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The Cost of Self-Publishing in India

How much does it cost to self-publish a book in India?

The short answer: it depends.

The long answer is here. This post helps you understand the costs involved with self-publishing in India.

In order to have a published book, the book must go through any number of steps. This number depends (you’ll hear this word many times, so brace yourself) on the contents of the book. At a minimum, any book goes through the following steps:

a. Pre-publishing (before the book is ready for printing):
Cover Design
Book Layout (or Typesetting)

b. Post-publishing (after the book is reading for printing)
Printing (and/or ebook development)
Marketing and Distribution

There could be more steps depending on what you want for your book. For instance, you might want some illustrations included in the book. Or you might want to have the book indexed. Or you might wish to have some contents of the book fact-checked.

Let us go through each process and understand the costs that each of them incur. Let me state here, that this is the process that we at CinnamonTeal Publishing follow. Other self-publishing service providers follow their own processes and it may be wise to ask them how they base their charges.

Editing: There are three levels of editing, each level an improvement over the previous – a) Proofreading, where basic errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation are identified and corrected, b) Copy Editing, where the editor, besides checking for spellings and grammar, also makes sure that the narrative flows properly, that important details aren’t missing, that sentences and paragraphs are uncomplicated and of adequate length, and that the consistency of characters and plots is maintained, and c) Substantive Editing, sometimes called structural editing, which focuses on the content, organization, and presentation of the entire text, viewed wholly, from the title through to the ending.

As you can imagine, substantive editing is the most expensive service of the three, while proofreading is the least. When we receive your manuscript we read it to determine the level of editing your book needs. We write back to you with our suggested level of editing, with enough examples to show why that level of editing must be considered. And then we charge you for that level of editing. Charges are levied per page, of A4 size, after all unnecessary blank spaces are removed.

So the charges for editing depend on a) the number of pages that need to be edited and b) the level of editing that the manuscript needs.

We have always been asked why we insist on a round of editing. We do that because no matter how good the author, a mistake here or an error there, is bound to escape the author’s eye. The author, who has read and reread the text many times, can miss vital details, that a fresh, trained, pair of eyes can immediately notice. But we aren’t the only ones who believe this. The best publishing houses spend their most vital resources on editing. This is because a well-edited book (and a well-presented book) speaks for itself and makes an instant impression on the buyer.

the cost of self-publishingPage Design (or Page Layout or Typesetting): This is the process by which the interior of the book is laid out. It involves deciding on the dimensions of the book, the choice of fonts, the position (and contents) of the header and footer, the way chapter numbers and titles are designed, the position and design of pages such as the preface, foreword, afterword, prologue, epilogue, etc., and other such matters related to the interior of the book.

After the edited manuscript is received, in A4 format, the book must be “shrunk” to the desired dimensions. Our preferred dimensions for most books are the A5 format (210 mm x 148mm) and the Demy (216mm x 138mm). But the actual dimensions of your book depends on the subject your book covers and on the preferred dimensions for other books in that genre. When the book dimensions change, the number of pages that will constitute the book in its final form will also change. We charge for typesetting based on the final page count. Charges per page increase when the book contains graphical elements, such as photographs, illustrations, images, tables, flowcharts, etc..

The costs for interior page design depend on a) the final number of pages in the book and b) the presence of graphical elements.

Cover Design: The costs for cover design depend on the degree of complexity required in the images used for the cover. For example, an author may provide an illustration and ask that it be incorporated into the cover. Or she might want us to draw an image for the cover. Or the author might ask us to buy an image or a photograph or a special font, and incorporate that into the cover. In each of these cases the costs will vary.

Our cover design costs include the costs for designing the spine and the back cover. If there is also an e-book for which a cover has to be designed, there are other important factors that need to be considered. Like the fact that the cover has to have an image that stands out even when reduced to a thumbnail. Please note that the cover design processes for printed books and e-books are separate, and, in the case of CinnamonTeal Publishing, are charged separately.

At CinnamonTeal we do not distinguish between “basic covers” and “premier covers”. We believe that the cover design process is an equally important part of the book development process and needs a lot of attention to detail. The cover is the book’s way of putting forward its best first impression. We therefore make sure every book gets the best cover it deserves.

