Publishing, Print on Demand, Self-publishing in India from Team

June 14, 2019
by Neelima

Interview: Dr. Harbhajan Singh Pabla

We spoke to Dr. Harbhajan Singh Pabla about the little known world of Wildlife conservation in India.

Dr. H. S. Pabla grew up in a Punjabi village, in India and joined the Indian Forest Service in 1977, retiring as the Chief Wildlife Warden of the state of Madhya Pradesh in February 2012. Apart from doing the usual things that an Indian forester does, he nurtured his love for the wilds while managing national parks like Kanha, Panna and Bandhavgarh. Along the way, he developed a penchant for questioning the status quo and challenged the stereotypes that have ruled the conservation mindset in the country. He introduced the concept of “conservation by incentive” in the form of a cash reward to farmers for hosting an endangered bird, the lesser florican, in their croplands. He was responsible for changing the face of wildlife tourism in Madhya Pradesh, despite opposition from NTCA, and made tourism revenue a significant resource in tiger reserves of the state. When Panna lost all its tigers, he developed and implemented the tiger reintroduction plan that has given the world the confidence that wild tigers will always be around. He was the principal force behind the reintroduction of gaur in Bandhavgarh and blackbuck in Kanha, after both the species had become locally extinct in the nineties. His unfinished agenda for the state included the reintroduction of barasingha in the Forsyth country, i.e. the Satpura Tiger Reserve, and the white tiger in its native Sanjay Tiger Reserve. Barasingha has already reached Bori in Satpura, and he hopes to see white tigers in the wild before saying adieu to this world. He unsuccessfully tried to introduce community-based sport-hunting for the conservation of crop raiding species. His wish-list for conservation also includes seeing Indian foresters riding horses for patrolling and enjoying the wilderness. Apart from a stint on the faculty of the Wildlife Institute of India, he has been an international consultant in wildlife management. He is an ardent tennis player and lives in Bhopal, India.

He is the author of Road to Nowhere and Wardens in Shackles.

The titles of both your books have a hint of foreboding. What exactly is wrong with the Indian approach to conservation?

There are several problems with the way we do conservation of wild animals in India. For example, we do not know why we are preserving dangerous animals who are a serious threat to human life and property, especially of our poorest citizens. Secondly, we have not developed the institutional and professional capacity to manage wildlife because we have adopted a passive management approach enshrined in the dictum “Leave nature alone, it will take care of itself”. As a result, some areas are overpopulated with animals while others are empty. Thirdly, although the states are constitutionally responsible for what happens to wildlife on the ground and what wildlife does to the people around, all the powers to control conservation policy are with the Centre. Fourthly, poor people living in the forests are the victims of conservation while the urban elite enjoys romanticizing about it and makes decisions about conservation policies of the country. Fourthly, conservation of wild animals is a huge drain on our poor country but we have never considered making it an economic development tool as in many countries. Wild animals can create millions of jobs in remote areas through tourism but we treat wildlife tourism as an encumbrance on conservation. We do conservation of harmful animals only for intangible benefits (like moderating climate change) ignoring the losses they cause and generating no immediate benefits. This is not sustainable in the long run. We need a conservation policy which focuses as much on immediate benefits from wild animals as on long term ecological benefits. There is so much more which needs to change if conservation is to be a success in India.

Please give a brief overview of the wildlife conservation effort in India so that your readers get some context to your work.

