What happens when an abandoned postal bag is found with 20-year-old, undelivered letters? What happens when someone receives a letter two decades too late? That is what J. Alchem explores in his latest bestseller, Undelivered Letters. Self-published on Kindle Direct Publish (KDP), Alchem recently won the Amazon Pen To Publish contest for the book at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2018. A critically acclaimed author and winner of several awards, his other books are: A Road Not Traveled and The Highway Man. Alchem has lately signed a short movie contract for one of his short stories. The script writing for the screenplay is under progress at present.
Here we are in conversation with the 29-year-old author, who also holds a day job at a financial firm:
What made you switch of KDP after your first book?
There are a number of advantages to self-publishing your work on Kindle, as opposed to traditional publishing methods. You get direct feedback on your book from your readers and reviewers. There is great clarity on the financial aspect as well, where you can clearly see how much your book is earning. Kindle is also a great platform for spreading your work across geographies, which is very difficult for first-time authors to achieve via traditional publishing methods.
How do you reconcile your dual roles? Writing such imaginative stories by night and holding down a day job as an MBA?
I always loved writing since I was a child. However, there was family pressure to take to more conventional professions, as both my brothers are doctors. When I told my family I could not take up medicine, they insisted that at least I should consider entrepreneurship, and hence my MBA in finance. As far as my passion went, meanwhile, I just jumped from one horizon to another; from maintaining a diary to writing poetry and articles and then to writing books. Truth be told, the appreciation and awards I have received for my work, have kept me going.
When do you plan to turn into a full-time writer?
These are very early days yet. Although I do plan to take up writing full-time, that will have to be a calculated risk, whenever I take it. I’m currently working on the scripts for various documentaries, web series and short movies. Sometime later this year, I plan to launch my YouTube channel as well.
Having joined the ranks of Indian English authors, do you plan to go regional as well?
I do dabble in Hindi poetry; but I’m yet to explore that avenue formally.
Any advice for young, first-time authors?
My advice to young authors would be to read as much as possible. I believe good writing is a result of writing as well as a lot of reading. Without either, one can never succeed in writing anything remarkable.