Tag Archives: Indian authors

Take my money and publish my book!

Back with another Indian-Publishing-Scene post, if you’ve not read my Indian authors and book marketing post, please do!

Why this post? Because I hear a lot of issues between the publisher-author duo these days. To mention a few complaints:

  • The publisher won’t give the author royalty for the first 1000 copies.
  • The publisher asked to sign an agreement to buy 200 copies of your book.
  • The publisher has increased the MRP and is not ready to reduce which affects the book sales.
  • My book is out of stock, and my publisher refused to reprint.
  • My publisher is not sending my books to any bookstore.
  • I spent XXXXX on publishing my book, you know it’s my baby, but, I didn’t get any returns.
    dollar-sign-bookHaving published a book already, and having gone through the ups and downs of the publishing industry in a short span. I thought this had to be said.
    Dear Author, you’re facing these issues because of YOU. It was you who wanted to publish the book right away. It was your choice to go with a publisher whose vision is to make money than to produce quality literature.
    Gone are the days when writers had to send hard copies of their novel to a publisher, wait for their reply for a year and then send to another post rejection. There were authors who took years to get published, who worked hard on knitting their stories, editing it thoroughly and wanted to publish it for the love of literature. But, are we the same? We want fame. We want a book release every year, no matter what the story is, no matter how poor the paper quality is, no matter how bad the language is, no matter who reads it and what reviews we receive because money does it all. All it takes is 10,000 INR to get ten 5-star reviews right? You know reviewers who don’t read but post reviews. All it takes is just 25,000 INR to market your book on all Facebook groups, right?
    Vanity Publishing /Self-publishing platforms (Not all) have dragged and pulled the Indian literature down, but, why care? All we need is the author tag? Throw a few thousands and get published. No, am not blaming all, but at least 3/10 do this, as I acquainted almost 500+ authors and am a part of groups with 10,000+ writers all over India.
    Ask yourself. Do you see authors who published via the publishing houses that fall under the creamy categories complain? including those who self-publish/kindle publish as per their choice. Do you see them struggling hard to establish/market their books? As far as I know, not really, at least when compared to us – those who paid to get published.
    I can’t stop you from doing what you want my dear author, but, if I can give you a small advice – research about the quality of Indian literature and the books that are available. Understand where you are, work on your story, plot, language, grammar, diction, sentence structure, etc.. Hire a good editor and give the best possible manuscript to the right publishers who are passionate about publishing good books. Wait, even if it takes years. Choose your book reviewers right. Don’t send it to every tom, dick, and Harry, please! The best type of marketing is the word of mouth. And, that would eventually happen. If not now, sooner or later.
    I indeed published via a self-publishing platform; I learned a few lessons and now, am working hard to correct the mistakes and do well with my next release. I don’t deny the fact that there are good vanity published books and there are traditionally published bad books as well. But, the equation and weightage when thought through makes a difference.
    If this post helps to change even any one of the readers’ mindset – I’d be more than happy, else, I’d still be happy because I feel better when I blog.
    P.S — This post is not for anyone in particular, because, I have the habit of dealing it in person. This is a very common post addressing the most common issues of authors-publishers duo.
    Done ranting!
    Kavipriya Moorthy