Systematic wildlife conservation started in India in the seventies of the last century when the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 created a unified national framework for conservation in the country and Project Tiger was launched. Although all our forests are wildlife habitat and wild animals are protected everywhere (you cannot kill an animal even if it destroys your home or cropland or kills your cows), we have also created national parks and wildlife sanctuaries where special measures are taken to increase wild animals. There is a complete ban on the consumption or trade of wild animals and their products and derivatives. Despite these big initiatives, the populations of most animals have not increased much since then, due to some inherent problems. India is the most populous large country in the world. Therefore, it is extremely difficult for the country to spare enough space for supporting viable populations of large animals. We are losing our wildlife habitats to the expansion of human habitation and infrastructure and lots of animals are illegally killed by people for food, smuggling and for protecting their crops and properties. Despite the ban on consumption and trade in wildlife and wildlife articles, illegal trade and consumption are rampant. Tigers, rhinos, pangolins, etc. are dying to feed the Chinese markets with wildlife-based medicines and wines and millions of turtles and birds are smuggled to Southeast Asia as pets. All wild animals are food to forest dwellers, but they cannot hunt them legally. We have to find a way around all these issues if we want to preserve our natural heritage. Wild animals can be an economic asset if managed well and can be a huge liability if unmanaged. India has not decided to use its wildlife to generate economic benefits for its people so far. That is why we are struggling to conserve it.

Tell us briefly about your experience in the Indian Forest Service. You’ve touched upon misconceptions about foresters. What does a forester’s typical day look like?

The Indian Forest Service (IFS) is one of the best professional services in the country. It allows one a good mix of outdoors and urban lifestyles. A forester also has a tough job of meeting the needs of the present generation, for forest products, while saving the forests for future generations. Demands on forests are huge. Every section of our society wants to take away something or the other, even the very lands, from our forests in one way or the other. Our poverty and our growing prosperity are threats to our forests in equal measure and a forester has to ensure that the forests survive both. As a forester often has to fight tooth and nail to save every inch of forests, they are generally seen as insensitive beings although no section of our bureaucracy does as much for the poorest sections of the society, especially tribals, as the foresters.

Forestry is a complex profession and one’s routine depends on what level you are in the hierarchy and what your assigned job is. In general, senior officers spend more time in offices, going out only on planning and inspection tours. The subordinates spend more time in the field dealing with operational issues. The main job of a forester is to enforce the forest laws, which empower him/her to prevent theft and poaching, produce forest goods such as timber, bamboo, wildlife, etc. and deal with demands on forests from various quarters. A field forester (a forest guard or forester) often patrols his forest alone or along with an assistant laborer and has to walk several miles every day. If any theft of forest produce is noticed, he/she registers the offence and sets about tracing the offender. Wild animals are often shy and usually, they are not a threat if at all seen on a patrol. When a tiger or leopard becomes a man-eater or an elephant turns rogue, it is a tough time for a forester as his options are often limited but expectations from the society are high. The forest service is now going through a tough time as forests need continuous looking after but new generations do not want to live away from urban life for various reasons.

What can India learn from ecotourism-dependent nations like Botswana and Australia?

Saving wild animals is much easier if ecotourism is the objective of having them around. This is because the economic benefits of tourism neutralize the losses inflicted by animals. Wherever wild animals are producing jobs through tourism, visual or hunting tourism, people want more animals around them. Where animals only destroy life and property, without benefitting people in any way, as in India, conservation is tough. The lessons for India are obvious.

How can the young generation get into the field of forestry? What do you think the Indian education system needs to emphasize on to kindle the interests of children in this field?

There are many avenues for entering forestry as a profession. Depending upon your educational qualifications and competitive strength, one can aspire to be an IFS officer, scientist, range officer, forest guard, etc. through competitive exams. To be a happy forester, one must have love for the outdoors and all that goes with it. Our education system must inculcate the love for outdoors among our children irrespective of the fact whether they want to be foresters or not. One is much happier and healthier in the company of trees, birds and butterflies than while cramming bookish knowledge. The kids who have got some exposure to nature during their formative days stay connected with it throughout life and they contribute to the conservation of the environment wherever they are.

In all your years in this field, which animal are you fond of?

I loved my job and all that came with it. Although all animals are exciting in their own way, predators often excite people much more. As I happened to be working to save wild tigers most of my life, nothing was more exciting than seeing a wild tiger without an appointment. The tiger has such an aura around it–it just mesmerizes you, and you simply cannot move away from it as long as it is within view.

Describe your process in compiling these books.

