Self Publishing in India: An 8-point checklist
If you are ready for self publishing in India and already decided upon being the Captain of your own Flight by self-publishing, this article is written just for you. You have probably already started Googling to find out the very few names you have heard from some of the fellow Authors. But you must be aware that, at this point in time, there are more than twenty self-publishing companies available in India who are claiming to publish your book easily.
It is always better to do some kind of research work, before deciding upon choosing the correct combination of self publishing platform and publishing package for you. Some of the self-publishing platforms may claim to publish your book for free. Some may ask you to pay an abnormally high initial investment. Although it is a known fact that no lunch is free in this Universe, there are some very important factors that you should be considering before going for any particular brand. The main cause for a self publishing writer to fail is to ignore all or some of these factors.
Even if you are ready to go for a particular self publishing company and in a middle way, I will highly recommend you to calm down, pause your emotions and go through this article. I promise that your 5 minutes of checking these factors will not go in vain.
1. Publishing Time
The overall time for self publishing in India varies a lot. Some of the publishers help to complete the process in 7 to 14 days, some take around a month, and some of them even do not clearly mention the time length for the entire process. If they are not clear, do not hesitate. Ask them. As the client or rather as an author, you have your right to know before getting stuck with a publishing platform who may ruin your patience and suck on your hard-earned money by keep delaying the project.
If the book is not print-ready and needs some sort of professional polishing, editing, proofreading etc. , that may take some extra time.
Comparing the trends in the leading countries, it should not take more than two to three weeks to get your book printed and available in at least certain platforms for sale if as an author you have given your final approval for printing.
2. Royalty and Profit Sharing
Royalty is one of the most important points to consider while self publishing in India. To understand the royalty, you have to first check the production cost per book. Royalty is nothing but the profit that the publishers share with you when the book is sold. If the production cost is Rs. 100.00, and the MRP is INR 220.00, and INR 30.00 covers some handling and service charges, INR 90.00 becomes the profit from sales. Some publishers offer only 10% of the royalty. Some even offer 25-30%. It will be a wise decision to go for some publisher who can guarantee to offer more. There actually are some of them offering 100% of the profit. Some are genuine, and some are playing trick while treating you. You must ensure that they are not charging more than 10% as handling/service charge.
3. Production Cost
Production cost per book is also one of the biggest deciding factors while you are ready to publish your book. The manufacturing cost of the book will heavily impact the final MRP. Most of the free self publishing platforms totally ignore this aspect and set the minimum production cost so high that the authors end up selling only a few books. There are cases where good contents are rejected because of high price settings.
Go to the royalty calculator and production cost per book related pages in the website of your self publishing company. Compare production cost with at least 3 to 4 other companies to find out the best one. If the publisher is not transparent about the production cost, it will be a wise decision to remove that publisher from your final list.
Also, some publishers may set the production cost pretty low but may trick you with the standard of the book. Check out the details about maintaining the standard of the book in the next point.
4. Publishing Standard
Have you ever been through an emotional roller-coaster ride before? Jithin, like many other self-published authors in India, went with one of a quite popular
Jithin, like many other self-published authors in India, went with one of a popular self publishing platforms in India to self publish his novel. He had spent years on that dream project. Initially, everything was great. Jithin was quite happy because the production cost of the book was quite low. This was helping him to set the MRP low which was one of his primary concerns.
When he received the complimentary copies of the book, it was a shocker. The quality of the pages was so poor that he was thinking about using them in the toilet. When contacted, the publisher claimed to maintain the standard had proven how sub-standard they are.
Your self-publishing platform must clearly mention the type of binding, paper quality etc. they will maintain for your book. The major types of binding are paperback, hardcover, and saddle-stitch. You can measure the paper quality using the unit of GSM. In general, the paper quality varies among 70 GSM, 80 GSM and 90 GSM. The standard should be somewhere between 80 to 90 GSM. In the case of one-time books like study materials etc. 60-70 GSM can be a good choice.
