Interview with Mihir Kamat

Published 2014-07-05.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing in 2005, when I discovered a friend's blog and instantly fell in love with the simplicity of the idea that there are readers out there who love to read your work. I started my own blog with short stories and then added poetry and song-writing to the mix.The blog picked up very slowly but with time I now have over 2600 followers.

Work on my first book, "At First Sight" began in early 2013, wherein I compiled a bunch of short stories I'd written on my blog and began to hone and polish them to be publisher worthy. It's been a great learning curve since I wrote my first words in 2005.
What is your writing process?
I don't follow a rigid writing process, especially since I prefer to write on an ad hoc basis whenever inspiration strikes. I start with a main character, and add characters as and when they make sense to the plot. The main plot itself begins at the end (of what the main character needs to achieve or prevent), and then I begin to build up a story around the main plot to a point that actually makes sense. It's harder writing it this way but it works since the finished product is extremely focused and does not contain too many flowery details.

I constantly edit my stories, or chapters, so what my story ends up like is never same (not even close!) as the one I wrote to begin with. I go for at least four editing rounds on each chapter myself, before I get another pair of eyes on the story.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was an essay titled "The worst day of my life"! Don't let the title fool you, it was supposed to be hilarious and garnered decent reviews. No looking back ever since.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I lead an extremely mundane life outside of writing! I keep a day job that helps pay the bills and prefer to stay in bed or spend time with family when I'm not writing. That being said, writing is probably what keeps me going and helps keep the passion alive.
What are you working on next?
I'm currently working on 2 different ideas, both under the thrillers/fiction genre. The first one, titled Cataclysm, is expected to be completed by November this year. I'm extremely happy with the story line so far and hope to keep readers engrossed as the story navigates it's twists and turns. The second one, titled "The Edge of Mortality", delves with the supernatural and is based on a bunch of short stories I wrote earlier. Both projects are exciting and I can't wait to get them out to my readers.
How do you approach cover design?
That is a great question. I design the covers myself, and for every book I come up with at least 3-4 samples of what the book may look like. The actual design and colors reflect the mood I'm trying to set, and I prefer using brighter colors that would typically attract readers rather than duller shades that don't stand out. Typography plays an important role too based on the theme of the book.

I also like to keep design simple, as I did with the cover for "At First Sight", because the design worked and connected with my intended audience.

There is no fixed mantra to cover design, I just let creativity take over and choose the best one at the end of the process.
Who are your favorite authors?
I've been fascinated by edge-of-your-seat thrillers, and the first name that comes to my mind is Frederick Forsyth. If you look at my personal collection, I own and have read most of the titles the man has written. I'm currently re-reading "The Devil's Alternative", which is by far my most favorite novel. In the same genre, I've read and enjoyed works of Dan Brown, Will Adams, Scott Mariani and the occasional novel from Matthew Reilly.

The Harry Potter series, by J K Rowling, is also something I've read and re-read, and is specially close to my heart.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The time factor. Since I keep a day job that's extremely challenging and demanding, I initially aimed to de-stress by writing few words a day, everyday, only to keep my mind fresh. I was able to write for one straight year before the book took form and another few months went by polishing it to make it publish-worthy. I had a good reader base for my blog so I decided I would publish and market the book myself, and in doing so would: 1) Understand the book publishing business and what the function of each process is, and 2) Find out what works and what does not in the self-publishing process and seek professional help in areas that don't.

Also, being an Indie author helps me get honest reviews regarding my work that may not have been possible if the book was mass published and marketed (although I could do with the jump in sales!).
Describe your desk
My desk is typically cluttered with pens of different colors, a sleek desktop computer and a slowly yellowing writing pad that I tend to jot down my ideas on. I do work extensively on the computer when I'm editing or designing, but prefer to write/jot down certain details down physically using pen and paper if inspiration strikes at the wrong time!
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Nothing beats word-of-mouth marketing. I've tried social media marketing through Facebook and placing ads through vendor sites, but nothing compares to positive reviews from readers. After all, if you hear good things about a book from a friend or close one, you're more likely to accept it and try it for yourself.

Marketing is probably the hardest piece of the book publishing puzzle, because after all, you write because you want to be read.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. There are no words to describe what my readers mean to me; you are the reason I get out of bed every day and put pen to paper. I'm extremely thankful to all of you for the support and encouragement and I sincerely hope you enjoy my work as much as I enjoy bringing it out for you.
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