So you recently wrote a novel which was accepted by a publisher? Great!

Now, you probably think that your work is over? Well, unless you are Salman Rushdie or J.K. Rowling, the answer is a big NO. As a matter of fact, even the most famous authors don’t stop at just getting the book out in the market. The importance of marketing in today’s book business cannot be discounted at any cost. Good marketing can help increase sales and make future book sales easier for you.

If you are a first time writer or a relatively unknown author, then marketing is all the more important. There is a concept of market pull and push. In case of J.K. Rowling, the market pulls in the book while in the case of a first time writer; it is market push which is required. Pushing in a book into the market resulting in sales is not that easy for a first time writer. In this age where hundreds of new books get released every week, you need to market it effectively so that the reader deems it fit to be bought.

Even before I start discussing ways of marketing your book, you need to answer one question. Do you have confidence in your book? If the answer is yes, then read on. If you say no, then no one can help you. Book marketing starts with believing in your baby. Sales will follow.

One of the main reasons for a book’s failure is lack of marketing. If no one hears about your book, then what’s the point in writing? After all, you wrote because you wanted your story to be heard, right?

Your book may have been published by a traditional publisher, self-published or through Print on Demand (POD) but no one will know about it unless you as the author are ready to take the next step; that of marketing and promotion. Unless you can afford to hire your own publicist or PR company, the onus of marketing the book is entirely your own. Contrary to the opinion of professional PR firms, there are many low cost ways to promote yourself and your book. Marketing is all the more important if:

1. You are a first time writer
2. The book is self-published
3. The book has been published through POD
4. All the above

In case your book has been published by a traditional publisher, you’ll find that they do a lot of marketing for you, but that is not enough. You will still need to contribute in the marketing exercise if you wish to see your book sell and make it to any of the best seller charts. So here are a few ways you can market your book.

Get Reviewed

This is the most effective way of getting people to talk about your book. Getting reviews for your book is easier that most forms of marketing but it is the credibility of the reviewers that matter. Aim first to get them reviewed by the best reviewers. This can be very difficult unless you have common contacts. Good reviewers are wary of taking on first time writers and this is because of the deluge of books that the market has been flooded with. And a major portion of these books are by first time writers. Since the quality of most of the books in terms of content is questionable, the good reviewers stay away from them.

The next step should be to target publications that have readers whose interests make them a likely target audience. Book reviews by actual readers of the book also matter. So, if you know someone who bought your book, then get in touch with them and ask for feedback. Tell them to blog about it or put their reviews on the online bookstore’s site. This usually works since prospective readers/customers are limited in their ability to search reviews from varied sources themselves.

Get into that bookstore

If your book has been published by a traditional publisher, then getting your book to the bookstore is not your headache but if it has been self-published or through POD, then it is the author’s responsibility of exploring that option. Nowadays, POD service providers provide distribution services as well for bulk orders.

Authors should build relationships with bookstore owners. Get in touch with them; bring up the topic of getting them to stock your book. If it needs, tell the owners/managers that you will do a book reading or book signing session. You will have more influence and success in independent bookstores, since chain stores work with wholesalers and distributors.

Get back in touch

So what if the last college you attended was 10 years back, you are still an alumnus. Your alma mater still needs you and so do you. You have written a book and you are proud of the fact so why not let your college know about it, not with the intention of selling the books but to get the word around. The current students of your college could well be your future buyers.

This applies to all your previous companies as well. Unless you fought before you left the company, they too would be proud of your achievements. Let them know about your book.

Personal Promotion and Social Networking

Internet marketing has changed dramatically in the last 3-4 years, with many new applications and tools. Create a personal website which needn’t be fancy–just enough to present information about your book and create a buzz. In addition to describing the book, you can post reviews and offer a free chapter to readers. This will create that interest that you are looking for. The eyeballs to sales conversion rate increases dramatically if the prospective readers/buyers can find all the required information about you and your book all at the same place.

Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter Myspace etc can be excellent marketing tools for your book promotion. Book marketing through social networking sites take time and effort, so you can’t give up after only a few days.

As a first time author, your main objective is to hammer your name and the name of your book into the public consciousness. Use all your creativity in such a way that not only does it increases sale for your current book but will also improve your chances of successful marketing next time.

There are many other ways of marketing your book. An author just needs to use his/her imagination to tap into some unexplored marketing goldmine. Always remember, there is nothing called overnight success. It might take you years to achieve that overnight success. At the end of the day, you will become very tired but very enlightened. Believe me; it is very satisfying to see all your hard work pay off.

