We interviewed Aniruddha Pathak, because he is one of the most intriguing authors we have come across. It took us a while to make a questionnaire because we had seen so much and we had to ask so much, so here we go.
BP:Hello Aniruddha, though most of the readers in the circle might know about you already, and even if the author bios are written by the authors themselves, how would you describe Aniruddha Pathak?
AP:Hello Banaja, thanks for having me! Let’s speak of the intros. This is what the bio of my website says about me:
“Popularly regarded as the Author of Canvas of a Storyteller, Aniruddha Pathak is an Indian Author and Entrepreneur.
He has been into the world of self-publishing, blogging, and online marketing for over four years and continues to take interest in learning and spreading knowledge about them.
He wishes for a better world and spends most of his time helping and motivating people to progress in their lives.”
And this is how I’d describe my personal self in third person:
“Aniruddha Pathak is a fun-loving-non-socializing-lame-joke-cracking-alien-like person. He likes solitude, but hates isolation. He likes listening to music and telling others how he likes some songs to the core.
He has been an avid reader of the Marathi literature and prefers reading Horror the most.He’s annoying at times, but fear not, he’s a genuinely sweet person. He doesn’t practice sarcasm until provoked, but when he does, people laugh at him because he sounds funny (that’s what his mom says, at least).
He’s constantly stuck in between growing and shaving his beard, because his mom and sisters dislike his beard and his best friend loves it, so finally now he settles on trimming it instead; because Kasauti dadhi ki.”
BP:Apart from the pathetic writing abilities displayed by most of the newbie self-published authors, what else inspired you to publish your debut, Canvas of a Storyteller?
AP:I don’t back your statement about the newbie self-published authors, but I don’t disapprove of it either. Yes, the market is clamored with loads and loads of unworthy books, but that wasn’t the primary reason why I published my debut. It’s a story in itself.
It was back in late 2015 that some of my readers and friends pointed out that my stories lacked the core element: storytelling. And one day, I got more similar comments from almost everyone saying that they couldn’t connect with what I wrote. That day I decided to work on my storytelling rather seriously and the journey began. I contacted the authors and writers who write extremely well, and sought guidance from them. I read books that helped me understand how to write content that connects with people. I wrote more. And slowly, the readers who offered me criticism—which I am glad they did—started praising my works. That’s when I knew that I was in the right direction.
As days passed—and honestly, I had never thought about writing a book—some of my readers instilled the confidence in me that I needed to write a book. I respected their requests and that’s where it all started. I wanted to write relatable stories. And I did.
Although my prime idea wasn’t belittling the debut authors who, as you mentioned, write pathetic books, but to provide the new readers with something that they could start reading with. I purposely kept the stories simple and relatable to the youth of today. In addition, I introduced the concept of Interactive Storytelling in it, which, to my happiness, was widely appreciated.
So it was a journey that solely revolved around me, my writing skills, and my readers. That’s what inspired me to write Canvas of a Storyteller. From a writer who was regarded as the one who couldn’t tell stories to an author who’s called a storyteller, it’s been a hell of a pleasant journey!
BP:An author is a reader first, we believe, as a reader yourself, name three authors whose works you have read and if possible, you could travel back in time and stop yourself from reading their works.
AP: Ah, that’s a difficult question.
I am a person who follows an ideology: “Each book teaches you something, may the book be good or bad.” So I believe that all the books I read have contributed bits to me both as a reader and writer. But here, as you asked it, I will try to answer it as vividly as I can.I particularly cannot name the authors, but I can give you an idea about the books I read which I feel, in sober words, wasted my time.
The first was a Marathi book written by a hugely successful author. It started out with an enigmatic story, and ended on a completely illogical note, where the protagonist ends up marrying the daughter of the guy who the protagonist had abused earlier in the book. It was a short book for the record, merely 90 pages, but I definitely was pissed off after reading it. (Additional point: I immensely love one of the books that this author wrote. It’s by far my most favorite paranormal read.)
The other one was the first book that I received as a reviewer. It started out well, again, but after I was done reading 7—8 pages, it lost all its essence. I couldn’t understand what was going on, the language wasn’t polished at all, it wasn’t edited, the grammar didn’t exist, there was no story, and nothing could amuse me. After shoving 26 pages of the book down my throat, I gave up. Couldn’t read further.
I can’t name any other book other than these. I try to read good books as much as I can. There are times when you come across a bad book, but those are mostly forgetful. Only some bad reads stay with you forever, like the ones I stated above.
BP:Your newest venture, The Aniway Store, is not your first. In fact, you have tasted a good number of failures in the name of ventures. So, what kept you going?
AP:Hahahaha. You know my very first venture, don’t you? You were an integral part of it! All of us were a team of four and we made it successful too.
