Indie Interview: Geetanjali Mukherjee

Indie Interview: Geetanjali Mukherjee

Copy of APPROACH BOOK BLOGGERS

A few months ago I had the big pleasure to read and review Anyone Can Get An A+: How To Beat Procrastination, Reduce Stress and Improve Your Grades by Geetanjali Mukherjee (Review). As a student myself I was excited especially about the “How to Beat Procrastination” part, and of course about all the newest tecniques applied to neuroscience to reduce stress and reach your full potential.

Ms. Mukherjee is a young self-published author, with six books published and a very promising career. For the Indie Interview she tells us about her work, her audience, cover designing, book marketing and how to overcome the fear of failure.


1. First a little about you. Who is Geetanjali Mukherjee?

Wow, difficult question right off the bat! I am not sure how to answer philosophically, but in practical terms, I am the author of six books of varying lengths, all non­fiction at the moment, hoping to use my love of books and writing to create books that touch readers and in some small way, make their lives a little better. I also have an academic research background, with degrees in law and public policy.

2. Your book “Anyone Can Get An A+: How To Beat Procrastination, Reduce Stress and Improve Your Grades” is a guide meant to help students. What moved you to write a self-­help guide for that audience?

I actually wanted to write a book for students since I was in high school. I was always a good student, but I went through this phase where I really struggled in school. And when I turned that time around, eventually getting the highest grades that year, I wanted to share the lessons I had learnt, especially because I saw many students who did poorly adopt this attitude of “I am just not smart enough”.

The reason I finally sat down and wrote this book last year was because I had been reading a lot of books on how the brain works and how we learn, and I was fascinated by the idea that anyone can learn anything if they approach it in the right way, and inherent “intelligence” or “ability” play a much smaller role than we usually ascribe to it.

3.Cover design can be tough for a lot of authors, and while getting it done by professionals may be the easiest option, it can also be quite expensive. You designed your own cover, what lead you to choose the colours, the font etc…?

Yes, cover design is quite difficult, and I am constantly trying to learn and improve. The current version of the cover is my second major redesign actually. I knew that I wanted a bright color, and somehow I wanted to include yellow in some form from the beginning. Other than that I researched other covers in my genre, tried many different options, and then finally something clicked and I finalized this cover. The advantage of indie publishing of course is that you get to change things, so I might change this again in the future, but for now I am happy with it.

 

4.Do you proofread your own book or do you get someone to do that for you?

I actually have done editing and proofreading professionally, for organizations and also as a freelancer, so I have a fair bit of experience. I am one of those people who read newspapers or books published by major publishers and find all the typos, which then ruins my reading experience! I do most of my proofreading myself, but then I get some family members to read through and point out any errors.

 

5. You have your book ready, now it’s time for marketing. How do you get the attention you need?

I think marketing is an ongoing endeavor, and it is never quite done. My main strategy is to get reviews, and get people to discover the book and the message. I also believe in content marketing, and have recently launched a blog dedicated to the ideas from this book. I have also done several promotions, with different levels of success. Earlier this year my book hit the #1 spot on Amazon for its genre, albeit only for a few days. The book has also been on 7 other bestseller lists on Amazon. However, it doesn’t get any easier, and one month it could be doing well, and the next month nothing happens.

 

6.Social Media for marketing. Does it work for you? Which social is the best?

I heard somewhere that you should pick the social media site that you like and focus on that. I am not sure how helpful that is, but I believe in that. My own favorite isTwitter, mainly because I enjoy it, there are lots of writers on there, and it doesn’t feel so intimidating to me. I don’t really know if it sells books, but it has other advantages. I think Facebook is obviously the big one for everyone, but it can be tricky and I think I have a lot more to learn. I have recently fallen majorly in love with Pinterest, and again, I don’t know if it helps me with my marketing, but it is a way for me to show my personality and share my own interests with others, and hopefully engage genuinely with potential readers.

 

 

7.Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? One is better than no one or are you picky about who you ask to review your work?

Well in some ways I am not very picky, in that anyone who wants to review my work is welcome. But I am choosy about who I reach out to, mainly because I try to focus my energy on asking those who are more inclined to read my type of book. I like reaching out to bloggers mainly because although they are swamped and it can take some time to get a review, they are always thoughtful and comprehensive and I think readers trust book bloggers more than someone who just may be a friend of the author.

I believe in the elbow grease method, and I have reached out to many, many more reviewers than have responded or shown interest, and then a smaller subset of that number have actually written reviews. This is definitely a game for the patient and perseverant. In terms of specifics, I reached out to the top reviewers on Amazon, as well as those on Indieview and The Book Blogger List.

