India Food Network caught up with everyone’s favourite food blogger Kalyan Karmakar to chat about his first book, The Travelling Belly. Read on as he talks about getting published, his food journeys and a second book!
Were you at any point nervous to write the book considering this was your first one?
Initially I was not. But once it was finalised and ready to go to print, that was the time it really hit me. I also realised the enormity of it.
You have written a book at a time when everything is going digital. Moreover your blog holds a prominent place in the online world. Why did you feel the need to publish a paper book?
Everyone from my generation who have been in the food space has always dreamt of writing a book someday. We all started blogging because we wanted to write, and so for all of us the natural progression was to write a book as opposed to someone who has started blogging today whose natural progression would be to have a YouTube channel maybe. And so most bloggers from my time, be it Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal or Saee Koranne-Khandekar, are published authors today.
How important it is to have a good publisher?
From the beginning I was very clear that I wanted my first book to be published by a good publisher. However, when you are working with someone, there is always a different perspective to the work. For me, I was lucky enough to have been published by Hachette. Plus publishers take care of many other things that make the process easier. So, acquiring a good publisher is undoubtedly very important.
The book has received some rave reviews. But as an artiste negative criticism is inevitable. How do you deal with that?
There will always be people who won't be able to identify with your work. Honestly, I welcome the criticism that comes my way. But I prefer to focus only on the constructive ones. There are some who criticise your work without even going through it and that for me is just noise.
What are the cities and dishes that you wish to travel to and taste apart from the ones you have already written about?
I have travelled around a lot within the country and internationally especially in metropolitan cities. Now I want to start exploring smaller towns like maybe Nagpur or Coimbatore. I personally think each place has its own character especially when it comes to food and I would love to explore it.
What advice you'd give to aspiring authors or food bloggers - especially to the ones who are interested to write a food book?
There are many ways to go about doing this. Either by approaching publishing houses or directly submitting the proposal. But I would say consistency is key. Consistently putting your work out there and building an independent voice is very important. You need to be very clear about what you want and what you don’t. Also I believe that authenticity is important rather than following a trend.
If you were to write a second book, what would it be?
In my next, I would like to explore the smaller towns of India since my current book has mainly been about street food in metros.