha.

Hi Rohit, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am academically a Chemical Engineer and a poet by hobby. My hobby today has made my name engrave in the India Book of records for getting the most poetry published in the form of 4 poetry books within a year. It was also crowned me with the prefix ‘Dr.’ today, with the World Record University honoring me with a PH. D in the same field.

What were you like at school?
I was a very introvert and studious little boy.

Were you good at English?
Yes.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Writing has always been a hobby and it shall always be.

Which writers inspire you?
I’am not an avid reader but,  I do like reading Dan Brown and Salman Rushdie and try to learn more of the writing techniques.

So, what have you written?
My published work includes a series of  four poetry books titled ‘Breaking Silence’, Iam also a part of, Colours an anthology, Minds@work an anthology and also a part of ‘project humming bird’. And now, Murdered to moksha due to release this year. I do write short stories and novellas but haven’t made any plans as of now to publish them. I do Blog at rohitnshetty.blogspot.in

Where can we buy or see them?
My books are available on online shopping sites like homeshop18 and rediff.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
My insight won’t be a cake walk though, as my expression is restricted to words than speech and to a limit. But, even after being an introvert I prefer being blunt on face than being double faced.

What are you working on at the minute?
Currently I’m planning and preparing for a new novel which deals with one of the serious topics persistent in Indian culture and doing an extensive research on it.

What’s it about?
The Effects and ill effects of consensual marriage and consensual sex.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
I would like to see the Protagonists of the Book Aarav and Esha to be played by “Aamir Khan” and “Anushka Sharma”, We are already in talking terms with one of the eminent director of Bollywood and are hoping for the best.

How much research do you do?
Say for Murdered to moksha, a lot of research has been done. Since being a  controversial topic  which the society deals with, a good research was the must. Research makes any fiction story a little closer to reality… its more appealing and connecting.  Murdered To Moksha is a totally new genre of book,which cant be categorized into predefined genres which was possible due to the extensive research behind it .

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
No. Murdered to Moksha is my first venture.

Why did you do decide to collaborate and did that affect your sales?
Poetry is my forte and I had not tried my hands on fiction novel writing. Yes it was a gamble which has paid off well. Murdered to Moksha as earlier said is due to release this year and has already received critic reviews and has been tagged as “An internet hit, even before its release” by CNN

When did you decide to become a writer?
It was decided over a coffee table with few people who I called friends back then. I thank them for their sarcastic statements and for hurting my self-esteem to an extent that it transformed into a motivation and a challenge that today I can proudly say I have accomplished.

Why do you write?
Because that is an easier way to express. Unspoken words and emotions can be easily penned down.

Do you write full-time or part-time?
I write as a hobby and would continue it as a hobby only.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Nights are the best peaceful hours for writing with no disturbances and distractions around.

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
Whenever I feel like, I have no fixed time as such, I scribble down anything whatever comes to my mind and then work on it later.

Where do the your ideas come from?
Daily chores of life has a profound effect on my writing and that can be seen in it as well.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
… just see where an idea takes me but yes ofcourse I try to work at times in the skeleton which I have created.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
From a geography class wherein, my first poetry was written to remember the states of India and their significance, till a National Record and an Honorary Doctorate, Yes it has evolved well. Atleast I can say that with some pride now.  ;)

What is the hardest thing about writing?
Quitting it.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
My co-author, and the time factor. Since both of us are and were working then, it was difficult for us to make up for it.

What is the easiest thing about writing?
Penning down thoughts as they flow.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Depends on any individual… It took us 5 months to pen down Murdered to Moksha not counting the 2 years of research work behind it.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?
Yes at times.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Diversion of thoughts for a period.

If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?
Yes, iam planning a sequel for Murdered To Moksha as a reader will find this book an incomplete book, but will start working on it post the release of it.

What are your thoughts on writing a book series.
I already have a series titled “Breaking Silence” having 400 poems in all. It has worked well for me.