 

8.Back to your book. One of my favourite chapters is called “Adopting the Right Attitude”, where you talk about the importance of developing the right mindset. What’s your inspiration? What keeps you positive?

Thanks, that’s actually my favorite chapter too, because I think it’s the advice I need personally the most. I often think that we write what we need to learn ourselves. Here’s the thing ­ it’s not possible to stay positive all the time, and I have had my share of feeling overwhelmed and defeated at many different junctures. I guess my coping strategy is to have a lot of different ways to inspire and pick myself up, so I try not to wallow in those negative feelings for too long.

I read a lot of self­help and motivation books; I have been reading self­help books since I was 9 or 10 years old, and I love those movies where the team wins the trophy at the end. I love the idea of going from failure to success. I am lucky in that my parents are very supportive, always there to give me a pep talk if I need one. Some of the advice in the book in fact came from things they told me over the years.

My biggest inspiration is my mentor in life, Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, who is a Buddhist, philosopher and educator. He has written a lot about character, and success, and especially given a lot of advice to young people, and I try to follow his advice and share it with others. In fact, I just read this quote this morning: “Simply deciding from the outset that you’re just not good enough, without making any effort, is nothing but escapism. Each of us is different, but we are all alike in that we possess tremendous potential. The truth is, you can do almost anything if you set your mind to it. The worst thing is to lose confidence in yourself and limit your own potential.”

When I feel defeated or negative, I read his guidance ­ there is always something that helps me to look at my problem or challenge in a positive or hopeful manner. That, and my daily practice of Buddhism keeps me positive and inspired.

 

9.A big obstacle ­for both students and writers­ is searching for perfection, or “fear of failure”. How do you ­as a young writer­ overcome that?

This is actually a huge issue for me, and lately I have been really trying to work on this. My need for perfectionism actually permeates every aspect of my life, and is far more insidious than I realize. I don’t have any magic solutions, but there are a few things I try to do to minimize its effects.

Firstly, I use deadlines to ensure that things get done and sent out. Anyone Can Get An A+ was actually on pre­order and I knew there would be real consequences to my not completing it (I was days away from the deadline and still needed to finalize a couple of chapters). I just had to get it done and sent off, and actually the chapters that I had to rush turned out to be my favorite ones.

I also try to remind myself that if I don’t get it done, I won’t be able to move on and work on the next project. Earlier I would just abandon one project and go on to the next shiny one, or if I was feeling stuck just let it sit for months on end (who am I kidding, I still do that sometimes!) But nowadays, more often, I just decide that I will complete this project and put it out there, and so I have to complete it, no matter how much I want to stall. I can be pretty stubborn, so I try to channel my obstinacy towards finishing something and not getting stuck in trying to be perfect.

Finally, I surround myself with inspiration. I go to bookshops and libraries and see the rows of books and try to remind myself that if all these authors could finish their book, so can I. I also listen to podcasts and read blogs of successful authors, who are usually very pragmatic about how they view their work. If nothing works, I read bits from some of my favorite writing books. A combination of the above usually does the trick, at least for that day. And the next day or week or month, I go through the whole cycle again!

 


Bio:

Geetanjali Mukherjee grew up in India, spending her early years in Kolkata, and then attending high school in New Delhi. She attended the University of Warwick, United Kingdom, to read law as an undergraduate. She went on to earn a Masters’ in Public Administration with a concentration in human rights and social justice from Cornell University, USA.

Geetanjali is the author of six books, and currently lives in Singapore. Her latest book Anyone Can Get An A+: How To Beat Procrastination, Reduce Stress and Improve Your Grades is available at all major retailers. In her spare time, she reads as many books as possible, watches romantic mystery movies and tries to avoid cooking.

 


You can find Geetanjali here:

Blog: geetanjalimukherjee.blogspot.com

Twitter: @geetumuk

Facebookfacebook.com/geetumuk

Google+: Geetanjali Mukherjee

Pinterest: @geetumuk

Goodreads: Author’s Page

 


 

Thank you Geetanjali for taking the time to answer these questions and for giving us the chance to enter your creative space! Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

Check out Geetanjali’s book review at Study Struggles: Strategies That Work and College Starter Kit.

 


#indiecorner

#indieinterview

 

The Simple Life Comes At A Cost

The Simple Life Comes At A Cost

My Million Dollar Donkey: The Price I Paid to Live Simply, by Ginny East

Feeling stuck is a sign that it’s time to make a change. And that’s exactly what Ginny and her husband Mark did. One day they both decided to cash in their life and reinvent their world; packing up their three kids and a dog, they said goodbye to a successful dance studio business, and moved to 50 acres of land in northwest Georgia.

