Your search term isn't long enough.

Vijay Menon

Vijay Menon

Seattle, Washington

Vijay is a statistician, a writer, and a backpacker.

Subscribe 93 subscribers

About the author

Before graduating from Duke, he visited over 35 countries, spent two summers working in the tech industry at Microsoft, dabbled in NBA analytics, became 106 & Park's Livest Fan, and was published in the Economist's letters. Currently, he is working in Seattle as a product manager for Xbox specializing in analytics.

Profile verified
View profile





Days left


0 50 100 250 500
Success! A Brown Man in Russia sold 251 pre-orders by May 12, 2016, was pitched to 19 publishers, and will be published by Glagoslav Publications.
Glagoslav Publications logo

$8 Early Bird E-Book Sold out

24 readers

By delivering this contribution, you will be the first to get access to the book when it's released! Limited to the first 25 contributors!

1 copy + ebook included

Free shipping

0 of 25 left

$10 E-Book Standard Edition

20 readers

You will be the first to receive access to the e-book immediately upon release!

1 copy + ebook included

Free shipping

$16 Early Bird Print Sold out

25 readers

Limited edition -- be one of the first contributors and receive the print version of the book immediately upon release for a discount!

1 copy

Free shipping

0 of 25 left

$20 Print Book Standard Edition

16 readers

Take advantage of this offer and be the first to receive the print edition of the book!

1 copy + ebook included

Free shipping

$28 2 for 1 deal

1 reader

Take advantage of this opportunity to be the first to receive the book in two forms: both in print, and in e-book!

2 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

$30 Limited Edition: Full Trans-Siberian Experience

1 reader

Your generous donation entitles you to:

A copy of the e-book
A curated series of unique images from the trip that will transport you on the Trans-Siberian

Thanks for your support!

1 copy + ebook included

Free shipping

$59 Bookshelf Deal

2 readers

Best value -- receive 5 copies of the physical book for just $49. Perfect for classrooms, libraries, and keepsakes!

5 copies

Free shipping

$60 Be Part of the Book

5 readers

For your generous donation, you will be the first to receive:

One e-book
One print book
A personally autographed copy
A shoutout in the acknowledgements section of the book

Thanks for enabling this project to happen!

2 copies + ebook included

Free shipping


A Brown Man in Russia

Perambulations Through A Siberian Winter

A brown kid from California finds acceptance as he backpacks through frigid Siberia.

 Share  Tweet  LinkedIn  Embed 3373 views
Travel Backpacking
40,000 words
0% complete
8 publishers interested

This book is a reminder to those who feel marginalized, hopeless, or endlessly divided that harmony is achievable even in the most unlikely of places. 


This book is for those who recognize the discordant nature of our world in a time ripe for demagoguery, and who want to make it better. 6 in 10 Americans think the state of our race relations is poor and 65% view Russia in an unfavorable light. Follow an American minority backpacking Russia in search of something a little less divided. 


There are a few reasons why this book is compelling. 

First, it is an unordinary story that I have a uniquely interesting perspective to share from. An American in Russia is interesting enough; couple this with the fact that I am a minority, I travelled in the dead of winter, and I explored the innards of the country with only a backpack and no comprehension of the Russian language, and you have something that people will want to read. 

Second, this book is very timely. Relations with Russia are at the nadir since the Cold War. Moreover, the state of race relations within America is bottoming out, leading to a feeling of division, and giving rise to increasing demagoguery. A book that explores these very current feelings of despair and outputs hope is one that will be welcome at this particular point in time. 

Competing & Complementary Titles

My vision for this book is a hybrid between the curmudgeonly travelogues of Theroux and the fictionalized philosophical works of Pirsig. In the vein of Hofstadter, I will lay out my book with a series of absurd stories (all of which are true) followed by a deeper philosophical discussion on what it means and why it matters. 

Chapter Outline

1. Identity

Story: When I first arrived, the Russian lady behind the counter refused to believe the person in the passport picture was actually me.

Lesson: Appearances are transient; life persists in a matter of stages & our character binds us.

2. Lost in Translation

Story: Trying to get to Gallina's Flat was a massive struggle. I did not have a phone or data, I couldn't read Cyrillic, and exiting the subway station was like deciphering hieroglyphics. Finally, I relied on the help of a perfect stranger to find the place. 