Cover Design costs depend upon a) degree of complexity and b) additional materials such as images and fonts that need to be especially purchased (on request by the author).

At this point the book is published. What it needs is to be given a form – whether as a printed book or an electronic copy. An author could request other bells and whistles such as illustrations, photographs, indexes, etc. that add to the cost of the book.

Illustrations: The cost of an illustration also depends on the complexity that is requested. An author might ask for a simple line drawing or an incredibly detailed image, in colour or in pencil shades. Depending on the author’s requests a quote is provided for illustrations.

Indexes: This depends on whether a) a subject index, b) a topic index or c) both a subject and topic index is requested.

After the book is completed, we proceed to give it a form. That means printing the book, or giving it an electronic form, or doing both.

Printing: An author might wish to print in bulk and provide copies for sale as required or she might wish to have them printed after a sale is made (printed on demand). The costs in each case vary, depending on the number of copies printed at one time. The cost per copy, in turn, depends on a) the number of pages in the book, b) the number of colour pages in the book, c) the kind of binding requested for the book and d) any embellishments requested for the cover of the book.

The book can be bound in various ways, the common ones being the hardcover and the softcover (paperback). The hardcover, in turn, could have its title printed on the hard cover itself, or on a paper jacket, called the dust jacket, or on both. The book itself could be bound in other ways. It could be spiral bound or have a wir-o-binding. The cost of printing a single copy is influenced to a large extent by the choice of binding.

Embellishments to the cover can enhance its look and feel. If you want areas of your cover to show in relief, for example, you can use what is called a Spot Gloss, or Spot Varnish or Spot UV. These embellishments are very expensive and should be considered only when print runs of a thousand copies or more are considered. Embellishments do not include cover laminations. A gloss or matte lamination is provided automatically.

So, the cost of printing depends on a) number of copies printed and b) transportation costs for the printed books.

E-book Development: The development of the e-book runs parallel to the printing process. If the book is requested in both, the printed and electronic form, the ebook development process occurs parallel to the typesetting process. If the book is requested only in electronic form, the typesetting process, after which the book is printed, is not required.

Ebooks are primarily developed in three ways, or in three formats: a) PDF/A (for use on mobile handsets or computer screens), MOBI (for use on the Amazon Kindle™) and EPUB (for use on most devices including the Sony eReader™, the Kobo™, Nook™ and the Apple iPad™). Because EPUB formats do not read on the Amazon Kindle, an author should consider developing in all three formats. It is however left up to the author to decide which formats to develop. Each format costs money, and caters to a different readership, and it is therefore an important decision for authors to make. While deciding a format, the author should also make sure that he/she possesses a reader for that format. Fortunately there are many android- and iOS-based appls available for all three formats.

Should an author opt for both the print and electronic options, i.e. to have both, the book printed as well as developed as e-books (in one or more formats), we, at CinnamonTeal, take all measures to ensure that the electronic formats mirror the print editions to the extent possible, while also exploiting the potential of the electronic medium. We do this to ensure that the reader is exposed to a consistent image of the book, whether in print or in electronic format.

The price of e-book development, for each format, is a function of the number of pages of the print version (if a print option was exercised, to ensure that the print and electronic versions mirror each other to the extent possible) or of the number of pages of the edited manuscript (if the author decided not to have the book printed).  Further, the costs also depend on the number of formats developed.

Marketing: Not to be confused with distribution and sales of the book, marketing encompasses several activities undertaken to make the readership aware of the presence of the book. This could take the form of digital marketing where social media tools are used to distribute information about the book, or physical marketing that may take the form of a book launch or a newspaper article or a book review. We offer all these options, including bespoke digital marketing options, and the cost in each case really depends on what options are exercised by the author.

Distribution: This means making the book available for sales. While we have tied up with several networks around the world for online distribution of books, both printed books as well as e-books, we also make physical copies available for sale at bookstores within India, if the author so desires.

