Be An AUTHOR
you finally get that book out in the world! By Priyam Chaturvedi
Q. As a first-time author, where does one find a publisher and get her to say yes?
Madhuri Banerjee: “Most publishers have a submissions e-mail ID on their website where you can send your writing sample. Or you can directly call up their office and ask for their submissions contact.”
Aastha Atray Banan: “You just need to have a good story. You can contact a publishing house directly and submit three chapters of your book, along with a clear synopsis. There is a team of commissioning authors who practically go through everything that comes in. If a publishing house likes your initial draft, they’ll get back to you with an offer. You can also hire an agent who’ll help pitch and negotiate on your behalf for a fixed fee (usually 10 percent).”
Preeti Shenoy: “Write a strong covering letter to the commissioning editor. Outline your story, explain your target audience and why your book is worth investing in. People don’t usually do this, but the extra effort can often tilt things in your favour.” Cosmo: We’re guessing a lot of first-time authors receive rejections...how do you deal?
Nikita Singh: “The idea is to send your work to multipe publishers at the same time, so if you get rejected by one, a different house might make you an offer.” Cosmo: What kind of money can you expect to make from your first book?
Madhuri Banerjee: “It could vary anywhere between ` 30,000 to 1 lakh, depending on your genre.”
Preeti Shenoy: “Bear in mind that usually, there is no advance on a first book. All you will get is royalty from what you sell, which is between 7.5% to 10% of the price of your book.”
Meenakshi Reddy Madhvan: “A large part of what you make will depend on how you market and promote your book. Do speak to your publishing house about having a marketing plan built into your contract, get information on what they’ll be doing to promote your book. Popularity and publicity equals profit.” Cosmo: How many copies does a first-time author usually sell?
Meenakshi Reddy Madhvan: “In India, anything above 5,000 copies is considered a bestseller. If it’s a literary novel, you could aim for 15,000 copies in the first year.” Cosmo: What is a good way to promote your book?
Kishwar Desai: “Have a Facebook page where you talk about it!”
Nikita Singh: “What I do is post an excerpt or quote from my upcoming book on social media. If it’s catchy, your friends and followers will share it and help create buzz.”
Preeti Shenoy: “A lot of new authors hire agencies to help promote their book through social media. But that can be dangerous—simply collecting ‘Likes’ may not translate into actual sales. Instead, use social media to engage people and collect organic ‘Likes’. Even before your first book is out, write blogs or articles on topics related to the genre of your book.”
Meenakshi Reddy Madhvan: “Blogging is a great way to get noticed—and gain followers—before your book is out. You don’t have to start your own blog; you can offer to guest-blog on other popular sites.” Cosmo: What if a publisher rejects the book? Do aspiring authors have any other options?
Kishwar Desai: “Try self-publishing! That basically means you bear the cost of printing and promoting your own book.”
Preeti Shenoy: “Consider e-publishing! For instance, Amazon lets you Publish to Kindle, where you can upload your book for free, at a price fixed by you. Or you could visit websites like bloodygoodbook.com or medium.com where readers get the oportunity to read and vote for your manuscript, and the popular books then get published.”
Madhuri’s advice: “It’s important that people remember your name, so do have a strong digital presence.”
“Pick a subject you’re passionate about, not just something that’s popular!”: Kishwar Desai
“Sometimes, I lock myself up in my room for days on end, just writing. Not everybody understands that.”: Nikita Singh