From being a person who admittedly “couldn’t write two creative sentences to save my life” to being a best-selling Indie author of over 19 books, Sundari Venkatraman has come a long way. “I never really thought of myself as a writer, so to think of myself as an author is really a long way off. But, in my house as kids we did read a lot. My granddad was a lawyer in the British era, so he had this great collection of books which we would be asked to read. In fact, I think I started reading by when I was like three-and-a-half years,” says Sundari as she recounts her self-publishing success story.
EDITING A SCHOOL MAGAZINE
And this story had quite an interesting beginning. Looking back on her days as a Personal Assistant to the Principal of the school where she worked, Sundari recalls, “There was this school magazine that was being brought out and my only work was to check spelling and grammar of the essays/articles/poems etc that the children had given. And you will not believe how this exercise impacted my thoughts! As I went through the pieces one by one, what struck me was how these children are unfettered in their thoughts and have no fear if criticism. They wrote as they pleased and in my mind this was the reason their articles seemed so genuine, unique and interesting. In fact, thinking about the characters long after I had read a story or a novel was an activity I indulged in often. And I did the same when I was editing the school magazine.”
NO PUBLISHER SEEMED INTERESTED
Editing the magazine and questioning story outcomes seemed to be the trigger that made Sundari take the pen and write with a vengeance. “I had quit my job and killing time at home was getting frustrating. One day in the year 2000, I just took pen and paper and started writing – 14 pages I wrote in one go. That was the beginning of “The Malhotra Bride.” After finishing this book I met many publishers and each time it was the same story. Nobody seemed interested. But instead of getting disheartened I continued writing and started working again. And this time, I put out my stories as mini-series on my blog,” says Sundari, adding “This was also the time when a friend on Facebook told me about Kindle Direct Publishing. And as it happened, this was the turning point in my life.”
SELF-PUBLISHING GAVE ME FREEDOM
Elaborating about her KDP experience Sundari says, “I thought this would be complicated but I decided to try it out and it was so easy I could not believe it! A few minutes at my computer and after 14 long years my first book was out there for the world to read! From that day in 2014 till date I have 14 titles and happy to note that The Malhotra Bride has sold 5450 copies and The Runaway Bridegroom 4071 copies!”
It’s not just the book being out that’s keeping Sundari pleased. She says, “KDP gives you the freedom to write whenever you want. When my characters stop talking to me, I want to stop writing and KDP allows that. Will a traditional publishing house allow for this, I wonder? Also, with my income going up 200 times from the time I got my first sale, I am living my dream. I love to travel for my research and my ebook sales allows me to do that. Self-publishing has made me confident, has allowed me to pursue my dreams and yeah helps me earn well too….for someone who always avoided helping kids with their English homework and chose Math and Science instead, I have indeed come a long way!”