This week on the Writer’s Way podcast, Laurie talks to award-winning author Navnish Khera!
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Find Navnish HERE on her website!
Laurie: Hello writers. Welcome back to The Writer’s Way podcast. I’m Laurie, the host here, with the wonderful Navish. Thank you so much for joining me. I love your sweater color, my shirt, it’s kind of know.
Navnish: We’re matching!
Laurie: It’s that colour that you’re never really sure if you like it on yourself or not, but I love it on other people, so thank you for coming on with me.
Navnish: Thank you, Laurie.
Laurie: You’re welcome. Let’s start with just tell people who you are and what you write. You’ve written quite a few but two children’s books, so just tell us about all of it and how you got started.
Navnish: So I started with the books in 2018, uh, I published my first children’s book in 2018 January. Uh, it was the ebook first.
And, with my background, I was a teacher. I have a bachelor’s in science and then education, master’s in education. So I have been teaching for more than a decade now. I’ve worked with develop developmentally delayed kids. And ADHD. So like every kind of fee, every kind of student, like from elementary to intermediate. So basically seventh, eighth graders, and then a third, fourth graders as well. So when I, like one fine day, me and my daughter, we were at home, sitting. Free during the summer holidays and, uh, uh, I used to tell her stories. She loved reading books, even the picture books, even when she was not able to read them, she used to point them out, okay, read it to me and all that.
So we were doing that and I started with a story and she started butting in and she had, she has such a wonderful imagination. She gives me so many ideas. I mean, every, every kid has that. Like all the authors, we can relate to it, right?
Navnish: So, so the moment she started doing that, I wrote it down. I think I had written three stories that day. Well, whatever she told me, I just kept writing, writing, writing, and I
said, okay, we will make it into a book now, because I also have a background in animation and visual effects. I did a diploma back in India. So, uh, I was more into designing graphic designing.
So I said, why not start, you know, using my skills. And try making it into a book. And I used to like draw online and everything on the software. So, uh, I started with the cover first with the first book “Being Helpful”. I started with the cover. I talked to one of my friends back in
India and I say, they want this, this, this thing.
And when I got the results, I was like, I showed it to my husband. And I said, Oh, I kind of like it and I want to, you know, go for it because that’s what I, I am comfortable doing. So that’s when the first book was like born.
Laurie: I’m glad your daughter inspired you.
Navnish: Yay. I think she like she has been the biggest inspiration and apart from that my dad, he has already written two books and I was very inclined towards writing because I was a, I used to write down my thoughts in my diary. When I was really young kid in school, college. I used to write down my thoughts. I used to be a little creative and all that, but it never occurred at that time that I would go in for a
publishing thing. So this moment on when my daughter started doing this, I said, well, you know, doing books.
And then I started this searching for publishers and every, everybody, like literary agents. So what happened was I searched and I found that independent publishing is a thing and so that’s when Bird Ink Publishing came to be
Laurie: And so did you compare, like you compared the path of finding the agent and going traditionally published and you preferred independent publishing. Is there a specific reason you want to share or?
Navnish: Yeah, because I have more independence here. I have, I can put my creative brains into it and I can do whatever I want to, and then when I started doing this. I also started with, uh, uh, worksheets for kids. It was basically the handwriting worksheets first, because when I was teaching here, the third and fourth graders, I saw that they, they do not even
know how to hold a pencil and they have like very poor handwriting.
And these days it’s almost eliminated in the school. So I just wanted, I just, I just wanted to, you know, share that. Handwriting is a paving way because you know, when you, you hold the pencil, you write it, so you have another, um, sense. Um, that’s working with your brain.
And. That’s creates. That creates a, you know, neurological pathway for kids. Do you know, memorize that better? So that was my, my, um, reason for starting. And then I also started letter practice and a few of dyslexia worksheets. I’ve not published them, but they are available on my website as a PDF.
Laurie: Oh, okay.
Navnish: I’ll show you one of them.
Laurie: Oh, nice.
Navnish: Yeah. This is the writing, and then, then I made a few like activity, dyslexia sheets.
Laurie: Oh, okay. Yeah, the p’s and d’s
Navnish: So after that, uh, there is this book that’s coming up, “Being calm”,
Laurie: “Being Calm”. It’s lovely.
Navnish: Yes. So this is Flutter Pie, and I loved creating this character with my daughter because she was the one who named her Flutter Pie
Laurie: Flutter pie? That’s cute. That’s really cute.
