When I switched careers to move from Human Resources to writing, I did not yet appreciate how difficult it would be to get published. My relocation at the same time, from India to Africa, did little to help, especially since my books are meant primarily for Indian readers.
I did find an easy way out initially. I self-published my debut novel as an e-book on Amazon. This meant that my book was available for the entire world on their e-readers and I would receive royalties on a monthly basis straight into my account. I was quite delighted and this sufficed for a while.
However, I soon began to realise that a large section of Indian readers are not yet into Kindles and e-readers. They still prefer ordering a paperback online and reading it with the feel of paper between their fingers. Many well-wishers on various occasions assured me that they would love to read my book, but in print!
This meant that I needed to get my book out in paperback form. Publishers today function very differently from the way they did just a few decades ago. Earlier, a publisher would evaluate your manuscript and if he felt it had potential, he would place his bets on you and print a batch of books, getting them out into the market. Today, a publisher puts the onus right back on you.
You want to get published, he asks. Well, just pay us a big sum of money to cover our costs and risks. If your books sell, great! You will eventually earn. If not, the loss is yours. With such half-hearted commitment, they don’t put in the best of their sales and marketing efforts behind your book. After all, they have nothing to lose. They minted money from you right in the beginning and care no longer.
I know of some fellow authors, who went down this route, paying sums ranging from Rs 30,000 to Rs 80,000 as one-time, non-refundable fees. In today’s Indian market, books sells for only about Rs 150-300. Profits were mere dreams, these authors lost money in getting their books to readers. At least, I thought, through Amazon, I earn money on each book without having paid a penny to get my e-book out there. However little, I was seeing pure profits.
My quandary though, wasn’t resolved. I wanted nothing more than to see my book out in print on the bookshelves of India. I wanted to hold and feel my book in my own hands. I found a solution, more than a year later, in crowdfunding.
Pblishing has offered me a contract, where if I get a crowd to fund me, they would bring my books to shelves in India. Essentially, if you believe in me and what I’m doing, you place an order for my book, paying Rs 250 in advance to the publisher and when 250 people do so, they print the first batch of my books! The first set of copies is delivered straight-away to these 250 patrons, who showed their confidence in me and backed me up.
I have 45 days to meet this target and will know at the end of this time period if crowd-funding is going to work for me. But on the face of it, it seems like a win-win for all. The author gets her book published, the reader gets a book they believe in at their doorstep through an online purchase and the publisher gets an assurance that he will recover the costs incurred in print.
Best of all, it is all out there, transparent and for all to see. You can follow my book’s journey on the link below, tracking the number of pre-orders I’ve received so far against my deadline. If I meet the target, you get my book; if not, you get back your money (it is refunded in full to your account).
So would you like to back-me up?
If yes, place an order for your copy of In Search of Love today. Also, feel free to share this blog with friends and family who may like to help turn a budding author’s dream into reality!
Alone, I am one; but with you, I am many. Let’s see if there’s power in crowds.