41Uo2cNGSVL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

In My Million-Dollar Donkey: The Price I Paid for Wanting to Live Simply, Ginny honestly—with both the optimism of the inexperienced and the wisdom of the exhausted—recounts the four years she and her family gave to their incredibly complex attempt to forge a life that would lead to more poignant and heartfelt relationships with the environment, community and, most importantly, one another. 
Eventually, Ginny and Mark are forced to deal with an even more difficult challenge: will the dream of simple living drive them apart?

Today Ginny is the director of Heartwood Retreat Center and the founder of the Heartwood Writers and Artists collective, a community and school that offers retreats, trainings and writing opportunities for ongoing growth and development of writers. After the divorce she set to the work of reinventing herself, and armed with the lessons of the birds, the bees and her million dollar donkey to guide the way, she dedicated to her own artistic passions, and her strong desire to be of service to others.

There is a lot about My Million Dollar Donkey that I particularly enjoyed:  the   writing style -fluid and engaging- but mostly Ginny’s candor and honesty about her experience. This book is splendid and carries a message so powerful that’s impossible to ignore: Ginny’s story is about love, family, faith and resilience. Because even if sometimes new beginnings can feel like endings and life seldom offers smooth and simple paths -in the end- you don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward and become the best version of yourself.

My Million Dollar Donkey: The Price I Paid For Wanting To Live Simply is the ultimate journey of a woman who wasn’t afraid to try, fail and try again: a wonderful read that I wholeheartedly recommend to anybody.

Follow Ginny’s lovely blog @heartofginny.net


Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)

The Indie Corner

The Indie Corner

The Indie Corner

 

 Welcome to The Indie Corner!

As you may know, The Serial Reader (aka me) is open to receiving Advance Reading Copies and Review Copies of books. Soon after I’ve been listed on The Indie View, I got a huge amount of authors reaching me out asking for a shout-out on major platforms as Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter and every other “book-friendly” websites. As a matter of fact, I am overwhelmed with requests!

To be testimony of such creativity is definitely the best part of being a book blogger! If you are an Indie author, just let me congratulate you! I admire your talent and courage to go after your dream to become a writer!

Now, what’s The Indie Corner?

The indie Corner is a new section here on The Serial Reader where everyone can learn from each other and share their own experience in the publishing world. There will be interviews, tips and tricks and everything else you might want to know about being an independent writer.

I am not a professional reviewer. I am an avid reader and a newbie blogger. I love working with Indie authors, share my thoughts and help them promoting their work in the most effective way, and it is my sincere desire that The Indie Corner can serve as a catalyst to meaningful discussions about the perks of being a writer.

As always, feel free to comment and share your thoughts….and if you are an Indie author I really hope to see you around!

Welcome to The Indie Corner!

#indiecorner

 


The Serial Reader’s  Review Request Policy

Are You A Self-Help Addict?

Are You A Self-Help Addict?

Don’t Get A Job, Live Your Dream, by Scott Haug

Did you know that the self-help represents a $11 billion per year industry in the U.S. alone?

Surprised? Well, don’t be! Self-improvement is the goal of everyone in some ways, we all strive to make tomorrow a little bit better than today; we want to be more productive, more focused, we want the perfect life/job/partner and we are not ashamed of spending up to $500 million  on personal development products every year.

Motivational speakers, inspirational websites, personal coaching, books and seminars.. everything you want. Or need.

I will never get tired of self-help books, I love reading them and becoming inspired by other people stories. Don’t Get a Job, Live Your Dream by Scott Haug is the latest addition to my collection.41d49rY+4BL.jpg

At age 22 Scott -fresh out of college and with a new job- felt trapped. A good job and the new acquired inpependency could’t relieve the huge discomfort he felt everyday after work. No matter how he tried, still the unpleasant feeling made him unhappy. So, one day he decided to quit his job, he found himself a new one and he was finally ready and confident for a fresh start. But after moving his life across the country and settling in a new location, he got a call..the new job was cancelled for budget reasons.

Well, if this is not a major set-back then I don’t know what it is! The impressive thing was Scott’s reaction, he quickly regain his composure and start figuring out the next step. And this book is about how he made it happen.

Don’t Get a Job, Live Your Dream contains 7 important reasons that will help convince you to live the life you truly want to live. Each chapter explains some strategies and useful tips for changing your life:

  1. Be an Inspiration
  2. Create Extraordinary
  3. Live a Life of Meaning
  4. Eliminate Future Regrets
  5. Exercise your Right to be Free
  6. Use the Last of the Human Freedoms
  7. Act on the Only Chance You Have

 

What sold me Scott’s book was its different approach. For once a self-help book which is not promoting to be aggressive, but more self-conscious, understanding that we all have fears, but we also have the courage and the power to overcome them.