Navnish: Yeah. And this, this book came, um. Uh, on Kindle the last month, but I’ve not published the paper backing, yet revisions, additions and all that, so this is the prototype .
Laurie: Oh, it’s lovely. So now do you do the illustrations? Or you said you had a friend in India, so do you work together on that?
Navnish: Yeah, no, I don’t do illustrations at all because it’s, it’s a big task. Takes like months to do that. And I prefer, I prefer doing the writing part. First the story, like, we elaborate on the story. Me and my daughter, she, we sit together. We do, um. Like we do revisions on what we have the idea of, we have the con, we conceptualize everything.
Then I do the first editing myself, and then I this for this book, obviously I sent it to another editor, Bobby. You might be aware of Bobby Hinman and she, she loved the book too. She, she said it’s a cute one. So then after that, illustrations are done from. Somebody in India.
Laurie: Oh, okay. Gotcha. You had written also that you did a handbook for entrepreneurs, so when did you do that?
Navnish: So this, this book, this is “The Handbook to Entrepreneurship”, and this is a joint venture of 21 experts.
Laurie: Oh, okay. Cool.
Navnish: Yeah. So this, this book, I got an award for this book for my contribution to this book. It’s called the Woman’s Entrepreneur Award.
Laurie: Oh, that’s pretty,
Navnish: Yeah. So this was my chapter in the book was basically related to why a morning routine is important to excel, you know, for everyone, not only entrepreneurs, but for kids.
Laurie: Ha ha, It’s one of those things. I am not a morning person.
Navnish: So it’s just the morning routine. It’s not like if you’re getting up at five in the morning or seven in the morning, you still have to have a routine, right.
Laurie: Oh, yes. Yeah. I can wake up at 9 and still have.
Navnish: It’s basically like, uh, you, you make a list at night. What are your intentions? Are you set those intentions at night before going to bed and in the morning. How you, you know, work on those lists that you have already made at night and what are the things that you will be working on for whole days? So that’s basically the chapter.
Laurie: Oh, okay. Well, okay. So maybe I’ll try. You’ve motivated me. I’ll get back. I used to, I used to be better. It’s hard to maintain that or for me anyway, so. Okay.
Can we talk about your process a little bit? So was there anything that you found easy about the process that you maybe weren’t expecting? Like surprisingly easy.
Navnish: Okay. So the, the part that was related to me writing the book, getting the illustrations, like preparing the ebook, that was easy.
And when I got the first book, I got that printed in hardcover and that was like a tedious thing to do it. It got my finances and everything like my energy, like it was running. And calling the printers and all. So it was a hard part printing the book. For the second book. Um, and it took a while because I was looking more elaborate, elaborately on the concept.
This book is, it’s yoga about yoga, but it did not how to do yoga. It’s like, why we should, you know, do yoga. Like, why the kids should be, uh, you know, made to learn this. Even, even they, if they do it for 15 minutes or so, there’s, there’s, there are huge benefits to this. So it
should be introduced into their life early so that they can, you know, go ahead in the world and, um, um, do they do due diligence and work towards their emotions and stress and everything
Laurie: Yeah. So it would be great. And like a pre kindergarten, kindergarten, grade one classroom, if the teacher had time to. Uh, incorporate that into their daily routine. I’ve worked with teachers, did that, and it made a huge difference for sure. But otherwise at home, I guess so. Good for, um, that grade one, kindergarten grade one age.
Navnish: This book because it has too much of the subject matter plus the illustrations. I think everybody from four and above, everybody from four and above should be like, eventhe, I love reading this.
Laurie: You’re not biased at all. That’s good to know. That’s good. I get sick of reading mine, so I think it’s good if you still like reading it. So you found, pardon me, you found. Printing and hardcover to be difficult. Just that process of dealing with the printers, I’m guessing
Navnish: That process. It involves your time, energy, finances.
Navnish: It’s like it’s a huge investment in hardcovers, a huge one. And plus if you find something wrong in that book when it’s printed you are like.
Laurie: We’ll watch our language, but yes, I know what you’re saying. So the ebook and the paperback, you found surprisingly easy, especially compared to printing the hardcover
Navnish: And I got it on KDP. Yeah. Print on demand. Amazon. It’s easy.
Laurie: It’s beautiful. Right?
Navnish: So, yeah.
Laurie: Yeah. Um, so what advice would you have for people that are like you, you haven’t, you’ve only been doing this two years, you’ve got so much out there. So picture yourself three years ago talking to your child, your daughter, and inspired. What advice did you have like for you three years ago?
Navnish: For me.