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.
As earlier mentioned i am not an avid reader. Authors like Dan Brown and Salman Rushdie are my favorite and from New Indian Authors, Leema Dhar is my favorite. I have read her two books and have not got the chance to read the third one.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Paper back books.

What book/s are you reading at present?
Currently iam reading An Excursion of Insight by Harsh Agarwal who is also a promising author.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
It’s a combine effort.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
No.

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
While discussing the gist of the book with my co-author, a vivid idea came up my mind, and I had potrayed that idea to the designing division “Design Fishing, Imaginations Unleashed” of First Step Publishing and they did a fantastic work.

Who designed your book cover/s?
Design fishing, Imaginations Unleashed. The designing division of First Step Publishing

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Yes I feel so because it’s the cover that catches the eye. But its also the content and the marketing that has the major role in its sales.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
Advantages includes that the work of an individual can be released on a similar platform. Its also a speedy process.
Disadvantages: there are many people out there in market who will make false promises and wont stick up to the commitment one shold be very careful before getting into such an agreement.

How do you market your books?
Social media is the best platform for marketing. On field and word of mouth are the cherries on the cake. Apart from this print media also plays a great role.

Why did you choose this route?
Social media is flexible, wide-spread and easy accessible for promotions.

Would you or do you use a PR agency?
Yes I would have if I had that extra penny with me to invest in it.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Firstly produce a quality and then social media is the best when your target audience. Apart from that there are many PR Agencies which will do their work for you.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
We have efficient people i.e. marketers who do their job well… I only do my bit whenever and wherever necessary.

What do you do to get book reviews?
Pick on the known names of the industry who you know have the caliber and interest with respect to your book to be reviewed.

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
Very well.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
Reviews can’t be good or bad… its ho you perceive them.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you?
Well there are many but I wont specify them as there are many clowns on the social media who are just there to defame you at the drop of the hat.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?
A strong platform

Which social network worked best for you?
Facebook & youtube.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do?
Do not over-promote.

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?
Haven’t done any till date. Looking forward for one soon.

Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?
Yes… by Hindustan times… big fm… and many other online news sites and blogs.

Why do you think that other well written books just don’t sell?
May be wrong or no promotion and marketing.

What do you think of “trailers” for books?
Yes, apart from the traditional marketing video trailers also helps a lot in marketing the book

Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?
Yes we have a series of trailers of Murdered to Moksha
The below given link is of our youtube channel, wherein you will find all the promos we have made for our books.

http://www.youtube.com/user/FirstStepPublication

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
It’s a two edged sword. Free copies given to right people works.

Did you format your own book?
Yes, 3 times we had edited and re-edited it.

In what formats is your book available?
The book is due to launch this year. We will be having the paperback and ebook (Android) edition of the book.

If formatted by someone else, how did you select them and what was your experience?
Apart from both of us ie Ketki and Myself, M2M is re-edited by a professional as well. As per the experience we had a good time and have learnt more about our weakness in writing.

What is your favourite motivational phrase.
“You only lose when you quit”

What is your favourite film and why?
3 idiots, an engineering student can very well connect to the theme portrayed.

Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
An Entrepreneur with my company being named with the elite list.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Do as your heart says, and you will achieve the goals for sure.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Well this is something different, I have never answered anything like this. Well if I have to name a person, from dead, it will be Adolf Hitler, I have read his autobiography Mein Kamph, and his speeches which are very gripping. I would like to see how they were created. Okay and from living I would like to meet Salman Rushdie over coffee for some writing tips.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
If you wish to get published… invest your time, energy and knowledge in that art. There are many platforms to publish and succeed, but with a unique content.

Where do you see publishing going in the future?
Having the list of ‘newly published authors’ turning to ‘best sellers’ will be a challenge. But as mentioned earlier again there are many clowns in this industry as well.

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You can reach Rohit at:

Website:
www.firststepcorp.com
www.firststepcorp.blogspot.in
Blog:
www.rohitnshetty.blogspot.in
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rohitnshetty
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/bad4u86