Why did you take the route of becoming an entrepreneur?
There was no plan initially to become an entrepreneur. I was young and naive enough to believe that my dreams could become a reality someday. Thats all! It gave me the initial push to make a move. As and when my lifes journey moved forward & I became more confident about my choices I embraced the opportunities that came my way & gave my 100% to it. I eventually started enjoying the bumpy road & hustling became a part of my life. I never set out to be an entrepreneur, I was following my inner calling, while on the journey, I eventually became one!
When and why did you gravitate towards writing?
My debut novel, On The Open Road – Three Lives. Five Cities. One Startup happened during my stint at a major corporate. I was sipping a Cappuccino and wondering about my next career move. I was making money – a lot of it – but somehow felt empty inside. My heart would tell me to pursue my long lost dream of becoming a storyteller whereas my mind would warn me about the risk and its consequences. Finally, I gave in to my heart and set out on an expedition around India and Europe. I met travellers, entrepreneurs, investors, saints, artists who inspired me to the core and gave a direction to my life. I hope to inspire the youth with my story – to break free, to make difficult choices, to follow their dreams, to never give up & to discover their true self!
You went the KDP(Kindle Direct Publishing) route initially. Please share your experiences while trying to publish your book.
When I finally completed the book, I felt victorious. I thought that the most significant hurdle had been crossed until I started writing to publishers and never really heard back from any of them. My heart shattered into pieces like a glass, literally. Then, I learned about Kindle Direct Publishing through the Pen To Publish Contest. It was a chance to be heard. It was a chance to reach out to the readers. I participated and was overwhelmed by the reviews my book garnered. Positive reviews started pouring in, and my heart was back to its original shape. Perhaps, stronger than the previous one!
You have mentioned online that the book draws greatly from your own experiences. Is it tough to decide what to share and what not to with your readers?
Yes, thats true. It draws hugely from my experiences, especially when I quit my job & decide to take the plunge. I do relate to Myra the most as Myras journey is much like my own. Characters, ordinary or larger than life, relatable or aspirational, are the most crucial part of the story. Readers experience various emotions through the journey of the characters.
All the characters are based on people that I have met and therefore are relatable. I am an extrovert by nature. I have always told stories, so I guess in my case it was not that difficult. With Fiction, you still have the choice to under-report in the narrative or otherwise. But I try to capture the realism with words to the extent that I can.
What are the pros and cons of self-publishing?
Pros: You have direct control over the entire process. You can reach to the readers sooner than through the traditional publishing route.
Cons: You have to be a marketing wizard. People judge a book by its cover before the content. Being associated with a brand does give you leverage.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out as a writer or an entrepreneur, what would it be?
A message that I would like to give to everyone is, dont let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. A lot of us have a misconception that to pursue our ideas, to startup companies, we need to be super rich, or blessed. Its absolute nonsense. I come from a middle-class family, and yes, it is hard to convince your parents at times, but in the end, nothing is impossible. It can all happen. Just believe in yourself and your dreams. Work hard. Work every day. Enjoy the journey! Hustle.
About the interviewee: In 2016, at twenty-three, Stuti Changlepacked a rucksack and left Mumbai, in search of her true self. She met people with extraordinary stories – the travelers, the entrepreneurs, the artists, the visionaries and the saints, who inspired her to the core and gave a new direction to her life. On the Open Road draws inspiration from her real-life experiences and she wishes to inspire her readers to follow their dreams.