A Nerd’s Quick Guide to Publishing

A colleague who we had lunch with everyday had a new story to share every single day. I’ve never seen him repeat an incident from his life and each time, his stories made us break into peals of laughter. I always felt that all his experiences could be put in a book. But as much as we all have tales to tell, writing a book needs a lot of hard work  And once you’ve put on paper what you have in your mind for days, you want the book to see the light of the day and reach as many people as possible.

How does one go about doing that? Here are the tips:
Find an editor: An editor does to a book what fizz does to Coke, makes it refreshing. Especially those writing in English need to accept the fact that it isn’t our first language. Not only will your book have a cleaner text in terms of grammar but would also improve in expression. Look for an editor who fits the requirement of your book for example if you’ve written a Chicklit have someone, who is clued into what the young are reading, edit it.

Mr Ghostwriter: I know many a times it is hush hush but get yourself a ghost writer in case you are not able to find time to structure your thoughts and put them on paper. This is more common in case of non fiction.

Get me a publisher: Find an agent for your work. There are quite a few in India like Siyahi, Redink, Purple Folio to name a few. They are a good option to help you find a publisher and many of them are able to strike good deals for first time writers. They also help you clean your manuscript and make it more presentable to publishers. They are also able to bring in their expertise in finding a publisher-category fit. Some publishers are better at a certain genre.

Where to get published: Coming to publishers there are the multinationals such as Penguin, HarperCollins, Hachette etc. Then there are the home grown large ones such as Rupa and the not so big ones like Roli, Shrishti, Katha etc. Each of them have their own strengths and weaknesses. Getting a publisher will help you sell and market to a certain extent since they have an established network of distributors and they might be able to chalk out a budget for marketing your book but with the number of books all publishers, put together, are coming out with, it is imperative to put in efforts in addition to theirs to push your book.

Let me publish myself: Don’t get disheartened if you aren’t able to find a publisher. The option of self publishing was always available and is no longer considered a taboo, with big publishers such as Penguin and HarperCollins providing the option through Patridge and Authonomy. While these are relatively new, there are the ones such as Power Publishers, Cinnamon Teal, Pothi and many others who are established in the Indian market. Then there are publishers such as Notion Press providing a smarter way of publishing. Some have even tied up with online selling channels and are providing sales support. All have a basic marketing support available as well.

All the publishers also provide you with the option to e-publish. Marketing of e-books is still a gray area though, but most of the online selling platforms allow you to sell e-books.

Growingly there is a group of new age writers who wish to only e-publish. With Amazon Direct, Kobo, Lulu and many others, both in India and abroad, allowing this option, the only professional help is required in getting the file converted into an eReader format. Most of the sellers provide these services for free. Landmarkonthenet, infibeam, flipkart and others provide options to sell ebooks. If you want, you can tie in directly with an ebook seller. Ashok Banker has been selling his books in an eBook format since years and he seems to be doing as good as, if not better selling his physical books.

As stated earlier, all the options discussed above do provide you with sales and marketing support but the effectiveness of these is yet to be seen especially in case of marketing.
While I go and find myself an editor, until the next MarketMyBook update…