We charge for our online distribution service, whether the book is made available within India alone, or internationally also. This charge includes a one-time charge to list and disseminate book information and an annual fee to maintain the records on all networks. This charge also covers our activities when we have to pack and ship books after a sale has occurred.

Distribution charges thus depend on whether the author has chosen to distribute your book within India alone, or abroad too.

So, like you can see, it is not only difficult for the service provider, but also unfair to the author, to have a single charge for self-publishing services. We are the only providers within the Indian market who do not offer packages and often we have been ridiculed for that. But when there are so many variables influencing the cost of self-publishing, we believe it is unethical to offer the author a single charge because such a charge will invariably cover the costs of all services, and that too their most expensive variants, whether or not the author has chosen, or wishes to avail of, those services. More importantly, it assumes that the author is incapable of choosing those services that she/he knows is best for her/his book, and deciding among the variants within each type of service. Moreover, in many cases, the author is able to get certain parts of the publishing process done pro bono, through a friend or acquaintance. Like the cover design, for example. The package approach simply does not work for such authors.

However, we hope that, after reading this, you will appreciate why we do not give you a quote without knowing a few details of your manuscript. And why we, as a matter of principle, do not offer packages. We also hope you will get a clearer picture of the processes that go into a self-published book.

But coming back to the question: what does it cost to self-publish a book in India? Well, like we’ve seen above, it depends.

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Book review of India and the West: The First Encounters (particularly in Goan Salcete)



On the Spice Trail

Europe Discovers India in Goa

Joseph Velinkar

Goa,1556 & Golden Heart Emporium: 2016

Pp 376  Rs. 400

India and the West

The First Encounters (particularly in Goan Salcete)

Joseph Velinkar

CinnamonTeal Publishing: 2016

2nd Edition

Pp 278 Rs. 299

Goa has always been a mystery. And many have delved into it. From the famous flight of the arrow off the Western Ghats to its present-day impassioned claims to Indian-ness amidst its strong semi-Lusitanian outlook; from the solid middle-class endorsement of social mores to its openness to junkies and other unmentionables over recent decades; from the killing of Fr. Aquaviva (who visited Akbar’s court) and his companions in Cuncolim to the apparent acquiescence to extensive conversions and the Inquisition; from the courage to stay put when several thousands were fleeing from marauders of various hues to the universal attitude described by Martin Niemoller in all that happens to Goa even today. There is mystery in our most impressive prehistoric, village-level self-government which ran for centuries until it gave way to “liberated” party politics. Mystery also surrounds our unique, prehistoric method of harnessing the tidal waters (Khazans) with its intricate canals and sluice gates, and embankments of mud and laterite, protecting our agriculture from the ravages of tidal waters, a system unequalled anywhere in the world – except perhaps the dykes of the Netherlands. But most often today, the mystery of Goa spills out of tourist-brochures – while the drug-trade and human trafficking continue to be a mystery to the powers that be.

The two books under review delve into the mystery of Goa as it was perceived by European traders / settlers / conquerors; Goa as it evolved from a mere trading point to the grand Estado da India. So it was in 1998 that India and The West came to be published by Fr. Heras Institute of Indian History and Culture, Mumbai; the Foreword to this book was written ten years earlier by Dr. George M. Moraes, the celebrated historian-author, with Kadamba Kula (1931), History of Christianity in India (1964) among others, to his name; one-time head of the aforesaid Heras Institute, Dr. Moraes did not live to see the book published as he passed away in 1994. The publication of the second edition of the book has been boldly undertaken by CinnamonTeal Publishing, Goa.

On The Spice Trail is a Goa1556 venture in association with Golden Heart Emporium – (hereafter referred to as Spice for brevity). While India and The West rose out of a doctoral dissertation and concentrates on Salcete, Spice takes on a larger canvas covering the whole of Goa – and a longer period in time. But both in effect cover the same ground. The author in his Prologue says Spice is an expansion and continuation of the earlier book. The “expansion” aspect is quite apparent, and inevitable, since much of what happened in Salcete happened in the rest of the territory – except for the violence in Cuncolim. But Fr. Velinkar appears to be at pains to show, in both the books, that all the conversions to Christianity (in Goa) at the hands of the European missionaries were voluntary. He talks of pressures brought in by one member of a converted family upon the other non-converted members, but no pressure, he says, was brought by the proselytising powers. Amen!