Pijush Gupta is the author of “Have a Pleasant Journey” published by CinnamonTeal. He blogs at

One question that is often asked by authors contacting us is that related to the cost of publishing. I have attempted to answer that question here although it is nearly impossible to give an exact figure considering the fact that almost every book is unique in some aspects. What follows is an approximation.
Please note: These are approximate costs charged by CinnamonTeal Publishing. Rates at other publishers/printing houses may vary. Rates will also vary depending on the specifications of the book you choose to publish.
a. Editing: Assuming you are done writing, the first step would be to have the book edited. In fact, at CinnamonTeal, we insist on one round of editing. This service costs Rs. 85 per A4 page (13 Garamond with 1″ margins) for copy editing and proof reading, Rs. 65 per A4 page for proof reading alone and Rs. 125 per A4 page for substantive editing. Assuming a manuscript of 35,000 words and 350 words to an A4 page, having the book edited and proof read will cost Rs. 8,500.
b. Cover Design: The service costs you Rs. 5000/-. You get three unique covers to choose from and three iterations to improve the cover you have chosen.
Total Cost so far: Rs. 13,500
c. Interior Page Design: The service costs Rs. 20 per page for text-only pages. The above word count translates roughly into 150 pages of A5 dimensions (i.e 5.83″x8.27″). Interior page design will therefore cost Rs. 3000/-
Total Cost so far: Rs. 16,500
d. Printing: A single copy of the book, having specifications mentioned as before and with only black and white pages, with perfect binding will cost Rs. 157.50. For the sake of this article, assuming 50 books are printed, the cost of printing totals Rs. 7,875
Total Cost so far: 24,375
e. ISBN: While the ISBN and the associated barcode is provided for free, government regulations require that a copy of the book be deposited at each of the four national libraries. The cost of four copies totals Rs. 630 while postage and paperwork costs Rs. 300. Hence the cost of printing and sending these books totals Rs. 930.
Total Cost so far: Rs. 25,305
f. That’s pretty much it. There are no setup costs, no fulfillment costs (except the cost of printing the book and postage) and no “manuscript changing cost”. One might decide to have a website designed and we charge Rs. 5000 for that service. 
So we are still talking about a total cost of Rs. 30,305.
Roughly translates into US $ 700.00
You might also consider the cost of the time you will spend marketing your book and tracking your sales. While the amount mentioned above is definitely not a small one, it is an investment in yourself. The time and effort you have put in while writing your book and fine-tuning it is definitely the single-largest investment you have made. This later investment just sustains it.
Note: If you choose the “do-it-yourself” route, you could save on most of these costs. The only cost you’d have to bear is that of printing. Assuming you choose to print 50 copies, that cost would amount to Rs. 7875. Roughly $180.00