If you feel stuck or trapped in a life that doesn’t belongs to you, just step back and listen to your heart…we already have all the answers we need.

 


Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (eBook)

Aside

Millennials: Are You One of Us?

 

9d861ac5027505d5d61fe9eb36448da7One of the best part of becoming a self-proclaimed “book blogger” is when authors and PR people from publishing companies reach you out asking if -by any chance- you’d like to read this or that book and help them spreading the word.

Duh!! I’m a bookworm. Sure I would like to read your new/soon-to-be-published book!!

A week ago, Jack Cahn -a first-time author and college student- offered me to read an advanced copy of When Millennials Rule: The Reshaping of America,  written with his twin brother David.

I knew JaWhen Millennials Ruleck and David Cahn -the Twin Titans of Stuyvesant High School– from the media attention they received in 2013 because of their involvement in school activism, and I am an avid reader of their Huffington Post posts too (read here David’s entries and here Jack’s entries).

Jack and David’s book -which I will review soon- is written by and for a specific demographic cohort called Millennials.

According to all the legitimate sources I have consulted, I am -my birthright- one of them. Yes people, I am a Millennial.

Despite there are no precise dates for when the generation starts and ends; most researchers use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to around 2000.* The credit of naming the Millennials goes to authors William Strauss and Neil Howe, which -in their latest book titled Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation– defined the Millennials as a “civic-minded generation with a strong sense of community both local and global“.

Pretty cool, huh? Sure is, on paper. Here comes the reality check.

o-THE-REAL-ME-GENERATION-facebookAfter further research I found out that Millennials don’t exactly enjoy widespread appreciation, nor consideration among society; lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents, tech junkies and guinea pigs for everything marketing related.

We might be more tech savvy, more entrepreneurial, more tolerant and even more optimistic about the future, but we also are the generation with the highest joblessness and debt out of school.

Statistics show that we are the best educated generation of history but -apparently- our political views don’t make any sense, our ideas are unrealistic and we will never reach higher political positions.

3-Steps-to-Reaching-Millennials-on-Facebook.pngGo figure that!

We are good buyers though. No kidding. In fact, there are a lot of books about how to make us buy even more things:

  • Marketing to Millennials: Reach the largest and most influential Generation of Consumer Ever, by Jeff Fromm and Christie Garton (Book) – (eBook)
  • Your Customer is the star: How to make Millennials, Boomers and Everyone Else Love your Business, by Micah Solomon (Book) – (eBook)
  • Managing the Millennials: Discover the core Competencies for Managing Today’s Workforce, by Chip Espinoza and Mick Ukleja (Book) – (eBook)

Just to name a few. That’s quite sad, isn’t it?

My question to you, brave reader, is: What’s really hiding under the sand? Who’s keeping Millennials out of the big game? Why society doesn’t give Millennials credit? Are Millennials really narcissistic personalities characterized by a damaged sense of self?

When Millennials Rule: The Reshaping of America by Jack and David Cahn is an extraordinary reading that I recommend (pub.date August 2nd, 2016). If words and ideas can change the world, and if “it depends on us, on the choices we make, particularly when big changes are happening and everything seems up for grabs“** than we -Millennials- have a lot of work to do.


 *Source:Wikipedia

** President Obama to the class of 2016 at Rutger University 250th Anniversary Commencement

***This post reflects my personal opinion. I am not sponsored by none of the people mentioned above. The reason why I am  highly, strongly, shamelessy suggesting to buy Jack and David’s book is mostly because I believe in the message that carries. I will never get tired to recommend any writer who is not afraid to share good ideas and knows how to use a perfect consecutio temporum!

****If you don’t know what the consecutio temporum is…get out of here!! Kidding, just google it!

Grit Will Make You a Winner

Grit Will Make You a Winner

Grit. The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth

Everyone is striving for success. We want the best. We want it all: top education, good job, family, friends and lots of money. We have goals. But, unfortunately, being goals oriented and ambitiousUnknown-1 doesn’t equip us to deal with the reality that sometimes -despite one’s efforts- things don’t work out as planned.

Suddenly we are stuck, lost. We try, but we fail. What happens is that we have to make a choice: keep going or just quit.

In this must-read book, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows parents, educators, athletes, students, and business people that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a focused persistence called “grit.”

To be gritty is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. To be gritty is to invest days/weeks/years in challenging practice. To be gritty is fall down seven times, and rise eight.

