You have been invited to share you experience with our readers.
Name: Shobhan Bantwal
Tell us about yourself – where you are from, how you got started writing, what you do when you are not writing (or anything you want our readers to know)
I was born and raised in India and immigrated to the U.S. as a young bride in an arranged marriage nearly 34 years ago. Writing is something I’d never dreamt I’d do. The creative bug got me rather late in life, when I hit 50. Yo-yo-ing hormones suddenly turned into a creative spark. I call it my ‘menopausal epiphany’. When I’m not writing I’m working at my full-time career: working for the government.
What inspired you to write your first book?
When I wrote some articles for a number of Indian-American publications and they were received well, I started writing short stories. One of my stories won the top prize in a fiction competition and two of them won honors in other competitions. That gave rise to bigger ambitions and I took a creative writing course. The first novel started out as a short story for my class project. Later on I built on it and it became my first novel, THE DOWRY BRIDE.
How many books have you written?
About five, but only one has been published so far.
How do you decide on their topic?
No particular rhyme or reason. My imagination goes crazy at times and I just go with the ideas whenever they strike. I never write an outline, so I wing it as I go along. The story changes course a hundred times.
Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?
Mostly for the love of writing, but money doesn’t hurt, does it?
What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used to gain visibility for you and your book(s)?
Book signings and author chats, and of course those boring bookmarks and postcards. I’m not very good at PR and marketing I’m afraid. That’s why I’m seeking professional help from women like you and Dorothy Thompson.
What are some unique methods?
Giving away a ‘Dowry Bag’ through my website and at my signings has been a great method for me. The giveaway itself is not unique at all, but calling it a Dowry Bag was an idea that M.J. Rose, mentor/teacher and bestselling author, suggested to me, and I ran with the concept. It fitted in beautifully with my book’s title and theme. My readers seem to love the term too. By the way, my Dowry Bags contain one signed copy of my book and a small variety of Indian gift items like spice mixes, a pashmina shawl, tea samplers, etc.
Do you sell through a website?
No. Traditional bookstores and standard on-line booksellers are the only way the book is being sold.
Do you plan on writing additional books?
Yes. I have a two-book contract with my publisher, so I’m rolling around some ideas for the second book with my editor.
Thank you for inviting me as a guest on your blog. It’s been a lot of fun chatting with you.
Interview Presented by
Nikki Leigh – Author of Book Promo 101
Book Promo 101 – Learn the Basics of Book Promotion