There are details of those initial encounters and negotiations, victories and defeats … mixed with treachery, and desertions by mercenary forces. The encounters kept the various conquerors on their toes but one misses references to what may be mere folklore as in the joint suicide of the women in Chandor equivalent to the ‘johar’ of Rajasthan, historic events like the Pinto revolt and references to the British regime during the Napoleonic wars. The Inquisition takes all of two pages in Spice Trail and is not even mentioned in the other book. A major source of delight for the avid reader of Goa’s history is the detailed description of the formation of the gaunkari system – and the successful functioning thereof for centuries (which the Muslim invaders recognised and supported and the Portuguese renamed as comunidade). The post-1961 plight of the comunidades does not merit comment.

Both the books start with a detailed introduction to the geography of Goa so that when we move into the military operations we are familiar with the routes taken and have a fair idea of topology. Which, for the lay reader, makes for a compact one-volume presentation on Goa of the 16th century.

Reviewed by,


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Five reasons you should read “Guy on the Sidewalk’ by Bharath Krishna


  1. This book takes you on a splendid joyride across countries. The protagonist; Jay’s anxieties and apprehensions on coming to a new city in the States has been described with such tender details that you can’t help but live the moment with him. For those who have not visited these places, this book is a good start to experience the west for the first time.
  2. Every aspiring IT professional wanting to make it big abroad must read this book once. Whether it is the ups and down in the corporate world or the little perks of working in a structured, organized enterprise, Jay goes through a roller coaster of emotions and so will you.
  3. An incomplete love story of love found, lost and found again. Jay falls in love for the first time and goes through the clichéd first love experiences much to the annoyance of his friends. This aspect of the book will relate to many heartbroken lovers; who should definitely read this book to find out a unique way in which Jay overcomes himself and moves ahead.
  4. This book above everything else portrays the love every Indian has for his beloved country. You might be cribbing and complaining about the state of affairs and current scenario in India but once away from your motherland, your heart craves to belong to it again. The juxtaposition of the two countries; America and India have been brought out in an amicable manner.
  5. More than anything else this book stands for itself. If you are an ardent reader and are looking for a pleasant read flip through the chapters of this book and you will end up with an enjoyable experience across countries.
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Reminiscing the Roald Dahl World

A Roald Dahl book inspired, read aloud session was held on the 27
th of May, 2016, at The Dogears Bookshop, Margao. It was conducted by Jugneeta Sudan, academician and freelance writer, for a group of seven children, and four parents who were also present. The read aloud session started off with the distribution of Roald Dahl books among the children, familiarizing them with the way his books are written. It was then followed by a presentation introducing Roald Dahl to the children, his previous occupations, childhood hardships, etc. Short videos on his books that were made movies were also shown to children.

cThe read-aloud commenced with Roald Dahl’s The Magic Finger and Matilda. Various words and their synonyms were also iantroduced to the children. Activities on the same were also held to drive home their meaning. for the older children while the younger children were kept busy by being asked to colour to their heart’s content. 

At the end of the session, the children were seen to have been mesmerized by the stories read out to them and were eager to buy the books they heard about, along with the other books written by Roald Dahl. The smiles of the little children were rewarding and the session concluded on a happy note.

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New books on Goa

As we continue to make books on Goa available online, here are a few for history buffs.

9789380739915Unravelling History: The Village of Arossim, Goa
by Themistocles D’Silva
ISBN: 9789380739915
Format: Paperback
Year of Publication: 2015
Publisher: Goa 1556
Pages: 220
Known to the outside world for its scenic beach, the rural South Goan village of Arossim has a long and complex history. Situated between the Arabian Sea and tributaries of the River Sal, this agricultural land has sustained inhabitants since Neolithic times. Early tribal rituals, Hindu traditions, and Christian practices have each contributed through the centuries to the unique character and customs of the people.