Laurie: Well, someone just like you. Yeah.
Navnish: Okay, so first thing, uh, never stopped dreaming. Never stop taking action. Consistency is the key. And whatever you are doing, be consistent with that and never doubt yourself. Never, ever, because you have that power in you to change the world.
Laurie: I agree with you, but I know how hard it is.
Navnish: It is hard. So yeah, that’s the reminder. We have to put in ourselves, like the positive self talk that you talk about in your books and it is very important even for us. And I like reading your book. “I Can Handle It” why, because we also have to remind ourselves yes we can do that we do that. There’s no problem.
Laurie: It’s so true. And my kids are kind of smart alecks now, and so they pull it out on me and when mom’s freaking out. They’re like, mom, can you handle. You know. With that look. That makes me stop myself. Well, roll my eyes like I’m one of the children. But yeah, it’s true. It’s. It’s applicable to people of all ages, and it sounds like your book is as well so the yoga and the mindfulness, then just, you know, take that time every day. Like you said, even if it’s a short time, it does wonders if you’re consistent with it.
Laurie: Love that. So anything particularly surprising that you weren’t expecting? um on this publishing journey?
Navnish: Uh, I was, uh, yeah, when I started with the book, I thought I would be going into the publication, publishing houses and giving them my manuscript. I do send a few of them, like I sent my manuscript to two of them and there was one vanity publisher who tried to do, you know. Persuade me to pay him something and do that. And like I was blessed to be in that group that we met in. And so there I put on all the questions and everything and I started searching. Why? Like why is it that this is something that I can do. And, uh, so I searched how this was, how the process works. And finally my, my publishing company came into
being, I was happy that now I can publish anything and everything that comes into my mind.
Laurie: Yeah. You have the power. So anybody who’s maybe listening or watching, who doesn’t know what a vanity press is about, a vanity press as a company that provides authors services, and for a fee, they’ll publish your book, but often they position themselves as more of a traditional publisher, right. But in traditional publishing, you don’t pay the traditional publisher. They give you an advance and they give you royalties and they make all the decisions usually on hold all the rights, but these, um, other companies have popped up and you know, some, I would argue,
do provide good services. And if you know what you’re getting into, that’s fine. Right? I’ve talked to some people on this show where they said that was the right choice for me. I didn’t want to take all that on. I didn’t want to do all that learning and invest that time and energy. So I would rather pay somebody. And just have them do it for me. But um, yeah. So that’s just to be well educated about it. Right. And, and to know all your options and then make your own decision. Yeah.
Navnish: Yeah. This process went on for a few months because that person was after me sending me emails and then I realized that he’s charging, I saw the table that he sent me for the services he will be charging.
And I said. Almost 70 to 80% of the stuff I can do myself or I can get somebody to do it is I am aware of the things, how they work. It’s new for me that it’s a book publishing to be a thing, but I know that there is something that needs to be uncovered. So I tried searching that.
Laurie: You just had a feeling, like it wasn’t quite right. That’s good that you did.
Laurie: Cool. So any parting words or maybe you want to share where people can find you, your publishing company.
Navnish: Yeah, it is my, my website is www.birdinkpublishing.com and, um, the rest of the links I think I have sent you
Laurie: you have, so I’ll include those in the show notes and yeah. And your books are “The Being Series”, is that right?
Navnish: Yes. And this is the, yeah, this is the latest one “Being Calm”. And the first one is “Being Helpful”.
Laurie: “Being Helpful”. Yeah. Wonderful. Well, thank you so much. I encourage people to find those cause they’re lovely books and look for your entrepreneur book as well. “The Handbook for Entrepreneurs”, is that what it’s called?
Navnish: I think it should be available on Amazon now, but I can send you a copy of this one.
Laurie: Oh, okay.
Navnish: It hasn’t been signed but, this is a collector’s edition, so it has been signed by all the entrepreneurs .
Laurie: Oh, cool.
Navnish: Yeah. I was looking with Raymond Herlog. He is a, he has been appointed as a World Civility Ambassador now, so yes. Yeah. He was the, he’s the brainchild of this book, and he has also written a handbook on holistic health. So there are like a few of these books.
Laurie: Yeah. I bet that was a great experience.
Navnish: Yeah it was. It was a great learning experience with him.
Laurie: Yeah. Cool. Well, thank you again for coming on. I really appreciate talking to you.
Navnish: Thank you, Laurie for having me with you.
Laurie: You’re so welcome. Bye. Bye.
Bye. Thank you.