My books took a long time coming. As my views about wildlife conservation were quite different from my peers, I started toying with the idea of writing a book nearly 20 years ago. However, the pressures of service did not allow that. In the meantime, I kept collecting more experiences and insights about my profession and the pressure to put them down on paper kept mounting. As soon as I retired from service in 2012, I started writing freely without any plan or organization. When I thought I had put down everything I wanted to say and share, I started organizing it into sections and chapters. Then I realized that putting everything in one book would make it too big and daunting to readers. Therefore, I decided to break the whole matter into three volumes to be released one by one. Two volumes of this prospective trilogy have thus been released while the third is in the works. More matter is getting added to the original text as my thoughts continue to churn and new events unfold every day. Thus, the third volume is likely to be quite different from the one I had originally envisaged.

When my text was ready, I started looking for a publisher. I knew that first-time authors have a tough time finding publishers. While looking for publishers online, I came across the concept of self-publishing and print on demand (POD). The idea appealed to me and I compared the packages and services offered by various publishing houses. I first self-published my book, both as an e-book and paperback, but I needed an Indian platform. was selected as it did not ask for any fee for uploading the book and I put my book for online sale through Amazon, Flipkart, etc. for a small fee.

As my books are self-published, I had to have them edited and designed myself. I found online freelance editors, book designers and book cover designers to do the job (e.g. The availability of online freelance support services has made the job of writing books quite easy. And you do not need to go looking for retailers as the online retailers have global reach and the books start selling the day they are out.

Who is your favorite wildlife conservation writer?

In fact, nobody in India writes on the issues which agitate me. Most of the books on conservation are either on biology and ecology of animals or descriptions of what someone saw in the field. Wildlife in India can only survive only if the losses it causes are less than the benefits it generates for people. No one has written on these issues so far. However, two recent books, one by Jairam Ramesh (Indira Gandhi: A Life in Nature) and another by M.K. Ranjitsinh (A Life with Wildlife) give an excellent historical perspective on modern wildlife conservation. Jim Corbett and Kenneth Anderson were the writers who gave me my first insights into Indian natural history.

What is your next project?

My next project is the third volume in the trilogy on Wildlife Conservation in India. I still do not have a title in mind. It will generally cover the need to have a new integrated law for forest conservation, problems of building a conservation paradigm for India based on extensive forest corridors and the potential of the Forest Rights Act 2006 to destroy India’s forests and wildlife, among other subjects.

It was great talking to you Dr. H. S. Pabla! Wish you luck in spreading the word about the wildlife conservation effort in India.

May 27, 2019
by Neelima

Interview (Part 2) : Prof. Syamales Datta

We spoke to Prof. Syamales Datta about all things real estate valuation and self-publishing. Check out Part 1 of the interview if you haven’t already.

Since real estate is an illiquid asset what would you advice is the right way to valuing real estate?

Truly, real estate has poorer liquidity than the various alternative investment assets that are available in the general investment market. In valuing real estate therefore, the valuer is to choose a higher rate of capitalization of net income or potential net income from real estate. In deciding on the final rate of capitalization directly, the valuer should also carry out analysis of similar transactions of real estate in the same location or in similar locations.

Liquidity is just one aspect for which a higher rate of capitalization of net income is appropriate. The other aspects that render investment in real estate disadvantageous are the risks and the operating expenses of real estate. A summation of all such factors for each of which a further addition is given is to be applied to the yields of gilt-edged securities. Against this some deductions are to be applied for the prospect of capital and rental appreciation of real estate. The final adjusted cap rate thus derived from yield of gilt-edged securities is the one to be adopted as the final rate of capitalization.

Right now the real estate market is going through a bearish cycle. How do you think distressed assets should be valued?

A distressed asset is such an asset where the owner of the asset is forced to sell well below the market value. In valuing distressed assets, the property is likely to be sold at a considerable discount from market value even when the market is bullish. In a bearish market as prevailing at present, there is no indication that investors in shares or gold are planning to switch to real estate. Neither is there any impressive real rate of growth of income, nor is there any improvement of the unemployment situation. The method of valuation does not vary whether the market is bearish, bullish or in-between.

