Parag Kulkarni is an entrepreneur also he is a Machine Learning expert, keynote speaker and innovation strategist. Parag is Founder and CEO of the iknowlation Research Labs Pvt Ltd and EKLaT Research. Parag holds PhD from IIT Khargpur and management education from IIM Kolkata. UGSM Monarch Business School, Switzerland conferred DSc – higher doctorate on him for his work on strategic knowledge innovation. Parag is also a visiting researcher and faculty at various B-Schools and Technical Schools.
Parag is working closely with start-ups as consultant and innovation strategist. He is recipient of Oriental Foundation Scholarship, Star Award and was nominated for prestigious Dr SS Bhatnagar Award in 2013 and 2014.
How do you feel getting interviewed again on WriterStory?
I feel really great to get interviewed from WriterStory. Last time it was more non-fiction. This time it is a reality fiction. It was really nice to tell the inside story of book!
How to write a good manuscript and present it to the publisher?
It’s really interesting. Some time what you feel one of the best efforts; publisher does not like it while in some other cases it is exactly opposite. In my opinion a good manuscript is one that can keep readers engage, create positive energy among them and imbibe something positive, interesting. Many times we try to evaluate it from so many parameters and loose the main theme. Good manuscript opens up with revelations and creates an interesting refreshing experience on every page. Writing such a manuscript is about getting involved with the characters and sometimes finding them around you. It is also about flow of emotions and embedding surprises in the process. There is too much fuss about introducing characters and writing styles. Even there are ample books on this topic. But many modern day writers proved this traditional thought process does not help. Believe in your own style and make the overall experience engrossing and engaging.
What is the greatest challenge in choosing the right publisher?
I had been writing for almost a decade now. Right from Wiley, IEEE, PHI, Bloomsbury, Springer and Oxford University Press to other publishers like Vishwakarma I wrote books with many publishers. A best publisher is one who can give right editorial help and make your book available to right audience. While self-publishing is also coming up as one pragmatic choice the overall publishing game is changing. Many big publishers accept books through literary agents and some times the process becomes too complicated for creative minds to cope up with it. Many publishers want printed manuscripts and even do not inform authors regarding progress done on review process. I do see lot many challenges for real creative authors who seriously want to get good publishers and do not want to go on path of self-publishing.
How much research you did before writing the book?
I met Nenadd whose life inspired me to rethink about overall plot four years ago. Prior to that almost for one year I had been doing research on this topic. I met more than 50 YD (failure in Engineering) students before that. The research began from narrow lanes in Jalgaon and continued with almost all engineering colleges in Pune. I visited and addressed students from IITs, IIMs, NITs and even engineering colleges from remote places in Maharashtra. The research was not merely about failure in education, it was about failure as a professional, failure at different stages of life. This research allowed me to meet many bright individuals. This also revealed many awkward and unpleasant facts about education, life and evaluation processes. My research also looked closely at failures of autonomous institutes, problems of university-affiliated institutes, developing private universities at every corner of India and above all processes those curb thinking and creativity. Probably this research was an extension to my research that carried out for my book “Knowledge Innovation Strategy”
What motivated you to write the book “YD – Year Down”?
YD is story of struggle of an engineering student who fails in Mathematics. My close association with engineering colleges where I met many bright students with poor grades and average students with astounding academic success motivated me to write this book. I am of the opinion that any student from the remote college of India has potential to challenge any top-performing student from topmost universities from the world. We simply fail to unleash his/her potential. We are too biased due to grades, school names and even qualification. Our anti-resume based technique clearly showed that these students from remote schools show better potential. It is educational system that fails to unleash the potential of students. The struggle of these students, their passion, their creativity and above all their great efforts to overcome challenges is what one needs to see. It is not the college, it is not the marks, it is not even clearing of some so called very difficult entrance exam but it is thinking that separate these achievers. If we unleash potential of these individuals there is no dearth of innovators in India. I do not believe in ranking of institute. Today Nenadd who was YD has recruited toppers from many good schools. This motivated me to write this book…
Can you tell us more about your latest book “YD – Year Down”?
YD is story of every innovator, every creator who does not deter to fight with adversities. It is story of every YOU and ME. It is story of all those who fought with academic systems, who fought with grades, who survived long boring lectures and crushed under never ending submission. It is story of Sameer an engineering student whose childhood was byproduct of parent’s expectations and youth was finished product of mounting frustration. His failures in Mathematics leaves him devastated and he ends up in becoming YD. The strict principal not allowing to enter college after 8.30 AM, A mathematics teacher who hardly knows any mathematics but crushed them under assignments and difficult math problems, the landlord who humiliates him in front of everyone all characters were looking to kill his potential. On top of that the girlfriend who leaves him after failure to marry NRI was like an emotional trauma for him. But he fights with the situation. When creativity strikes – world starts taking new shapes and dreams new leaps. But there is another love story and here his would be in laws ask him his qualification and he is again becomes necked in the front of world. But he decides to go back to school and fight with (Mathematics) M3 for his love. It is story of his love – it is story of his an Engineering Student who fights with M3 for his Love. Blended in humor and many episodes directly coming from experiences of real YDs tells his heart out.
How did you come up with the idea of writing fiction genre book?
Fiction is a genre that gives you opportunity to express your creativity. When the bonds of reality are broken mind starts finding new episodes and words start finding new meaning. While my technical and non-fiction books restricted me to core facts – YD allowed me to tell story in more informal way. This allowed me to go close to reader, when reality rides on imagination fiction results. Here I could take liberty to express thought in more bold way and the characters were ready to dance to give my thought the most required rhythm. Any way as per Harari Sapiens survived due to myths and fiction is about wording that emotional and social uncertainty with artistic brush of thoughts.
Can you enlighten on any of your marketing/promotion strategies which worked for your previous books?
Today success is about marketing, social networking. While one goggle wearing images gets thousands of like our interesting articles strives for even 100. Reaching out to people is at the end of the day is key to marketing. Through educational institutes I could reach out to millions of students and that marked success of “Knowledge Innovation Strategy”. I have plans to adopt the same thing here.
How much minimum time should an author give on daily basis to writing?
I am not a sort of daily writer – when idea struck my mind I may write for hours. On some other occasions weeks may go without writing single word. So when routine stops creativity begins. I advise do not become part of routine. Break it… Some time… Some day.
Any tips or words of motivation you want to share with aspiring writers?
Don’t keep your thoughts to yourself… Write it… Reach out to others… Express yourself. It is nothing but expression that matters. It’s not about how many copies sold – just as yourself – did you tell your story… Creation is joy. Try to see others experience your creativity and become happy. Word it – Tell it – Experience it – Lets make this world happier than what our ancestors gave us…With your words and expressions make this world a better place to live in.
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