Lesson: You're reminded of your own insignificance when you travel somewhere new. It is important to remain humble & to help those in need.

3. No Limits

Story: First night out. Thinking about renting a car to get to St. Petersburg. Roaming the streets. Meeting a teacher from Abu Dhabi who ended up at the same hostel. Calling her an Irisher.

Lesson: You can do anything you want to do. Life has a strange way of setting you up with unexpected encounters. Always be careful of how others feel. 

4. Bureaucracy

Story: Getting tickets was impossible. 

Lesson: The DMV experience is not a unique American experience. It happens everywhere. You just need to learn to relax and live with it. Don't let anger ruin your life. Don't worry about things that fall outside of your purview/control.

5. Finding the silver lining

Story: Sbarro's was the worst dining experience of my life. But for a homeless person it was the best.

Lesson: Nothing has to be a failure. Try to turn every experience into a positive. Have no regrets because at the very least you learned. 

6. Neither Rebel, Nor Obliger

Story: Russian police officer tells Avi to not take a picture. He takes it anyways. Russian gatekeeper tells me I can't get into Kremlin with student discount. I demand it anyways.

Lesson: There is a tradeoff between openly flouting authority and following rules blindly. Question rules, but be respectful. Why should I follow a rule if it's nonsensical?

7. Criminal?

Story: I walked into the Party Train Hostel and the guy asked, "Are you a criminal?" Later, I got called out for using stereotypical language. 

Lesson: Stereotypes hurt; sometimes jokes aren't funny. Empathize with others when they relate their experiences; but try to have thick skin. 

8. The Guessing Game

Story: I went to the market and everyone tried to guess what race I was. A restaurant owner attempts to rip us off. Avi thwarts a pickpocket attempt and is thrown off a bus.

Lesson: Don't play your hand too early. People are always trying to take advantage of you. Be mindful and use your uniqueness to your advantage. 

9. False Advertising

Story: The hostel named themselves Party Train but didn't let us socialize inside.

Lesson: Don't try to be something you aren't.

10. Petty Differences

Story: Me and Jeremy get into a fight over who should get the seat next to a random stranger.

Lesson: Don't fight over petty things. Sometimes bad things turn out good. Don't let minor disagreements turn into major fights. Sometimes the person you thought you'd hate turns out to be your best friend.

11. Slava

Story: Slava destroyed us in chess, talked with us, and kept my iPod shuffle charged.

Lesson: There are good people everywhere. No matter how smart you think you are, there's always someone smarter. 

12. Laughing at you or with you?

Story: A group of Russian Army kids calling themselves the "Space Army" came up to me in a debauched state and harassed me for photos.

Lesson: There's a tangible difference between someone laughing at you and someone laughing with you. Always embrace the latter; be cautious of the former.

13. #Tyumen

Story: We had various experiences in this random city. Entering a university lecture hall, trying on hats, Siberian cats park, Lovers Bridge, and a Russian Orthodox Church.

Lesson: Sometimes the best thing to do is roam aimlessly. You don't need to be in Paris, Milan, or New York to have fun. Embrace absurdity.

14. Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

Story: A guy in a swastika t-shirt comes up to me on the train. This precipitates a frantic search for someone who can speak english that tens of people participate in. We talk for hours. 

Lesson: Don't judge a book by its cover. Humans are innately friendly and social creatures. Open yourself up to them.

15. Generational Disconnect

Story: The girl and her younger counterparts were eager to paint a rosy picture of Russia. In reality, she has to deal with the same problems from older generations that we do (sexism and alcoholism).

Lesson: Each passing generation becomes flatter and more caring, but there is always work to be done. 

16. What's Progress?

Story: This girl mentioned that people from the North Caucuses commit all the crimes and get away with it, but when Russians committed crimes against them it was taboo. 

Lesson: Her thoughts parallel America‚Äôs race relations and how racist folks use the same argument about Blacks. If this was the embodiment of the new, less racist Russia, how much progress has really been made?

17. Count your Blessings

Story: Throughout the trip, people were fascinated with viewing my passport and the stamps from the countries I've been to.

Lesson: This made me recognize two things. First, I am lucky to have this unprecedented opportunity to see the world that 99% of others don't have. And second, English is the passport to the world.

18. Embrace curiosity

Story: I was catcalled in the train before finally someone shouting out "Wu Tang Clan" caught my attention and forced me to stop, laugh, and interact. 

