About Rajat Bhageria:
Rajat Bhageria is an 18 year old creator, doer, and entrepreneur. Passionate about education reform, he has created a social network for writers to share their work called CafeMocha.org, and has written his first book What High School Didn’t Teach Me. Additionally, Rajat has created a Google Glass app that tells visually impaired persons what they are looking at (ThirdEyeGlass.com). He attends UPenn. Find more at RajatBhageria.com and @RajatBhageria.com.
What inspires you to write?
Education is something that is incredibly important. Everyone of the students in school right now will one day rule our country and our world. And while our system “works,” it could always be made better. That’s where I come in. The education system right now is incredibly broken and needs to be reformed. I believe that writing and voicing my opinion is the best way to generate traction to change our system.
Tell us about your writing process.
The first thing I always do is plan everything out I want to say with pen and paper on a legal pad to reduce redundancy. Once I have a plan, I do some basic research. And I start writing. Now, it is more or less a fluid process. I work on the chapter I feel like working on and then work on another one when I have new inspiration. Once the draft of the book is complete, I give each chapter a complete read over just to have a general idea of what exactly I wrote; after I have a general idea, I start delving into purpose and make sure that I cover what I wanted to cover what I wanted (and if I haven’t I do more research!). Once the content is there, I work more on grammar and style and ensure that everything matches what I want it to. Now, I give it a few more read overs and change anything I don’t like. At this point, I ask as many people to read the manuscript and give me advice.
What advice would you give other writers?
Just do it. Once I had enough motivation to actually begin writing a book, I wanted to make sure that I finished it. I set a goal for myself: I will finish this thing by the end of the summer and publish it. There was no other option. After that, you just have to chug through it. At times, you will feel very unmotivated, but if you just write and finish your 2000 words for the day, afterwards you will feel incredibly accomplished and can sleep knowing that you did something meaningful in the day. This is an absolutely amazing feeling and one definitely worth exploring.
I would recommend that you watch this TED talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_cutts_try_something_new_for_30_days?language=en
At the end of the day, the greatest advice I can give is to reiterate Dorothy Parker’s: “I hate writing, I love having written.”
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I was considering publishing with a publisher, but considering I was 17 and had never written a book (nor even a blog post!), I was quite dubious that any publisher would actually publish me. And so, I decided that self-publishing would be the right option for me. Why? First and foremost, the opportunity costs to pursue a publisher are quite high; personally speaking, I had the summer to finish and publish my book and so if I decided to publish my book, I would spend incredible amounts of time trying to find publishers. In the same time, I could write a better book, market the book independently, and read more articles about how to write better and market more effectively. Plus if you self-publish, you own full rights to the book. This means that you can give away as many free copies of the book as you want; for example, I gave away free copies of my book and generated over 9000 Facebook likes; I highly doubt that I would be able to accomplish this if I had published though a publisher. At the end of the day, it depends on your personal situation, but if you are trying to publish your first book, I would recommend self-publishing; now, you have an email list, you can easily generate a reputation, and next time around, publishers will come to you!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I had an amazing experience self-publishing and feel as though with the onset of so many channels to publish ideas and media onto, it’s almost too easy to self-publish a book. Literally anyone with motivation and internet can write a book and publish it online for the world to download and read within minutes. Even though publishing though a publishing house will indeed stand the test of time (they have a reputation and many high impact authors prefer to publish with reputation), they will have a significantly less impact in the future.
What genres do you write?: education, education reform, educational teaching, classroom management
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print