Grammar Nazis and the Zen Grammarian
Towards the fag end of the second World War, a rumour was running through the Allied countries, characterized by this paragraph from Time Magazine:
But what of the top Nazis who cannot hide? With a compact army of young SS and Hitler Youth fanatics, they will retreat, behind a loyal rearguard cover of Volksgrenadiere and Volksstürmer, to the Alpine massif which reaches from southern Bavaria across western Austria to northern Italy. There immense stores of food and munitions are being laid down in prepared fortifications. If the retreat is a success, such an army might hold out for years.”
This Alpenfestung, or Alpine Fortress, was mostly a fantasy; the Nazis of Germany would stand routed with only a few big names making it out alive. But a different group, the Grammar Nazis, have set up a formidable array of such redoubts, in the form of propah professors, competitive entrance exams and meticulous editors. It is the last that concerns this article. Every editor, particularly a fiction editor, has a choice whether to be a Grammar Nazi or not.
The association with the Nazis may come across as offensive, but it isn’t really intended to be, and isn’t really offensive in the world-at-large. There are some things that it is socially commendable to be a Nazi about, like not spitting on the road, or not travelling ticketless on a Mumbai local, or even vegetarianism. Even though ‘Grammar Nazi’ is used by the layman to mock the average pedant who pipes up to correct your syntax in class, I know that there are many who take an evident pride in the label.
I know because I was once a junior, card-carrying member of the Grammar Nazis.
The idea has a certain classical appeal. What Grammar Nazis are looking to build is an ineffaceable edifice, a monument that enduringly presides over the language, rewards its devotees and chides the deviants and the offenders. There is peace in stillness, safety in the solidity of the framework. In general, one of man’s pet bugbears is uncertainty; it takes special training to be able to tolerate uncertainty. Forget about accepting it.
Their arguments are strong as well. If language is to be used for communication, doesn’t it make sense to have a stable framework that everyone can understand? More importantly, long years of associations have lent certain shades of meaning to the “correct” terms and phrases. Won’t these be lost if you loosen the framework, lower the drawbridge and let the ignorant and unscrupulous masses storm the Grammar fortress?
There is one more thing that I would like to say about Grammar Nazis: their assurance is infectious. There is an immediate feeling of respect when you hear a man confidently assert his views, there is an automatic charm in a man who knows what he’s talking about. One of my favourite Grammar Nazis, Henry Watson Fowler, addresses the issue of the stasis of language by introducing two terms, Idiom and Analogy. Idiom is the linguistic convention, the way things are done in language, while analogy is the attempt by people (both who are aware and unaware of the convention and the rationale behind it) to experiment with language.
Here is a passage from Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage, 2 e. (1965), delightfully and idiosyncratically titled ‘The Cast-Iron Idiom’ (my paragraphing and pruning to the permitted 250 words):
cast-iron idiom.
Between IDIOM and ANALOGY a secular conflict is waged. Idiom is conservative, standing in the ancient ways, insisting that its property is sacrosanct, permitting no jot or tittle of alteration in the shape of its phrases. Analogy is progressive, bent on extending liberty, demanding better reasons than use and wont for respecting the established, maintaining that the matter is what matters and the form can go hang.
Analogy perpetually wins, is forever successful in recasting some piece of the cast iron, and for that reason no article in this book is likely to be sooner out of date in some of its examples than this. Idiom as perpetually renews the fight, and turns to defend some other object of assault. ‘I doubt that it ever happened’, ‘He is regarded an honest man’,… —all these, says Idiom, are outrages on English; correct them please to ‘ I doubt whether it ever happened’, ‘He is regarded as an honest man’…
But why? retorts Analogy. Is not to doubt to be unconvinced? Is not regarding considering? …Away with such hair-splittings and pedantries! …I propose to neglect your petty regulations…
Not that Analogy, and those whom it influences, are offenders so deliberate and conscious as this description of them might seem to imply ; they treat regard like consider not because they choose to flout the difference that Idiom observes, but because it comes natural to them to disregard distinctions that they have not noticed.”
Note the absolutely wicked pardon proffered by St. Fowler: “not because they choose to flout the difference that Idiom observes, but because it comes natural to them to disregard distinctions that they have not noticed”. That kind of eloquence is rarely possible in a more permissive framework; the grand authoritarian rhetoric gives it its power.
Wherein lies the rub?
The very arguments that Grammar Nazis use turn against them once one views the matter of language from a slightly different angle. This is the small matter of the gap between an existing system and man’s capacity to describe, order and govern that system.
An example is the ecosystem: we may study it and classify it, but can we really order it or control it? Can we declare what exists as ‘incorrect’? Can we, for instance, dismiss the duck-billed platypus as an error in biology? No; we must make room, we must create a new box for it or admit our ignorance.
Language, though it seems to be in our control because it is the currency of our own species, and does not carry biological inevitability, is as much of an ecosystem. And this is because of an important hierarchy that Grammar Nazis ignore: the authority of spoken language over written language.
Written language comes second to spoken language, for written language begins by being primarily a record of spoken language, a hierarchy dominated by the order of human development, starting with speech and followed by writing. And speech is free and situational, and grammar can go take a hike when someone speaks under the influence of passion, of anger, of fear.
Besides, the number of people who have the desire to communicate far exceeds the number of people who are interested in memorizing the conventions of a language.
I have now come to look upon conventions of language, and some conventions of grammar, as not laws but etiquette: and I have a healthy contempt for etiquette as a rigid code of conduct. Etiquette for me is not about specific, high-brow, snooty knowledge, but about grace, the true marker of distinction and class; if etiquette makes one of my guests uncomfortable, it isn’t etiquette, it is a barrier. Similarly, if my Grammar Fascism makes the person speaking to me uncomfortable, I am creating a greater block to communication than his own ignorance.
Language is flux: to impose stasis on it is not only futile, but also arrogant. Static grammar is both comfortable and limited, but our experience of the world is both ever changing and unlimited, and therefore language will always find ways to break out of its own straitjackets. Communities will be reared on “I ain’t going nowhere notime soon”, and, less anomalously, will say “It’s me” and not the pompous but oh-so-correct “It is I”, and there’s very little the small circle of Grammar Nazis can do about it.
There is another deep failing of Grammar Nazis: they lack consensus. Different grammar handbooks will give you different ironclad rules. What one Grammar Nazi will consider excessive and do away with, another will consider mandatory.
The question becomes more fraught when discussing fiction. Two categories of ideas are at work here. One is the right to use non-standard dialects in fiction, often used to assert individuality in the constellation of fiction written in English. Mark Twain’s use of a dialect in both the Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn is an important example. The modern poet John Agard exemplifies the creative use of non-standard dialect to make a political statement in his famous poem ‘Half­­-Caste’:
Explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when picasso
mix red an green
is a half-caste canvas/
explain yuself
wha u mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when light an shadow
mix in de sky
is a half-caste weather/
well in dat case
england weather
nearly always half-caste
in fact some o dem cloud
half-caste till dem overcast
so spiteful dem dont want de sun pass
ah rass/
explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
The other tendency is more aesthetic, an attempt to play with language for either rhetorical effect (“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.”) or to convey interior mental states (James Ellroy in White Jazz: “Fever-that time burning. I want to go with the music-spin, fall with it.”) or as a formalist device (Finnegan’s Wake famously begins “riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodious vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.” and ends “A way a lone a last a loved a long the”, leaving the book without either a beginning or an end).
How should an editor, particularly a former Grammar Nazi, deal with fiction editing? What can be the aesthetic value of a looser framework of grammar, to compare with the charming assurance, sense of order and clarity championed by the Grammar Nazis?
For that, I will introduce the other half of my title: say hello to the Zen Grammarian. The Zen Grammarian has a particular perspective towards the world; she knows its mutability, and is not militantly attached to anything. She has great love for what she values, but she recognizes that as her preoccupation, as her passion, and does not demand it of anybody else. Nor does she react in horror or despair at its passing. If people will spell definitely as definately, or will say “She is taller than me”, she will be mindful of the situation and only correct them where absolutely necessary.
The Zen Grammarian knows what is important: communication and a level of comfort between those communicating, and she sees language as a tool facilitating that communication. She knows that there is nothing to be arrogant about, and that the richness of the varied uses of language can provide both delight and insight, not to mention the playfulness in tinkering with language.
The Zen Grammarian will therefore nitpick less, listen more, and give a writer the benefit of the doubt.
PS: Readers in the know will recognize that what I have described is an old debate, that between Prescriptive and Descriptive grammar, where the former tries to frame the rules and the latter tries to describe the way language is used in the world, and derive its laws from that usage. Cambridge Grammarians have done some admirable work in descriptive grammar recently, though their conviction is sometimes faintly offensive; the Student’s Introduction to English Grammar by Huddleston and Pullum is a great starting point for those interested in exploring descriptive grammar.

