Obstacles faced by aspiring Indian authors
With almost 19000 publishers in India, it is still difficult to find the right publisher for your book. According to the Times of India (2014), over 1500 books are published in India every day. But how many authors do an average Indian know? Perhaps 10 maximum 20. In this article, we are going to discuss the obstacles faced by aspiring Indian authors.
Contacting Literary Agents
Most writers have never heard about Literary Agents. Literary Agents are individuals who represent the manuscript of the authors to major publishing houses, often assist the authors in the whole publishing process and secure a deal from the publisher. Nowadays, we have many Literary agents like The Bookbakers, Red Ink, Mita Kapoor, Sherna Khambatta etc. Literary agents follow strict guidelines for book proposals. Writers must identify the genre of their book to shortlist the relevant Agents.
Choosing a publishing house
Literary Agents rarely respond to aspiring authors. In such cases, writers can find the traditional publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts. We can categorise the publishers into three sections
1) Traditional: In this type, publishers have to pay for the book cost and pay the royalties to the author.
2) Self Publishing: In this category, the author pays for the book cost and takes more royalty percentage than the publisher.
3) Hybrid Publishing: In this publishing, both author and publisher have to pay for the book cost.
Investigating publishing houses
It is extremely necessary to analyse the publishing houses, especially self-publishing and hybrid ones. Sometimes publishers deliver terrible services of book editing, publishing and marketing. The best way to investigate is to check the Amazon best seller rank of paperback and connect with fellow authors.
Lack of Marketing
Even if authors have written a masterpiece and no one would buy it because they don't know about it. Marketing gives exposure to the book. Generally, all publishers charge aspiring authors a fair amount to promote their books. Instagram and other media platforms can also be used for branding and book promotion. A simple giveaway on Instagram facilitates book exposure. Apart from marketing on platforms authors must not feel shy to tell their family and friends about their book.
Book writing consists of writing, drafting and editing but book publishing is a massive process. Authors may receive criticism in book writing or publishing. Using constructive criticism may help authors to increase their sales and audience.
Low pay scale
Ruskin Bond has to struggle for decades to establish himself as an author and Ravinder Singh the best-selling author said in an interview (Insta live) that less than ten authors in India can earn their living by books. The rest of the authors have other jobs to win their bread and butter. In a nutshell, earning a substantial amount from books is a time taking and almost impossible process. Although adaptation of the books into movies and web series can make a fair amount from the same story.
This myriad of problems hasn't stopped Indian authors from pursuing their passion and following their hearts. We hope in the coming years we see our regional authors in a better state.
QOFD- How can you help local authors?