COMPASS LIMELIGHT - KIREN RAI Author - Sacred Indian Tarot, Cupidity Ping Me Love
An author, an art curator, a xenophile, yet a lover of all things mythological and spiritual, author Kiren Rai elaborates on her journey, as an author, and how one can stay relevant in the ever-dynamic world of writing and content creation.
Expressing oneself, be it through words, melodies, colours, notes, thoughts, or rhythms, is an art only a handful of us are blessed with. Author of The Sacred Indian Tarot, Cupidity Ping Me Love, Kiren Rai, spoke to us about carving a niche for yourself in the wide realm and space of writing, and a few home truths no one dares tell about the field.
Having an M.Phil in English literature, Kiren’s career looks like a vibrant graph, with her having worked as a lecturer, to working for an Ad agency, a PR company and to heading the communication cell, for the Ministry of External Affairs, in New Delhi.
“Authoring came along much later in my career. I had already been writing and curating content for a while, given my experience in advertising and PR. Post that, I was heading the content team for a large dot com, with close to 25 vertices, which required me to edit and rewrite large tracts of content, along with training and monitoring a content team of over 50. Authoring came out of this all-consuming desire to express, to write for the self, which is one of the most important attributes, for anyone looking to venture out as an author. All authors need to have a story and a burning desire to share it with the world .”
Prospects in Writing
Branching out in the world of writing can be incredibly daunting, with freshers feeling lost regarding what to pursue and how to get themselves to enter in the field. However, there are a plethora of options to choose from, carefully assessing between what those options entail, and the end goal of where you want to reach and what you want to derive out of it.
Traditionally, you could work for a publishing house, which would give a certain degree of exposure to the field of writing and would provide you with some clarity regarding the field.
Another area to branch into for aspiring writers and content creators can be public relations and brand management for a corporate company, which would essentially entail managing the public image of the company and expressing what the company does in terms of defining its goals and agendas.
Advertising is another arena to look at while considering prospects in content creating, which would include aspects of creating and managing campaigns and the company’s communications.
A degree holder in English Literature could also consider prospects in mass communication and journalism, which can also be extended to writing scripts for advertisements, televisions and theatre companies.
The opportunities and possibilities in this field are endless since one doesn’t necessarily need to hold a degree in language to be able to write, it’s the love of writing and reading, and a natural flair of expressing oneself, which is required.
Emerging Trends in Writing - Freelancing?
There is a trend of freelance writing which is taking over the writing space, and according to Kiren, is here to stay. There are a multitude of websites where you could register and upload your resumes and be contacted by corporate companies or publishing houses, for whom you could freelance on a project, or as a ghostwriter, which is essentially you writing for someone who has a story to share but might not have the time or the skills to share it.
When asked about creating a niche for oneself in terms of genre and writing style, Kiren believes in experimenting and identifying what works for you, and what you resonate with the most. “An actor plays multiple roles, embodying varying personalities, before figuring out what genre he/she is really good at. Looking back at the books I've authored, I’d say my niche should have been Indian mythology and spirituality, but having said that one needs to experiment with one's creativity before you can find that one niche you resonate completely with.”
The Road Forward
The way the current scenario in writing is coupled with its ever-changing dynamics, just being good with articulating your thoughts into words with frilly vocabulary won't suffice, it never has. In order to stay relevant, one has to be authentic, unique and purely organic in their content.
“There are contemporaries in writing, such as Amish Tripathi and Savi Sharma, who have realised their powers as marketers and consumers, conjoined with their powers as writers, in order to target their readers and sell, to make big bucks and an even bigger name for themselves.”
What they don't tell you
“The pressures faced, especially by first-time authors, are unparalleled, with publishers that don’t respond and agents that eat up their royalties. The biggest mistake one can make in this journey is to lose their work to publishers who take away the biggest cut, since first-timers are hesitant towards self-publishing as an option. The work can get lonely and not as rewarding for first-timers. However, a little smartness and a lot of pure talent and love for writing is what that would keep you going. Finding a good literary agent who can get you through the publishing and marketing stage of the product, and leveraging through their contacts, knowledge and expertise in the field can be a game-changer. As a content creator in today’s world, one has to know the future of content creation, which is being taken over by audiobooks and podcasts, requiring you to be flexible with the skills you have and can leverage from.”
The Holy Grail of Content Creation
“Once your content is pure and authentic, it will be read and celebrated. Your readers are your biggest critics and they will not be forgiving. However, the thing about authoring which makes me want to write more is waking up to emails sent from different corners of the world appreciating what I had to say about something which fuels my passion, making all the earlier pressures worth it. Derive this from the ones sharing a similar passion to fuel their journey, be it by networking through literary festivals or being a part of Facebook groups and writers’ blogs. It will be a rocky road, but pursuing what you believe in and building a community on the foundation of the same is what the journey is all about.”