5. Distribution Options & Marketing Strength
There are some self-claimed ‘popular’ free publishing platforms who will allow you to enlist your book in their website for free. You must cross check about how popular those platforms are. Platforms like Lulu or Amazon are no doubt quite popular. But there are some gray practices among few of the cheap publishing companies to befooling the authors by keeping the book only on their own platform. Sometimes they even claim to make the book available to some of the local brick & mortar stores. But you have to check the fact whether those physical stores can really provide you the true global availability? Is there any option to seal the deal by ensuring global availability of your book in at least 100+ countries? You must not ignore the power of e-commerce. Your book should be available in e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Shopclues etc. too.
Even if you ensure availability of your book at thousands of locations in hundreds of countries, who will buy your book? You need to also check what are the marketing options you can avail via the self publishing company. There are certain strategies which you can implement by only investing your time. Along with the free or low-cost promotional strategies, what are the other promotional options can be provided by your publisher? Are there any options of Business Cards, Book Posters? Can they create a quick and International Standard Book Video Trailer? Can they market your book by putting innovative advertisements in the social networking platforms? Marketing of your book is indeed one of the most important factors you must consider before choosing your self publishing company in India.
6. Copyright & Artistic Freedom
It is very important to retain the copyright of your book. Self publishing in India sometimes ends with losing the copyright to a greedy and cozy self-publishing platform. Do not allow them to trap you and ensure that you are retaining the copyright of the book with yourself. Retaining copyright does not always mean registering for copyright. Mentioning about the author retaining the copyright of the book in the 2nd/4th page of the book is a fair enough practice. On top of that, copyright registration can be one more layer of optional protection. Copyright registration can help you in case you try to gain any monetary compensation in case of any copyright violation. Please note, you can retain your copyright just by mentioning that in the book, without registering as that is a little time-consuming process and need some fees and attorney related cost to spend.
Also, you must be sure that you will be given enough of artistic freedom to take the final decision on your book. Freedom does not mean to take full control of book cover design when you do not have that kind of professional expertise or artistic taste & color sense. But they should allow you to suggest the theme for the designing based on your content.
7. ISBN & Barcode
Having ISBN for your book is always optional. But, given chance, why should not you go for having a unique international identity for your book? You can always have your ISBN directly from the authority which is monitored by the Govt. officials. In India, buying ISBN is not a legal practice. Whereas, you must ensure that your publishing platform is capable of providing ISBN to you which will save your extra effort in the form of time and sometimes money.
Also, be sure that you get the barcode generate from the ISBN by your publisher for free. To know more about this, you can read the article ISBN in India and download this free eBook about ISBN in India.
8. Cost of Investment
After considering all of the above factors, you have to obviously think about the final factor – the cost of investment. Pre-production activities like editing, formatting, proof-reading, partial rewriting, copy polishing can be quite expensive. It will all depend upon the amount of effort you have already spent on your manuscript. On top of that, the important point is, are you capable enough to cover all of the pre-production technicalities? No question on your talent but there is always a good editing team behind every successful writer. Along with that, there are costs related to inventory, book cover designing, marketing, promotion, distribution etc. So, please be very clear about your primary objective, target reach of the promotion, budget and primary set of readers.
Self publishing in India may cost you from Rs. 25,000.00 to 1,50,000.00 while covering all of the above bare minimum aspects. There are many free or low investment book publishing packages available in the market. But they may not cover all of the basic necessities and might be good for some kind of academic book or books which may just help to build your professional portfolio.
You can download this free ebook Self-Publishing Tips Volume 1 to learn how you can do the basic editing and formatting of your manuscript for free.
The Final Checklist Infographic while Self Publishing in India
Reports say that self publishing in India is getting popular with day by day. The number of self publishing platforms in India is also increasing. In any industry, healthy competition is always good for the sake of the customers. But here, the authors need to understand the deciding factors very well before choosing the correct service provider. Do not forget to check all of these points before self publishing your book.
We have created an excellent infographic summarizing the above points. Feel free to use this inforgraphic in any of your websites provided your are crediting us back mentioning https://publishindia.com.
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