Rental yielding assets are becoming a popular investment avenue. What is the right way to evaluate them?

It is true that rental yielding assets are becoming a popular investment avenue. The income approach to valuation is the right way to value rental yielding assets. The two principal methods under the income approach are (1) the income capitalization method and (2) the discounted cash flow method and both are used to value rental yielding assets.

What is your next book project about?

Rather than publishing another paperback soon, I am currently studying. I am at present engaged in reading up aspects of real estate valuation not known to me including emerging standards, case laws and research publications. I do present my papers at symposia and review a few peer works when I don’t have a lot to cook.

What is your experience with self-publishing?

Till 2012 I had no experience in self-publishing. Two editions of my earlier valuation bestseller were published in 1993 and 2004 by a traditional publisher, the contract was coercive and royalties were small leading me to finally self-publish. I discovered that operating from home requires the self-publisher to understand the soft copy creation process thoroughly and design beautifully adhering to a desktop publishing standard or hire professional services.  But rather than not print ever it is easier to produce books with imperfect cover design or interior layout and pagination since you can update these things. My source files are managed using version control software.

My Publishing Proxy and son Ansuman Datta ( and I would like to thank Linux,  LibreOffice, GIMP, Mudranik Technologies and antivirus software makers for making publishing easier.

My earnings from the sales of Mastering Real Estate Valuation from its release during the beginning of the golden jubilee  celebrations of the Institution of Valuers (IOV) at Hyderabad on 29 Dec 2018 to 31 Mar 2019 propelled my net profit for the financial year to 1159% of that of the previous fiscal, i.e., I had a growth of 1059% and this last net profit surpassed my lifetime royalties from traditional publishing. I’m now selling online exclusively vide

I have had the good fortune to have drafted syllabi of several real property valuation examinations. The problem with many institutes and universities including some open universities is that they are unsuccessfully trying to follow the paradigm of creating their own course mat by a specific deadline. And prior to that deadline by a few days they are getting it authored by those who do not respect the student’s needs. In doing so they have gone the way of uncertified computer training institutes. The way to break this habit of producing substandard course mat in a sellers’ market is to quality test using standards as good as the world’s top 100 course mat producing universities and institutes and if they fail the tests you allow reference books to take their place and not endanger life and property with substandard course mat. Print-on-demand (POD) is the way to be accurate.

Thank you so much for sharing your views and educating the investor on how to approach valuation! Wish you all the best for your future endeavors.

May 24, 2019
by Neelima

Interview (Part 1): Prof. Syamales Datta

We had the opportunity of interacting with Prof. Syamales Datta, author of Mastering Real Estate Valuation and Advanced Valuation for Secured Lending by Banks and Financial Institutions.

Syamales Datta received his Physics (Hon) from Calcutta University and joined Howrah Improvement Trust. He qualified with RICS in 1971 and retired from service in the spring of 2004 after serving as chief valuer. A fellow of the IOV and the IOS, Datta has also been a research guide for Annamalai’s masters programme. He has taught valuation at IIEST, IUM, IEM, ILGUS, WBVB, HUDCO, JU, TIU, IOV, IOS, and recently at RVOS.  Datta coordinates symposia. Earlier titles include Valuation of Real Property: Principles & Practice and Advanced Valuation for Secured Lending by Banks and Financial Institutions; the former bestseller is replaced with this paperback by time. The Valuer’s Day Award in 2007 and the Valuer Excellence Award in 2016 are some of Datta’s recent honors.

The author valued for Andal Aerotropolis, mall development rights in Curzon Park, Kolkata and he was consulted by Indo Nabin and the LIC(I). He did a feasibility analysis project for Kolkata Metro’s wing, east of the Ganga. Government projects included the semi-weekly market in Howrah and Nagaland’s cement factory. Works and writings made headlines and case laws and some are sub judice. The author’s profits from self-publishing have surpassed his total royalty earned over two decades from traditional publishers.

Check out his web profiles here:


Describe your writing process.