Lesson: You need to learn to embrace curiosity or you will have a tough time being happy in the world.

19. Pay it Forward

Story: A random stranger bought us pancakes after seeing me drop my cereal box on the floor. Jo started a cultural exchange with us. Alexandra took us out to dinner at Govinda. 

Lesson: The good things in life you do will come back to reward you. These seeming strangers are parts of our hearts forever. 

20. Thinking Like Children

Story: A group of children traveling to a hockey tournament befriended us. They made us feel more accepted than any grown man or woman did.

Lesson: Learn from the great things that kids do before they are inundated with heuristics for fearing others. 

21. Hip Hop Takeover

Story: The most universal message in Russia was Tupac's "West Side" symbol.

Lesson: Hip-hop is one culture that has spread everywhere. When in doubt, name drop a rapper. 

22. Kidnapped or Rescued?

Story: A guy in Camo forces us into his car. We end up at our hostel instead of walking 40 minutes blindly in -40 weather.

Lesson: Sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith. 

23. A Vegetarian Lost in Translation
Story: Avi can't find food anywhere because the Mongolian language does not have a word to describe the concept of vegetarianism. 

Lesson: The struggle for common understanding is sometimes difficult, but it can always be overcome. 

24. Warrior Spirit

Story: Mongolia Christmas consisted of watching a man bite another man's ear off, the smashing of many bottles, and the unexpected appearance of hundreds of women dressed as Santa Claus.

Lesson: At the end of the day, life is about maximizing happiness and the nights you remember. Always embrace those moments because you'll draw on them the rest of your life. 

25. Terelji

Story: We spent the coldest Christmas of our lives in a Mongolian yurt atop a Buddhist monastery.

Lesson: Meditation and reflection in the company of good friends can change your life.

26. Chinggis

Story: Chinggis Khan remains the most important man in the country of Mongolia. 

Lesson: The victors write history. Always be cognizant of reality. 

About the author

Vijay is a statistician, a writer, and a backpacker. In his four years at Duke, he visited over 35 countries, spent two summers working in the tech industry at Microsoft, dabbled in NBA analytics, and was published in the Economist's letters. Currently, he is working in Seattle as a product manager for Xbox specializing in analytics.

Marketing and Promotion

I have spoken on this topic before at TedXDuke, and I hope to be able to leverage this video to drive interest around the book. Moreover, I maintain a personal blog wherein I hope to drum up excitement around this topic as well. 

And last but certainly not least...

Thank you for supporting this book and my journey to getting published!

8 publishers interested
Agora Publishing logo Agora Publishing

Agora publishing is a Canada based company, founded in 1997 with the aim of making book publishing accessible to all writers across Canada and internationally. Our main goal is to simplify the whole publishing process and help authors to avoid the so called 'publishing gatekeepers' out there so that they can easily publish their work worldwide. We bring the best of both the worlds i.e. traditional publishing and self-publishing. We help writers produce and sell mass marketable books all around the world. Along with publishing, we have a strong channel of distribution and marketing that make us a one-stop-shop for any writer.

We provide you intensive marketing & promotion and make your book available at all the places where your target audience can get their hands on it. Agora publishing provides you the platform where you can show your writing skills to the whole world.

Once you get connected with us, you don't need to worry about anything. Our team will convert your manuscript into a wonderful looking book that match the quality of a million dollar traditional publisher and within a short period of time you'll find your book in leading bookstores & retailers across country. We have an experienced team of editors, proofreaders, designers, and promoters who are always ready to help you and guide you so that you can become a successful writer.

We promote and distribute books globally so that you can reach global audience and build huge reader base. It doesn't matter whether you are a new writer or an experienced one, whether you have lots of readers or no readers , we are here to help you.
So what are you waiting for my friend.....let's build success together.

Hybrid publisher

Business, Children's, Cookbooks, Fantasy, Health, History, Journalism, Lifestyle, Literary Fiction, Memoirs, Mind & Body, Mystery, Politics, Professional, Religious, Romance, Sci-Fi, Science, Self-Help, Sports, Technology, Thriller, Travel, Young Adult


Austin Brothers Publishing logo Austin Brothers Publishing

Helping writers realize the dream of publishing a book is the goal of Austin Brothers Publishing. We provide all the services of a traditional publisher, working in partnership with the author, to create the book the author desires.

