Author Interview: Sameer Kamat
I was very curious after reading Business Doctor by Sameer Kamat who nonetheless an Indian writer choose to write an international story. I found my answers, when I got a chance for an email interview with the author. His first book was a non-Fiction named Beyond The MBA Hype is a guide for the student who are looking for an International MBA degree. Here are the excerpts of the interview with the upcoming author Sameer Kamat.
TheBookWorld: Tell us something about your site mbacrystalball.com and your book “Beyond the MBA Hype”. Are these two connected?
Sameer: There are plenty of websites in India focusing on the conventional CAT based MBA programs that accept students with little or no experience. In contrast, applicants to GMAT MBA programs have an average of 4-5 years work experience before starting their MBA. And the other big difference is that the competition for such programs is global.
My website and book focus on international MBA programs that accept GMAT scores as one of the parameters. The admission process also includes other components like MBA essays, recommendations, resumes and interviews.
TheBookWorld: Why did you choose to write an international story for your book Business Doctor when other Indian writer feels safe writing an Indian story?
Sameer: My main job as an admissions consultant gives me enough income to take care of my basic necessities and (so far) I have no intentions of becoming a full-time author. Business Doctors was more of an experiment with very impact on my primary business. So, I thought it would be fun to do something that most Indian authors (concerned about the acceptability of the story in the domestic market) wouldn’t do.
TheBookWorld: How much of your personal experience is poured into while writing the book Business Doctor?
Sameer: Not much, thankfully. The story is too bizarre for that! As a consultant, I have lived and worked across many countries, including USA. So I tapped into some of those memories. For the businesses featured in the book where I did not have any first-hand experience, I did some research.
TheBookWorld: Business Doctor is a very unique title. How the title struck you?
Sameer: Management consulting isn’t a mainstream profession. In fact, many readers (including students) who haven’t spent enough time in the corporate world to cross paths with the species wouldn’t have heard of them. So I was looking for ways to introduce the idea to folks who may not be familiar with it.
In the story, in order to explain the concept to the mafia boss, his wife uses a medical analogy to describe who consultants are and how they can help.
TheBookWorld: Becoming an author was on the cards or it just happened.
Sameer: Just happened. I started writing the first book to share many pitfalls that international students experience when they enthusiastically jump onto the MBA bandwagon without doing enough research.
I thought I’d write a few blog posts and be done with it. But as I began writing, the number of related topics increased and there was enough content to fill a whole book.
TheBookWorld: How was your journey so far as a writer? Was it a rocky journey in getting your first book published?
Sameer: Pretty rocky! It took 5 years for the book to reach bookstores after it was first written. As I keep telling people, writing the book is the easy part. What happens after that, in case you decide to go down the traditional publishing route, needs far more patience and perseverance.
The publishing industry (in India and globally) is extremely competitive. Most writers fail to recognize the business aspects of getting a book published. And there’s no one to tell them how the process works and what they need to do at each stage.
So, I started another blog (sameerkamat.com) where I started sharing tips with other writes who aspire to get published.
TheBookWorld: Now a days to what extent social media plays a role in promoting the books? What strategies did you adopted in promoting your book?
Sameer: I realize how important social media is, when it comes to promoting books. I do have a presence on most of the popular social media sites. But I’ve never consciously built a network on any of the platforms. In fact, many folks who are connected to me have bigger friend lists and followers.
I do have a blog which is fairly popular. So that helps in getting the word out. The target audience for the book and the blog is the same. That helps.
TheBookWorld: What was the most challenging part of writing a book? Have you experienced any Writer’s Block while writing the book.
Sameer: Convincing a credible, mainstream publisher to take on my book was the most challenging part. When you are a first time author with no track record or brand, irrespective of the quality of writing, most publishers would have serious apprehensions. It can be a tiring and frustrating journey.
Writer’s Block is something no writer can avoid. It often strikes without warning. There are different ways authors deal with it. For me, what worked best was to let go. Stop writing and do something else. I did set daily targets to ensure that my overall plan didn’t get side-tracked with these unplanned breaks.
TheBookWorld: While reading your book Business Doctor, I clearly felt humor is one of your strength. Could we expect any humorous book from you. What’s Next? Are you working on any other project?
Sameer: Readers have made that allegation for the first book, and for many of the posts I publish on the blog. The topics I write on are generally serious and dry. A little tongue-in-cheek approach makes it easier to There are no more books in the pipeline at this point of time. Let’s see how Business Doctors does first.
TheBookWorld: What you do to unwind?
Sameer: I am active on several websites and forums (including MBA Crystal Ball). There are tons of folks who need career advice and can’t afford professional mentoring. Whenever I have some free time, I check out the unanswered questions (and there’s never a dearth of them) and try to provide some perspectives.
Some who are shy don’t post their own queries (even anonymously), but they read career related questions posted by others. So I try to keep the responses generic enough to help others who might be facing similar problems.
It’s hugely rewarding to get an email or a private message (on social media) from strangers who say they’ve been following our websites and discussion forums for months and years, and it’s helped them tackle their own problems.