Sandhya Varadharajan, a class eight student from Chennai and a prolific blogger has just published her first eBook ‘Wizile’ with illustrations by her younger brother Sanjay.
In the May of 2010, Sandhya Varadharajan developed a reading habit. The reading bug caught on Sandhya so bad that she wanted to keep a record of all the books she had read. The answer took shape in the form of her blog created by her father, where Sandhya posts a review for each of the books she reads.
Incidentally, the format of her reviews remains the same for all the books, since she has adapted the book report format given in her school for the blog.
Starting with every child’s favourite -‘The Wizard of Oz”, Sandhya has reviewed over 100 books since 2010 before setting out on her own novel ‘Wizile’- the story of two twins, Finn and Tyla Johnson who set out on a quest with their friends Max, Jeffer and Sandhya!
What began as way of tracking all the books read by her, soon transformed into a love for writing. When she started reading books, her father used to get suggestions from his friends. One of her father’s friends suggested that she read the Harry Potter Series.
“I read all the 7 books and started writing the 8th part. I finished it but did not want that to be published. I wanted to write my own novel. I started writing Wizile.”
As she was writing the book, she used to share the story with her younger brother Sanjay who would then imagine whatever Sandhya said and start drawing the scenes.
“I completed the story and my brother finished the illustrations. After seeing the drawings and reading my book, my father decided that we publish it and we did it.”
“We did try self-publishing tools with Lulu.com and then tried KDP-Amazon.com and finally decided to use Cloud share with Dropbox.com and then used wufoo.com‘s form builder and published it in my blog so that it can be free.”
When asked about the challenges that she faced while juggling between school, blogging and the novel, Sandhya said, “When I read a book, I completed the review and posted it in my blog. I wrote the novel whenever I had free time. It never interfered with my school schedule.”
On the contrary, the practise of regular blogging has only helped Sandhya at school.
“Blogging helped me in improving my English. It never hinders with my studies. It helped me understand word problems in maths. Also my English helped understanding other subjects well.”
When I asked Sandhya for her advice to young bloggers, she quickly corrected me that she would rather give suggestions instead of advice! So here are her 4 suggestions to young and aspiring bloggers and in my opinion to bloggers of all ages:
- Get your book suggestions from other people.
- Even if you don’t understand initially keep reading. You will start understanding every word of it in due course.
- Write a few sentences about every book you read.
- The more you read, the more you can write.
You can avail a free copy of her eBook ‘Wizile’ here.
“If anyone needs help, I’ll be happy to talk to them. They can reach me at my blog.”