“To write what is worth publishing, to find honest people to publish it, and get sensible people to read it, are the three great difficulties in being an author.”
Charles Caleb Colton
An increasing number of Indians are writing books. One question that plagues a writer while writing and completing their manuscript is, ‘How to publish books in India.’ We are in an age where book publishing options have increased. All you need to gather is the information regarding book publication in India. In this post, we take you through the popular ways to publish and essential guidelines for a successful book publishing experience. Also on how to find the right Indian publishers.
How to publish books in India? Four popular ways
Tips on how to publish a book in India?
First, decide the kind of book you have written. Is the book a novel or a work of non-fiction?
Here are some broad guidelines on, how to publish a book in India, that will immensely help a first-time author find his way in the tricky world of traditional publishing. When one refers to conventional publishing, one talks of publishing where the publisher takes a call to publish your book in India based on the book genre and publishing company’s requirements. In this type of publishing, the decision to publish a book and the entire cost of publishing is taken by the Indian publishers, who may give the author advance royalties. Traditional Indian publishers generally publish books in one particular genre e.g., law books only, CA books only etc. Self-publishing companies are open to publishing books in all genres.
Here are some guidelines for publishing books in different genres.
- For novels and memoirs:
You should have finished and polished the manuscript before you even consider publishing it.
- For most non-fictions: You can either complete your manuscript or send a book proposal (a book proposal will be akin to a business plan for your book) in advance to a publisher and convince him to contract and pay you to write the book.
- If you’re writing a hybrid work (personal vignettes mixed with instructions or a multi-genre work that includes essays, stories, and poetry), getting a publisher to accept it is somewhat challenging.
- Your focus will be to gather all guidelines to ensure a smooth traditional publishing experience.
2. Polish your novel
Book publishing involves going over your work repeatedly until you think it is as good as you can make it. This step is important for all publishing, whether conventional, self-publishing or ebook/audio publishing. It will help if you review the manuscript after an interval to see if it can be improved further. Take the help of authors, friends, and editors to enhance your work. Friends and family usually cannot and will not give you critical feedback. Hence it makes sense to approach a professional, such as a developmental editor, to review your work. Polishing your novel means looking at all the common traps writers commit while writing a book.
3. Write a synopsis
The length of the required summary will vary from publisher to publisher. Read the guidelines of publishers and give them what they want. Generally, a synopsis should not be longer than one page. A well-written outline that captures the essence of your book is essential. A well-written synopsis will indicate to the Indian publishers what your story is about and whether your writing style is what they are looking for.
4. Obtain an ISBN if publishing by yourself
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 13-digit code identifying a publication in India. You must obtain an ISBN if you are planning to self-publish. If you are going through a book publisher your ISBN will be assigned through your publishing house.
5. Write a query letter
If publishing through the traditional route – read the submission guidelines of the publishing house in India. Frame your query letter to include all information asked for, and no more. This is your first interaction with the publishing company for books, and you should invest adequate time and research to get it right. Remember, the Indian publisher receives hundreds of queries daily, so you must stick to the publisher’s guidelines. Click on the link to read some does and don’ts for writing your query letter
6. Research agents and publishers
It would be best to search for books in your genre, e.g. if your book is a medical or fiction genre, then look for medical books or fiction books. Note the names of the publishing houses in India written on these books. Approach those publishers for your book.
When approaching conventional publishers, you can take the guidance of a literary agent who has contacts with publishing companies for books and who can pitch your book to them. Getting accepted by a conventional publishing house could be a long process.
If this is too much and you would like to avoid the hassle of finding the right publisher willing to accept your book, you can look at self-publishing options too.
Author KN Pandey talks about his publishing journey over 4 different publishers
7. Be prepared for rejections when publishing a book in India
You will receive rejection letters. Do not take this personally. Some of the letters will contain constructive criticisms. Learn from them. Most of the rejections, however, will be standard letters. Throw those letters in the trash and forget about them.
Don’t give up. Just keep sending out more letters to more publishing companies for books. This is a numbers game. You are more likely to send dozens, if not hundreds, of queries before someone expresses interest. This can take months or sometimes even years. Just remain patient. It only takes one ‘Yes’ to make everything worthwhile.
Typically, writers do not want to depend on the vagaries of publishers or wait for a long time to put out their work. These writers are increasingly looking at self-publishing in India as an option.
If self-publishing a book is an option, then your question is how to self-publish a book in India. Go ahead and research the best self-publishing house. Once you have zeroed in on a self-publication house in India that works for you, study their offerings and the cost of publishing, your budget and decide what works best for you.
The above publishing book in India, options work well for print, eBooks and audiobooks. If you are keen on publishing an eBook., several new possibilities open up before you, both paid and free options. When publishing book in India, print books are still the preferred medium for reading, for economic reasons and otherwise.
Audiobooks are a relatively new but growing medium of book publishing.
Start your next project……………even if the earlier one is still awaiting publication.
However, the path to publication isn’t the same for every author. Did your book publishing journey unfold differently? Please share with us your experience in getting your book published.