Themistocles (Themis) D’Silva, in this revision of his 2011 book, explores the forgotten and concealed history of his ancestral village. He extends the history of the region to the Megalithic Period, after recognizing that stone clusters nearly hidden in the rice fields are in fact monuments of an ancient settlements. These megaliths were erected perhaps 3000 years ago and still stand tall, although their significance has been forgotten.

D’Silva also takes us to the land, its people, shrines, festivals and feasts,temples, notable facts and events, priests and nuns, personalities from the past, slavery in colonial Goa, and more.

The author, who grew up in Arossim, potrays many aspects of the village, including the ancient system of self-government and the profound effects of Portuguese colonialism. He unravels the origins of many earlier and present-day local customs, some of which are fading as Arossim modernizes and changes.

9789380739427Bomoicar: Stories of Bombay Goans, 1920-1980
by Reena Martins
ISBN: 9789380739427
Format: Paperback
Year of Publication: 2014
Publisher: Goa 1556
Pages: 154
Bomoicar takes you on a round trip of twentieth century Bombay. Stop for a bite of baangda-curry-rice and tongue roast at joints in Dhobitalao, originally a washerman’s lake. Lake in the evening, down a glass of the Goan Aunty hooch with roasted gram or fried Bombay duck. And as Cotton Mary serenades you from quadrangles in Byculla, Mazagon, Grant Road or Colaba, inhale the aroma of cutlets and potato chops wafting from tiny Goan Kitchens.

The author, Reena Martins is the quintessential Bomoicar, as she calls herself in Konkani. A Journalist by profession, she has been writing for the country’s leading newspapers for almost two decades now. This time around, she serves delicious slices of Goan life that once thrived in the bylanes of Bombay.

9789380739908Soaring Spirit: 450 Years of Margao’s Espírito Santo Church
by Valmiki Faleiro
ISBN: 9789380739908
Format: Paperback
Year of Publication: 2015
Publisher: Goa 1556
Pages: 299
This book offers facts, solves puzzles and throws up colourful details of an institution that shaped Margao’s life for centuries. It walks us through the times of our ancestors, many generations removed.

But while zooming into details, Faleiro does not miss the big picture. Quoting historians and scholars, challenging legend and assumption, he pesents a world of facts. A list of Margao’s priests, and an insightful introduction to the Largo da Igreja, the church square, and its people, are what lend further charm to this book.

A journalist by profession, Valmiki Faleiro has been published in mastheads across the country, built a reputation in the West Coast Times, and inspired a generation of younger mediapersons with his eye for detail and determination to get out the story. His earlier work is Patriotism in Action, a painstaking listing of Goan officers in the Indian armed forces. Faleiro has written a closely watched column that ran for almost half-a-decade in the local media and on Goanet in cyberspace.

All books are available on

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A ringside view of Konkani cinema

Films are perhaps India’s largest cultural export. Besides Hindi films that perhaps create the largest buzz, films in other Indian languages have also contributed substantially to the economy of the state and have created their own groups of fans. The first talking film in India, Alam Ara, was made in Hindi and was released in 1931. In Goa, then a Portuguese colony, it didn’t take long for the craze to catch on, and on April 24, 1950, the first full length Konkani film, Mogacho Anvddo, was released. It was produced and directed by Jerry Braganza, a native of Mapusa, under the banner of ETICA Pictures.9788191036114

The Konkani film industry did not see the rapid growth witnessed in the other languages. Till December 2014, the total number of films produced in Konkani numbered just 45. Many of them were extensions of the tiatr, the local theatre form, and sourced its actors from there. The cinephile, however, must be curious about these films, their plots, the actors in them, and their evolution over time.

Isidore Dantas, a Goan based in Pune, took it upon himself to document the Konkani film industry. In 2009 he published his research in a Konkani book in the Roman script, titled Konknni Cholchitram (Konkani films), which documented the plots of each movie, the lyrics of some of the songs (the tiatr being of the musical genre, Konkani films couldn’t be much different), and any photographs he could find. In his book he laments that many movies have been lost forever as their prints cannot be traced.Konknni Cholchitram_Isidore Dantas

Having taken it upon himself to transcribe the book into the Devnagari script, Mr. Dantas continued his work and published his new book, कॊंकणी चलचितृां (Konknni Cholchitram). Launched in December 2014, this book was an update of the previous edition and carries information about all 45 movies released till December 2014. A well-produced book, this one too has many photographs, many of them in colour.