Many authors seem perplexed when faced with the question of whether they prefer an ISBN for their book. They are not sure whether an ISBN is required, what are its benefits and how it should be obtained. Here is an attempt to answer these questions.

Much of this is borrowed from Joel Friedlander’s blog, which every person wishing to self-publish must visit.

1. What is an ISBN?

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It is a 13-digit number that is assigned to one title and one title only (it is actually a bit more complicated than that). It is accepted universally.

2. Why does a book need an ISBN?

An ISBN is required to identify a book uniquely, irrespective of where that book originates from. It is also used to differentiate one edition of a book from another. The ISBN also serves the purpose of being able to identify the publisher of each edition of a book. Booksellers, distributors and libraries the world over rely on the ISBN to accurately catalogue and retrieve each book.

3. Does my book need an ISBN?

The short answer is that it is a good idea to have an ISBN assigned to your book. If you plan to have your book distributed and sold, more often than not your book will be expected to have an ISBN.

4. Does the ISBN have to be assigned by a publisher alone?

This rule differs from country to country. In India, ISBNs are assigned to publishers who then assign it to books. They are also assigned to authors. You simply need to contact the ISBN issuing authority in India.

Note that an ISBN is issued to a publisher (or author). Whoever “owns” the ISBN is recognized as the publisher of the book.

