Author of the Month

Tellwell children’s author Rishma Govani talks diversity, equity and inclusion!

Rishma Govani is an experienced communications professional with over 20 years of experience in the media industry.  She is passionate about creating tangible change in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion. She is the author of the children’s book, Sushi & Samosas: a trip of tasty transformations, and is currently working on her second children’s book, Bright Lights & Forever Flights, a journey of loss, love and hope around the world.  She is the proud mother of her two kids Khalil, and Mila and their puppy, Hero.

Rishma has been featured by several media outlets, including Global News, Reading With Your Kids Podcast & Salaam Storytime! Her social media presence is booming and her work with popular creators and influencers has provided visibility for her book Sushi & Samosas: a trip of tasty transformations!

Read on to learn what advice she has for authors!

What inspired you to write Sushi & Samosas: A Trip of Tasty Transformations?

The genesis behind Sushi & Samosas is a little dinner club idea called TFLC which stands for Toronto Food Luck Club. The club’s mission was to try a different ethnic cuisine once a month. The club was active for 13 years trying over 100+ cuisines in the GTA with over 150 members.

The dinners started to slow down when our children were born but the essence of the book remained true for our children – try something new and your world expands!

Check out Toronto Food Luck Club.

How have your personal experiences influenced your book?

I was born a traveler, literally and of perspective – of word, of food, of music. I consider myself a world citizen and I am determined to raise our children as growing humanitarians who are open to every possibility that exists globally. 

The book sets out on a journey of changing perceptions by the mouthful. I know first hand that knowing a bit about other cultures, about your neighbours, about different cuisines allows the ease of talking to strangers and bringing the world close together. It connects and unites us by our similarities and does away with our differences.  I personally live by this ethos and my experiences have influenced the book.

What has the author’s journey been like for you? What are some successful and challenging moments?

It’s been a very long journey from start to finish. At times, it’s been exhausting especially during the recent publicity blitz I’ve been on, but I’m very proud of the book and the central message of it. It’s timeless and universal. I’ve been successful getting the word out through school readings and other media opportunities.  

What advice do you have for young authors considering self-publishing a book?

Do your research. There are a plethora of options out there – more than ever before so ask lots of questions. My book was on the shelf for eight years with many traditional publishers interested in the product, but in the end after almost a decade of waiting, and for personal reasons, I decided to finally dive in head first and self-publish.

You have had countless successes within the media, including several TV and podcast interviews. Care to share some insights on how authors can connect with the media?

Know your story and message well and then pitch away. Send your book to key media that you think would be interested in your story. Get to know them first to know if the book would be up their alley.

Be specific and targeted when approaching the media. They don’t have time for long emails and pitches but they always have time for a strong story.

You’ve also been featured by several notable influencers – how did you go about organizing these campaigns, any advice for other authors looking to do the same?

Some of it was organic – one IG account led to another but I am a natural hustler with a background in journalism, publicity and communications. It helps that I do this for a living, but at the end of the day it takes courage to reach out to people and sell yourself.  If you believe in your story, your book, your message it makes the whole process easier. It’s all about developing relationships through an email or DM and a personal touch goes a long way. Don’t be shy.

How do you determine which marketing choice is going to reach your audience?

Follow the crowd. Where are they? For me it’s on IG and I’ve discovered a microcosm of authors and reviewers focused on the area of diversity in children’s literature. It’s actually a huge community of people around the world bonded over the same inspiring goal.

What is the one thing you wouldn’t suggest investing time into? 

Your book is your baby. Learn along the way of the things that aren’t serving you well or eating up your time.  Your book is a huge investment of your time and energy.

What’s next for you?

There are a few more children’s books in my near future. The first one up is about grief around the world followed by dogs around the world and soccer around the world. I am excited about the journey ahead and creating a tangible difference in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Please give me a follow on @sushiandsamosas and try something new today.

I promise

The more you try, the more you fly!

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