T for Ten Authors #AtoZChallenge

So, I approached my most favourite authors whom I have read, interacted, nudged with doubts, asked opinions, help, and what not?
I would rather happily die as a reader than an author; there are awesome authors I met in my journey who redefined what writing is to me! I myself find a good difference in me, my reading habit, my writing, and here are 10 questions to 10 authors, respectively!nei
  1. Neil D’Silva
Neil – One of the most promising Indian Author, reading his made me a better reader. His books are those that I would give to those friends of mine who say they would not read Indian authors, to prove them wrong. One of the best critics ever!
I asked him about his views on Social media for Marketing books and tips as well.
As a self-published author, I have used social media for marketing majorly. My initial presence as an author began when I started posting stories on Wattpad, Figment, and later on my website. I shared a lot of excerpts on Facebook as well. All these things received a lot of positive feedback and, apart from building for me a significant fan base, it also motivated me to take up writing more seriously. It was apt that I released all three of my books on social media first and then had physical events for them.
Having been using social media for book marketing since two years now, I would say that marketing does not work if you only talk about yourself. There are so many people who just put up posts about their books and such and do not engage in other ways at all. Remember that it is you who need to be visible on social media and not your books. It is equally important to interact with other people when they have something to say. You don’t get listeners here unless you are a listener first.
I don’t know about marketing mistakes as such, but I do have a grouse. And that is, social media marketing takes up a lot of my time, time that I would have otherwise used for writing. At present, I am trying to cut down on my Facebook time so that I can devote more time for my writing, but that could be just a passing phase for I have two books releasing shortly.
Help yourself – follow Neil and his books!
  1. Rasana Atreya
An interesting and strong author who self-publishes chucking traditional contracts, someone who is a catalyst of the change to help authors self-publish their books at ease! She is a strong woman and her books also touch base a lot on problems faced by woman in India and the taboo and clichés, she was shortlisted for the 2012 Tibor Jones South Asia award. Also, UK’s Glam magazine calls ‘Tell A Thousand Lies’ one of their ‘five favourite tales from India.’    
I asked her about the view on women’s fiction these days, the view on woman writers and also, wanted to know her favourite book on the same line.
There is no doubt the same fiction written by men gets way more
  1. weightage
  2. press coverage
  3. more awards
There is this attitude that what women do carries less weight. I remember a recent interview with Times of India where I and another male writer were interviewed. The male author was called a full-time writer, and I was called a housewife even though I gave up my IT job (I have an M Tech.) to pursue writing full time AND I make good money from it,
I read so many books that I am trying to recall names. Toby Neal is one underrated writer. She writer crime fiction based in Hawaii. Her books are excellently researched and authentic. She does bring up the private lives of the main characters – which isn’t surprising considering everyone involved is either a cop or an FBI agent. But doing that somehow seems to dilute the impact of her gritty novels in some eyes.
Follow her all new website and books!
  1. Devika Fernando
I see Devika’s books just like a minion that sees a banana. I so adore them for the language, diction, vocabulary and the way she writes. Love oozing stories! And enticing books are all in her kitty.
As she self-publishes her books I wanted to know her thoughts on it and the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing?
That’s a good question. For me, I love the freedom and flexibility of self-publishing. I have a full say in all aspects and can control whatever I feel the need to. I also think payment is fairer (at least for eBook royalties). It can be a bit difficult to handle all aspects; especially marketing – but even traditionally published authors have to carry a lot of the burden or are never discovered because the publishing house doesn’t really give them a chance. Ultimately, each author should make their own choice.
Follow Devika and read her books, period!
  1. Preethi Venugopala
An approachable and ambitious author whom I follow diligently, her book is always on the best sellers chart competing with the US and UK based authors. An artist herself who loves art, crafts and paintings that look as lovely as her book ‘without you’ is!
I asked her if she believes whether the book cover plays an important part in the buying process.
Yes! I can even tell whether it is literary fiction or commercial fiction by just looking at the cover of a book. Most readers, including me, pick books looking at the cover. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but most do. I made my designer change the cover design three times to arrive at the final cover. Many readers have told me they were attracted towards the book initially due to the beautiful cover.
Fall in love with her paintings and her books!
  1. Ganga Bharani
More of a friend to me, and a person I look up at, one of the most approachable to ask any doubt at any walk. Sometime I talk to, before I take any decision. She was polite enough to answer me, even when she had her book launch scheduled the next day.
I asked her about her biggest learning experience with respect to publishing, as all her books are traditionally published.
The contract is the first thing that strikes my mind when you asked this question. Not all publishing companies are the same and not all companies would have the same set of procedure. So, one has to properly go through the contract before signing them. One should discuss with the publishing consultant about the terms and conditions, In India, traditional publishing is the way which will cost less and also, gets the books to the book store, so any author would find any traditional publisher as the best bet but still there are many glitches.
There are copy rights issues, royalty issues, transparency in selling, and many more to quote that author would indeed suffer if they choose to traditionally publish. It is important to choose the right publisher
Ganga’s third novel A sip of coffee and a sip of love has been launched recently! Wishing her good luck to hit the best sellers charts and here is the link to follow her!
Her blog and books !