5. Does the presence of an ISBN guarantee a copyright on the ideas included in the book?

It does not. An ISBN is not a registration of copyright, it is a unique number by which your book can be identified and tracked down during trade. That said, an idea once penned down into a book is automatically protected by copyright law, whether or not a copyright is filed for. Hence filing for copyright may not be necessary unless in some unique cases.

6. How much does an ISBN cost?

In India, it costs nothing. Any publisher offering you an ISBN must also do it free of cost. In some other countries, an ISBN must be purchased. In India, ISBNs are issued (to authors and publishers) by the Ministry of HRD, The Ministry has now begun issuing separately to educational and research institutions to encourage them to issue ISBNs for their publications, including conferences/seminar proceedings.

7. Can I reuse an ISBN?

No, you cannot. Once assigned to a book, an ISBN cannot be reused. This is a very important point to keep in mind. The same ISBN cannot be used for different formats of the book, whether the book is in printed or electronic form. That means hardcover and softcover versions of the book have to be assigned separate ISBNs. Similarly, the epub, mobi and pdf versions have to be assigned separate ISBNs.

We recently encountered a case where a publisher had licensed a book to another publisher for a different geographical market. Both books used the same ISBN. If the publisher of the book changes (even if nothing else about the book has changed), the ISBN must also change.

8. Where do I put the ISBN in the book?

You’ll print it on the copyright page (sometimes called the imprint page), and it’s included in the Cataloging-in-Publication (CIP) data block, if you use one. Otherwise, just print it on the copyright page and on the back cover as part of the bar code.

9. So does there have to be a bar code too?

Again, a matter of choice. However, if you plan to have your book distributed through physical book stores, your book might be expected to have a bar code. You can have your bar code generated here.

10. I am publishing a paperback and hardcover version of my book. Do I need two ISBNs or can I use the same one?

You need a separate ISBN for each type, to identify them for anyone who might want to find them in directories, catalogs and databases.

The jury is still out on whether an e-book needs a separate ISBN. While the book sellers are asking that an e-book be assigned its own ISBN, many publishers don’t see why that is needed. However, it is good practice to issue separate ISBNs to e-books in each format (eg. EPUB and MOBI).

11. If I revise my book, do I need to give it a new ISBN?

If you only correct minor typographical errors, and don’t make any substantial changes to the text, you don’t need a new ISBN because it’s considered a reprint and not a new edition. A new edition would contain substantially new material, a major revision, or the addition of completely new elements. Anything that makes it a new book is likely to create a new edition and, therefore, will need a new ISBN. The jury is still out on what constitutes a “major revision” but significant additions or deletions might warrant a new ISBN.

A change in the cover of the book alone does not require that a new ISBN be assigned.

12. I had self-published my book and now an established publisher has picked it up for publishing. Will the book need a new ISBN?

Yes, it will. Since the ISBN identifies, among other things, the publisher of the book, it is necessary for the next publisher to issue you a new ISBN. Please note that the first ISBN cannot be reused.

There are many reasons why a book won’t sell. Primary among them is editing – that is hastily done, or worse, altogether avoided.

If first impressions do make a difference, it is a well edited book, not an exquisitely designed cover, that will sell your book. It therefore makes terrible business sense to skip on editing . A good edit might not ensure large sales for your book but it can certainly eliminate a major reason for it being ignored.

The reasons for choosing to skip on editing are the obvious ones – it is expensive, the process is time-consuming and who could possibly do a better job than I, the author? Editing your own book is like reprimanding yourself. Very hard to do. It is therefore wise to consider having another pair of eyes read through your book. Please remember that any changes that might be suggested will help you produce a better book and increase its chances of selling. Hence take all the help you can get.

At CinnamonTeal, we insist on at least one round of editing. If you have the resources to do so, you should get your book copy edited and, later, proof read. Copy editing will “make the copy clear, correct, concise, comprehensible, and consistent”. Proof reading will correct minor issues overseen during copy editing and will refine grammar, punctuation and other stylistic aspects. It is important to communicate to the editor what is expected of the process. This is because the editor should only correct the anomalies, not interfere with the style of writing. Some authors also expect the editor to change the flow of the text, if considered necessary, while some don’t.

Given that much of the success of your book depends on how it is perceived, a well-edited book goes a long way to ensure that your book creates a favourable impression in the mind of your reader.

At CinnamonTeal Print and Publishing, we offer copy editing, substantive editing and proof-reading services. Visit our website for more details.