Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Interview with Author and Entrepreneur Sameer Kamat

Sameer Kamat is the founder of an MBA admissions consulting venture,careers in India portal and a website that provides tips on getting published in India. His first book, Beyond The MBA Hype published by HarperCollins, is currently in the third reprint.

His second book Business Doctors - Management Consulting Gone Wild, a story based on the bizarre concept of management consultants trying to turn around an underworld organisation. On the day it got listed on Amazon India, it broke into the Top 25 in Indian Writing.

      1)   Your 1st book was published by Harper Collins and it is still doing quite well then why did you choose to self publishing your 2nd book ‘Business Doctors’?

Writing a book is the easy part. What happens after that, in case you decide to go down the traditional publishing route, needs far more patience and perseverance.
It took 5 years for my first book to reach bookstores after it was first written. For my second book, I did not want to wait for that long. Even though I have published one book, I don’t have a track record in fiction. So the process wouldn’t have been a cakewalk anyway.
Here’s the bigger story of why I decided to get Business Doctors self-published in India.

2) Self publishing is very popular in west but in India it is still considered as a last resort. Don’t you think that you took a gamble?

I have no intentions of becoming a full-time professional author. So it wasn’t very important to me to build an image as a non-fiction author or a business fiction author.
That allows me to experiment more with my writing projects. The audience for the second book isn’t very different from the first one. Both would connect with professionals who’ve been working for a few years.

3) The toughest part of self publishing a book?

Marketing the book is the trickiest part.

4) Is your new book inspired by your personal experiences as you were once working as a management consultant?

Thankfully, it is not. The story is too bizarre for that!
Management consulting isn’t a mainstream profession. In fact, many readers (including students) who haven’t spent enough time in the corporate world to cross paths with the species wouldn’t have heard of management consultants.
So I was looking for ways to introduce the idea to folks who may not be familiar with it. Instead of writing a boring non-fiction book, I thought it might be interesting to spice things up and present it like a Hollywood action movie.
As a consultant, I have lived and worked across many countries, including USA. So I tapped into some of those memories. For the businesses featured in the book where I did not have any first-hand experience, I did some research.

5) Any plans for the next book?

None, yet. For now, the primary objective is to get the word out for Business Doctors. And I need the help of your readers to get there.

6) MBA from Cambridge University, worked as a management consultant and your first book was a non-fiction, when I consider all this, I conclude Mr. Sameer Kamat is a ‘scholar’. What about your other side, are you into adventure or sports?

Wrong conclusion. I was good at studies, but never a ‘scholar’. I’ve had my share of the not-so-scholastic stories (involving sky diving, bungee jumping, hang-gliding, tae-kwon-do etc). However they don’t find a place in my current avatar as an entrepreneur and author.

7) Many reputed publishers, who were publishing quality book are now publishing chick-lit kinda book may be for easy money. Is it right in your personal opinion?

It’s easy for an outsider to be judgemental. But the publishing industry is struggling to survive. Piracy and technology have made it difficult for the traditional publishers to continue doing what they were doing earlier. Bookstores are closing down.

In such a tough situation, if some publishers have found a way to keep their boat afloat, it’s only because there are readers for the genre. They are running a for-profit business, and commercial viability is crucial for them.

There’s no good or bad genre. It’s all relative. What’s high quality and entertaining for me, might be trashy for someone else. As always, the reader has a choice about which book to pick up and which to ignore.

8) Your favorite author and book?

 I’m a little embarrassed to say this, but I don’t read much. From the little that I’ve read, I do like PG Wodehouse though.

9) Any message for the budding authors?

Don’t wait for the perfect idea, don’t wait to write the best-seller, don’t wait till you understand everything about the publishing industry. Start writing today.
More importantly start sharing your work informally. Blogging is a great way to polish your writing skills and getting it in front of an audience. Minus all the hassles of going through publishers.

Book Review of Business Doctors By Mayank Kashyap


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