Our strength is the ability to fill any role you might have, including ghost writing, helping you complete a manuscript, publishing, printing, distribution, or any service you might need to complete your book. Our process is determined by your needs. If you want assistance with self-publishing we can help.

Depending on the author and book, we can function as a traditional publisher, providing a royalty for each sale, or if you need more assistance, you will pay a small fee up front, but then we provide a very generous royalty. Working together, we can decide which method is best for both of us.

Each of our books are designed and produced individually, no templates or computer generated boxes. You will work directly with a real person who shares the same goal, to get your book published in the best possible manner.

Hybrid publisher

Business, Cookbooks, Health, History, Journalism, Lifestyle, Literary Fiction, Memoirs, Mind & Body, Mystery, Politics, Professional, Religious, Romance, Sci-Fi, Science, Sports, Thriller, Travel, Young Adult

United States

Glagoslav Publications logo Glagoslav Publications

Glagoslav Publications is an independent British-Dutch press specializing in the publication and worldwide distribution of English translations of fiction and non-fiction titles by Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Polish authors and also authors from all post-Soviet countries.

Expertise in Slavic and European languages and literatures, extensive experience in international publishing, and a deep appreciation of the histories and cultures of both Western and Eastern Europe enable us to offer English-speaking readers throughout the world access to important works that deserve an audience beyond their native lands. We seek out books from Slavic countries that represent different ethnic communities of these regions and play an important part in our common cultural, literary and intellectual heritage, and promote a better understanding of this intriguing but often misunderstood part of the Eurasian continent.

The primary focus of Glagoslav Publications is to bring out translations that embody values that are uniquely Slavic in nature. Every book that we publish has already achieved an engaged readership in its native land, has been recognized by international critics, and, in many cases, has either received or been short-listed for prestigious national and international awards.

Currently Glagoslav Publications has launched an entire series of previously untranslated fiction and non-fiction titles and republications of translations that deserve the attention of international readers with an interest in Eastern Europe.

Hybrid publisher

Business, Cookbooks, Fantasy, Health, History, Journalism, Lifestyle, Literary Fiction, Memoirs, Mind & Body, Mystery, Politics, Professional, Religious, Romance, Sci-Fi, Science, Sports, Technology, Thriller, Travel, Young Adult


Mascot Books logo Mascot Books

We are a full service book publishing company that works closely with independent authors in every phase of writing/editorial, book production, book marketing, and book distribution. Our roster includes bestselling authors who have previously traditionally published, first time authors, and authors at various levels in between.

What separates Mascot is our hands-on approach to publishing. We work closely with each author in all phases of the publishing process. Mascot authors benefit from our industry experience, connections, and our commitment to keep up with the latest trends in the ever-evolving world of publishing.

Hybrid publisher

All categories

BookFuel logo BookFuel

From Manuscript to Market.

We help authors self-publish their books by providing the professional services needed to get books into book stores.

Services offered include: Editing, Cover Design, Print Layout, eBook Conversion, and Distribution.

Our unique Boost program allows authors to have their books created for $2,399.

The process is guided by a dedicated Account Manager, who's goal is to produce the book the author envisioned.

With BookFuel, authors retain 100% of their rights, ownership of their files, and all their royalties.

Service publisher

Business, Children's, Cookbooks, Fantasy, Health, History, Journalism, Lifestyle, Literary Fiction, Memoirs, Mind & Body, Mystery, Politics, Professional, Religious, Romance, Sci-Fi, Science, Sports, Technology, Thriller, Travel, Young Adult


Dog Ear Publishing logo Dog Ear Publishing

A publishing services company dedicated to delivering amazing results to our authors. From manuscript development and editing to book design to effective marketing tools, Dog Ear delivers. Our dedicated team of publishing professionals have spent years in both the 'traditional' and self publishing worlds.

We know how to build, distribute, and market great books.

Dog Ear authors pay less and make more than authors from ANY other publisher. Visit to learn more.

