Sunday 4 July 2021

Questionnaire with Meena Mishra

 So this month's featured author is  ' Meena Mishra'

Can you tell us a little about yourself? Your profession and your hobbies!!

Meena Mishra is an award-winning author, poet, short-story writer, social worker, novelist, editor, educator and publisher. The Impish Lass Publishing House is her brainchild. Her poems, stories and book reviews have been published in many international journals and magazines. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards. She is an active member of the Mumbai English Educators’ Team and was invited by the Education Department of Maharashtra to be a part of The Review Committee for the new English textbook. She has been working as the International Coordinator for British Council activities for more than 10 years.  She has been invited as a judge for several literary competitions and lit fests including the Lit fest of IIT Bombay and NM college fest. Her poems are published in many magazines, including the prestigious periodical Woman’s Era. She has been a contributing author and poet for more than 100 books. Her books include- The Impish Lass, Emociones Infinitas, Within The Cocoon of Love and The Impish Lass Book 2. . Her poems have been translated and  published in Spanish magazine. His latest book – The Impish Lass-  Book 2 ( TIL Stories and More) has received raving reviews from the readers including the greatest Indian Nuclear Scientist Dr R. Chidambaram. It has received 5 stars rating on Amazon.    Her contribution to the field of education and writing has received acclamation from esteemed newspapers like Times of India and Mid Day. Her articles are published in Times of India’s NIE and a suburban newspaper and leading educational magazine of the country- Brainfeed Higher Education Plus. She was invited to share her views by Sony TV for their first episode of, Zindagi Ke Crossroads, based on the needs of special children.  She was recently invited by the “AajTak” news channel to express her views on the special episode on the PMC Bank scam victims. She has received many awards in 2020-21 for her contribution to the field of education and literature. Some of them are
•  Vishwa Shikshavid Samman -2020
•  Appreciation Certificate for Support for Covid 19  challenges in education by     Government of Maharashtra – Regional Academic Authority Mumbai.
• Pathbreaker of the Year Award-  by Harper Collins.
• Acharya Chanakya Shikshavid Samman -2020 for valuable contribution to empowering the society.
• Nation Builder Award.
• Super -30 Teacher nomination by IB Hub.
• ‘Most Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award,’ during World Education Summit in Feb-2021.
• Winner of Womennovator Award and  1000 Women of Asia Award, given in association with Ministry of Electronics and Information technology ( Government of India ). Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises ( Government of India ) and Agni Invest India.
• She has recently been nominated for the 2021 ELTons Outstanding Achievement Award by the British Council.

Questionnaire with Meena Mishra

1.       How did you first get involved in writing, are you an imaginative person?
Meet Ms Meena Mishra, the author who sold 1k copies of her latest book ‘The Impish Lass- Book 2 ‘  without spending a penny on any sales, promotion or advertisement,  in less than 2 months, in this pandemic.
2.       What is more challenging – writing a book successfully or selling it?
Writing a book is easier than selling it. You have control over your writing but you have no control over the sales of the book. If you have lots of money to spend on marketing and advertisement, the visibility of your book helps you reach out to the readers. If you are already famous with a big sales record you don’t have to put in efforts for these things but if you are a beginner like me who is beginning from the scratch with no support from any big name in the industry, it’s very difficult to sell your book.
3.       Your book has got 5-star ratings on and kindle apart from receiving raving reviews from the readers including the greatest nuclear scientist of this country Padma Vibhushan Dr. R. Chidambaram. How are you feeling as an author?
I am glad ‘The Impish Lass- Part 2’ has been well received by the readers. Actually, at the end of the day, you feel delighted as an author if your readers value and appreciate your efforts. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who have been a part of my editing team. ( The participants of the ‘Be an Editor for a Day,’ contest, Yutika Bhansali for handling this contest. Core editing and proofreading team - Praniti Gulyani, Ishani Behari, Kirthika Jayakumar, Sheila Bhattacharya, Shruti Bhardwaj, Anamika Kundu and Aparna Bhat for editing and proofreading all the stories at least 5 times. I am so very grateful to my self-motivated team. Of course, I would like to express my infinite gratitude towards Dr R. Chidambaram for being kind enough to accept my invitation of writing the foreword for this book. The official letter sent by him is like ‘Bharat Ratna’ for me. Something I would like to treasure for a lifetime.
4.       How did you manage to sell 1000 copies within two months in this pandemic and lockdown without any marketing or advertisement?
I do have my personal contacts that include my friends, colleagues, poets, writers, editors, relatives and ex-students. I received an overwhelming response from all of them. I would send them personal messages asking them to support me by buying my book and they would oblige me. There have been writers and friends who were either hospitalized or quarantined due to Covid, still, they bought my book to show their love and support towards me. My friends from Mumbai English Educators’ Team and Asian Literary Society also came forward to support me despite their personal struggles. My colleagues who had never ever read a story or poem of mine before, also came forward to support me wholeheartedly. I am so very grateful to each one of them.
5.  Is it right that you discouraged the readers to buy the book from different online platforms and encouraged them to buy directly from the publishing house? Don’t you think it would have added to your book coming up in the ranking of bestsellers?

Yes, I did. I am not only an author but the CEO of The Impish Lass Publishing House too. Why should I encourage people to buy from online platforms?  I don’t believe in this bestseller ranking and all. For me, It reached my readers and they could resonate with the stories, nothing else is more important than that.
6.  Which is your favourite story in this book?
‘How I Spent My First Earning ‘ is my personal favourite as it portrays my love towards my mother.
7. Who inspires you to write?
I have been living in an imaginary world with my secret muse. It’s my world where there is love, fancy, imagination, drama and much more. Whenever I am happy, sad, mad, upset, I share my feelings with him. He is a patient listener and always gives me the right suggestions. Whenever I write something, first of all, I seek his opinion on it and then proceed further. The last chapter of this book, ‘A Letter to My Muse,’ is dedicated to him.
8.       What would be your next step after this? I mean any other book in line?
I would like to rework my novel ‘Within the Cocoon of Love,’ co-authored by Vishwas Vaidya, a poet cum scientist from Pune.
9.       What is your message for the budding writers?
Don’t consider your first draft as your final draft. Work and re-work upon it. Get it edited, re-edited and proofread before your work goes for final printing. Be patient. There’s no shortcut to success. You never know whether your book would get buyers or not. Have faith in your skills and keep on honing them.