Published: 21st July 2018
The 'write' help: Eager to publish a book? Turn to Nikhil Chandwani's Writers' Rescue Centre
Through Writers’ Rescue Centre, Nikhil Chandwani wants to help all those who are struggling to get their books published
We've all heard stories about how temperamental writers can be. One moment they feel on top of the world and the next, down in the dumps; riddled with self-doubt about their work on one day and feeling supremely confident on the very next. The fact that this happens is true indeed, more so with upcoming authors. All they need is a friend, philosopher, and guide who can help them from the very first step of ideation to the marketing of their book. And many upcoming writers have found a true mentor in Nikhil Chandwani.
Chandwani himself has written over 10 books. His 11th book is going to be about simplifying spirituality for youngsters
Before we plunge into the world of writing and writers, let us tell you a little bit about the man himself. As if it wasn't enough that Chandwani's one of the youngest professors, teaching English Communication and Business Analytics for MBA students at KL University, Vijayawada, he is also the co-founder of Walnut School of Ideas, which provides online courses for creative skills like script writing, photography, music and acting. He has the experience of directing documentaries like Escape from Kenya and Amazing Amazon Adventures. Might we add that he is just 24? Amassing all his experience, he decided to become a mentor to all those writers who aspire to be authors, but don't know how to go about it. About a year ago, he started the Writers’ Rescue Centre under the Nikhil ChandwaniFoundation in Nagpur, his hometown, and more recently in Hyderabad and Vijayawada.
The making of a mentor
Because of all the awesome work Chandwani has managed to accomplish by the age of 24 (most of us just about decide what we want to do with our lives at this age), it is only natural that he is a popular TEDx speaker. He is also often invited to universities across India for guest lectures including IIM Nagpur, Vellore Institute of Technology and many others. And it is during these lectures that he is approached by young students who want to be writers. "In fact, one of the first students to approach me was heartbroken from all the rejections he had faced from publishers. As I kept talking to him, I discovered that he has a natural style of writing and just needed a little polishing," says Chandwani, who won the Global Indian of the Year 2014 award. And the student he was telling us about, Siddharth Roy, recently met the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, and received appreciation for his first book The Special Fish. Similarly, the Writers’ Rescue Centre has published more than 150 books with Penguin Random House, Educreation Publishing, Srishti Publishers and Distributors, Mahaveer Publication and others.
A work in progress
While most of the writers who seek help from the Writers’ Rescue Centre are low on confidence, others who approach them suffer from depression and suicidal tendencies too. And because most of them are directly mentored by Chandwani, the first thing he does is take these aspiring writers for a drive to a nearby roadside tea stall for a cuppa and he tries to help them open up. "It is not in an office-like space where most people open up and share their miseries, it is in their comfort zone that this happens," he shares and it is through conversations that he gets people to open up so as to understand them. Then, over a few days, the writer hands Chandwani a synopsis, who then sets a target for the writer to finish a certain number of words per day. Once the draft is ready, then the editing and proofreading begins after which it is sent to multiple publishers.
Writing a book also serves as a stepping stone for some as it adds weight to their master's application or placements
Nikhil Chandwani, founder, Writers' Rescue Centre
Chandwani believes that while all writers may be good storytellers, writing is a skill they are yet to master. And this is where the Writers’ Rescue Centre comes in. The team guides, brainstorms and adds the final touches to the writer's work. "India has a population of over 130 crore, everything sells here. Every writer finds their reader. We just need to reach out to the right reader," says Chandwani, who even connects writers to TEDx organisers and colleges so that they can be invited to give talks.
In the near future
Next up, Chandwani is planning for a Writers' Tourism Programme where writers from all over the world will be coming to Hyderabad to seek their muse. This is on the cards because, "publishing is a very expensive affair in first world countries. Here, they can publish and market their book at half the cost," he shares. They have already reached out to writers in Australia and North America and are working on spreading the word and tying up with the Government of Telangana as well. He is also planning to open a Writers’ Rescue Centre in Visakhapatnam as well, "that'll be right by the beach. It's always been a dream of mine to have an office near the sea," says Chandwani, who is striving to fulfil the dreams of several upcoming writers.
One of Writers' Rescue Centre's investors is Neelima Tirumalasetti, who is a producer in the Telugu film industry. Most notably, she produced actor Pawan Kalyan's Panjaa
When Chandwani reveals his plans of marrying this year and retiring by the age of 30, we express our surprise, but in retrospect, we understand that for someone who has achieved a lot of what he set out to do, he still has six years to explore his own potential.
In due course
In 2015, Chandwani started the Freelance Entrepreneurship Programme which he took to several institutes like the Indian School of Business (IBS), Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Anurag Group of Institutions in Telangana and GITAM in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. This course is for those writers, artists, stand-up comedians and the like who want to freelance and still have a thriving career. "For example, photographers often think that wedding photography is the only avenue for them to earn, but in fact, there are a lot of options that they can choose from," says Chandwani, who personally takes these sessions that can last anywhere from one to three hours. The programme also explains how students can build a brand for themselves, digital marketing and covers other subjects. Chandwani has delivered more than 150 of these sessions.
Better together: Chandwani with his team
Training future leaders
To develop the appeal of politicians, Chandwani has plans to start a programme for politicians where they will be trained in public speaking and other aspects. "Dr Shashi Tharoor wasn't built in a day. We want to train politicians in certain aspects like talking to the media and helping them connect with citizens and have more appeal, just like he does," explains Chandwani. He is already approaching politicians in Nagpur and Hyderabad to do this.
Under Chandwani's guidance
We spoke to three authors who were guided by Chandwani:
It was under the guidance of Chandwani that 46-year-old Dr Shakila was able to publish her first book, Odyssey of Spirit. "I have written before, but lacked the confidence to put it out there. Nikhil helped me believe in myself and my abilities," says Dr Shakila, who has been in the teaching profession for 24 years and currently teaches Biological Science at Shadan Institutes. When we express our surprise at the age gap between her and her mentor, she says that it is the experience one has that counts, not the age. Dr Shakila, who is also a motivational speaker and a Global Goodwill Ambassador for LinkedIn, says, "It is often our own apprehensions that kill our ambition. Stretch yourself to know your potential." She is also the chief mentor at Writers' Rescue Centre in Hyderabad.
Nikhila Chalamalasetty is a 25-year-old who is wheelchair-bound, but she does not let this bind her dreams. Her first book, The Day I Started Flying was loved by readers and she thanks Nikhil Chandwani for it. "I just wanted to be independent and blogging helped. I had never thought about it before, but when Nikhil recommended that I consider writing a book, I started giving it a thought," says Chalamalasetty, who is from Vijayawada. The need for her to prove herself is a key factor that drove her to overcome her problems and put this book out there for everyone to read. "I wanted people to recognise me for my work and not for the problems I face," she says. She adds that one needs to be determined and stop worrying to prove themselves successfully.
Ritesh Verma met Nikhil Chandwani in 2015 when the latter was visiting Vellore Institute of Technology for a guest lecture. Verma told Chandwani about his inclination towards writing while also confessing that he wasn't only depressed, but also had 13 backlogs. "Nikhil promptly invited me to Nagpur, where I stayed in his house and mentored me through my difficult time," says the 22-year-old, who wrote his first novel, Mystical Emotions, under the tutelage of Chandwani. "It's been a year and a half since I published my novel and I can say that it has truly helped me in my college placements because not everyone has a book published at such a young age. It made me stand out," he shares. Today, he is a better speaker and has dealt with his issues of self-confidence with the help of his mentor.
For more on them, click on facebook.com/