Karan Bajaj tells us How To Market Your Book. Karan is a #1 bestselling Indian novelist with more than 200,000 copies of his novels in print, both optioned into major films. Karan’s first worldwide novel, The Yoga of Max’s Discontent, will be be published by Random House on May 3rd 2016. The book, called “The greatest adventure of our Generation” by The Daily Telegraph was inspired by Karan’s one year sabbatical traveling from Europe to India by road and learning yoga and meditation in the Himalayas.
This is part I of the interview with Karan Bajaj, who is a bestselling author, a marketing professional and as he puts it- an aspiring Yogi.
Quote by Karan Bajaj “ The more obscure your ideas, the bigger, the riskier they are, the more they will get rejected.”
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Discussion: How To Market Your Book
- Karan follows a 4-1-4 Rule (working for 4 years in Corporate role, taking a sabbatical for 1 year and working in Corporate role for 1 year) . During his year off, Karan takes a break from Schedules, Corporate life, and travels to remote places.
- Karan grew up in Shimla. His father was in the Indian Army, After completing his engineering and business school in India, his corporate career took him to places as far as as the Philippines and now New York.
- Karan is the third alumnus of IIM Bangalore who has appeared as a guest on MyKitaab Podcast. (Vikrant Pande and Apurva Purohit are past guests).
- MBAs turning into authors is a trend very prevalent in India, but Karan has not encountered authors who are MBAs in the New York/Brooklyn writing community.
- Karan is the Chief Marketing Officer of a startup in addition to his writing, he is also the father of a 18 month old and a 1 month old. He is very disciplined in his time management, during the 4 years when he is working. He believes that the one year off that he takes every 4 years helps him manage his time effectively.
- Karan’s wife is also a writer. She is a nutritionist and her writing is in the health space.
- He believes that his Dharma is to market products, every time he has tried to monetize his creation, he has not been successful.
- Kaarn’s debut novel was titled Keep Off The Grass, in India many people where thrown off by the title. The titles for all of his books have been finalized before he wrote the novels.
- Karan’s writing reflects the phase of life that he is in. His three novels have the them of “Man on a Quest.” He has turned 35 years old, and now he believes that the “Man on a Quest” phase of his life is over.
- All of Karan’s novels have done very well in a market where only 1 or 2 percent of books do well in terms of sales. Most bestselling authors write in specific genres and have captive audiences. Karan has written across genres, but he believes that the key to his success is that he has marketed his books well.
- Johnny Gone Down and The Seeker are his follow up novels. Johnny Gone Down is like Forrest Gump of India- extraordinary story of an ordinary man. The Seeker is a spiritual quest that is a page turning thriller.
- All of Karan’s books have been traditionally published. Keep Off The Grass was sent to Harper Collins, Penguin and Rupa, and all three publishers accepted the manuscript. The sales of the subsequent novels benefited from the success of his debut novel.
- Karan was rejected by nearly 60 literary agents in the US for Yoga of Max’s Discontent.
- Karan’s agent is CAA Literary Agency. Karan believes that is is more important in the US market to get an agent compared to finding a publishing agent. It took him 6 months to find a literary agent, and once he found one, it took him 6 weeks to get three offers.We discuss how Karan worked on How to Market Your Book.
- Kaaran believes that “Your goal in the US is to get the best possible agent, because they will open the doors for you.” The rest of the effort goes into Market Your Book.
- Karan Bajaj notes that he is doing 100% of the marketing but he will earn only 10% as the royalty. That is the limitation of the traditional publishing model. But Karan would prefer to get his book published traditionally, because of the quality of the editing. (Chiki Sarkar and Jake Morissey have been Karan’s editors.)
- Note: Startups like the marketplace Reedsy have freelance editors who are at par if not better than editors with traditional publishing houses. Ricardo Fayet, the Co-Founder of Reedsy, is a past guest on MyKitaab Podacst (www.mykitaab.in/ricardo)
- Karan believes that on a purely financial basis, self publishing is the better model.
- His books have been optioned by Hollywood producers. Manmohan Shetty and UTV from India have also made offers to Karan for his books.
Links and References
- Karan’s Post on How to sell 200,000 print copies in India
- Amar’s Blog Post: What Will Get Your Fiction Novel Published in India
- Karan’s New York Times Article on his book writing journey
Ways to Contact Karan Bajaj