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Self-publish your book and save your time

Many budding authors these days, who cannot stand the time between writing a book and actually seeing it on the stands, are going ahead and publishing their books themselves.

books Updated: Oct 31, 2007 08:55 IST

Gone are the days when the time gap between writing a book and actually seeing it on the stands could be a couple of months to years, depending on the publisher. Now many authors are simply cutting short the process and self-publishing their book.

Debutant author Navin Pangti said since he was not eager to wait for long, he went ahead and published his book himself.

"Publishers these days have more than they can swallow. They get so many transcripts each day that it's only natural they take so long to give their opinion on a transcript," Pangti told IANS.

"Moreover, if it is a first time author, they don't take the transcript with much seriousness. I just wanted to avoid all this hassle. That's why I went right ahead and published my book Dhar Ke Us Paar," Pangti told IANS.

Based in Uttarakhand, the book is a collage of pictures and 15 poems in Hindi. The language was another reason why Pangti felt that going to a publisher would mean a longer wait.

"It is a 48-page book. It was difficult editing and reviewing my own book. But I did it. After that I promoted it in all the popular networking sites like Orkut and Facebook," he said.

And the good news is that it worked. The book had many takers online and in roughly two to three months, Pangti sold over 100 copies.

In fact, poetry is a genre where self-publishing is happening quite frequently.

"My printing costs have been recovered and I have already broken even," Pangti smiled. Being a creative designer and photographer himself, he was also saved the headache of finding a different person to design the book.

For debutant author, Shubham Basu, the advantages of self-publishing were many.

"In self-publishing the advantage is that you can put forth your view without any screening. It's especially useful to those people who want to voice things that are important according to them but may not be of interest to everyone else," Basu said.

"You have the liberty to publish your virgin thoughts."

While the advantages of self-publishing are many, it has its share of shortcomings as well.

Karthika VK, publisher and chief editor of Harper Collins, said: "The method of promoting a book online, placing orders and delivering is still at a nascent stage in India simply because here the reach of the internet is still not very wide."

Basu agreed.

"One might have to buy his way through the distribution network which can turn out to be pretty expensive because book stores will be sceptical to take up self-published books and distribute it."

"This is because when one goes through a known publisher, there is a certain amount of credibility about the material," he said.

Also, in self-publishing, one needs to take care of the number of books being printed.

Shanti Das, another self-publisher, said she had to take care that not too many copies were printed as they might have ultimately got stacked away in a store room nor so little that they needed to be printed again and again.

"Thankfully, I got just the right amount of books printed - 200. My book of poems, which I marketed online, sold off that many copies," she said.

Thus, writers in India, albeit slowly, are now beginning to see the advantages of self-publishing their work, much like their Western counterparts.

"Self-publishing is a common thing in the US and Canada where people don't mind taking risks unlike here where we tend to tread only those paths which have been tried and tested before," Basu said.

"It will take some time, but it will catch up in India," Basu said.

First Published: Oct 31, 2007 08:42 IST