12

  1. Ruchi Singh
An author who writes on romance, she is well-known for her lively and not just happily-ever-after but slice-of-life writing! She is one author who proved her capability with her blog posts before her debut which made publishing and the aftermath a privileged entry! If you want to learn the right route to blogging to author, one would point her as the best person to follow.
I asked her about the notion in general that whether romance is easy to write when compared to thriller or mystery. I wanted to know if romance is a difficult genre as well. Because, there are millions love stories with minuscule differences. How difficult it is to make a romance novel to stand out?
Romance is definitely not easy to write than any other genre. In my opinion any comparison is waste of time. The thriller or mystery tales are plot driven, whereas romance is character driven. Unlike a mystery or thriller, the characters in a romance novel need both internal and external conflicts. While external conflict is tangible and could be easily expressed; internal conflict needs to be developed and has to be taken to a successful closure. It is extremely difficult to articulate internal conflict which connects with the readers.
Since it is a popular genre everything has been done, every plot has been explored. So the setting and presentation has to be unique for a romance story to stand out.
Read her published works and check her books on goodreads
  1. Paromita Gosami
I was introduced to Paromita through a book marketing community created by her to ease the marketing burden of authors.
After reading her works, I understood it was edited very well and so, my question to her was on editing!
Thank you so much Kavipriya for this opportunity. This is my personal views and in no way should be taken personally. Being good in English does not make you a good editor always as in the publishing field. You can correct the grammatical mistakes perfectly fine but when we are talking about books we are also taking about sales and above all readers. An editor should be able to gasp the nerves of the readers or rather the market. If you have a good editor, you will not only have corrections done but also have your manuscript edited as according to the market. Chop off the areas that are not necessary. Trim down scenes and make it more presentable. It’s like dressing your dish before serving. That’s what the editors are for. Hence according to me choosing editor for your work is very important part of publishing your book.
Check her words here!
  1. Rohan Govenkar
We crossed paths at for writers, by authors group. His book ‘1000 kilograms of Goa’ is a huge hit, and the best part of his book was the world building.
So I asked him about his views on world building, how important it is and if it is possible to write a story based on a place that an author has never been.
Kavipriya, Of course you’ve heard of James Hadley Chase. He lived in Britain all life. But almost all his novels were based in the US. Frankly, I find it difficult to set my story in a place where I’ve not been. Even though I live in Goa, I visited many of my locations, some of them even thrice.
It all depends on how much the place has a relevance to a particular location. If it’s just a regular story, I could do a Google search and find info on certain places and look into their maps. But if the location is highly relevant (like in my case ) it’s near to impossible to do it
Even when James Hadley Chase wrote his stories on the backdrop of US, all the specifics he needed was the law in that country and functioning of other law enforcement bodies, In order to keep it real.
I’d just share with you something very embarrassing
For the second novel, i wanted to insert a scene in a red light area. So on my regular trip to Mumbai, I visited Grant Road and had a chat with a couple of ladies. I was finding it difficult to visualise what a real red-light -area looks like. Also, for the first novel, I visited a casino and was asked by the bouncers to leave, because they didn’t like me interviewing their staff, they thought I was a journalist or something.
Things that an author does to write a book and get information are indeed a great journey itself! Follow Rohan Govenkar for more updates on how his second novel is shaping up!
  1. Falguni Kothari
The one who redefined ‘mythology’ – with her ‘soul warrior’ she just hit that a writer has no limits to creativity.
I asked her what an author should primarily do? Or start with, when they want to try their hands with fantasy fiction or historic, that is not common and different in every aspect.
Firstly, thank you for saying that I’ve redefined “retelling” a story. Ok, so to answer how I did it and what other authors can do to make their stories different is that learn the story so well and from so many angles that you know exactly where to tear it apart. Alexander McQueen, the infamous dress designer, has said that to know where to make that daring alternative cut, I needed to know traditional dressmaking. Does that make sense? Have I answered your questions?
Every “change” I made in Soul Warrior has a basis in Vedic literature and mythology. Literature and history tells us that Karna was the perfect mate for Draupadi. If that is true, why did fate work against them? There had to be a reason why Krishna manipulated events so Karna and D did not get together. That’s the basis. Then I had to imagine the subtle changes and differences I could introduce. And if they made sense.
 Her official website and books!
10. Dhasa Sathya
One of the promising debut last year with a short story collections. His styles are one of a kind, a very experimental and level headed author with whom I shared a stage for a workshop.
 I wanted him to talk on his mastered area on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Writer’s block is a sign that your mind is bored with the script running the story and scenes time and again, because we writers are prone to read the written a few times before re-starting our work, right? So I would suggest to forget writing and to start reading! I bet that your mind will miss the lingering torture of your characters that they would start calling you back.
The above is applicable only to writing, but there are chances that you have a block in you plot itself, this is when you should stop fumbling and start working on something different, it can be a short story or some prompt or any whimsical idea – basically give a nice vacation for your brain.
Take a vacation between your books and keep observing things! It will change a lot of perspectives and make more room to write about.
Here is all you would like to know about him and his books!

