Black Gate readers will appreciate that Laxmi helped launch the SyFy Channel in Europe. Her Ruby Iyer Series is about a young woman in present day India, who is knocked off a train platform one morning, onto a live wire. 10,000 volts of electricity later, she doesn’t die as might be expected, but rather becomes much more than she ever dreamed she could be. Interlaced with her story is the mileau of modern India and ancient Bombay.
While most indie authors focus primarily on western publishing markets, Laxmi put a good portion of her resources towards marketing in her native India. As one of the first indie authors to break into this market, she’s in the ideal position to share what she’s learned from the experience.
Interview with Laxmi Hariharan
Conducted in August, 2015, and edited and published in September, 2015, by Emily Mah
This interview is just under an hour long. As with all my interviews, I’ll provide the time stamps of specific topics below.
We begin by introducing Laxmi and her book, The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer.
0:54 Laxmi explains the inspiration behind Ruby Iyer, dystopia, and Bombay as a setting.
3:39 The inspiration for Ruby Iyer, real events women face in Bombay.
6:28 Ruby is from the Eastern Hemisphere, though Laxmi has lived much of her life in the West, so we discuss how Laxmi brought both perspectives together to write this book.
8:35 Breaking the stereotype of a traditional, Indian, literary author with an atypical, universally relatable heroine.
10:45 Laxmi discusses Pankaj, one of my favorite “damsels in distress” of all time.
13:00 The inciting incident in the novel, some of the socio-political background of modern India, and the history/geography of Bombay.
17:02 Some discussion of the series and the characters, setting, and themes that unite its books.
18:47 Ruby’s superpower, the “lightning tree.”
23:00 The cover of Many Lives.
23:24 Laxmi’s path to publication as a hybrid author.
24:58 The advantages of being a hybrid author.
Marketing the Ruby Iyer Books
26:48 Laxmi’s background in marketing and her role in launching the SyFy Channel in Europe.
29:13 Targeting the Indian market with an indie book, a discussion of the challenges.
31:57 Distribution in India, and the emphasis on paperbacks over ebooks.
34:15 We discuss Read Out Loud, a publisher/author services company in India.
35:41 The necessity of having someone on the ground in India to represent your work.
37:02 How Ruby Iyer was launched in India.
39:01 The necessity of following your heart and passion.
39:57 Marketing over Skype.
40:38 The necessity of pacing yourself when you market.
40:44 Common mistakes new indie authors make and some advice.
41:39 Building a platform and establishing a marketing voice.
43:22 Specific ways to build a publicity platform.
46:33 Structuring your day and balancing work, writing, and marketing.
The Ruby Iyer Series
47:47 An outline of the series.
48:39 The First Life of Vikram Roy
48:46 The Second Life of Ruby and Vikram
49:10 Launch dates.
Emily Mah is a writer and the owner of E.M. Tippetts Book Designs, a company that provides formatting, cover design, and editing services for independent authors and publishers. Her last interview for Black Gate was with T.L. Zalecki.