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Steps to Get Your Book Published in India
chillibreeze writer — Gargi Bagchi
Kudos to you for having undertaken the biggest ever marketing project – writing a book! So many dreams are woven into the 50 or 500 odd pages of your particular book showcasing your talent. Free publicity, more respect, greater credibility, and higher prospects - probably all of these and many more are the rewards which you have dreamt of while sweating it out for days on your writing project. Yes, surely you will reap the rewards and benefits, but you must also get a lesson or two in perseverance on the road to achieving your dreams.
At the risk of sounding fatalistic, let me present one of the hard truths that go with publishing. For a new writer to get his work into print anywhere in the world by a publisher of repute may take years, may call for writing two or three more books, as well as facing countless setbacks. Thus, if you do not possess the virtue of patience in great abundance, it is better not to make a venture in the writing arena.
If you stay in India and nurse the desire to be a published author, follow these steps. Remember to add in some more finesse to your already existing 'oodles of writing talent', and just be persistent.
Getting your manuscript ready: Prior to approaching any agent or editor, get your manuscript ready. This involves printing it out or typing in double line spacing, keeping margins of approximately 1.25” on every side, and numbering the pages serially. Ensure that you type or print on a single side of the paper.
The “title page” or “cover” should contain the name of the book, the name of the author and his/her contact information. It should also have the word count, as well as the page count and the chapter count. Try not to “file” the manuscript. Publishers usually prefer the manuscripts in “loose – leaf” style. The best thing to do is to send them in a folder that is convenient to open.
You may also keep a few photocopies of the manuscript ready, perhaps the best three chapters or first three chapters, which ever way you like. Sometimes certain literary agents/publishers prefer seeing it this way instead of asking for the entire manuscript at one go.
Looking for the right publishing house: You have to choose a publisher on the basis of the kind of manuscript you have prepared. You can carry out a thorough research of book markets to understand the kind of material each publisher generally undertakes to publish.
Today, the internet is also an invaluable guide to get necessary information about the publishing world. You just have to type in the publisher’s name to get linked to a page which addresses questions relating to author submissions, category of books published, and also the number of books the publishing house accepts in a year.
There are certain publication houses that feature topics like education, fiction, trade books, and books on research and poetry. Certain others accept proposals for technical and scientific research, while some may only accept biographies, memoirs, fiction or non fiction manuscripts in English language only.
Preparing a query letter: Publishers and agents in India are quite a busy lot. They get requests from numerous people to get their books published. It is not practicable for them to go through each and every book and then decide whether to publish or not. Thus they have come up with a system of “query letters.”
Writing an impressive query letter is of utmost importance for every writer. A query letter gives an actual feel to the publisher or the agent about the book, and is the deciding factor to whether your brilliant masterpiece will be considered at all or not.
Following guidelines for submission: After you get a green signal from the publisher for submitting your work, do follow the exact guidelines of submission which might differ with each publisher. You may opt for sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope along with your manuscript, if you are hoping of a reply, and return of any material.
Replying quickly: Do not delay in replying to a publisher who has shown some kind of interest in your writing. Make it a point to submit your manuscripts right on time in accordance with your author’s contract. Never forget to communicate to the editor if you have something urgent coming up and probability of your missing the deadline is high.
Self-publishing: You may even go for self-publishing in India in case traditional publishing appears a distant dream. Self-publishing has been a widely prevalent phenomenon, in Europe and U.S.A. It is gradually catching up in India as well. There are a few self-publishing houses in India today.
In the case of most houses that encourage self-publishing, you have just got to log on to the company’s website, pick the cover and the size of the book, and select from such services as design, layout, and proofreading. Within a reasonable time frame, your book is ready to be produced and stocked on the book shelves. You may even consider getting a publicist for promoting you as an author. Seeking television or radio personalities to interview you about your upcoming book is an idea which might yield good results.
All said and done, do spend a good amount of time studying the alternatives of publishing your book in India. Whether you go for self-publishing or traditional publishing, remember to do a good deal of proofreading, editing, and making constant efforts for improving your work quality. Thus you will be presenting your best work to the publishing house to give their final edits. This will at least ensure that you build an initial good impression, paving the way for future success. Follow these guidelines, and be ready for lady luck to smile at you!
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