Service publisher

Business, Children's, Cookbooks, Fantasy, Health, History, Journalism, Lifestyle, Literary Fiction, Memoirs, Mind & Body, Mystery, Politics, Professional, Religious, Romance, Sci-Fi, Science, Sports, Technology, Thriller, Travel, Young Adult


ShieldCrest Publishing logo ShieldCrest Publishing

ShieldCrest are book publishers based in the UK who fill that vital gap for talented authors where mainstream publishers are unwilling to give them that chance. We strive for excellence and invest in our authors and are listed in FreeIndex as the number one independent publisher in the UK for price quality and service rated author satisfaction. We publish books of all genres including; fiction, historical, biographies and children's books.

ShieldCrest publishing continues to grow rapidly with satisfied authors throughout the UK and overseas. Our range of products includes paperbacks, hardbacks and digitised e-books in all formats used globally in the myriad of e-readers.

In addition to the above, ShieldCrest provides a complete range of services including book design and layout, illustrations, proof reading and editing. For marketing we offer author web page, press releases, social media marketing packages and many other support services to help both first time and experienced authors get their books into the market quickly and maximise on the opportunities available.

These services enable us to guide our authors through the process as we transform their manuscript into a professional book, which can take its place with pride next to any famous author's book of the same genre.

The staff at ShieldCrest have many years experience in the book industry and this wealth of experience is put at the disposal of our authors.

Our clients include established authors such as Diane Marshall who has been acclaimed as the best writing talent to come from Scotland for years by The Scotsman newspaper, and Prof Donald Longmore OBE, who performed the first heart transplant in the UK and has sold thousands of medical books used by students throughout the world. We also recently released "Martin Foran-The Forgotten Man" by J.R. Stephenson, which features fraud within the police, abuse within the prison service and injustices in the courts and has been featured in the press and on TV.

Service publisher

Business, Children's, Cookbooks, Fantasy, Health, History, Journalism, Lifestyle, Literary Fiction, Memoirs, Mind & Body, Mystery, Politics, Professional, Religious, Romance, Sci-Fi, Science, Sports, Technology, Thriller, Travel, Young Adult


Virtualbookworm Publishing logo Virtualbookworm Publishing

Virtualbookworm (VBW) Publishing was founded by a writer frustrated by the long wait time and occasional heartbreak often associated with the publishing industry. After researching the various "alternatives," he discovered a number of subsidy publishers that would publish any author ... for a price. Unfortunately, many reviewers (and readers) thumb their noses at books from such houses, since all it takes is cash to get published by them.

Then he discovered self publishing and the endless opportunities it presented. However, such a venture requires countless hours of research of printers, proofreaders, artists, etc. And after publication, even more time is consumed trying to market the book.

So, was established as a "clearinghouse" for authors, since it offers virtually everything under one roof. Although we now charge setup and design fees, those costs are kept to a minimum so as to cover all expenses. And, as with "traditional" publishers, we carefully review each manuscript and only offer contracts to authors who truly have exceptional manuscripts. We don't print garbage, and we want our authors to proudly say they were published by Virtualbookworm. If we accept your book for publication, you can rest assured that it will be sold next to other quality books, and not just work that had enough money behind it. And, you'll receive some of the best royalties in the business!

Since our initial costs are so low, we want your books to sell as much as you do.

Service publisher

Business, Children's, Cookbooks, Fantasy, Health, History, Journalism, Lifestyle, Literary Fiction, Memoirs, Mind & Body, Mystery, Politics, Professional, Religious, Romance, Sci-Fi, Science, Sports, Technology, Thriller, Travel, Young Adult


The author hasn't added any updates, yet.

  • Shyam Sunder.A
    on April 5, 2016, 5:32 p.m.

    I am waiting to grab the first copy of this book written by my cousins Son Vijay alias Oyi.. I am sure it is going to be great read !! BTW I listened to your TED X talk too!! Amazing ... you have changed a lot . So happy to see you speaking out to a crowd .. We have only seen a shy boy sitting and reading books always, when you come down to your native place in Calicut... All the best Oyi...

  • Uday Rao
    on April 16, 2016, 6:13 p.m.

    Can't wait to read the book!

  • Rohit Menon
    on April 25, 2016, 3:47 a.m.

    Good Luck Vijay! Hope you get to publish the book :).

  • Rachita Nambiar
    on May 12, 2016, 11:17 a.m.

    Hey Vijay,
    Good Luck!Looking forward to read it!

  • Zoelene Hill
    on May 12, 2016, 2:45 p.m.

    I remember hearing bits and pieces of these stories. Can't wait to read them all! Congratulations! :-D