Yes, I have had many failed ventures by now; so much so that I was in a dilemma, whether this path was meant for me or not. And I blame no one else but me. For most of them, I worked alone (after I had a team for one of them, which was rather a bad choice for the type of works that I wished to employ). Not everything works in your favor, you see.
I guess the spirit that kept me going is my love for experimenting with things. I like to learn new things each day, and I learned a lot about why I failed too. I’ve always focused on correcting the mistakes, and The Aniway Store is one such sincere attempt to employ the knowledge that I’ve gained so far. It’s a product of all the failures and successes till now.
And honestly, I have great friends who support my ventures, no matter how many times I fail. They provide me hopes so that I could work more. They hold a fair share in inspiring me to not give up. I’m truly thankful to them for their efforts and belief it me.
To top it all, I’d like to state that I haven’t given up on the failed ventures. They’ll be polished and launched when the time’s (and the team’s) right.
BP:Your previous ventures were mostly based on the publishing industry, so what made you start The Aniway Store which is a creative print store? What led to the transition?
AP: While all my publishing related ventures were built with a motive of helping upcoming and published authors, The Aniway Store was established with a different ideology.
In fact, The Aniway Store has a story behind it. While I was working on my personal website, I wanted to bring out merchandises that would have my quotes printed on them. Slowly, when I started researching more on it, that is finding shipping companies, local printers, etc., I understood that there really is a huge market for printed apparels and merchandises. That’s where the plan started budding, and I decided to build a fully fledged store that sells mobile cases, mugs, posters, notebooks, etc. It all started with a small idea, which is now a big effort.
Fortunately we started well and now are working on the website. Once it’s done, we’d immediately make it live.
BP: Our readers might not know, but you are almost 22 and probably have the most number of Facebook “sisters” a guy at this age would ever prefer. So, what’s the reason behind this rising phenomenon?
AP: Okay, let me clear this for you.
I have been a ‘bhai’ since I was born. All the girls in my neighborhood were declared my sisters immediately. So it wasn’t new for me at all.
About the online part, that never affected me either. In fact if you check my Facebook bio, I have proudly mentioned there that I am a Universal Bhai.
I love making relations and these relations of being a ‘bhai’ for most of the girls I met are nothing less than sacred for me. It’s really not about the preference, it’s more about what kind of a relation the person in the front wants to perceive. And I am completely fine with that. I have girl besties too and not just sisters.
To dive more, I frequently get questions like ‘Did it ever happen to you that you liked a girl but she called you her brother and you regret it today?’
I am like ‘No, LOL. Never.’ I am an ardent follower of the saying: “Whatever happens, happens for a reason.” So never gave it much a thought.
Plus, I love all my sisters equally. I occasionally make jokes and memes about me being a Universal Bhai but then again, I know my responsibilities too.
Fun thing: I didn’t make any new sisters in 2018. So entries are welcomed! (Just kidding. Hahahaha. *cries in corner*)
BP: How do you feel about the rising number of authors and the effect it has on the book sales market?
AP: I haven’t paid attention to the rising clamor of the books in the market, because I feel that long-term books will stay in the TBR lists of the readers no matter what. But yes, this clamoring has affected the readers on a huge level. Readers now no longer find it easy to choose good books as there are over 1000 books getting published each week.
To me, Kindle ebook’s Sample Chapters come to the rescue, but I am unaware if other readers too employ the same, mostly when the sample chapters aren’t provided.
About book sales, I don’t think it makes any difference either. If a book is badly written but selling like pancakes, you know that it won’t last in the long run. But if a book is well-written and is eventually growing on the charts and getting quality reviews, it’ll definitely be worth the wait and will garner its recognition as the time goes by.
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BP: Your blogs consist of publishing advice, marketing and publicizing tips and the dos and don’ts for newbie authors. Do you share it purely because you want to help them or the faulty methods used by some authors made you do so?
AP: I am an internet person. I work on the internet, read on the internet, study on the internet, experiment on the internet, and setup most of the things on the internet. I’ve been blogging for four years now, and if I see the pattern, I have evolved according to the needs of the market.
I blogged about random things and posted my write-ups on my blog till 2017. Later, I changed my focus and decided to rebrand my blog because I garnered enough knowledge and experience about the things I decided to blog about, and I wanted to share it with everyone. The thing that pushed me to do so was the lack of content and guidance for writers and authors of today. For example, many book marketers and publishers will tell you:
“Oh! Look, we have 10,000 Facebook page followers; we’ll market you on our page! You’ll get a great reach and buzz!”
“Hey, we are so-and-so publishing house. We’ll make you the next bestseller! Check out our marketing services! We offer this-and-that marketing! You do not need to work at all!”
And I have seen most of the aspiring authors falling for these strategies and ending up with their books piled in a corner of the publisher’s warehouse and their buzz vanishing with the winds.