Before writing a book on real property valuation, I first plan how much coverage is to be given to theories that will be included in the book and how to deal with concepts and events to be covered. Then, I plan the fashion of inclusion of topics like market valuations, statutory valuations, investments, taxation, etc. in the book. In covering them, I carefully follow the guidelines laid down by standards bodies like The International Valuation Standards (IVS) Council, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) etc. I follow this process when I write on real estate valuation.

When I write on other subjects, I concentrate on the purpose of writing, and try to compile information and explanations needed. I select a suitable bibliography and study the thoughts and views on and trends in the subject matter. Finally, I select a framework based on my research and converge on my writing. I generally sit at my desk when I write for extended periods but I sometimes pace my bedroom floor in meditation before arriving at conclusions. During breaks, I relax with a cuppa and digestive cookies.

Explain to potential non-fiction writers the kind of homework they need to do before writing a comprehensive book of non-fiction.

Non-fiction authors should give every effort to themselves study the ideas, concepts and principles pertaining to the subjects of their books. In this process, the writer should examine global and local practices. Use search engines and online encyclopedia,  multimedia presentations, learning platforms and professional groups as far as possible. For example, we have a Facebook group.

Authors should expose themselves to and benefit from the exchange of views with other writers and professionals. One’s own experience in writing contributes richly to new ventures. Research papers and authentic reading materials in the subject also help build up concepts. Even non-fiction writers have a great need to enjoy fiction in order to grow a good sense of style. Style guides are more necessary to writers of non-fiction than fiction, to make intelligible information out of technical data.

How long did it take for you to write this book?

It took me about four years to write Mastering Real Estate Valuation.

Before this, I had written Valuation of Real Property (1st Ed. 1993 & 2nd Ed. 2004, Eastern Law House, Kolkata). Those bestsellers were replaced by Mastering Real Estate Valuation, 1st Ed. which was published Sat 29 Dec 2018 in Hyderabad vide my FaceBook timeline for multimedia from the 49th Indian Valuers Congress 2018.  New legislation, new editions from the IVSC and the RICS and the need to give precedence to truth over the printer’s devil à la offset forced me to expensively self-publish this title from the Portable Document Format. I had previously self-published Advanced Valuation for Secured Lending by Banks and Financial Institutions (2nd Ed. ISBN 978-93-5156-947-3) 242 pages long vide

Please provide us a brief overview of the book.

The reasons that propelled me to write this volume are the dual context of liberalization and globalization, my desire to fully apprise readers of the historical development of the concept of property rights, a non-uniform dearth of reading material on leasehold valuation of real property in the developing nations of the world, updates to the International Valuation Standards and its free availability to members of member organizations like The Institution of Valuers as I am.

The book starts with the basic concepts and characteristics of real estate market. I talk about the challenges that India faces in its real estate market scenario and the evolution of modern real property rights to their complex present day form.

Various valuation approaches and methods have been explained at length. A separate chapter has been added on The Principles of ‘Yield’ which is the most crucial tool in the valuation of income-producing real estate. There are about 60 solved examples on leasehold valuation throughout various chapters of this book that constitute a significant body of problems on income-producing real estate.

Case studies have been provided to illustrate how to go about the valuation of development property and trade-related property as well as valuation and rent-control legislation, inter alia. A variety of cases under the housing sector and commercial real estate have been demonstrated.

There are a total number of 120 odd solved examples that will greatly interest professionals. The use of spreadsheets and pie diagrams is made wherever appropriate like the illustrations involving Hotel Hightopp and Pasteur Nursing Home.

All chapter sections have been provided with dot-separated Latin section numbers and each chapter starts with a part called ‘At a Glance’, for the convenience of varsities and other institutions and the IBBI Valuation Examination’s Asset Class–Land & Building which I have taught twice at the latter program. These are also useful for various training programs of IOV and IOS. The book has a minisite on the Internet at and Chapter 01: Real Estate—Concepts and Context is available free from

Prof. Syamales Datta imparts some more knowledge about real estate valuation and talks about his self-publishing experience in Part 2 of this interview.


