Learning Story – Stuti
My love for books dates back to my school years where I would often spend time reading fiction and geography in the library. While my friends spent time with their boyfriends, I spent it in the library. I was a nerd while growing up and I was bullied for my dark complexion, hairy skin, big teeth, braces and heavy spectacles. As a consequence, I mostly confided in my trove of books. Nancy Drew, Famous Five, Sidney Sheldon, Stephanie Meyer, Peter Pan were some of my favourite reads as a teenager. It was only after I read ‘The White Tiger’ by Aravind Adiga, ‘Fight Club’ by Chuck Palahnuik and ‘Into the Wild’ by Jon Krakauer that I felt thoroughly motivated to write a book someday.
I had been a bright student throughout my academic life. Because of my love of books, I had wanted to pursue English Literature but did not find support from my family at the time so I took up Computer Science and Engineering instead followed by a MBA. After my university education I briefly worked in the corporate sector before finally taking the plunge to pursue my passion after watching the film ‘Fight Club’ for the 8th time. My husband Kushal (my then boyfriend) encouraged me to quit the rat race and work passionately on my long lost dream of becoming a published author. I still feel blessed to have a mentor like him.
After quitting my corporate career and devoid of its perks, I worked as a freelancer in the domain of marketing by the day while planning my first book at night. I travelled extensively from the savings I could manage. I met people on the open road – artists, entrepreneurs, saints, visionaries, who inspired me to my core and gave me a new direction in life. Meanwhile, I discovered my true self. Somebody who likes to talk to people, random people. Somebody who wants to listen to their stories. Somebody who wants to tell stories, share stories. I felt a sense of belonging to the world. When we move out of our routine lives, break out of our comfort zone, we become capable of things we had never thought we could be capable of.
A year after starting my book I completed my first draft and wrote to various leading publishers but never heard back from them. Dejected and clueless, I participated in Amazon Kindle’s Pen to Publish competition and my first book was released as an ebook. Even though I lost the competition, my book was in the notable mentions list and I was overwhelmed by the reviews my book garnered.
Since then I decided not to give up on my dream of becoming a successful author and persevered to build a vibrant community of readers & followers on social media that I address as #SCFamily.
This past year, I self-published my second book ‘You Only Live Once?’ and sold a record 10,000+ copies making the book one of the highest selling self-published titles in India. I believe in the power of community and feel that my readers and supporters have been the warriors in helping spread the word of mouth for my books.
I credits the overnight success of my second book to the years of consistent hard work and learning from every failure that came my way especially after quitting my corporate career.