How to Write Bestselling Fantasy Novels: Christopher Doyle Part IIep36

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Introduction

Christopher Doyle is a Management Consultant and the author of Two Bestselling Books. The Mahabharata Quest was his debut novel, which was followed by The Mahabharata Secret: Alexander’s Quest. In part II of our discussion, Christopher talks about his second book, how he ended up changing publisher, translations, audiobooks, and The Quest Club.

Christopher is an alumnus of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. He has written articles on management and business for Indian and international publications and is also a regular invited speaker for international conventions and conferences. He is a certified Executive Coach and now works with senior executives to help them achieve success and better results in their organizations. Christopher Doyle lives in New Delhi with his wife, daughter and his dog and enjoys writing, reading, swimming and tennis as well as traveling and meeting people. He is also a musician and lives his passion for music through his band called Mid Life Crisis which plays classic rock.

Part I of the discussion is available here

It is the cover design that attracts attention. If you have to stand out, you need to have a very strong cover.

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Discussion With Christopher Doyle on Mahabharat and his books

  • Christopher Doyle decided to publish his debut novel with Om Books because he did not have a choice, but at the same time, Om being a bookseller, they had the reach when it comes to distribution.
  • Takeaway for first time authors: look at the distribution and retailing capabilities of publishers, not just their publishing capabilities.
  • Cover designs of Christopher’s books are reminiscent of Age of Empires. Christopher’s friend Anand Prakash, who runs a creative design agency, designed both the cover design and the website. When Christopher showed the cover design and narrated the story, Anand thought that the cover design that was almost finalized would not support the story., Anand came up with three design options, one of them ended up becoming the final cover. The cover has an image of lord Ganesh which is very unique.
  • For his second book, Christopher had signed up with Westland, and they agreed to Anand designing the cover design for The Mahabharat Quest.
  • There is a page on Wikipedia that has literally gives away the plot of The Mahabharat Secret. Christopher has mixed feelings about it. He believes that to enjoy the story, the book has to be read in its entirety.
  • Indian readers are not very generous when it comes to leaving book reviews. The number of reviews for his books are as follows: 400 reviews on amazon.in for The Mahabharata Secret, 250+ on Mahabarata Quest. Comparable numbers on Flipkart are less. Christopher tacks the reviews and is satisfied by the average rating of the books.
  • He has received feedback from readers who buy the book without understanding the genre, or have not even read the Mahabharat and have raised questions on the content of Christopher’s books.
  • Christopher likes interaction with readers through Facebook page, website, in person interactions- they are much more important.
  • Call to action: If you read the plot of the book on Wikipedia, and you like what you read, would you consider buying the book?
  • Hindi version and Tamil version of The Alexander Secret are in the works. For Mahabharat Secret- CD in talks with Om Books but not much traction. He has been approached with movie and TV producers but he is not convinced with the capabilities of the producers.
  • He believes that TV has a much wider reach compared to print books, that’s why he is very careful on who he will work with for a TV or film version . According to him, it is difficult to translate a book into a screen version. J K Rowling to his knowledge is the only author who participates in filming of the books. he would not mind Peter Jackson to direct his movie.
  • Quest Club is a way to interact and engaging with readers.
  • Christopher likes interacting with people at events. One person met him at a literature festival and handed him a manuscript of Manusmriti, and asked him to write a book on that topic. Subscribers to The Quest Club get a free copy of the mini sequel to the Alexander Secret. CD is building a community through the Quest Club.
  • Alumni of IIM Calcutta have a penchant for writing books on mythological fiction. But Christopher believes that each autho brings their own take on the myhtological fiction, another book in this genre being The Krishna Key Ashwin Sanghi.
  • Favourite rock bands: Guns N Roses, AC DC, Metallica, Doors. U2,etc. are the bands he likes. Have not uploaded audio files
  • Christopher’s recommendation for a book :Mahabharat because of the complexity of the story and characterization- every character has a shade of gray, including Lord Krishna. Every human dilemma, every emotion is covered in this book.
  • He finds it difficult to manage his professional commitments, writing, rock band and as a result his family life has suffered. But the support from his family has been phenomenal.

References and Resources

Ways to contact Christopher Doyle