R for Royalty #AtoZChallenge

With my interaction with friends, fellows, and aspiring writers, I have always been questioned if I get to take the MRP of each book sold. Many think, I have made lakhs with my book (Chuckles) whereas in reality, I only spent more than what I made. This, in real, is the case of most of the authors. Even during one of the workshop, one writer ended up asking if he can make enough money just by writing. Sad truth being a NO, I thought I will bring Royalty into picture. Now that you know how much you will have to spend to publish with Q for Quotations post, here is what you should know about the ROI (Return on Investment)

royalty

So, what the author makes?
The money that the author makes out of books is called ‘Royalty’ what a fancy term! It is just a small percentage of the MRP. The Percentage varies according to the author (Big authors get advance payments too) and also, the publishers. Big publishers pay better than the second tier, they say! So mostly is varies between 7% to quote the least to 20% as the maximum.
So if the book’s MRP is 200 INR then the royalty is between 14 INR (No I didn’t miss a zero in the end, it is fourteen) and 40 INR.
The above is for traditionally published, for vanity publishing – you get up to 50 to 60 INR (Of course, you pay 20k to 1 lakh up front) and for self-published books via pothi it is around 20 INR only.
What if you go through a literary agent? you have to give 10-20% of the ROYALTY that you make. Yes, 2 to 4 INR of every book sold goes to the literary agent and I have heard that you should promise a count of books that would be sold for sure, if your book don’t meet the count, author has to buy the rest. Stop crying!
And, any promotional offers or slashed price to help sell the book – author makes no money!

My Dear Indian ‘Authors?’

