Q 1: Tell me a bit about yourself.
I am a Mechanical Engineer by profession. I had earlier joined an industrial organization of Govt. of India in a full-time managerial capacity. I have also substantially contributed in the academics field & professional organizations, besides writing. I am presently living in Jaipur, the pink city of India. I have been active for many years as a freelance writer, author, book-reviewer, abstract writer, blogger, interviewed and translator, visiting faculty, trainer, examiner & assessor. About 185 articles, book-reviews, case-studies, interviews, and translations, etc., have been published in foreign and Indian publications, about 54 blogs posted and 24 radio talks broadcast on All India Radio. I am writing blogs on five websites. I am one of the recipients of the “Writers of the month bonus” for Jan 2007 on www.Shvoong.com, besides having posted about 1200 book-reviews & abstracts on this website (which is now closed).
Q 2: What genre(s) do you write in? What are you working on at the moment?
So far, I have jointly written and published English, six technical books. Earlier, two other jointly prepared technical books could not be published. But at present, two more books in English are under preparation, out of which, one is a self-help book being written by me based on general experiences in my life, for young persons and the other one, being jointly written, is based on discussions of a group of persons on a variety of general and interesting topics over a period of time. However, my writing activity also includes many articles, book reviews, abstracts, blogs, interview blogs, case studies, etc. published or posted in India and abroad and also radio talks broadcast from 3 radio stations. All of these writings are on a variety of technical and general topics. I had tried my hand at writing stories and poetry also, but I was not much successful.
Q 3: How long have you been writing?
It was my inner urge to express my thoughts, which prompted me to start writing right from my young school days. I was very keen to see my name in the print, along with my contribution. I was thrilled when my first article was published in my school magazine. Later on, some more scripts were published and also followed up in a college magazine. Subsequently, my writings continued successfully on various topics, for various magazines and other avenues, both technical and general, in English and Hindi languages. This urge has continued, in addition to my full-time Engineering–Managerial job.
Q 4: Do you have any published books or articles? Tell me a bit about these and what publishing route you took.
For my six books written jointly on technical subjects in English and published by publishers from Jaipur, except the original manuscript and final proofreading, rest was arranged by the respective publisher. However, for articles, book reviews, abstracts, blogs, Interview blogs, etc. published or posted and also radio talks broadcast from 3 radio stations, publication/broadcasting was done by the respective organizations, after acceptance of the scripts.
Q 5: Did you use an editor? If so, who?
As authors, no editors were engaged by us for any of the books. Also for articles, book reviews, abstracts, blogs, interview blogs, radio talks, etc., no editor was required at all.
Q 6: Did you use a book formatter and cover designer?
For the books published, all this was arranged by the respective publisher. Each of the six books had a colorful & appealing cover design, which was all done by the cover designers.
Q 7: Did you self-publish or get traditionally published? How did this go for you?
All the six books mentioned above were traditionally published and there was no problem at all, except for a small problem in the case of one publisher. As a matter of fact, the publishers wanted manuscripts of more books for publication.
Q 8: How do you market your work and promote your brand? (Include links)
The entire marketing & promoting work was handled by the respective publishers, who had proper teams for this purpose. We added on to their efforts, to the extent possible, by posting some details on the social sites, by arranging some reviews & through our personal contacts.
Q 9: What social media and writing platforms would you recommend?
I would recommend Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogspot, Linkedin
Q 10: Do you use an agent?
So far we have not used an “agent”, in any way, for the publication of any book. Also, it appears that this system is still not much prevalent in India.
Q 11: Do you use paid advertising? If so, what?
As authors, we did nothing like that. Also, as per our information, none of the publishers resorted to this method.
Q 12: Do you have a blog or website?
Following are the links for going through the book-reviews, blogs, interview blogs, etc.:
Earlier I have posted about 1200 book-reviews, abstracts, etc. on www.shvoong.com/writers/vijaiksharma/ but it has been closed some years back.
I am also active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
However, at present, I do not have a consolidated website giving updates, events, and offers, etc.
Q 13: What inspires you most to write?
I have a passion to write and continuously improve the quality of writing. Appreciation of the readers & reviewers inspires & motivates me further for continuing efforts in this direction.
Q 14: What do you do to help with writer's block?
So far, I have not faced such a situation. But in my opinion, in such a case, a writer must not surrender at any cost, but he or she should take a break, take the help of a friend, go on writing aimlessly and one may suddenly get the rhythm back and thus clear the block.
Q 15: What is your target audience?
It varies from book to book, as per the type and level of content. But, in most cases, generally it is the young age, which is kept as the target audience.
Q 16: How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends on several factors, e.g. the type of the book, number of pages, the quantum of figures & sketches, and other complexities of the book and prevailing environment, etc. Roughly it can be stated as one year.
Q 17: When did you first discover that you enjoyed writing?
The passion for writing was there originally from my young age itself. My father also motivated me, especially because he himself was also a writer of language books. But when success was achieved at several places with editors accepting my contributions, I felt delighted & elated and I discovered the enjoyment, the craft of writing brings to us.
Q 18: How do you plan your writing and start? How does your writing schedule look like?
Normally I plan for my writing work one day in advance, but my writing schedules are very flexible, as per the availability of time. Also, I take breaks in between, instead of continuous writing at a stretch. In my opinion, it is a better approach to take writing as a pleasure and not as a burden.
Q 19 What does your family think about your writing?
First of all, I express my gratefulness to my late father for motivating & guiding me for writing from my early young age. Also, my family is very cooperative with my efforts. I acknowledge the contribution of my family for the patience and understanding; during the time I have been busy in writing and also for their help in giving some ideas/suggestions.
Q 20: Is writing your full-time job? If not, what else do you do? What do you do when you are not writing?
Writing is not my full-time job. It never was. The scope of my writings includes general and technical topics as per the interest & requirements. Now I take writing as a hobby and I write as per the time available. I do not burn mid-night oil for writing. Even earlier, later on, and now, there are always several requirements/commitments at home. So time is a difficult commodity.
Q 21: From where do you get information and ideas for your writing?
Authentic Information is generally obtained from books, publications, websites, and experts, etc. But the ideas may come anytime and anywhere, during observations of events, places, and persons, traveling, reading of books and communications from others, etc. Therefore I keep a pen and a pocket diary handy for noting the ideas, then and there, whether day or night, otherwise the ideas go away, never to be seen or heard again.
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