How to publish a book in India?
“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
A question that plagues a writer while writing as well as on completing their manuscript is, -‘Will my book get published?’ OR ‘How to publish a book in the traditional way?’
These three popular ways to publish a book
There are 3 ways by which a writer can publish a book:
- The traditional method of publishing
- eBook Publishing
Tips on how to publish a book the traditional way
- What kind of a book have you written? Is it a novel or a work of non-fiction?
Here are some broad guidelines that will immensely help a first-time author find his way in the tough world of traditional publishing. When one refers to traditional publishing, one is talking of publishing where the publisher takes a call based on his needs, whether he/she would like to publish the book, based on the publishers requirements. In this type of publishing, the publisher takes on the entire cost of publishing and may give the author advance royalties.
Here are some guidelines for publishing books on different genres.
- For novels and memoirs: You must have a finished and polished manuscript before you even think about how to get it published.
- For most non-fictions: You can either complete your manuscript or send a book proposal (basically like 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), then it is somewhat challenging to get a publisher to accept it.
- Polish your novel
Publishing a book involves going over your work time and again, until you think it is as good as you can make it. It would help if you go over it after an interval and see if it can be further improved. Take the help of author friends, 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.
- Write a synopsis
The length of the required summary will vary from publisher to publisher. Read their guidelines and give them what they want. As a general rule, a synopsis should not be longer than one page. A well-written outline that captures the essence of your book is essential. This not only reflects what your story is about but also your style of writing.
- Write a query letter
Read the submission guidelines of the publishing company. Frame your query letter to include all information asked for, and no more. This is your first interaction with the publisher and you should invest adequate time and research to get it right. Remember the publisher receives hundreds of queries every day, so you must stick to the guidelines. Click on the link to read some does and don’ts for writing your query letter
- Research agents and publishers
You must research books in your category or genre and note the names of the publishing houses that are publishing books in your genre and approach them for your publishing needs.
When you are approaching conventional publishers, it will help to take the guidance of a literary agent who has contacts with these publishing houses and who can pitch your book to them.
Getting accepted by a publishing house could be a long process with no surety that your book will be accepted for publishing.
- Be prepared for Rejections
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 conventional publishers. This is a numbers game. You are more likely to send out 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 who do not want to depend on the vagaries of publishers or wait for a long time to put out their work are increasingly looking at self-publishing as an option.
If self publishing a book is an option that works best for you. Go ahead and research for the best self-publishing house. Once you have zeroed in on a publishing company that works for you, study their offerings, your budget and decide what works best for you.
The above publishing options work well for both print and eBooks. If you are keen on only publishing an eBook, several new possibilities open up before you both paid and free options. eBooks have their limitations too, especially in a country like India, where print books are still the preferred medium for reading books, both for economic reasons and otherwise. This post provides broad guidelines on how to publish an eBook.
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 on how you got your book published.