When we launched CinnamonTeal Design earlier this month (July 2017), our repertoire included a whole bunch of services that we were already offering our authors previously as part of our self-publishing portfolio. Hitherto hidden behind a curtain of self-publishing services, a nomenclature that did no justice to everything else we offered besides publishing-related services, developing a “graphics and web division” helps us showcase some of the “other” capabilities we have had for long now. Like our website designing service, for instance.

Going forward, therefore, you will find us talking about issues and trends that perhaps a “normal” publisher won’t. Like digitization and archival, or app development. Or the need to have one’s  own ecommerce-enabled website.

This blog will enumerate the benefits of “going it alone” and having a stab at developing an ecommerce infrastructure that is managed and monitored by one company, usually the producer, alone. Most businesses already have a website, but sell their products through “marketplaces” such as Flipkart and Amazon. It is not a bad idea to sell through these marketplaces but having the option to sell through your own platform is a big advantage (disclaimer: we develop ecommerce websites for clients, so there is an ulterior motive to this blog).

Here are the pros and cons of having your own ecommerce-enabled website. First the pros:

a. You set your own terms: When you have your own website, you are allowed to choose your own payment and return policies. As a seller of books, we found that Amazon’s return policy, that allows buyers to return books, even a week after they have been purchased as a big source of revenue loss for us. Not only have we found instances in which the book was photocopied, the returned book was, for all practical purposes, unfit for selling again.

b. You are your own competitor: For the time a customer is on your website, you have no other competition. It is then your business to lose and up to you to ensure that the customer does not walk away without making a purchase. For that time, however, there are no deep discounts and other gimmicks by other sellers to worry about, nor the fact that a customer can compare the price of your product with those of other similar products. This also presents an opportunity to ensure that the customer leaves your website feeling good about her experience during her time browsing through it.

c. There is little by way of fees: There are no listing fees, or storage and handling fees, or those gazillion fees charged under quite innovative names. Having your own ecommerce platform allows you to keep costs down. You have, of course, to pay for the hosting and maintenance of the website, and, depending on the payment gateway you choose, also pay a transaction fee, or an annual fee, or both.

d. You get to set your own image: An ecommerce website must be viewed as a digital asset you can use to extend your brand. Therefore you must be very careful of the “image” you portray, how you deal with privacy issues, and how you solve problems faced by your customers. The design of your website must also reflect your brand. You can set up your website to match your “style”.

e. Your website can be tailored to suit your business processes: While selling off a third-party website means tailoring your business processes to meet their requirements, you need not do this if you have your own ecommerce platform. In fact the processes followed during and after an ecommerce transaction, like the way the customer is informed of the purchase and the shipment made, for instance, can be integrated into your way of executing this processes.

f. Your website acts as an additional marketing tool: That means, if properly coded, you can get your products to appear in search results, use your product detail page to highlight the main features of your products, and give your customers a detailed explanation of your products, and use your “about us” and “faqs” pages to properly “explain” your company. Similarly, allow customers to review your products; nothing works like customer testimonials to sell a product or service.

g. You have information regarding your customers’ buying habits: While this is information you have to use carefully (especially taking care to ensure that customers’ privacy is not violated), this information allows you to understand your market better, in turn allowing you to market certain items, understand any seasonality in sales, and cross-sell.

h. You can determine your own geographical reach: Many online platforms, due to restrictions they have placed on themselves, do not ship abroad or ship to only certain countries. Having your own ecommerce platform allows you to sell goods and services to all corners of the globe (unless restricted by the government).

i. You can complement a physical store nicely: An ecommerce-enabled website complements a physical store, if you already have one, very nicely. You can use it to attract customers to your physical store, and sell your stock lying there. For items bought on the website, the store acts as a perfect pick up point, yet another way to tell people there is a store they can visit.

Next, the cons:

a. The upfront costs are substantial: You will have to spend to register your domain name, spend on hosting (which can be paid as a lumpsum or annually), and spend to actually have your website developed. In addition, there will be recurring costs, like the payment gateway cost, the hosting fee (if you choose the recurring option) and the cost of maintaining the website.

You also need to keep in mind that there are costs you might not always be able to track. Like the cost of the time you spend on packaging and shipping, and the cost of packaging material and shipping by post or by courier.

b. Your website will have to be marketed: Just like other websites, ecommerce-enabled or not, you will have to market your website so people know about it and visit it. This translates both into a cost, and into slow pickup (which might mean, that initially traffic to the website will be low).

c. You are your own support staff: You have to take the calls when people have issues navigating and buying on your website, and make sure that the buyer’s problems have been addressed. This is important because it might mean the difference between the buyer returning to your website or forever deserting it.

