Sunday January 27, 2019   |   Preethi Venugopala

Bookaholicanonymous is delighted to bring this interview with Preethi Venugopala to you. She is an inspiration to all women who think life ends with motherhood. For Preethi life began after motherhood. She discovered her passion for writing and is a bestselling author! This is her journey!

Preethi Venugopala: She is a Civil Engineer by education and a writer, avid blogger and artist by passion. She worked with Dubai Metro Rail project till 2008 with Obayashi Corporation, Japan. She quit in 2008 after becoming a mother and rediscovered her passion for writing and art. Now, she is a full-time writer and freelancer.

The interview:

Tell us about your books and stories that have been published so far?

First of all, thank you for this opportunity.

I have been a published author since 2014. My debut as an author was in an anthology titled ’Second Life’. It literally began my second life as an author.

Before that, I was just a Civil Engineer on a sabbatical who had taken to blogging. After that I got published in three more paperback anthologies namely ’Blank Space’, ’A Little Chorus of Love’ and ’When They Spoke.’ Around the same time, our team of bloggers became the winner in the ’Game of Blogs’ novella competition by Blogadda and the result was the book ’6 Degrees.’

It was in June 2015 that I published my debut novel ’Without You’ and was published by Write India publishers. I indie-published the eBook version of the novel in September 2015 on Amazon and thus began my Indie journey. After that, I have published three more romance novels (A Royal Affair, His Sunshine Girl and The Princess and the Superstar), two romance shorts and three children’s books on Amazon.

You can check out my books on Amazon here:
Preethi’s Books on Amazon

Apart from this, I got two traditional publishing contracts with Juggernaut books. First one for a romance short story (The Rumour) and the second one for a collection of nine love story shorts. Out of the nine, four stories have already been published in 2018 and the rest will go live this year.

Preethi’s books on Juggernaut

Tell us about their ratings on Amazon.

By God’s grace, my readers have loved my books. All my books have been received well. All the novels have achieved the coveted orange #1Bestseller tag on Amazon India. Some of them also got it on and Amazon Australia.

My books also have high ratings on Goodreads which is a social platform for readers. Check out my page here: Preethi Venugopala on Goodreads

Did you face any doubts regarding your writing skills as a self-publishing author? Or because your books are such a success, this question did not arise?

After my debut novel became a best seller on Amazon, I received vitriolic reviews from some fellow bloggers. I began to doubt my writing skills and almost quit writing.

Then my husband gifted me the creative writing course from ’Anita’s Attic’ in 2016. The appreciation and positive feedback from such an eminent writer like Anita Nair restored my faith in my writing skills. I got my first publishing contract with Juggernaut via the Attic. Out of 45 students, only 4 got it. And I was one of them.

Now, I have learned to ignore criticism from people with no credentials.

Why did you take the self-publishing route for your novels? That too when you had already published short stories traditionally?

Mainly because of the transparency and the financial benefits offered by self-publishing. I’d rather call it, Indie publishing because people often confuse self-publishing with vanity publishing.

In traditional publishing, you are not in control of anything regarding your book. The publisher decides the cover, publishing date and sometimes even the content.

And mostly, you get peanuts in return for the hours and hours of hard work you put behind writing your story. You earn a decent amount through indie publishing via royalty every month. That just doesn’t happen in traditional publishing.

What are the advantages of Indie publishing?

In Indie publishing, you are in charge of all the processes involved in publishing a book. You have to find the editor, cover designer, format the book and create the marketing materials and posters for the book.

In traditional publishing, the publishers are in charge of all this and you have no control over these aspects.

Via indie publishing, you get transparent reports regarding the number of sales and even the number of pages read by readers using the Kindle Unlimited option. You get paid both for sales and for pages read on Kindle Unlimited. You get updated sales reports from markets across the world every day, 24/7, by accessing the KDP author dashboard.

With traditional publishers, you can’t expect this. You might get a quarterly or yearly report depending upon their schedule.

Except for my stories on Juggernaut books, I haven’t earned a single rupee from any of my traditionally published stories.  It is appalling but that is the truth.

And we can’t forget the speed with which the book hits the worldwide markets. With traditional publishers, even after your book is selected for publishing, it takes a minimum of six months to a year before the book becomes available for purchase.

In indie publishing, the book goes live a few hours after you hit the publish button. That too simultaneously in multiple market places in various countries like the US, UK and Australia.

What do you think are the disadvantages of Indie publishing?

As far as the writer is concerned, the disadvantages are very few. You get to write and publish what you like and earn through it via indie-publishing. The main disadvantage is that you have to learn all the processes involved in publishing. In traditional publishing, you can just send the manuscript to the publishers and forget about it till they get back to you with edits. With Indie publishing, you are never free because you are in charge of everything. If your book fails, you will be the one who will be blamed.

Why do you think your books/stories clicked? How do you know what readers want?

As I said, I think it is just God’s grace.

Also, I am an avid reader myself.  I write the kind of books I enjoy reading.

What are the things that an Indie author should remember? Or for that matter any author?

I believe that each story finds its writer. The most important thing hence is to treat stories that come to you with respect. Write from the heart and then it will resonate with the reader.

Tell us the steps of self-publication

Step one, of course, is completing the manuscript. Polish it till you are satisfied and then send it to your editor for feedback and edits. In the meanwhile, you can approach a cover designer and get the book cover made. After the final edits get over, you format the book according to the guidelines given by Amazon KDP. Now, we have to create an intriguing blurb for the book.

The next process is to upload all these to your Amazon KDP or Kindle Direct Publishing dashboard.  Fill in all the necessary fields, select categories and fill in keywords and hit the publish button. Once you hit the publish button, the book goes live within a few hours.

You can share the links with your readers once it is live and that is it. You are done.

Other than writing what else do you do?

I love portraiture and painting. I have art pages both on Instagram (@artbypreethi) and on Facebook (Preethi’s Art).  I also crochet.

You say your latest book ’The Secret Notebook’ is a little autobiographical. Tell us a little about that.

It is a short story inspired by my father’s life. He was the biggest inspiration in my life and we lost him to meningitis. 

What next?

I am working on the third and final book in the Sravanapura Royal series. As of now, those are the two things I am looking forward to in 2019.

Thank you Preethi for taking out time for us. We wish you many more successes!

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