Recently, I happened to attend the book launch of Author Ravi Subramanian, and during the Q&A session when we asked about self-publishing and vanity publishing, he said “According to the recent research and statistics only 72 copies get sold on an average of a newbie Indian author among which 60 are bought by their own friends,” which is absolutely true in most of the cases.
Let’s take a sneak at the vanity publishing industry for instance:
I recently saw a video where a lady ties her cows near a temple, and sells fodder for those who visit the temple to buy and feed the cow. She owns the cows, she gets the fodder from her own garden, and though it is her duty to feed her cows she makes it her business model to make money, to feed her cows and also makes money selling the cow’s milk.
In vanity publishing,
  • Cow – your manuscript
  • Fodder – your money
  • Those who buy fodder to feed the cow – your friends who buys the book for you
  • Cow’s milk – Publisher’s profit
If you want me to be brutally honest, I would also say that you get the cow dung – Royalty.
Do you know? The vanity publishers feel damn shy to shout out loud that they are vanity publishers, they hide their identity with a term “self-publishing book platform”
What prompted me to write this post? – well the picture below
image1(1)
I had a few bad experiences during my transition from a novice writer to the person I am who knows the sad truth about the publishing industry.
If I were the one who talks without giving it a second thought, soon after reading that message, I would have replied:
  • How on Earth you call your book a best seller?
  • Who the F*** gave you the liberty to give it a tag like that?
  • Who published your sick book?
  • How much did you pay for those fake reviews?
I would actually go on and on. Most of these fall under the filthy rich, the sick who sucked in love and failed miserably, the I want to become famous greed bitten imbeciles. I would be more than happy to meet someone who doesn’t fall under this category, but unfortunately almost 60% of those sick newbies who Facebook search the word “Author”, join all the writers-authors related groups and add the authors available fall in this category.
The most disgusting part is the fake reviews and fake ratings! Worst? – Yes buying 100 copies of their own book on amazon to get a better rating. A few newbie authors want to be the “best seller” but none focuses on building a readership. A few wants the word “Author” before their name but are really not. A few just wants pictures by their friends holding the book on their timeline but don’t care a damn whether they read. And the best of all, a few claim that it is absolutely okay to publish a book with grammatical mistakes – do you have an answer for a person who would pick a book to enhance their grammatical skills? What if you teach the worst to them? – Why are you not ready to spend on a good editor than on marketing? All you want is a search result with 10 different links talking about you but are you really worth it, who on Earth would actually Google your name? Grow up!
rating
Have you seen such ratings ever before?
There are a few who stick reading to authors outside India pointing out the miserably failed so called best-sellers. I don’t have an answer, being an author is painful, the tag is burdening.
I am not trying to pull down anyone here, am not offended by what you do but please aren’t we responsible to take Indian literature to the next level?
Please stop publishing your college love stories, your school encounters, making out with your friend’s girlfriend, etc.. Oh yeah, I hear you, who am I to say that? right! But please what are you actually giving back to the world? Your novel will have your name inscribed even after you. Do you really want to write a book that has a bit of sex, a sucking love story, a super stupid conversation over a coffee, an unnecessary accident, an uncalled for betrayal et al. All these stories are taken, these are said – please stop! Stop writing your teenage stories.
I would like to thank the Indian authors who don’t fall under any of the or most of the or many of these categories.
I repeat that this post is not to hurt anyone or even about anyone in particular. Am just another author but not a best seller, and my book is not one of the bestselling. At least, forget that am an author – as the one who reads and reviews books day in and out, I very well know the standards of the Indian books that are getting published. I respect the authors who have written good stories, and my reviews are honest indeed.
Please write a good story, take the traditional publishing route or self-publish by yourself. Please don’t spend your or your parent’s hard earned money to vanity publish. (I did vanity publish, as I had no leads to follow, I was ignorant about the traditional and self-publishing route) Please ask for mentoring from a proper author rather than blindly spending on vanity publishing.
I just wanted to plead the others not to run behind the tag or fame.
God save the industry, please!
About me and my debut: I self-published my debut novella via a vanity-publishing firm as I was ignorant enough to understand how waste of a money it was and that I missed my chance of using other publishing ways, I thought I should write this post.
My debut is not a best-seller, but a good book. I don’t throw my book’s cover time and again asking my friends to buy – I keep writing and I am building my readership. I don’t have good grammatical skills and diction – but I employ a good editor as I feel responsible.
I organized a meet for aspiring writers in Chennai to help them understand the pitfalls in the publishing industry as well.
If this post by chance hurts you or your ideology – please pardon me!
I hereby end my rant.
Regards,
Kavipriya Moorthy