It may now no longer be enough to have a website that simply displays your products and services. The new paradigm of business implies that you give the customer everything she needs to make a purchase at one point. Having an ecommerce-enabled business might help you achieve that.

photocredit: stocksnap.io

In August 2017, we will complete 10 years since we first published a book under the imprint of CinnamonTeal Publishing (our parent company, Dogears Print Media, was launched an year earlier, in 2006, with the launch of the online bookstore, Dogears Etc.). Incidentally the launch of CinnamonTeal Publishing meant that it was the first time ever that self-publishing was introduced in India at a business-to-consumer level (it was already present at the business-to-business level). Over the years since then we have worked on many different kinds of books and have several stories to tell. This story, however, is of our association with Sulekha.com, and other organizations like them.

During the years 2008-2010, Sulekha.com, which ran Blogprint, a popular blogging platform, decided to publish the blogs of its most popular bloggers as a book. The first book, titled “Subbu Chronicles: A Series of Adventures” was released in mid-2008. While the cover for the book was designed by Sulekha.com, CinnamonTeal designed the book interior, printed the book and arranged for its sale on indiaplaza.com, and subsequently on a certain, newly-minted, flipkart.com.

In the years since we have worked with several institutions and organizations to develop books, manuals, conference proceedings, in-house publications and other printed material. In these cases, the concerned organization provided us with material for the book, while we edited, designed and/or printed the book, depending on the needs of the client. In such an association, there is an implicit understanding that the strengths of the organization we work with are best at developing content for books, while we have significant expertise in publishing the book and bringing it to market.

A few illustrations of our work:

  • The Madness Starts at 9: This was the last in our series of books published in association with Sulekha.com. A total of 8 books were published, including a travelogue and an anthology of poems by women.
  • The Global Information Society Watch, and other publications by the Geneva-based Association for Progressive Communications: We worked with the APC to print their books (which mostly consisted of annual reports and other publications) and distribute them globally.
  • Books for Globethics.net: We printed and distributed various books published by this worldwide ethics network based in Geneva
  • Study material for Indian Astrobiology Research Centre: Our print-on-demand service allowed the Centre to keep their study material updated.
  • Books for the Rosary College of Commerce and Arts, Navelim, Goa: The books included Socio-Economic Inequities and the Health Sector – Issues and Perspectives and their quarterly journal, Gyaana.
  • Books on Six-Sigma: These books were authored by N C Narayanan and published on his behalf by CinnamonTeal.
  • Speaking with Hands: A coffee-table book that describes the various crafts of India through the eyes of travelers, many of who are from outside India, and all of who are craftspersons in their own right. Published for the founders of Indebo, a travel company.
  • epiSTEME-5 and epiSTEME-6: The proceedings of epiSTEME-5 and epiSTEME-6, the fifth and sixth in the series of biennial EpiSTEME conferences, organized by the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, a National Centre of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India, which review research in science, technology and mathematics education.

Ten years on, and countless such books later, we have formalised these services into what we have labelled “Managed Publishing Services”. The idea behind it is the same: we let our clients do what they do best (collecting and arranging original content) and what is comfortably within their domain of expertise, while we bring our publishing experience to bear on the project, effectively translating a work-in-progress manuscript into a complete book, ready for its market.

In combination with our services for publishers, we now have a full portfolio of services for all customers who wish to have a book published and marketed. Our large distribution network ensures that the book is available in all major markets across the world. And our digital marketing services helps readers know about your book, sufficiently enough to make an informed purchase.

 

The main purpose of this article is to spell out the differences between traditional publishing and self-publishing, and enumerate its pros and cons, so that an author seeking to publish her book can decide which of the two options to choose.

