Men tend to undervalue a service offered by a woman and are less flexible, reluctant, and seemingly non-serious on the negotiating table: Nikita Arora
Nikita Arora is the Founder and CEO of a digital entertainment startup called Webnnel - A platform that publishes original E-Novels and E-Comics in the form of seasons.
She is a former broadcast journalist who has worked with the India Today group, NDTV, and Zee group. With over 6 years of experience as an entrepreneur and 10 years in the field of mass communication, Ms. Nikita is committed to her vision of creating a value-based company that is rooted in innovation and quality in the field of communications. An alumnus of the premier journalism school of India, the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, she holds a PGD in Radio and TV Journalism and is a gold medalist and faculty topper, BJMC (Faculty of Media Studies), Manav Rachna International University, Faridabad.
Nikita has four E-Novels, one E-Comic book, two short films, and a research paper on ‘Content of Social Networking sites: Issues and Regulations - 2012’ to her credit. She also conducts workshops and guest lectures across colleges and universities.
Besides her professional endeavours, she also serves as the National Social Media Operations Officer for the All India Professionals’ Congress led by Dr. Shashi Tharoor, and as the spokesperson of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee.
In an exclusive chat with Apeksha Sandesh, Nikita talks about Webnnel, the future of E-Novels and E-Comics, and a lot more. Check out the excerpts!
Tell us something about your start-up Webnnel.
6 years ago, in the basement of my home, I birthed my tiny little digital entertainment startup, Webnnel - a platform where we publish original E-Novels and E-Comics. The idea behind the platform is to create a thriving professional echo-system where we could collaborate with some of the finest storytellers from across the globe to tell fictional stories in different formats.
You had a successful career in journalism, but you quit it and became a full-time entrepreneur. Please tell us more about this career shift.
I quit TV journalism solely on principle grounds. A compromised news space and an unhealthy, hypocritical work culture collectively prompted me to leave the profession and take the entrepreneurial route.
How has been the journey so far for you as an entrepreneur?
My journey as an entrepreneur has been very gratifying so far. The vision was to create a value-based company that every single person associated with it is proud of. A company whose culture and ethos appreciates the hard work put in by those who made it possible. A culture that respects talent. A culture that enables fairness. A culture that nurtures and not exploits. Today, 6 years later, I hope I have been able to build on this vision. I have tried my best and will continue to do so.
What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?
While I have never faced any blatant discrimination as such, what I can say out of the experience is that men are more comfortable dealing and negotiating with men on business matters. Men tend to undervalue a service offered by a woman and are less flexible, reluctant, and seemingly non-serious on the negotiating table. I am still trying to overcome this hurdle.
Literature plays a huge role in the growth of the country, considering culture, youth, etc. What do you feel that what kind of stories India needs currently?
Webnnel has always been committed to delivering progressive stories that talk of hope, empathy, compassion, love, inclusiveness, and unity; stories that add value to humanity. In the current complex, polarized times, when the younger generation is battling insecurities, loneliness, and anxiety, such stories will help them empathize with relatable characters and appreciate life better.
What is the biggest struggle of an author/writer/novelist today in India?
As a fiction writer in the digital space, the biggest challenges that one faces include finding a credible platform that is willing to trust and back their vision, compensate them well, and ensure that they get due acknowledgment and recognition as a writer and that their work reaches its maximum potential. We at Webnnel ensure all of this.
Digital space for literature is a new trend. eBooks are made available to the viewers soon after the release of books. Is this shift a pro or a con for the publishing industry?
I don’t see it as a con necessarily. Since the digital shift is quite apparent and there is a sizeable audience of avid readers who prefer reading online today, it only makes sense to make a book available in both formats.
You deal with E-Novels and E-Comics. To what extend this concept is successful in India? What kind of future it has in general?
Webnnel is redefining the words E-Novels and E-Comics. They are no longer just the digital versions of an already published book. Our E-Novels and E-Comics are original works that are developed and published in the format of seasons, just like our web-shows. Each season of an E-Novel or E-Comic has a limited number of chapters that are episodic in nature and are uploaded on a weekly basis, keeping the reader engaged and invested in a series. This format has been widely accepted and appreciated by the Indian audience and we are confident that it is the future.
These days, every other person wants to be a writer. What is that one quality, if a person has, then only he/she should think of writing as a career?
I believe every human being is a storyteller. Dreams are proof. Having said that, the one thing that a person must possess to be a good fiction writer besides language skills is the ability to empathize and understand emotions. If you do not understand basic human behaviour, you may not be able to write compelling stories.
Please share a few tips and tricks for writers?
Most fundamental is writing a story with utmost honesty and from a place of conviction. Never be conscious about what the reader might think or perceive while writing your story.
International Women’s Day celebrates the scientific, political, economic, and social achievements of women. In your experience as a successful woman, what is its significance?
A lot of people say, ‘every day should be observed as Women’s Day’. I agree with that statement principally, but with years of patriarchy behind us, observing International Women’s Day every year on the 8th of March has its relevance; to keep the conversation around equality going. It is important to periodically recognize the contributions made by women across the spectrum and make them feel acknowledged and empowered so that the next generation of women feel more confident and motivated.
Apeksha Sandesh congratulates Nikita Arora for her contribution and commitment towards the field of literature with her works as well as initiatives and wishes her good luck for her future endeavours!