This book has been about the unique power of grit, because what we accomplish in life mostly depends on our passion and perseverance. Grit will make you a winner.


Get your copy now. On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)

Here and Now

Here and Now

The Here-and-Now Habit. How Mindfulness Can Help You Break Unhealthy Habits Once and for All ,by Hugh G. Byrne.

Is it me or the Self-Help Section in my bookstore is growing bigger and bigger? The latest trend happens to be called “The Mindfulness Technique“, what it really is I’cover82589-medium.pngm not sure yet, but one thing I know is that it promises to help you breaking all those bad habits that ruin your health and happiness while keeping you away from reaching your goals.

Being able to cultivate mindfulness to calm and focus your mind, clarify your intentions and let go of old patterns sounds appealing, but is it also doable on a daily basis?

My answer is yes. In The Here-and-Now Habit, mindfulness expert Hugh Byrne provides simple but powerful practices based in mindfulness and neuroscience to help you rewire your brain and finally start living in the here and now just learning to pay attention to your own thoughts.

Discover how to let go of what holds you back, create new healthy habits and start living your life Here and Now.


Get your copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (Ebook)

Aside

TGIF and New Books for Spring /Summer

The Most Anticipated Books of Spring / Summer 2016

Spring sprung and the literary scene is ready to pop! I have selected some of the most interesting books that will be soon available! Make a list of your favourites and be ready to read!

 

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Untitled design-9China’s Economy. What Everyone Needs to Know – Arthur R. Kroeber  – (Apr.1)

Maker and Takers. The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business. – Rana Foroohar – (May 17)

Who Cookd Adam Smith’s Dinner? A Story About Women and Economy. – Katrine Marcal – (June 6)

 

HORROR

Untitled design-4

End of Watch. – Stephen King – (June 7)

My Best Friend’s Exorcism. – Grady Handrix – (May 17)

Something Wicked. A Ghost Hunter Explores Negative Spirits. – Debi Chestnut – (July 8)

 

BIOGRAPHIES & MEMOIRS

FICTION

Untitled design-10Double Cup Love. On the Trail of Family, Food, and Broken Hearts in China. – Eddie
Huang –  (May 31)

Here Comes the Sun. A Novel. – Nicole Dennis-Benn – (July 19)

Zero K. – Don Delillo – (May 3)

YOUNG ADULTS

Untitled design-8One Paris Summer. – Denise Grover Swank – (June 7)

Scarlet Epstein Haters it Here. – Anna Breslaw – (Apr.19)

Defender. – Graham McNamee – (Apr.12)

Books of the Week

Books of the Week

CaféLatte

 

Happy Sunday Everybody,

has been an interesting week at The Serial Readers Book Club on Goodreads, new members (we’re now 102) and new books to discuss together for the big challenge “Reader of the Month“, check that out.. the contest is open worldwide!

Thank you so much to each and every new subscriber!

This week my books list has been quite short: I’m enthusiast about Zach’s new book If at Birth You Don’t Succeed, which I will never stop to recommend. Brilliant, funny and inspiring.

Speaking of funny stuff, Samantha Jayn and her Quarter Life Poetry  nailed it. If you’re not familiar with her Instagram or Tumblr account, you’re definitely missing some fun.

In the TGIF post, which will soon become a regular, I announced my epic reading for the week end: Outlander. I suspect it will take a while to finish this book.

What about your Books of the Week? As always, feel free to write a comment and share with us what you’re reading!

Till next time, happy reading!

Life Lesson from Zach

Life Lesson from Zach

If at Birth You Don’t Succeed: My Adventures with Disaster and Destiny, by Zach Anner

Zach Anner is a comedian, actor and writer who gained world-wide attention with the submission of a video to Oprah’s “Search for the Next TV Star” competition, thanks to that he won his own TV show called Rollin’ With Zach, a wheelchair travel show filmed throughcover82372-medium.png the States and aired on OWN TV in 2011.

Zach’s has a YouTube channel, where he posts regularly, with over 290 thousands subscribers and over 13 million total views.  His projects include a travel show Riding Shotgun, a workout show Workout Wednesday and a show in collaboration with SoulPancake titled Have a little faith, in which he explores the basic of several religions that have a foothold in the United States.

If at Birth You Don’t Succeed is a hilariously irreverent and heartfelt memoir about finding your passion and your path even when it’s paved with epic misadventure.

Zach Anner is out of any doubt a talented comedian and an excellent writer, this book is about an intelligent and sagacious man who has the nuts to live life.

Splendid. Do yourself a favour and read this book. I promise you won’t stop laughing!!


Get your copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (Ebook)