Hence, I decided to write thorough and vivid content that would guide these dreamers and help them understand the dos and don’ts of publishing, marketing, and blogging. I make sure that I focus on covering each aspect of book publishing, book marketing, blogging, and all other things that make your book and you successful. Like recently I wrote a guide on how to self publish books in India, which was hugely appreciated and was shared by many people on Facebook too. In fact, it ranks Number One for the terms “Self Publish Books in India” & “Self Publish in India” in regards with the number of organic Social Shares.
I also speak about these things in the frequent newsletters I send to my subscribers. They have been received well, and few of my subscribers have already landed in publishing contracts and have taken blogging seriously too. That’s what keeps me going. I am trying my best to help everyone as much as I can.
BP:You are an author, editor, analyst, graphic designer, marketer, etc. etc, so enlighten us in a topic, is it easy to be an author when you know that Aniruddha Pathak is self sufficient to get his work done and you don’t need to depend on the help from others?
AP: I make my covers, yes.
I make my promotional banners, yes.
Do I plan my marketing strategies? Yes.
I market my book, yes. But am I the sole marketer? No. My readers and friends are my marketers, and they market me more than I would have ever expected or marketed my works. I am grateful to them for whatever they have given me and give me.
I self-edit the book, yes. Do I send it for publishing after that? No. I hire an editor to edit it. Because I cannot do justice to my work in regards of editing and proofreading. I’d definitely need beta-readers and an editor to do so.
So you see, I am not completely self-sufficient. Even this interview couldn’t have been possible without you!
I have always appreciated presence of people in my life and fortunately, I have gotten help and the right kind of people at the right time. Therefore, no matter what and no matter how much I learn, I’d never be completely self-sufficient.
BP: What do you feel about the payment procedures that the employers follow in terms of paying for content writing (including reviewers or general articles)? And, what do you think, whether reviewers should be paid for the reviews or should they do it for free, to receive only a copy of the book in return?
AP: It’d be inappropriate for me to speak about content writing and its payments because I hardly have knowledge about how the market functions in this regard. However, I can speak for the reviewers.
Those who know me know that I have always voiced out my opinions about book reviewing, book reviewers, and the authors who provide copies for book reviews.
I have conversed with many of them and from where I see, I rarely came across an honest and authentic book reviewer who writes book reviews to help authors improve their works and help readers choose a book.
On one hand, many reviewers are paid INR 100, and many reviewers don’t get paid at all. Those who know their caliber and reach charge more than INR 500, which I find completely acceptable, because they work hard and deliver what they promise.
I do not want to get into the details here, but I find the practice of accepting reviews completely person-based. If a reviewer is fine with giving a review in exchange of a free copy, it’s absolutely fine (however I feel this ideology has been used by the publishing houses to exploit such reviewers a lot).
If a reviewer charges for a review, it’s fine too. But if they charge, I’d definitely, as an author, need something in return. At least a promise that my book review would get so and so number of visitors, or the book review will be shared in mailing list of 100 people, or something of that sort which assures me that people ARE reading the reviews of my book, whether the review that my book gets is good or bad.
I research well before choosing a reviewer. And it infuriates me when someone comes to me and asks me whether they want a book review for my book and then they ask me the name of the book that I wrote! I strongly feel that they should do their homework before contacting an author.
Getting back to the point, I’d again state that it’s completely upto the reviewers to decide whether they want to charge or not. I do not have a say here.
BP:We heard that you would be reaching out to your readers with another book from your side, so please tell us a bit about your upcoming book. And we’ll conclude with that.
AP: Oh yes! I recently announced that I would be coming out with my next book called “Cookies”, which is a romantic plot with a twist unheard of. Like my debut, I have maintained the intensity of emotions in this book as well; however, this time I have focused more on the “fictional” part, unlike Canvas of a Storyteller. There are not many details I could give about it right now, but I’d surely unveil more things as time goes by. The book shall launch later this year.
I guess that’s all I have to conclude with, Banaja. Thank you for having me! I am extremely grateful. I thoroughly enjoyed answering the questions. Thanks again!
And that’s a wrap!
We are grateful to have Aniruddha Pathak on board as this has been one of the best interviews we have taken till date. We usually have to make sure that the author is comfortable with our questions and most authors prefer to be boring, while Aniruddha Pathak was happy to be answering all our questions in details. And we do agree that our questions were a tad bit weird (can’t help it, that’s how we are).
Interviewed By- Banaja Prakashini
Find Aniruddha Pathak’s books on Amazon
About Aniruddha Pathak
Popularly regarded as the Author of Canvas of a Storyteller, Aniruddha Pathak is an Indian Author and Entrepreneur.
He has been into the world of self-publishing, blogging, and online marketing for over four years and continues to take interest in learning and spreading knowledge about them.
He wishes for a better world and spends most of his time helping and motivating people to progress in their lives.