Interview With Author Vinod Desai

Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

My name is Vinod Desai. I live a prudent life, know how to invest well, and am an author of multiple books in the area of investing and personal finances. My most recent book called ‘Grownups Are Just Kids With Money’ makes this otherwise intimidating topic accessible to everyone. It’s highly rated both on Amazon and Goodreads. Mid of last year, I signed a publishing deal for my next book, and that comes out July 2019.

My USP comes from the fact that I educate by staying out of the commission riddled financial system. This helps me remain ruthlessly impartial and unbiased.

What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?

The story is of my own, but one that I saw being repeated all around me. When I started my investing journey in 2004, I realized how scattered or dense the information was.

In the words of Albert Einstein, “Too little a knowledge is dangerous. But so is a lot.”

I decided to write my books with the intention of bringing together all this scattered yet highly useful knowledge. The knowledge which every working adult needs to know to protect and grow money, to avoid becoming a victim of mis-selling and to live a financially rewarding life.

What inspires/inspired your creativity?

It was sparked after seeing the dearth of good resources and good educators in the field. The financial system, like everywhere around the world was riddled with agents and middlemen who worked on commissions. And true unbiased, impartial knowledge was really hard to come by. This led to me making several expensive mistakes of my own. After realizing how I could get out them, the drive to educate others around me, is what sparked the creative process.

How do you deal with creative block?

It’s easier for non-fiction authors to deal with a creative block, since the subject matter and the content is already known. You know what needs to be communicated, so you cover the topics one by one, ensuring all the knowledge is passed on. Writing a non-fiction book is a much more intensive writing process compared to a fiction work, which has high levels of both creativity and intensive writing involved.

Having just started on a fiction book, here are some things which have helped me time and time again to overcome creative blocks.

Having just started on a fiction book, here are some things which have helped me time and time again to overcome creative blocks.

     1. Forget about the book and do something random.

          a. Cook, watch a movie, spend time with friends. The mind of a creatively inclined individual never really switches off and the cure for creative block can appear out of nowhere.

     2. Finalize the plot line for an extended period before beginning the writing process.

          a. It is true that while penning a fiction title, new characters and plot twists get conjured out of nowhere. But having a compelling plot line from the start ensures you have a clear beginning, a middle and an end. And since the plotline is easier to redo than a full manuscript, you spend far less time in edits. So the creative block occurs and limits itself to only a couple of thousand sentences. Once you have a clearly defined plotline, creative blocks though not disappearing, can become far less taxing.

     3. Read other books – even ones that aren’t related.

          a. The key is not to get vexed about a block, but to acknowledge it as an important aspect of a creative process. It helps you refine your characters, plotlines and even your writing. You get the most thinking done when you have a creative block, since it forces you to take a break from writing.

What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

Though plenty could be listed, the most important to me is the mistake of writing a book for the sake of having a book. If the book needs to sell, you need to write something which creates value. It must be a book which you too would want to read. You could argue that you write because it’s the writing itself that drives you. But to make a career out of it, you need the encouragement from your readers. Writing becomes far more rewarding, when you know that the reader is looking forward to your next work.

Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

  • Pick a title which would want a reader to pick your book up, even if he/she is casually browsing the aisles of a book shop, or scrolling through Amazon.
  • Don’t be afraid to question the convention. Single word titles are a rage nowadays, but it’s not necessary that that style would fit you.
  • Throw in humor, be proud and unapologetic.
  • When it comes to the cover, less is more. Don’t clutter the vision with a highly detailed graphic, no matter how relevant and fitting it is.

How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

  • As a first step, I have a tendency to immediately read a critical reviewer’s other reviews. Because it helps create a base line of the reviewer’s intent. If he/she has been equally critical of a lot of other works, it doesn’t tend to affect me much.
  • When I do come across a bad review which is genuine, I use it as a chance to make amends. May be the title set the wrong expectations, perhaps the book’s intent wasn’t clear enough. So when the book goes for reprint, I use the negative feedback to shape the messaging.

How has your creation process improved over time?

I think the biggest change has occurred in the way I put together the book – whether its fiction or non-fiction. The emphasis on a flow is far greater. I often move and delete entire chapters to ensure a good flow. You need to take the reader on a well-guided journey, and not through a medley of randomly strewn concepts.

What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

  • For good writing to come out, you’ll need to isolate yourself for extended periods. The more the noise in our life, more is the clutter in the thought process, and that immediately shows up in your writing. So if you are planning to write a book part-time, it may be really hard to make it work.
  • The worst thing is probably negotiating the contract with the publisher. You could be over-estimating your work’s potential or vice-versa. Royalties, rights on different media formats, perpetuity and exit clauses are all matters of far reaching consequences and you are better off hiring a knowledgeable IP/publishing lawyer to ensure the contract isn’t too skewed.

Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

  • I’m a fountain of useless and useful trivia.
  • I still drive my twelve year old car from 2007.
  • When I buy clothes, I buy them in pairs of three – all of which are identical.
  • I’m a polymath of sorts, and tend to derive joy from learning new skills.


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