May 17, 2019
by Neelima

That’s the Word for It: Amanuensis

The most famous amanuensis in Indian mythology is Lord Ganesh, the scribe who wrote the Ramayana to Vyasa’s dictation.  The word originally comes from the Latin word for slave or within arm’s reach. Tertius was the scribe who composed the Book of Romans to Apostle Paul’s directive. This concept of a scribe who took down important notes developed into what we now call a secretary. The academic connotations of amanuensis refer to the scribe who helps the disabled person or invalid during an examination.

Some examples of this word in literature:

“Every writer is the amanuensis to their characters”
— Lucy Coats

“I first noticed this as a child: too much happiness bored me. If I went for a walk on a sunny morning and began to experience an increasing sense of sheer joy, there came a point at which I grew tired of it and deliberately brought my mind back down to earth. Thinking about this later I always found it difficult to understand why I wanted that happiness to come to an end. Now the solution is obvious. When we experience a sudden insight we want to grasp it, to turn it into words. But the left brain is like an amanuensis who has to take everything down in longhand. If the intuitions come too fast he wants to shout, ‘Slow down, slow down!’ And if the speaker refuses to slow down he throws down his pen in disgust.”
— Colin Wilson (Beyond the Occult: Twenty Years’ Research into the Paranormal)

May 10, 2019
by Neelima
1 Comment

Interview: Suresh Ramaswamy

We got the opportunity to speak with Suresh Ramaswamy, author of Just Be: Transform Your Life and Live as Infinity.

Suresh Ramaswamy is a transformational teacher and visionary entrepreneur passionate about igniting and catalyzing the transformation of humanity. With his background as an electrical engineer and technology executive, he brings an inspired yet pragmatic approach to elevating consciousness on our planet. Held in high regard by people around the world, Suresh’s light-filled presence and guidance awakens them to their innermost essence. Connect with Suresh at

Tell us about the inception of your book Just Be.

Just Be is about a topic that has been near and dear to my heart all my life—personal transformation. Just Be is the result of following inner guidance to share transcendental wisdom in a way that makes it practical and accessible.

The book came about through my own experiences with fundamental truth in higher states of consciousness over several decades. In recent years, I felt an inner prompting to share about Infinity—the Ultimate, and how you can discover your essential unity with it. I was inspired to share the highest truths from a fresh perspective based on direct experience, without being weighed down by the language, or models of existing wisdom traditions. It is meant for everyone—from someone who is just starting to ask deeper questions about life to someone who has been a spiritual seeker for decades.

Important principles in your work?

Just Be encourages us to discover our true nature through beingness. Beingness is a core concept that is profound and helps us disengage from mind-based and doing-centric orientation.

Just Be introduces Light as a powerful transformative agent. When you understand and work with Transcendental Light, you can accelerate your growth and shift into a journey of blissful evolution.

Just Be provides a framework for understanding life and the transformational journey. It also provides a whole host of practices to elevate consciousness, manage emotions, and integrate lofty truths into day-to-day existence. Just Be describes the phases of transformation so you can evolve steadily in a balanced way.

What is unique and powerful about Just Be is that it is more than a book conveying useful concepts. It is a vibrational tool—a book that actively transmits higher vibrations to encourage and support you in your transformation.

Two areas where many of us struggle—emotions and relationships—are covered in detail. It is important that we understand and bring higher consciousness into these areas. When we do so, we experience flow and ease.

I invite you to learn more about the book at

Tell us about your writing process.

I wrote the book from pure inspiration—so I consciously did not set deadlines or impose any constraints such as having an external publishing authority who would influence choices. I wanted every aspect of the book, from the cover design to layout, to font selection to the illustrations and text to be driven by divine inspiration and the transformational impact it would have on the reader.

I would sit down to write whenever I felt guided to from inside. This meant there were periods I wrote intensively and times (even weeks) when I did not work on the book at all. I did not keep a rigid outline or structure when I started. I wanted it to develop, flow, and take shape without my insisting on it being a certain way. In fact, when I started writing, I thought the book would be only about 200 pages. As the content took shape, it was more than twice that long! Here again, I did not want to limit the book in any way with preconceived ideas. I wanted Just Be to be a powerful and complete resource that touched on many key topics, even if that meant it would be 500 pages in length.