The term “traditional publishing” or “mainstream publishing” refers to publishing as it is usually understood – where the publisher bets on the book and spends on it. In this mode of publishing, the common practice is for a publisher to either commission a book i.e. to ask an author to write on a particular topic, or to solicit manuscripts for publication. In the latter case, not all manuscripts are published, rather each solicited manuscript is passed through a round of editorial review. Once the publisher has decided to publish a book, all expenditures related to the book – its editing, design, printing, marketing and distribution – are borne by the publisher. In many instances, the publication process starts with an agreement in which the author hands over the rights to the book to the publisher, and in turn agrees to a ‘royalty fee’, a fixed percentage of sales paid to the author by the publisher. In some cases, an advance is paid against future royalty earnings.

traditional-vs-self-publishingSince the publisher is literally putting its money on the book, the publisher is choosy about the book it will publish. (Usually a publisher will publish just one kind of book, a genre, like crime thrillers, for instance. Or it may publish many genres under different labels, or imprints. For instance, Penguin India publishes business books under its Portfolio imprint and other contemporary non-fiction under its Allen Lane imprint.) A publisher may therefore choose to reject a book that is submitted to it by its author because the book does not fit among the books it has chosen to publish, or because the publisher does not see a market large enough for the book to be able to recoup its investments in that book. Please remember that a traditional publisher may reject your book even if it is a good one [https://scroll.in/article/832753/eight-reasons-that-even-a-good-book-is-rejected-by-publishers].

Further, the publisher will take all necessary steps to ensure that the book appeals to its audience. The publisher brings its wisdom and experience to bear upon this process of developing the book for its market. That might mean making certain changes to the text, developing a cover that it finds suitable, setting an appropriate price for the book, and formulating a marketing plan appropriate for the book. The publisher can choose to do all of this without the involvement of the author. Based on its estimation of the market, the publisher will choose to print a certain number of copies of the book, and reprint or discontinue the book depending upon the response it gets. Depending upon the nature of the contract signed between the author and the publisher, the publisher has the freedom to negotiate and sign on agreements for translations of the book into other languages, for conversion into other electronic formats, and even for TV or movie rights.

So how is it different from self-publishing?

The self-publishing route differs from traditional publishing in the following aspects:

Cost: All costs related to the developing, printing and distributing the book, are borne by the author. That means the author remains fully invested in the process. Consequently, the author also has a say in all matters related to the book. Some options, such as crowdsourcing, that will make it easier for authors to fund their books are now available.

Control: This follows from the previous point. Having paid for the book, the author gets to decide (rather, should be given a chance to decide) on every aspect of the book, such as the book dimensions, the type of binding, the nature of the cover, the number of copies printed and the avenues of distribution.

Profits: All profits go to the author. Any deductions, if held back by the service provider, should be communicated to the author, preferably before the service is undertaken. The author must receive an explanation of the costs and reimbursements. Typically, the author gets to choose the quantum of royatly payable after each copy is sold, and, based on that, the price of the book. The author agreement, that every self-published author must read before signing, must explain how profits, and royalty, will be disbursed to the author. No advance on royalties is paid to the author.

Rights: The rights to the contents of the book remain vested with the author. Thus, the author decides on the rights for translations, serialization rights, rights to convert to other formats, as also TV and movie rights. An author agreement is therefore very important for authors who self publish, more importantly one that explains where the rights to various aspects of the book will be vested.

Time to Market: A self-published book almost always makes it to the market earlier than a book that is traditionally published. A six-month period is considered as the average time a book takes to become available when the author chooses the self-publishing route.

Having said that, self-publishing does not appeal to many. That is because self-publishing is hard work. It means a total commitment to the self-publishing process, understanding every aspect of the process, taking time to learn how publishing works, and, very importantly, taking it upon yourself to ensure that the book is adequately marketed and distributed. Self-publishing cannot be for authors who will outsource the task of monitoring the process to a third party.

On the other hand, a majority of authors do prefer the tradional publishing way. And for good reason:

There is prestige and validation: Being a published author implies having your book approved by a team of editors. That in itself is a badge of approval that many authors relish. Such validation does not come easily to self-published authors. In fact, in the case of many genres, such as academic books, self-published books are frowned upon. That stigma, though, is slowly disappearing.

Your book is worked upon by a large team of book editors, designers and marketeers: Very often the team assembled to work on your book has many years of experience between them. Given that the publisher has invested a lot of money in the book, it naturally follows that this team is charged with publishing a very good book. When you self-publish, on the other hand, you choose the team you will work with.

Distribution becomes easier: Book distributors and retailers believe that a book from a traditional publisher will be worth selling since it is assumed that the content is properly vetted and edited and a lot of effort has been put into developing a good book. No retailer would shun a good product and the publisher’s imprint assures the retailer of just that. Like many self-published authors will avow, getting physical stores to keep their books on their shelves is next to impossible.

There are no costs to the author, a lucky one might actually receive a royalty: In the traditional publishing model, the publisher invests the money necessary to develop, market and distribute the book. In case of established authors, the publisher might actually offer the author an advance against future royalties.

A traditionally published book is more likely to be accepted for awards and acclaim: Many literary awards are not open to self-published authors, and remain available for traditionally published books alone.

Self-publishing can be a way to get published the traditional way. Many authors have found commercial and critical success with their self-published books as a result of which publishers following the traditional model of publishing have noticed them and offered them a proposal for their next book. Ultimately it is the decision of the author, to choose which route to take. There cannot be any substitute for hard work and writing a good book. That done, both models are guaranteed to get the market to sit up and notice your book.

We are often asked why we insist that a manuscript submitted to us for self-publishing should be edited. Many authors believe, and some rightly so, that they have put in a lot of effort to make sure that the loose ends are tied and therefore the need to spend time, and money, on a round of editing is unnecessary. But we still insist on a round of editing, sometimes to our own detriment because many authors desert us when we ask them to have their manuscripts edited. We however believe that a round of editing is good for the book. Here’s why:editing

a. An editor will read your book with a different perspective: While most readers read the content of the book, and may thus oversee some errors in the text, a good editor will read every word to ensure that the text is as error-free as possible. Moreover, writers are so familiar with their own work, they usually miss many errors that a different set of eyes will see.

b. An editor will ensure consistency: Such consistency could be with respect to spellings, or the way dates are numbered or the way punctuation marks are used.

c. An editor will ensure accuracy: An editor will ensure that all facts are checked, the numbers add up, and, as it happened in one case with one of our books, that a person who died on page 77 does not reappear on page 132.

d. An editor will ensure clarity: An editor, who is unfamiliar with the text, and is reading it for the first time, will want to ensure that the narrative is clear to the reader. What might be obvious to the author might not be to the reader. The editor might therefore ask the writer to clarify the text so that it is communicated as clearly as possible. Similarly an editor will ensure that the narrative is not verbose and long wound, or bogged down with complex words when a simple word will be as effective.

e. An editor will iron out all issues with the grammar of the text: A writer need not know about split infinitives or dangling modifiers. That’s the editor’s job to know, identify and correct.

f. An editor underlines your commitment towards excellence: Every author wants to ensure that his/her book out there is the best. A round of editing can ensure that.

It is often argued that self-publishing authors should not be asked to cut and chop text, that it is their choice of what to keep and what to remove. A round of editing does not impinge on that choice, rather it only shows what the author could consider modifying so that the book reads better. A good editor will suggest modifications that do not impinge upon the author’s style of communicating. Editing is not a censorship tool, rather an approach towards perfecting the book. With the book on the shelf, the author has but one opportunity to make an impression on the reader. An edited book can ensure that that impression is a memorable one. At the same time, an editor cannot guarantee commercial success for the book, just that the book will read well.

So what are the types of editing available and what type does your book need?

Proofreading: During this process, the proofreader reads the proof (usually an already-edited manuscript) and acts only as a quality check for spelling and grammar, making sure that the copy editor has not missed something. The proofreader is not responsible for the overall consistency and accuracy of the text.

Copy Editing: Copy editing makes sure that the author’s raw text is corrected in aspects of spelling and grammar. Copy editing also involves, among other things, ensuring that the text flows properly, that nothing is missing or redundant, that sentences and paragraphs are uncomplicated and of adequate length and that the consistency of characters and plots is maintained. A copy editor also ensures that illustrations support the text and have appropriate captions.

In addition, editors will eliminate redundant words, replace repetitive words with appropriate synonyms, and will substitute weak words, phrases, and sentences with alternatives that deliver more impact or are more relevant to your subject matter. During all this, our editors will make sure your original tone remains intact. After a round of editing, we insist that the author reads and reviews these changes.

Substantive (or Developmental) Editing: Substantive editing, sometimes called structural editing, focuses on the content, organization, and presentation of the entire text, viewed wholly, from the title through to the ending.

Which editing you choose actually depends on the book you have written. At the very least, we suggest you have your book copyedited. This is necessary because it removes the scruff from the grain. A good copyeditor will see what you are blind to because you are too invested in the words you have toiled to write, and will help you make your book even better to read. If you are unconvinced, remember that in the traditional publishing process, it is the editing phase that takes the longest. Publishers who have invested in the book make sure that the book is properly edited. You are doing the same thing with your self-published book when you invest in a round of editing.

self-publishing services a la carte

We have often wondered if we really provide value to our customers. With so many other firms offering services similar to ours, it would be foolish to still stay around if we did not make a difference. We have therefore asked ourselves: Why should people do business with us? What should be their rationale for choosing us over the others? What is it we provide differently and why should that matter? These questions are best answered by those who have shopped at CinnamonTeal and returned satisfied. However, based on their testimonials, we have gathered some insights into their reasons for doing business with us. We hope we are right.

  • Your book is important to us. It is not another statistic we can trumpet out loud or a milestone we have to cross. We have never approached two books in the same way – you would be hard pressed to find two identical book designs. And the more you tell us about your vision for your book, the harder we strive to fulfill that vision. At the end of the day, the services we provide should ensure that your book comes out trumps.
  • You know what you are paying for and there are no hidden costs. And you get what you pay for. We endeavour to be always transparent in our dealings.
  • You will choose your course of action. We will not force you to do things you do not wish to do or go down an uncomfortable path. You will be informed on what is needed to arrive at a beautifully published book and be given the freedom to decide how to proceed. This is why we have chosen not to offer packages, because we believe that there are many components in the packages our competitors offer that are either of no use to the author or should simply not be charged for.
  • You have a vision for you book and we strive hard to manage your expectations. We will tell you, for instance, that books do not sell unless the author is involved in promoting them. If you ask us, we will also tell you not to depend too much on just a store presence (rather, to try all available channels) simply because there are too many books out there and books that are not promoted will not sell. You will know, going in, what to expect at the end of the process.
  • You will not end up with a shabby book. We are die-hard traditionalists who are not willing to tamper with the idea of the book. We believe that a customer buying your book should get value for her money and therefore a book should be well edited and properly presented. CinnamonTeal Publishing has been in the business since 2007, having introduced self-publishing in India, and we know what aspects of the book need particular attention. Having worked with almost all genres, we bring that experience to bear while designing your book.
  • Your satisfaction is important to us. For that reason, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our services, both in range and in depth. This is because we would like to be a one-stop shop for our customers, many of who have unique needs. For the same reason, we do not have constraints – like that on the dimensions of the book or on the number of images you can insert into your book. On that note, expect to see us improve our services even more. Owing to the Publishing Next conference we organize each year, we are attuned to the changes happening in the publishing world and bring that knowledge to the table while working on your book.
  • You can always communicate with us. We are easily accessible. While we prefer that you first email us describing your book and your vision for it, we are open to talking to you after that email so we know what it is you wish to discuss. In addition, many of our authors have come and met us at our office in Goa, simply because it assures them to know that there are people at the end of the line.

But perhaps, most importantly, you should work with us before we give it straight to you. We do not shy away from letting you know where your book needs improvement, we enumerate all costs and do not have any hidden charges and we do not promise to deliver a book overnight. There are certain things that are simply not possible and it is always good that the author knows what to expect while working with us. We can confidently say that we work in your interest, in order to put a book out there that’s the best we can produce.

These are still our thoughts. If you feel differently, we’d like to hear from you.

Image: epsos.de

by Ben Antao

When the well-known Konkani writer Damodar Mauzo told me in January 2011 that my stories in English are really Konkani stories and that the only reason I write them in English is because of my greater fluency in the English language, his critical insight dazzled me. I mentioned that having been away from Goa for over 40 years, my Konkani had become a bit rusty.

“Don’t worry about the grammar, we can fix that later,” he said. “If you don’t know a word in Konkani, put that in English. We can change it later.”

So after returning to Toronto, I set about the task of converting ten of my 20-plus short stories into Konkani in the Roman script.

I started with the story The Landlord’s Son. Immediately I faced the challenge of my limited Konkani vocabulary and of my ability to form possessive and relative pronouns. I translated the title as Bhatkaracho Cheddo. When I sent the completed story to Mauzo, he changed the title to Bhatkaralo Cheddo. He also advised me to get a copy editor for my Konknni stories.

I knew of a journalist in Goa, Joel D’Souza of Assagao, who was proficient in both Konkani and English. Over phone and by email I urged Joel to help me in my project. He agreed and set about copy editing my Konkani stories, story by story. I sent him both the English and Konkani versions.

He convinced me that the word cheddo had a different connotation. It should be put, he said, and the possessive noun, landlord’s, should also be changed from bhatkaralo to bhattkaracho, he said. So the title became Bhattkaracho Put.

By this time I began to ask him about the orthography, the way to spell Konkani words. With great patience, he taught me how Konkani is a phonetic language, and to approximate the sounds many consonants were written with double letters. He taught me the correct syntax and how the spellings of personal pronouns were changed depending on the gender and number. It was a heady experience to say the least, but I was determined to learn how to write my mother tongue in the current usage, knowing that I have an understanding tutor.

Although I had three Konkani-English, English-Konkani dictionaries, I ordered a book called Romi Lipient Konknni Kors (Konknni Course in Roman Script) by Matthew Almeida, SJ, published in 2007 by Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr, Porvorim, Goa.

Four months  and five stories later, Joel said that my Konkani writing was getting better. When I told him that I was using the Konknni Kors book to help me, he said he was pleased that I was taking this Konkani writing seriously.

Finally, after ten months I completed the project with the help of my copy editor. Joel not only fixed the syntax of my Konkani prose but often included the Konkani idioms that give life and colour to Amchi Bhas. He also compiled an extensive Glossary of Konkani-English words to enhance one’s reading pleasure.

From this experience I can say that other Indian regional languages can also be converted into English so that the rich literatures of India are available to the rest of the world in the English language, almost a global language today. In this respect, a good copy editor is a must.

Ben Antao is the author of many books including the bi-lingual “Xirap ani her nnov kotha/The Madhouse in Goa and nine other stories” which is available here for sale.

We have constantly endeavoured to bring old titles back in print, thereby taking advantage of our design and print-on-demand capabilities. We have done this often before, both for the State Central Library, Goa and also as part of our own publishing programme. This time we have 3 titles on offer, two on the enigmatic Moghul, Aurangzeb, and the third, An Historical & Archaeological Sketch of the City of Goa by Jose Nicolau da Fonseca, a rather comprehensive description of Goa first published in 1878. In its reference to this book, hughpagan.com states that:

This appears to be the first English-language publication to provide descriptions and histories of the principal public buildings and churches of the city of Goa, the Portuguese dependency on the western coast of India (and it may indeed be the earliest book in any language to do so, for the author does not cite any similar publication in his relatively extensive bibliographical footnotes). It also provides a general survey of the history and social and economic conditions of the territory of Goa, and is a real credit to its author, the local historian Jose Nicolau da Fonseca.

More on this topic: Blast from the past,  Arte da Lingoa Canarim

The title of this is post is borrowed from a recent article in the Huffington Post  that wonders if self-publishing authors are spoiling the party for everyone. In their hurry to create blockbusters, authors, the article argues, are ignoring the basic tenets of writing and resorting to cheap gimmicks to sell their book.

The author proceeds to list the ways in which she thinks many self-published authors are “devaluing the written word”: by pricing the book ridiculously low, refusing to pay attention to editing or proper cover design and resort to paid reviews and other such antics to attract sales.

Paperwork – creative commons license

The article gets it right on both counts: the methods employed by authors to cut corners and ensure sales and the reasons why they employ them. Having seen how the Hockings and Jameses of this world have tasted success, no one believes such success cannot be his or hers. Those tried and tested rules that almost always ensure a good book and satisfied customers can wait.

In India the scene isn’t too different. We have the Bhagats and the Shenoys here, who have made many believe that mediocre writing also pays. The runaway success of such books have spawned a multitude of writers. Nothing wrong with that, except that many choose to rather do that than ensure a good book.

At CinnamonTeal we constantly encounter such authors. Many of them have a plot that can be refined with a little editing, many others have written a beautiful book that could leave a lasting impression with a good cover. But they won’t hear of it. They’d rather go to market as soon as possible at the lowest price they can offer. Often we push back in the belief that the authors will understand and invest a little in editing and design. Ours being a self-publishing service, ultimately we have to bow to the wishes of the author.

We hope that this will change – that authors will aspire for literary glory along with financial reward, that marketing will be less about frills and more about communicating the essence of the book. We hope that authors will speak to the niche than to the mass market because, like a colleague at a publishing course recently pointed out, mass-market books cater to ‘the lowest denominator’. On our part, we believe we are doing our best to educate the author and bring about such change.

The self-publishing phenomena, being a nascent one inspite of the attractive numbers, cannot afford the disrepute that comes with badly edited and produced books. There are many authors who are working really hard at their books and making the best of the opportuinities that self-publishing platforms offer them. The rest, who couldn’t care less, should not spoil it for those hard-working authors. If self-publishing should indeed be taken seriously, those engaging in it should ensure that good literary works emerge.