Both these books are available on and can be shipped abroad if required.

You can buy them here and here.

While you are there browse through our other Konkani books too.

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It’s a Jungle Out There

Our focus on working with serious authors, those who are themselves passionate about the art of writing and are intent on developing a good book while taking advantage of the benefits of self-publishing, has resulted in the development of some very interesting books, with good content and illustrations. One such delightful book is Elephant Tales from Hara Hara by Simren Kaur.


This, primarily a children’s book but also with the ability to keep other readers engrossed, is the story of the wild elephants of Hara Hara, whose idyllic existence is threatened by the appearance of gun-wielding poachers. The book, besides being a wonder to read, also sensitizes children on the need to be aware of animals and their rights in this world.

In order to retain the attention of children reading this book, various illustrations were developed for the book. This not only enhanced the quality of the book but also make it a reading pleasure and a must-have keepsake. The cover and illustrations were both developed by CinnamonTeal.

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Simren Kaur is the author of several books of fiction, including The Adventures of Zangbo and The Musk Poachers, as well as non-fiction, such as Dear Pichy and Mountains of Adventure, published by the Children’s Book Trust of India. She lives in Chandigarh with her husband and pets.

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67, and counting…


One of the many joys of being in the self-publishing business is getting to know people who are simply crazy about their books. After we published author Aniruddha’s translations of The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, all of which are impressive in themselves, we were delightfully surprised to meet Henk “Hobbithunter” Brassien. To understand why Henk is such an interesting person to know, we’d rather have Henk explain himself.

 Since many years I collect books by and on Tolkien. I am specialised in The Hobbit.On my site you can find my collection of some 450 Hobbits in 66 languages / from 66 countries (including) the Bengali translations of The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings.9789381542613

It all started in the end of 2010, when Aniruddha / Santi Chatterjee asked me if I was interested in a copy of The Hobbit in Bengali. Yes, I certainly was. The only problem was, that he did not have a publisher yet.

I advised him to try and find a publisher that would Print On Demand. And then Santi found Dogears (CinnamonTeal Publishing). (In) May 2011 I ordered five copies, later that year another ten. I am with early retirement and have – as a hobby – a webshop, where I sell books by and on Tolkien:

My private copy of the Bengali Hobbit has a sticker with “This is the first copy”, of which I am very proud. Although I can not read one single word in Bengali, I like the illustrations that much, that I also ordered the Bengali translations of The lord of the Rings. Parts one and two have arrived, now I wait for the publication of part three.

That’s right! Translations of various Tolkien works in more than 66 languages now. With Bengali being the only Indian language among them, there is so much scope to add to Henk’s collection.


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Books on Demand

The unique ability of print-on-demand to produce only as many books as required allows us, at CinnamonTeal Publishing, to experiment in exciting ways. Like our partnerships with publishers around the world, that allow them to introduce their titles in India at practically no cost and allow us to introduce good books to our readers in India.

CinnamonTeal introduces the titles in India on its own website and those of its channel partners. The books are printed on sale and dispatched to customers. The publisher is thus able to sell within India and does not have to spend a dime in the process. All rights, even those for sale within India, still rest with the publisher. By this arrangement, CinnamonTeal only charges for printing and shipping. The rest, after accounting for channel discounts, is reimbursed to the publisher.

Using this model, CinnamonTeal has partnered with publishers in Nigeria, South Africa, UK, Canada and Australia, thus allowing readers in India access to good literature from these countries. It has also allowed lesser-known publishers to introduce their titles in India and receive a readership for them.

CinnamonTeal wishes to partner with more publishers using this model. If you are a publisher and are interested in finding more about how you could work with us, do write in at contactus@

To view these books, do visit our website at: