Friday 13 September 2013

Interview with Indian Blogger Award Winner OHDAKUWAQA

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself? Your blog, and your aspirations and your hobbies!!
My educational background is engineering and IT but I worked mostly in advertising, marketing and such.  My current blog is for m
y comic strip "Oh, Dakuwaqa!" ( which features a small anthropomorphic shark and other creatures. The comics help me express thoughts which sometimes words cannot and the allow me to personalise thoughts and pay tribute to people who inspire them.
Other than drawing, I like reading, watching TV/movies, travelling and writing.

2. How you first got involved in with blogging, are you an imaginative person?
I started blogging about 7 or 8 years ago for fun - just to vent and express thoughts. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I used to draw comics to illustrate some points and soon the comics became what I most enjoyed to do. So I switched to the comic blog. It does take quite a bit of imagination to develop a world with sharks and other animals who have their own opinions.

3. What do you find most challenging about blogging about your topic?
The most challenging part is trying to do a new story every other day. It takes quite a lot of effort to keep improving the characters, the drawing style and stories. The other challenge is of course to find readers who appreciate and understand it. Sharks have yet to gain interest and popularity in India.

4. Tell me about some of the people you have met while working on your blog?
I've met so many interesting people while working on this site. There are a few other shark cartoonists across the world who are well known in their countries and they invited me to collaborate on a shark comic with them which was an honour. Some of the rewarding experiences have been shark conservationists writing and asking if they could use my comic for their campaigns.

5. How would (someone) describe your blogging style?
It's quirky, sarcastic, fun and sometimes cute!

6. What do you do when you are not working on your blog?
I do some dull office work like developing brochures, websites etc (I don't do the designs though - I just manage the work).

7 .Where do you see yourself blogging wise in the next 6 months, and 5 years down the road?
Hopefully, my comic will be a bit more well-known and I'll be able to do it more often. I'd also like to print them in a book for sale.

8. What networking do you do that you feel helps your blogging business?
Networking is quite important for blogging - visiting other blogs, attending blogger meets, social media interactions etc are some of the few things I do. I used to be a lot more regular in blog surfing but now I use social media more.

9. How do you keep coming up with material/content for your blog? Many people struggle with coming up with different articles/posts and they only have one blog.
Mostly inspired by real life and day to day incidents J

10. What’s your strategy with your blog in general?
No real strategy. I try and post every week or sometimes I post quite a few in a week. I like the freedom.

11. Any specific tips you have for newbie bloggers who want to make it in the blogosphere?
Have fun, don’t take blogging or yourself too seriously – write about what interests you. People can usually see passion if it is there and that’s what they usually like in a blog.

12. What would you prioritize? Content? SEO? Traffic? Readers?
Probably content and readers.

13. What’s the best thing a blogger can give to his readers?
Something new – a new perspective, new information, new ideas

14. A lot of people are interested in blogging for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from blogging? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?
I don’t know much about this because I currently don’t have any ads on my site. I tried Google ads in the past but I didn’t make any money from it and I didn’t want to clutter my site with ads so I took it off.

15. What motivates you most in life?
Sometimes humorous situations, other times - Injustice and at times a desire for less stupidity in the world.

16. What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?
Social media mostly and the networking I mentioned earlier.

17 What was the most challenging moment in your blog content development process and why?
See question no.3 – part of the answer is there. I also sometimes find the blogger platform frustrating and hope to find a more flexible site someday.

18. Everyone has a favourite/least favourite post. Name yours and why?
My favourite post is the one with the shark on the bicycle ( ). It was one of my earliest ones and I was so happy that my bicycle drawing came out well. My least favourite is probably the one in which I was debating a name for the shark. It added to the confusion about the name of the shark (the shark doesn’t really have a name).

19. Name some of the bloggers whom you look up to and why?
I don’t know a lot of them by name but I admire the people who truly blog intelligent opinions about the issues that challenge us.

20. What is the story behind the name of the blog?
‘Dakuwaqa’ is the name of a Fijian mythological shark god. “Oh, Dakuwaqa!” is a sharky twist on the phrase “oh, god!”. It is just a phrase and isn’t the name of the shark or any of the other characters in the comic.

21. Your connection with any Blogger Network like Indi blogger or Writeupcafe or any other and the experience?
I’ve been part of indiblogger for a long time. It’s been wonderful. I’ve attended a few blogger meets and even won a contest! They’re a wonderful blogging network – very professional, fun and innovative.

22. Which genre do you feel gets the raw deal?
In India, probably comic/ cartoon art – appreciation for our own “lesser known” artists is not as big as it is in other countries. We tend to like comics that the rest of the world likes or promotes. It’s time we gave some attention to contemporary Indian comics instead of focussing all our love on cricket, poetry and Bollywood. J

23. Which one plug-in would you suggest all bloggers to have?
I don’t use a lot of fancy plug-ins or widgets – just the basic sharing ones.

24. Five adjectives that describe you.
Lost-in-thought, questioning, moody, helpful (at times), sometimes funny

25. What book would you say has made the biggest impact good or bad on you?
The Bible – it has a lot to learn from and be inspired from. If I could pick more, I’d say Peanuts and Calvin & Hobbes.

26. Do you get easily provoked by positive/negative comments??

27. Do you plan to write a book, as every bloggers dream it is?
Yes, I made a few sample books for a comic con event. Hopefully I can make more soon.

28. Are you a judgmental person, do you prefer to take sides instead of standing neutral?
I do have opinions about some issues and I’d like to take the side worth fighting for – justice in cases of injustice and I will probably have a prejudice against those who miss the point and criticise those who fight for causes. For example,  those who say blame women for rape. These people are frustrating to read… I admire those who can discuss many views without mocking and being unproductive to the conversation.

29. Your collaboration with other bloggers, are you much into social networking, tell us everything about it?
I’ve only collaborated with other comic artists to create a comic strip and sometimes have collaborated with conservationists to make sketches for campaigns. These have all happened thanks to being able to connect to people via Facebook pages or twitter.

30. What genre attracts you the most and which genre you avoid?
Humor/personal blogs usually attract me the most. I usually don’t read much of technical/financial blogs

31. Your Views on Contests and increasing plagiarism?
Contests are fun! It’s always nice to win something. But plagiarism needs to stop… if you’re going to borrow an idea/phrase from someone else, give them credit. It’s very easy to lose track of who created what on the internet unless someone puts lots of watermarks/signatures all over their work. It shouldn’t have to be so if everyone respected others’ works.

32. Words for me and my blog.
It’s nice to see a blog about blogs and bloggers – it’s very encouraging for all bloggers. Keep it up!

33. On winning the Award/s?

It was very exciting to win Indi blogger Award for comics – I didn’t expect it and had forgotten to check the updates .. so it was a wonderful surprise. 

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