How can the book most effectively be used? Your book has many exercises – is it mandatory that readers are trained by you to understand your principles?

The book is comprehensive and designed to be used standalone, no separate training is necessary. Having said that, there are study groups and retreats that readers can choose to participate in if they would like to connect with like-minded souls for inspiration.

There are numerous practices to help the reader directly access higher states of consciousness. Just Be introduces Awakening Infinite Radiance, a core set of practices designed to be performed regularly. Other practices in the book can be adopted as one feels inspired to. I recommend readers take in the contents slowly and purposefully and let it sink in deeply. The truths presented in Just Be may take a lifetime to be fully assimilated. There is transformation happening as you read the book! So it is no ordinary book. As far as reading the book, you can go through it sequentially. However, if you find a chapter which is irresistible, you can certainly jump straight to it.

Could you explain why transformation is important and why the path toward infinity is life-changing?

Transformation is crucial because it is what we are here on earth for in human form. Growth is the point of life. The highest purpose is to discover our true nature and expand our consciousness all the way to Infinity. We then live from that place… we live as Infinity in this finite world. That is the peak potential available to all of us. It is the full realization and embodiment of our infinite nature. Everything else we encounter in life is indirectly pointing and nudging us towards transformation. When we consciously chose transformation, the quality of life increases dramatically. Life is subjectively more pleasant, satisfying, and blissful. And we finally recognize that all along we have been confused and muddled and looking for this ultimate truth in all the wrong places.

What’s your advice to writers who wish to promote their work?

Write about what you are most passionate about. Don’t focus excessively on market trends and how many copies you can sell. Focus on what you are here to share. Let your book be the highest expression of yourself.

Take an organic approach to marketing, let passionate readers spread the word. It can take more time, but your works will ultimately be more enduring and fruitful. I have used this approach with Just Be, which has been received enthusiastically and become a bestseller worldwide. It has been honored with the prestigious Nautilus Book Award as well as several other awards including the International Soul-Bridge Book Award. I hear from readers on a daily basis, with comments such as:

“Quantum Shift Through Osmosis… Rarely am I as emphatic about a book. But this is not just a book. The minute I picked up Just Be and started reading the pages, I could feel myself shifting into my highest state of Being. I’m not saying this is a short cut. What I am saying is that I found a profound exchange from ingesting this book as it allowed me to align in high calibration. Please read this book. It will be your service to the world to be able to ascend to your highest level and this book is the tool.”

Katy Bray, Leadership Consultant and Clairvoyant, Author of The Seven Mental Models for the Conscious Team

I find it tremendously satisfying that Just Be is touching readers in such a deep way, and helping them transform and reach their highest potential.

It was a pleasure learning about your book, Suresh! Wish you all the best with future endeavors.

May 10, 2019
by Neelima

That’s the Word For It: Contronym

Have you ever thought about why fast means quick and at the same time means to immobilize? When a word or phrase means its opposite as well, it is called a contronym. Slang employs this kind of inversion of meaning, take for instance the word ‘sick’ or ‘wicked’ now used to convey something awesome or cool.

Here’s a list of contronyms.

Check out this usage of the word:

Sometimes, just to heighten the confusion, the same word ends up with contradictory meanings. This kind of word is called a contronymSanction, for instance, can either signify permission to do something or a measure forbidding it to be done. Cleave can mean cut in half or stick together. A sanguine person is either hotheaded and bloodthirsty or calm and cheerful. Something that is fast is either stuck firmly or moving quickly.— Bill BrysonThe Mother Tongue1990

May 3, 2019
by Neelima

That’s the Word for It: Parsimonious

Parsimonious refers to frugality and it also means making a minimum number of assumptions. The sports reference is to not conceding goals.

Here are some mentions of the word in literature.

