Rishank Jhavar is an international author who became one of the youngest motivational author in India by penning ‘Champion’s Handbook’ at the age of 20. His work is loved and read by people around the globe.
Tell us about yourself and what you do?
I am an author based in India. I began writing at the age of twelve, and got into philosophy and psychology at the age of sixteen. I believe in making the works of philosophers and thinkers less complex and more accessible to people of my age group. I believe that my work is influenced by both spirituality and modernism. My debut book, Champion’s Handbook was published this year. It is available as paperback and e-book, and is sold and read in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain and United Kingdom.
Writing to me, strangely, didn’t come naturally, nor is it ‘something I always knew I wanted to do’. I’ve always been an aesthetic person and a good thinker, but that it would translate into writing an entire book was never a given. I believe I’m the guy who just happened to be at the right place at the right time. I read different books and periodicals for almost 4-5 years before I started to write my own book. It kind of crept up on me until I realized ‘Hey, I can write a good book myself!’
What inspired you to write a book and become an author?
I think what drove me in the beginning, and still does, is the feeling that I need to prove myself to myself. Other than that, I’ve always looked up to my family for inspiration; particularly my brother. The dynamics between us have always been like Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes, and I think that’s great because his tough love is one of the major reasons of my success.
Talk us through your experiences as a self-published author. Why did you go down this route?
I had too many near misses to count with publishers, and was getting very down-heartened. It’s difficult to put into words (even for a writer!) the heartache of having your entire future continually dismissed with a line from a publisher who thought your book might work, but wasn’t too sure. Although I’m sure other writers will know exactly what I mean.
So, one day, I was offered a deal by a decent publisher which was hilariously bad. They were trying to buy my manuscript by offering me a trivial amount of royalty on every book sold, no advance payment and other bad clauses. I was sitting in their office, and suddenly the thought of getting my book self-published hit me, and I walked off. Looking back, I think it was a pretty good decision.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers that are trying to break in the industry?
I don’t think I can give people tips. I mean, I am just 20! But I can offer a friendly advice, and that would be to just put whatever you think on paper. If you’re writing a romantic novel and suddenly the thought of a Cthulhu with a fedora hat kissing a giraffe strikes you, PEN IT DOWN. Imagination is never absurd.
And remember to take rejections well. You’re writing your own story. Wouldn’t it be a damn boring story with no twists or turns?