I met Shubham at the Jaipur Literary Festival in January and we hit off really well. From one topic to another, we chatted for quite some time on two consecutive days. Shubham is a final year engineering student at Malviya National Institute of Technology and is a jack of many trades. I thought of interviewing him because I found him very passionate about whatever we spoke about. Here is what he had to say to my questions
Me : When did you first thought of writing a book?
Shubham : It was gradual. My blog was being liked by many and I always wanted to write something that would take your mind off normal life and give you a light break. Seeing what people liked in my writings, I decided to turn that into a book. I had a few ideas in mind, this seemed the best one that time.
Me : My EX fell in love. Interesting title. Tell us something about the book that is not there in the blurb.
Shubham : Thanks. The title basically explains the story of the book. I wanted the title and cover page to look as interesting and funny as the story… I guess I was kind of successful in that.
About the book. I’d say this. Yatharth’s (the protagonist) father is the coolest person you’re gonna come across in the book. Heads up, he’s inspired from a real person.
Me : You are an entrepreneur too, work, studies and writing, how did you manage everything?
Shubham : You could eliminate studies from that. As tough as it looks, it’s not. Because all that I did was something I wanted, and not forced to do. So whenever I felt like it, I did it. Although once you’re into so much, it does take up a lot of time. As a result, I can’t do ‘timepass’ unlike my peers and online chats is like a forbidden path for me. But you just don’t regret that.
Shubham : My mom can answer that better. A writer by heart, an engineer by education, an entrepreneur by mind and a useless jerk by nature. Yeah, that sums it up. And I love football.
Me : How tough was it to find a publisher for your work?
Shubham : India has a different kind of industry in writing and publishing. I lacked contacts, so big ones were off the table. I didn’t want to go for the cheap or mediocre ones, so that left me with very limited options. I followed the general trend of mailing and waiting. A few rejections and one lucky day an acceptance.
It’s not tough to get a good publisher if you’ve got a good story and a decent language. Patience is the key.
Me : What would be your advice to the person who is writing his first book? Any words of wisdom?
Shubham : Wisdom? I am telling you my mom would have laughed like hell here! Anyway… I’d say a few points here.
- If you’re writing to become famous or have a fan following, please don’t.
- If you’re writing to sell tons of books and make millions, seriously, don’t.
- Please, and I say this with all emotions; have some respect for the English language. Get your manuscript properly proofread.
- Writing a book is a big achievement. It puts you in a different league. But this, in no way, makes you a better writer than your fellow bloggers or an ‘epitome of a writer’ as I read somewhere. Let your readers decide that.
- Don’t waste your time reading tips, write a book so that you get to write your own tips after that.
Me : What does Shubham Choudhary do when he is not working, studying or writing?
Shubham : I Play computer games, watch sitcoms (I am an ardent follower of most of them) and dance sometimes. But nothing separates me from writing. It’s an ongoing process… ideas can come any time, I am always set to convert them into stories, articles or maybe just one liners.
Me : How is the response of your book so far ?
Shubham : I never keep a track of how many copies it sold. Reviews have been fantastic. Even in the not-so-good reviews, a few common mistakes have only been pointed out, which I am glad to know so that I can improve the next time.
Me : What next?
Shubham : As I said, I had many ideas for my first novel. So as a writer, next is going to be the second book. Definitely in an improved manner and better style of writing. This time, it’s not going to be a love story either.
Me : How do you deal with criticism? Did you receive any vitriolic criticism for your book?
Shubham : As I said, I’ve been a blogger for a long time, so I am used to criticism. Plus, if you do something big and you don’t get criticized, I believe you’re not reaching enough people.
I take it very positively till it’s healthy, and make sure I reply smoothly if it’s harsh. I tend to take out good points from every critical feedback.
Although the book is yet to receive a proper vitriolic criticism. Maybe it needs to sell more copies!
So, that was Shubham Choudhary at his candid best. What I personally liked about Shubham is his simple attitude. He holds his ground and is open to discussion about things and stuff and quite a free flowing person. I am glad that I got a chance to meet him personally.
Here is my review of My EX Fell In Love.