I am exploring self-publishing. It is very exciting trying to discover where it leads. My first novel, The Tailor’s Needle, was published by Penguin India. I was so excited then too. But then I did not know that an author doesn’t stop their labour after the book is out; their actual labour begins thence. Big publishers don’t have the time or inclination to promote the books of minor authors. They have better things to do. They never give the real sale-figures to authors; if ever someone is cheated it is the minor author who is in awe of the publisher from the stage they sign the contract to the time that they get their share of the profit. In India, publishers accept the books represented by some literary agents only, those that will help them keep their investments low. Hence, literary agents, mine is in London, usually fail to impress these bigger publishing houses. The more successful an agent in the West is, the less the agent would be acceptable to the big publisher because that agent would try to get bigger shares for the author.
This is the age of self-publishing. The publishing industry has changed dramatically because of the thousands of books submitted to traditional publishers these days. These books lie unseen and unknown and authors wait for months only to be told that their books though good are not the best fits for the presses they are sent to. Traditional publishing is not proving equal to the heavy rush of authors approaching it. Self-publishing, on the other hand, if handled professionally, can take an author to a position where traditional publishers will begin to approach them and offer them appropriate deals, which the authors can turn down if they are doing sufficiently well on their own.
After I published my first three books with traditional publishers, I decided to publish my fourth book, a novella called SABA & NISHA (A Love Story), as a self-published book with Notion Press. This novella is now available in all major bookstores. I’ve published with Notion Press because I thought they were the most professional of Indian self-publishing companies. Self-publishing is for authors more than it is for self-publishers; they gain from their books because they manage to publish far more books than traditionally published books. The traditional publisher cleverly helps some big names to grow bigger and takes on very few new authors that they can take on cheaply. I did not approach even one traditional publisher for my novella. I want adventure and thrill this time. I would like to take the ups and downs of my novella like an explorer takes a new unknown journey.
My novella, SABA & NISHA, is like an ad for my next novel, TO INDIA FOR LOVE, which will be out in December end this year or January next. But this novella, being a literary thriller, is likely to draw attention to itself as well; maybe even more to itself than to the upcoming novel. Who knows? We discover our potential for different kinds of writing with every new book we publish.
I have to see whether my novella will sell a thousand copies in the first week or ten thousand. Or will it sell even less than a thousand? My journey as a self-published author has begun and let me see where it takes me. Help me God.
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