Abhijit Bhaduri is an Indian author, columnist and management consultant. Abhijit Bhaduri created publishing history with his three massive best-selling books, the first of which was- ‘Mediocre But Arrogant.’ His second and third novels ‘Married but Available’ and ‘Don’t Hire the Best’ were published by Harper Collins.
NAW- When did your literary journey begin? At what age did you discover that you wanted to write?
I enjoyed writing for my school magazine. I used to write scripts for the radio. Tried my hand at creating a literary magazine in college but it was much later that I thought of writing a novel. I had never taken classes in creative writing etc. My first novel Mediocre but Arrogant took seven years to complete. I wrote whenever I had time – on weekends, at airports (like I am doing right now!).
NAW- Tell us about your first book ‘Mediocre but Arrogant’. How did you get the idea for the book? How difficult was it working part time as a writer? Do you write in the morning or between lunches?
Doing an MBA is a very common choice. In India some 300,000 people appear for entrance exams for various Business Schools. I had been to one and knew that there was a story there that everyone could relate to.
Being a part time writer is the only way it will work for me. Corporate life offers so many settings and ideas to write about. Besides I don’t write against a deadline. So I write whenever inspiration and opportunity coincide.
When I am home I write in the morning. When I travel, I get a lot of writing done at airports and in the flight. I absolutely love writing at airports- seriously.
NAW- What is your latest book ‘Don’t Hire the Best’ about?
Don’t Hire the Best is my first attempt at non-fiction. I have written about how to hire people based on the fit between the personality of the candidate and the fit with the organization’s culture.
Beyond a point, most individuals can do the job. But their success or failure depends on various elements of personality. The book is full of small anecdotes about real people I have known and worked with. Even though it was a book about finding that fit, the anecdotes gave me a chance to tell stories.
NAW- Did you face any trouble while publishing your first book? How did your first book get published?
It took me a long time to find my first publisher. I got rejected by every publisher that you could find. Eventually it was a very small publisher who gave me a break before Harper Collins picked up all my books.
NAW- How is the English fiction scene in India? Paperbacks have changed the scene and lots of young adults are into reading? Did you purposely target the young population with your books?
A lot of people are writing English fiction and getting published in India. Bookstores have a separate section on Indian Writing. Blogging has made it easy for people to share their ideas. This is a good time to be a writer in India. Publishers are getting adventurous and loosening their purse strings. So if someone has a unpublished novel, this is the time to find a publisher.
NAW- Writing is not looked upon as a full time vocation in many countries, were you aware that making a living solely out of writing is difficult when you first started out?
I didn’t know anything about the world of publishing, royalty, copyright and all that. I just wrote a book that I wanted to. The book seemed to resonate with a lot of readers. The English fiction market was just about opening up when I published my first novel in 2005.
NAW- Where can readers buy your books?
My books are on Amazon, Flipkart and in bookstores in India. So they are not hard to find.
NAW- Please name your 5 favourite books.
I have loved reading the Mahabharata. It is for me the gold standard of storytelling. I have favorite writers. There are too many books that I like (and it’s a tough job) to pull out just five. But here are the first five names that come to (my) mind.
Catch 22, The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, Gone with the Wind and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
NAW- What are your upcoming projects?
I am working on my next work of fiction. But besides that I am an active blogger.
My own blog is at abhijitbhaduri.com
I write a blog for Times of India http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/just-like-that/
I write some columns on Talent Management.