“Earthly nature may be parsimonious, but the human mind is prodigal, itself an anomaly that in its wealth of error as well as of insight is exceptional, utterly unique as far as we know, properly an object of wonder.”
― Marilynne Robinson

“You have read Darwin,” I said. “But you read him misunderstandingly when you conclude that the struggle for existence sanctions your wanton destruction of life.” He shrugged his shoulders. “You know you only mean that in relation to human life, for of the flesh and the fowl and the fish you destroy as much as I or any other man. And human life is in no wise different, though you feel it is and think that you reason why it is. Why should I be parsimonious with this life which is cheap and without value? There are more sailors than there are ships on the sea for them, more workers than there are factories or machines for them. Why, you who live on the land know that you house your poor people in the slums of cities and loose famine and pestilence upon them, and that there still remain more poor people, dying for want of a crust of bread and a bit of meat (which is life destroyed), than you know what to do with. Have you ever seen the London dockers fighting like wild beasts for a chance to work?”
― Jack London, The Sea Wolf By Jack London


April 26, 2019
by Neelima

That’s the Word for It: Obstreperous

The word obstreperous comes from ob– which means in the way plus strepere, a verb that means to make a noise or to rebel against something. So the adjective works well especially with unruly children, politicians, rebel groups and certain kinds of families.

It’s fun to see the way this word is used in books:

“He’s got a wife,” I said. “Quite a nice wife, and two obstreperous children—boys.”
― Agatha Christie, The Clocks

“In an age of increasingly mechanized production, the genesis of scientific knowledge remains an unyieldingly, obstreperously hand-hewn process. It is among the most human of our activities. Far from being subsumed by the dehumanizing effects of technology, science remains our last stand against it.”
― Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013


April 19, 2019
by Neelima

That’s the Word for It : Zugzwang

Zugzwang is a situation usually found in chess where one player is put at a disadvantage because they must make a move when they would prefer to pass and not move. It’s a weak position but helps the other side to win. I found the word on Twitter in the Brexit context.

Here are some instances of this word in literature:

Zugzwang. It’s when you have no good moves. But you still have to move.”
― Michael Chabon

“Who’s straight? I’m not. I am bent gouged pinched and tugged at, and squeezed into this funny shape. Each life is a game of chess that went to hell on the seventh move, and now the flukey play is cramped and slow, a dream of constraint and cross-purpose, with each move forced, all pieces pinned and skewered and zugzwanged… But here and there we see these figures who appear to run on the true lines, and they are terrible examples. They’re rich, usually.”
― Martin Amis, Money

April 12, 2019
by Neelima

That’s the Word for It: Schadenfreude

Schadenfreude is a complex emotion. Toddlers openly express the feeling while adults conceal it. The wry smile at someone’s misfortune reflects feelings that exist in the emotional spectrum. Sometimes schadenfreude erupts as a result of rivalry and sometimes it is justice based. The word schadenfreude was first used in English in 1853 by RC Trench, the archbishop of Dublin,  in On the Study of Words.

Some instances of the word used in books:

“To feel envy is human, to savour schadenfreude is devilish.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, On Human Nature

“When I was little, I used to pour salt on slugs. I liked watching them dissolve before my eyes. Cruelty is always sort of fun until you realize that something’s getting hurt. It would be one thing to be a loser if it meant that no one paid attention to you, but in school, it means you’re actively sought out. You’re the slug, and they’re holding all the salt. And they haven’t developed a conscience. There’s a word we learned in social studies: schadenfreude. It’s when you enjoy watching someone else suffer. The real question though, is why? I think part of it is self-preservation. And part of it is because a group always feels more like a group when it’s banded together against an enemy. It doesn’t matter if that enemy has never done anything to hurt you-you just have to pretend you hate someone even more than you hate yourself. You know why salt works on slugs? Because it dissolved in the water that’s part of a slug’s skin, so the water on the inside its body starts to flow out. They slug dehydrates. This works with snails, too. And with leeches. And with people like me. With any creature, really, too thin-skinned to stand up for itself.”
― Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes