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.

In April 2011, CinnamonTeal published Shruti Swaminathan, who was then and still is the youngest author we have published. Impressed by her command over the English language at such a young age, we asked her to tell us what inspires her to write. Here is her story.

I began writing at the age of six. It all started off like this.

When I had begun to read, at the age of four, I used to read small storybooks. When I could not pronounce a word in that book, I would completely lose interest in the book and keep it away. My mother saw this and then started rewriting all the fairy tales and Jataka Tales in simple language on the laptop with matching images on every page. I used to read them at first with my mother and then by myself. That’s how, today, I can read very well.

Soon, I started helping her in looking for suitable pictures for more fairy tales, on the Internet. I would also suggest sentences for the stories. I used to enjoy that a lot.

I shifted to Chennai from Mumbai when I was six years old. I started living in Madhuban Apartments. In the same apartments lived another boy – seven months older than myself. We made friends with each other and started making up plays. We enjoyed acting out our own plays and actually, it was quite a lot of fun. These plays were written down in a thick-bound diary by me in the form of prose and not drama.

My parents discovered my talent and encouraged me to type out my stories on the laptop. Since then, I have been writing many, many stories.

I’ve got a collection of hundred and more – but, there are some which have no ending, some which I have not even begun yet!! I am at the laptop for an hour everyday – even during exam-time!! I manage to type something everyday except if I have ‘writer’s block’.

I love to read and re-read books. My book-reading habit started off with Enid Blyton, went on to Charles Dickens, Ruskin Bond, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, RK Laxman and JK Rowling. My favourite personality is Anne Frank and I have read her diary (unabridged version).

I never knew I had a talent when I was six years old. Actually, I came to know of it only when I was in Class Three. And now, I’m quite proud of it. It’s quite special to me – it’s a completely different line.

I sometimes draw my inspiration from real life incidents and experiences. When I was traveling by air to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, I looked out of the window and saw the clouds and that inspired me to write a story on Fairyland. When I read about Libya and the protests against Gathafi (Gaddafi), I wrote a school story involving my toy-dog, Timmy.

My first book called ‘Straight from a Child’s Heart’ was published by CinnamonTeal Publishers, Margao Goa in April 2011 on my tenth birthday. My parents are planning the second book for this year, again with CinnamonTeal.

Before I dash off my signature below this article, I’d like to say something to all the young writers like me: Remember, writing stories is not a crime. You can always make it your career with something side-by-side, like being an English Literature Professor. Writing stories is a completely different line – so consider it special and never lose an opportunity to write!

Shruti Swaminathan

Her parents say…

She writes on a variety of topics – school stories, her father’s childhood memories, mystery stories, apartment stories and anything that kindles her imagination.

She continues to read voraciously. Her favourite books and authors include The Malgudi Days, Ruskin Bond, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Diary of Anne Frank, David Copperfield and The Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

Sometimes, her writings display a combination of imagination and real-life incidents, experiences and news events, for example, the recent strife in Libya. This is, in great measure, due to her habit of poring over the newspaper before leaving for school and watching the news channel with us in the evening. Her interest in reading makes her literally pore over any printed matter. This has improved not only her vocabulary but also her levels of general awareness. Even her father’s office magazine is gone through thoroughly and scanned for interesting information.

We now find that her reading habits have helped her in her academic performance also. She doesn’t have to prepare for creative writing exercises in school (paragraphs, letters or articles) – her reading gives her sufficient material to write on any topic. Since her comfort levels with English are fairly high, it has helped her to move away from rote-learning, to understanding the subject and writing the answers in her own words.

Her writing skills have helped her to gain recognition in school and she is invited to contribute stories for the Annual Magazine and participate in story-writing contests.

The only area where we can take credit as parents is being always available as ready-for-reference dictionaries and encyclopedias for her. We have also actively encouraged her to read story books and not viewed it as a distraction. As a result, Shruti has had many teachers guiding her and helping hone her vocabulary and writing skills – at home, at school and authors such as Enid Blyton, Ruskin Bond, R.K. Narayan, to name a few.

A good command of the language has also had a positive impact on her levels of self-confidence and she is comfortable interacting with adults, both in the spoken and written form. Queenie Rodrigues, of CinnamonTeal, herself has been at the receiving end – Shruti sends e-mails to her very willingly even though she has never met her.

I, as a parent, have realised the immense potential of reading, having seen the tremendous progress that Shruti has made in six years. I believe that inculcating reading skills among children, an area neglected in most schools today, holds the key to an enriching education and would make our children a lot more successful than they are today.

by K. Venkatesh

How much have you shifted online? Do you pay your bills online? Has it got to do anything with eBooks? Probably yes and probably no.

In 2001, Marc Prensky proposed the terms “digital natives” and “digital immigrants.” Those born after the introduction of digital technology are digital natives and those born before, digital immigrants. Digital natives are likely to embrace digital technology as if it’s their second nature, whereas digital immigrants need an effort to do that. But to what extent you are digitalized depends on your work. If your work requires the use of digital technology (as simple as a Word document as opposed to a printed paper document), you tend to move to digital, not out of choice but out of compulsion. Only those who have got off their active work are not affected by this digital shift. Sheer convenience drives the change sometimes. It is far easier to pay a bill online, say even at midnight, than to queue up for hours. But the paper as a source of records is on the wane, quite irreversibly. The “Search” function’s incredible convenience of locating data accurately and quickly definitely shifts the fence-sitter towards digital.

At the Hay Festival at Cartagena, Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom (which President Obama requested an advance copy before publication), warned of impermanence in eBooks. The Guardian quotes Franzen as saying “maybe nobody will care about printed books 50 years from now, but I do. When I read a book, I’m handling a specific object in a specific time and place. The fact that when I take the book off the shelf it still says the same thing – that’s reassuring,’ said Franzen, according to the Telegraph,” adding, “Someone worked really hard to make the language just right, just the way they wanted it. They were so sure of it that they printed it in ink, on paper. A screen always feels like we could delete that, change that, move it around. So for a literature-crazed person like me, it’s just not permanent enough.” Henry Potter recorded his argument that digital is making us smarter. He questions, “If the printed word were the guardian of all democratic values, how is it that the country where, in 1439, a goldsmith named Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable type printing press succumbed almost 500 years later to a totalitarian hell, in which books, and the knowledge in them, were suppressed with a relatively small number of bonfires? Ink on paper is no more a guarantor of good government than oil paint on canvas.” Arguing that oil paint on canvas has survived, he points out: “The point is that humanity goes on adding to the available means of self-expression and communication, and very few forms or techniques are eliminated in the process, which is one reason to celebrate the possibilities of this extraordinary moment in history.” Taking Potter’s argument further, our temples (churches or mosques) have survived centuries of change and no one razed a them to build a hypercity. Traditional forms of music and dance are still in practice and its later adaptations have not been able to wipe the older form altogether. The reason for their stickiness is “faith” and a puritan mindset. Often, it is argued that changing forms will not have the desired effect and so traditional music has undergone only mild innovations in form while the original is preserved to the maximum. Technology simplifies our mechanical effort and naturally we have found it helping us. It’s more of a fixed mindset rather than pros-and-cons thinking.

Will eBook take over print completely? There is no scarcity of debate on this issue. Those in favour of print talk about aesthetics of typefaces smell of paper, bedtime reading, and all that gives them a sense of enjoyment. Publisher income is still dominated by print. Those inclined towards eBooks point out the convenience of carrying hundreds of books on a single device, searchability, and bookmarking as benefits. Are these people digital natives and someone who stand contrary to Franzen and support Porter? Are print lovers digital immigrants and echo with Franzen’s point of view? May be and may be not.

Digital technology is shaking the very foundations of business models on which publishing has survived for centuries. The authenticate (editorial), publish (publisher) and distribute (bookstores) form of publishing is challenged by self-publishing and online bookstores. You don’t need all that you needed before to reach the reader. Interestingly, André Schiffrin (Business of Words, Navayana, 2011) does not discuss self-publishing, perhaps because self-publishing was not considered significant when he wrote Words & Money. Alan Rusbridger, in a lecture a couple of years ago, spoke of the breaking down of walls and the dilution of high position held by journalists in deciding what to say, thus challenging the monopolistic structure that has been in practice for decades, if not centuries. Social networks such as Twitter provide voice to the reader who was not heard before. Citizen journalism is a reality and all this is because of digital technologies. The growth of self-publishing could be attributed to authors eager to find their voice and name in a publication, going beyond the publisher and leveraging technology.

Publishers are in a momentous shift, and are increasingly finding ways to maximize profits. So Penguin USA has launched Book Country, a self-publishing imprint for new authors to publish without editorial intervention. It has gone ahead to acquire two titles from Book Country for its regular imprint. It is clear that publishers chase only profitable acquisitions and self-publishing was never on their radar till recently. But the success of Amanda Hocking has turned their attention to self-publishing as a viable source of their most important criterion – income on balance sheets.

Amidst reports of robust eBook sales quarter after quarter and the monopolistic attitudes of Amazon and Google in dictating market forces, the reader is caught in a time warp. A sensible reader always weighs the costs against the pleasure of reading. If the digital form will provide more pleasure at low cost, in their opinion, the readers will embrace it willingly. Certain mindsets that favour only print as authentic, like Franzen’s, and their bias towards the smell of print will make them take to print. Reader habits will be increasingly defined not by reader tastes but how disruptive technologies like Amazon’s self-publishing take prominence. Economics is important in this globalized world and anyone in publishing will pursue only those endeavours that give them maximum returns, with total disregard for reader preference and the reader will be forced to consume what is on offer. The publishers will try to influence the readers’ minds in favour of technologies that are cost-effective for them. Seeing that the reader has not outright rejected the digital forms, the publisher will push them more.

But all those apart, you will read either printed book or on an e-reader depending upon what you like and what is convenient to you. Jonathan Franzen’s concerns will be countered and forgotten, and digital natives will place the argument in their favour. As long as you read, why bother about these debates? Any way you, the reader, can hardly influence it, whether you are a digital native or a digital immigrant, agree with Franzen or disagree with him.

K. Venkatesh is founder of VirtualPaper, a freelance copyediting firm and writes on entrepreneurship and publishing. 

While attending the Goa Art and Literature Festival, I found myself, quite unexpectedly, invited to a panel discussion on the future of publishing. The panel’s brief was to examine if the publishing boom, that is currently being experienced, can be sustained. Others on the panel included Chiki Sarkar, publisher of Penguin Books India, Nirmal Kanti Banerjee, Director of K K Birla Foundation, New Delhi, Frederick Noronha, publisher of Goa 1556 and S. Anand, publisher of Navayana.

Chiki Sarkar was the moderator and she began by asking whether there was credence to the belief that there is currently a boom in publishing. Most answers to that question were in the affirmative but came with riders, that referred to the abysmal state of distribution as a major factor that dampened growth. So while sales were increasing and there seemed to be a visible increase in the number of people reading, many more readers could be had if there was indeed a well developed distribution system. Frederick, who publishes books that appeal to a relatively small audience, hastened to say that sales were not a benchmark, rather the variety of titles he published. Similarly, Anand and Nirmal pointed that although readers were buying more books, books bought per capita was a low, abysmal, figure of 1 book per person per year and then too this figure was even lower among some languages.

What was most interesting, though, was Chiki Sarkar’s answer to her own question. She said that while books were indeed selling in large numbers, they belonged to a few categories. So the best sellers included diet books, cookery books, books that documented success stories like Rashmi Bansal’s Connect the Dots, self-help books and maybe books that belonged to a few other such categories. Among fiction, the books that have captured the readers’ imagination are books that are not necessarily well written but those that “connect with the reader”, now often collectively called the “Chetan Bhagats”. Suffice to say that the publishing boom did not point to an increase in readership over all kinds of books, or lead to an increase in literary output, but led to mounting sales of just a few kinds of books. These categories are now considered safe bets and publishers bet on them because they seem to reflect contemporary readers’ tastes.

The implications of this fact are many. For one, the sales of such books might lead publishers to concentrate on them alone much to the detriment of other types of books. At best, it might cross-subsidize the publication of these other types but a publisher would have to justify his/her decision to publish such a book. Moreover, the success of these diet and cookery books might lead publishers of books in the languages to mimic their English counterparts and concentrate on such books alone. This could indeed be harmful as these “language publishers” have so far been doing an excellent job giving expression to disparate voices and offering insights into the lives of a large percentage of the population.

Secondly, like Anand pointed out, the huge bookstore chains are concentrating on these “bestsellers”. Under pressure to improve their margins and increase returns on large real-estate investments, many of these stores have begun reducing the inventory they hold. More often than not, this reduction manifests itself as fewer titles being stocked. This while large numbers of the bestselling titles are kept in inventory for fear of stocking out in the face of large demand. On this blog we have often argued that the fact that online book stores have unlimited inventories mean little to publishers in terms of revenues since in most cases books are used as loss leaders.

The third implication leads directly to the surge we have seen in recent days, of authors increasingly interested in self-publishing. The ease that technology provides to allow easy self-publishing notwithstanding, we at CinnamonTeal have ourselves witnessed an increase in the numbers who have come to us with a wish to self-publish. While some may argue that these are not books that would have been taken seriously by publishers anyway, we have seen trends that show otherwise. Among our books, we have had a lot of poetry, sci-fi, paranormal thrillers and studies of mythology and oral traditions. Perhaps, this surge in self-publishing, and in subjects as varied as these, is because mainstream publishers just aren’t interested in some kinds of books anymore. Self-publishing aside, the increase in the number of independent publishers and a glance at their lists paints a different picture, of the need for platforms that will allow different voices to express themselves.

Surely a measure of the publishing boom would be a discussion on what is being written rather than what is being read.

Before we celebrated the boom in publishing, therefore, there certainly seems to be a need to introspect on the quality of our literary output and the means available to us to improve it.

Update: In related posts, Shobit Arya, founder and publisher of Wisdom Tree, argues for a balanced and nuanced approach to bookselling while predicting an increase in what he calls “paisa-wasool” (money’s worth) literature. David Davidar, founder of Aleph Book Company, sounds very optimistic when he states that Indian writers are charting their own course and are spoilt for choice with many genres yet to be fully exploited.

While many people choose to self-publish nowadays, authors are well advised to give it some thought before they choose this path to get themselves published.  As an author, you should not self-publish if:

a. You aren’t in it for the long haul: Authors who’d rather write about the book and not bother about the rest of the process are better off working with a mainstream, established publisher. Think about self-publishing as an entrepreneurial process. Like it makes no sense to open a store and leave it unattended, it makes even little sense to write a book and care little about the remaining stages that the manuscript must go through before it becomes a book that customers will buy. Every stage of the process is important: the editing process where the author must approve of or reject the changes made by the editor, the cover design process where care must be taken to ensure than an appropriate yet attractive cover is designed, the typesetting process where attention must be made to the most minute of details including the fonts used, the imprint page and other aspects like widows and orphans and the pricing which will ultimately determine whether the book sells in adequate numbers. Most importantly, you should be willing to market the book, something we discuss in the next point.

b. You cannot be bothered with marketing the book: No one, not even the publisher, knows the book better than the author does. The author knows the circumstances that triggered the book, each character depicted in the book and the intended audience for the book and is best suited to “explain the book”. It thus follows that the author can market the book best. However many authors feel that marketing is something they’d rather stay away from, sometimes even feeling that it is beneath them to market their own book. Since many buyers will search for the antecedents of the author, either by reading about it in the book itself or by researching it, before buying a book, it follows that when the book is spoken about by the author herself, it helps the marketing process.


Photo Credit: Zamburak (


c. You seek to recoup investments in a hurry: If you have calculated your costs and are now planning to price your book so that you can recover your costs within a few months, nothing will discourage you more. Self-publishing requires a great deal of fortitude and you must be there for the long haul. Like we mentioned before, self-publishing must be thought of as an entrepreneurial venture, doing what it takes to ensure that sales are sustained and costs are recouped over long periods of time. Instant gratification just won’t happen and must not be expected either.

d. You wish to quit your day job: This follows from the earlier point we made. While much has been made of success stories such as Amanda Hocking, it remains a fact that book sales by self-publishers are, at best, modest. That said, with enough marketing effort by the author, sales can matter, often enough to recoup costs. However, to expect book sales to replace your other sources of income might be stretching it a bit too much. We suggest you’d rather keep your expectations low and be pleasantly surprised.

e. You are doing it for the recognition: Again a bad reason to want to self-publish. Authors usually wish to self-publish because a)they have heard of the lengthy process it takes to get published and wish to circumvent that process, b) they wish to exercise total control over every aspect of the publishing process or c) they have approached publishers before and have been told to go fly a kite, although the book and the plot do make sense. It is never a good reason to wish to self-publish simply to see your name on the book. Or to aspire for a Chetan Bhagat-like moment. Or to hope someday that you will be approached by a Bollywood producer for movie rights. These things do not happen often and if that’s the reason you are writing a book, that book might not be worth reading and might not be worth spending a publishing effort on. You must want to self-publish because you have a good story to tell and because this seems like a good way of doing it. Note that ultimately content is king and if your book is short on good doses of that, chances are someone, everyone, will recognize it for what it is.

CinnamonTeal Publishing has launched a new distribution service that will cater to electronic books alone. This service primarily targeted for the distribution of books in Indian languages will allow CinnamonTeal Publishing to leverage its association with several ebook distribution services around the globe and ensure worldwide visibility and availability for its titles. In addition to its revamped website, ebooks distributed by CinnamonTeal will also be available through and, allowing its titles to be purchased on more than 100 websites and a wide range of devices.

CinnamonTeal believes that this service will allow publishers to make their books available worldwide without the extra hassles of printing and physical distribution, in a medium that is increasingly gaining currency among readers. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that ebook sales are increasing worldwide and while CinnamonTeal Publishing already provides ebook development services, this new distribution service will supplement that service and ensure that the produced titles are also now easily available to buyers. For new authors, especially those who wish to self-publish, this service provides them the low cost option of doing everything electronically and altogether rejecting the option of producing copies in print.

This service will be available for all languages and books will be produced in EPUB, MOBI and PDF formats, which, together, can be viewed on most of the e-readers available in the market. For more details, do write in to contactus@

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