Going by the current trend, authoring is the new buzzword. With an incessant drive among young and fairly articulate Indians to write books, the market has widened but at a price — with newbie authors often finding it an arduous tussle to get adequate visibility and sustain the publishing tide. So, how feasible is it to write a book today and what are the often overlooked setbacks? We take a deeper look...
“With digital publishing on the rise and also, the number of readers in micro-pockets like Bengaluru/Hyderabad on the steady rise, we are lulled into a false sense of security as a newly published author,” begins city author Sachin Dev, who penned Faith of the Nine, recently. With the newly coined term ‘Discoverability’ posing as a main challenge, Dev explains, “This is a big issue for any new author. The reader is faced with the paradox of choice as to which new book should he be investing in for his hardly-there-reading-time. Lack of awareness about the post publishing activities by a newbie author will cost him a seat at the ringside table. Distribution is very crucial and if you are published with a tier-II publisher, it is critical that you know the distribution power of such a player. Terms like ‘print-runs’ which is the volume of copies printed also matters, ultimately deciding the scale of distribution/and later on, sales.”
Not a place for quick bucks: With grammar nazi’s making error-free content a necessity, hiring a good editor is an expense. But, looks like content is just not the king anymore. City author and TEDX Speaker Sharmin Ali, who recently brought out her second read, I was forced to become a staunch racist, believes it’s highly important to market your book intelligently. “Most writers do not know how to pitch to publishers, either directly or through literary agents. The best of them in fact fail to create a catchy cover letter which can summarise their manuscript into something an editor cannot refuse to publish. Secondly, the art of selling and marketing post publishing and the various techniques to generate more sales of their books is also missing from most authors.”
“From a business perspective... you have to delve into various genres. As the audiences’ taste changes you also have to move with the times, be seen at the right places, make the right kind of sounds, have an opinion and make it count,” enthuses Shekhar Vijayan, who adds, “The one way to sustain is to keep churning out books and that would only happen if you keep your ears to the ground and understand that everyone looks out for something which is quirky funny and passionate. Promoting a book is not a one time affair. It’s a continuous process and social media is one platform which allows you to do so.”
Last but not the least, author Sachin concludes marketing is a tricky but tack-able business. “Marketing your book to the right set of audience matters a lot. While social media has made this a lot more accessible, in terms of connecting to your right readers, unless the author is equipped with the right marketing plan ready, this becomes a difficult nut to crack.”