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Posted at: Sep 19, 2018, 12:32 AM; last updated: Sep 19, 2018, 1:15 AM (IST)

Self-publishing: An exciting avenue

Swati Rai

A reader’s accessibility to the screen has triggered many new writing and reading trends. While the traditional publishing is here to stay, several novel options of getting the word printed are working to the advantage of budding writers.  Self-published writers and industry insiders talk about the art of getting a book printed on their own, and more importantly marketing strategies to sell the book.

The practical part of it

Self publishing requires investment. Naturally, it is the author, who has to arrange finances. Inderpreet, a Jammu-based author, recently came out with her self-published short fiction e-book, Generously Yours. About her experience, she says, “Traditional publishers do not prefer short stories or short fiction as a standalone book. In this scenario, self-publishing made perfect sense.”

One who plans to explore  self-publishing must do a thorough research of the genre one is working on. It is important to know about titles that have hit the market and how they have fared with readers. Get an understanding of the competition and assess if your literary work is able to convey what you intended it to.

Delhi-based career counsellor Nistha Tripathi who self-published non-fiction Smart Engineer's Guide to MS in USA in 2015 says, “Traditional publishing takes around 6-12 months after you are done writing the book. Self publishing works better when know your target audience and have an idea about how to market the book effectively.” She adds that it is important to keep a tab on the sales’ figures. 

Getting in

As aspiring authors take to self-publishing mediums, it is important to understand that not all is a cakewalk. It takes time and persistence to build an online readership, which is also recommended before getting a book published. 

So, is social media enough for aspiring authors to build their readership and in turn get discerning feedback? Not really! Experts recommend getting involved with curated platforms and writers’ community. The next step should be uploading a brief on one’s work on the readers’ community to engage them.  Dipankar Mukherjee, founder Redaomania, a readers’ community, opines, “There is a wall that the writer’s content has to pass through before getting published on such platforms. The real work begins after publishing a book. Marketing on social media and other mediums gain precedence over other book-related activities. 

Finding the right reason to write is imperative. A lot of people are looking at getting published to become famous. In the absence of life’s experiences, one tries to get inspired from others’ lives. Thus, reading is a must.” 

E-book or hard copy?

Authors find it tricky to choose between an e-book and a hard copy. Pankaj Giri, a self-published author of The Fragile Thread of Hope In India, speaks from his personal experience, “There are readers for e-books. But the real challenge is to make them notice your book. It has to be at the top of the charts consistently to catch readers’ attention.”

Authors of e-books get paid for the number of pages that readers go through online. However, Pankaj adds, “I would still prefer a hard copy published by a traditional publisher. As then, you don’t have to pay for editing, cover design, and your book is distributed throughout India. Though, you still need to spend money to market the book.” 

Hard selling the book should be avoided as well. Participating in contests, organic posting on social media, employing book tubers and reviewers can be looked at as viable options. 

The bottom-line is — whichever mode of publishing one chooses, it is imperative to know the subject, and have passion and interest for the same. The craft of writing remains non-negotiable, however brilliant the marketing strategy may be. 


Tips of the trade

  • Lock in on a theme that resonates with you.  
  • Prepare a fool-proof draft with all editing and formatting bells and whistles intact. 
  • Take a third person’s or professional agency’s opinion on your writing craft. 
  • Format the text for Kindle and mobile readers too. 
  • Get it proof read to ensure a zero-error status. 
  • Make the book visually appealing, starting with the cover. 
  • Promoting the book is an absolute essential in today’s blink-and-miss attention spans.

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