• Zeba Ali

Publishing in India: How It's Different and What You Should Do Before Even Thinking About It?

Heya everyone. I'm back. Today, I'm talking about one of the most asked questions in my life. Publishing and How to go with it? Being an Indian, certain things change when it comes to publishing, especially self-publishing. So I would go through all the steps I took and the experiences that I went through all through the journey of self-publishing.



Publishing in India: How it's Different?


As I was searching for publishing my first novel in paperback back in 2019, I researched a lot about it. And what I came to know across everything was there's not much stuff or information related to publishing in India. You will mostly see Google filled up with self-published writers around the US, becoming bestsellers overnight, earning 1000$ per month in an instant. But that's not the case when it comes to Indian authors.


In India, I'm really inclined to fix this opinion in mind that people often look down upon self-published novels. It can be because of two reasons, not proper marketing skills or not enough work done on the perfection of the novel.


Check it Out: Self Publishing or Traditional Publishing?


We have big names when it comes to traditional publishers in India, Penguin India, Hachette India, Bloomsbury India. They take charge of polishing it, editing it properly. And they do everything in their hands to market the book of their authors. When it's a great name like Penguin Random House, who doesn't want to buy a book published by them. Also, they get more coverage in the bookshops as bookshop owners are willing to put the titles published by them in the bookshelves.


As we discussed already, self-publishing needs a lot of money than you can imagine. You give money to publish your book, extra money to put it in the bookshops, for global distribution, then you give more money to market it.


So if you want readers to buy your book even if it's self-published, you have to make sure it's amazing, their money-worthy. There are some steps that you can take before thinking about publishing your book in India.



What You Should Do Before Even Thinking About It?


We're talking about the perfection of the novel, so we have to sure it's properly edited. Let's go back to 2016 when I published Surrounded, my first paranormal book, in an e-book format. After one year, I casually went through it and was disgusted by the number of typos and grammatical errors I saw. I was like, how could I do something silly as that? When I can't tolerate in others' work, how I gave something so erroneous to publish in an ebook.


Check it Out: Publishing Mistakes NOT to DO


Typos, grammatical mistakes can really put off your readers in no time. They are the ones who would read in your book, rate it on Amazon, come back for your next book, so you have to sure you are taking care of them through your book.


Self-Editing Your Book


Publishing Beyond Our Melancholy in paperback in 2019 was the newest experience for me. I chose Blurose Publishers and their popular package that comes with copyediting free for 50,000 words. Roughly going through my manuscript I send it to them. Even after two revisions of editing, some of my reviewers complained to me about the typos and grammatical mistakes in it. So what's my mistake in there?


I didn't give much time to my manuscript. I should have spent more time with it. So before even thinking about publishing your book, make it crips with your self-editing. What steps to follow? I will tell you what I am doing to edit my next book.


  • Thoroughly go through the whole story

I know it feels boring to read that same story of yours again and again but you have to do it if you want it to make perfect. After finishing your novel there's no haste. Take your time and go read your story as if you're the reader, not the writer. Make notes of the things that you feel are good, or bad.


If you can print it out it's great but if you have a table or a computer, it's well and good enough too. Check all the mistakes and then put it to rest for some time. In that meantime, you can find beta readers. What are beta readers? You will find out soon.


  • Make changes in the story

After you have written down all the changes you want to make in the story. Do it in the actual manuscript. That's the headache part but you can do it. Remove the unnecessary part. Merge the chapters which are short. Work on the word count. If the word count is less, the editing cost would not be too much.


  • Line Editing

A definition by nybookeditors states that A line edit addresses the creative content, writing style, and language use at the sentence and paragraph level. But the purpose of aline edit is not to comb your manuscript for errors – rather, a line edit focuses on the way you use language to communicate your story to the reader.


Hemingway is a great way to line edit your novel. It marks up passive voices, paragraphs that are hard to read, adverbs from your writings so that you have a polished work of yours.


I line edit one part of one chapter at a time in Hemingway and it seriously shortens the word count by hundreds.


  • Beta Reads

Beta readers are the readers who read your work before it's published. telling you about the plot, the thing they loved, something that put off their interest in the book. This concept is not well known in India but you can find out some good beta readers from social media.


It's not always a paid beta read, you can go for free by offering them a mention in the acknowledgment section of your book or for a signed copy of your published hardback or paperback.


Once you have the changes asked by the beta reads, you again have to make the changes in your manuscript. You can again opt for beta readers if you want or if you're happy with the whole manuscript, go for a professional editor.



Making an Author Platform


While we're making our book perfect for the readers we have to make sure to make a perfect impression on the readers so that they buy your book. Not to do something crazy but work on an Author Platform. It can be your blog, social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vlog on Youtube, you name it. Anything is possible in the age of technology.


Author Platform will help you attract readers who would be interested in the genre you write. It would bring readers who would be willing to read your words. It would not happen in one day, you have to maintain it and give your time to it. Author platform works wonder for self-published authors but even if you're going for traditional publishing you will need Author Platform.


It's a hard pill to swallow, even in traditional publishing, you have to market your book on your own. Most would be done by the publishers but you have to do something on your own.



Calculating Marketing Cost and Reaching Out to Reviewers


Going for self-publishing, make sure to have an idea of how much you want to spend on marketing. Where do you want to market your book? How? It can be a review in a leading newspaper or a review on Amazon. It can be a book launch in a famous bookstore or a paid advertisement on social media. It all depends on you and your budget.


When I published Beyond Our Melancholy, just before it came out in print, I talked to at least 10 reviewers to have an idea of how much they cost. Some were free with just a review copy of my book, some were paid with an honest review for my book. Either way, it's fine. Until you're getting an honest review, it's fine.


Why it's important you ask to have your book reviewed? It's a promotion in itself. The bookstagram pages on Instagram have their number of followers who would come to know about your book; what's in it, what's the genre, and the interesting stuff. Also, the reviewers would leave a review with a rating on Amazon. We definitely want readers to see our book when they buy something. If our book has a good rating, Amazon would show it in their suggestion list.


It's all up to you what you feel best. There are many options in the writing field rather than giving up. Do your research and you're good to go!



So that's all for today. I hope this article was helpful to you. If you have any more questions, ask me in the comments below. Until next time, Keep Writing :D

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© 2020 by Zeba Ali. Designed by Hunaid Hanfee.