Publishing, Print on Demand, Self-publishing in India from Team

September 14, 2016
by Neelima

Online Marketing with Twitter

If you want to market your book using twitter, start by creating an adequate profile, with preferably using your own name so that people can find you. Also write an intriguing bio so that people who spot you want to follow you.

Interact with other writers of the genre you are about to write in or already have written in. People have to know you exist, so tweet, RT, and message. Also twitter etiquette requires that you follow those who follow you and no trolling please!

Follow the greats and learn from them. Neil Gaiman and J.K.Rowling know how to keep the twitter buzz alive, and have followers in the millions.

Tweet often as internet memory is zilch. You can use tools like Bufferapp or Hootsuite to schedule your posts in advance. If you’ve written a book, don’t hesitate to tweet about it. Tweet your blog posts and whatever it is that you are writing. Also you can offer discounts for your book on twitter. Post pictures of what reflects your book or your personality. But remember that all your posts should not be about your book. That becomes boring.

Retweeting is good and Favoriting is better! Use the hashtag approach if you want to get noticed. But your tweet shouldn’t be all hashtags either.

More links about online marketing in 140 characters here:



August 24, 2016
by Neelima

Online Marketing with Facebook

You have written your book and you want to tell your friends about it. That’s great! You can talk about it on your facebook personal page but how many times can you talk about it? This makes having an author facebook page a good idea.
This page can be dedicated to you the author so you can continuously post about your book, talk about giveaways, book launch, etc.

However, don’t think that a facebook page is a great substitute for a website. With facebook, remember that you are always dependent on an external platform.

Getting likes is only one possible way of setting objectives. You can set different objectives for an advertising campaign. It is best to setup something that drives traffic to your sites, or direct sale or email newsletter signups. If using paid advertising, make sure to target the audience very narrowly, ideally to the people who have interest in that very specific genre.

Also post across groups. Don’t spam groups with your book as that can become a bit annoying and actually prevent people from buying the book. Create posts that are interesting to read and in accordance to the rules of the group, rather than just cutting and pasting links to your book.

Apart from page, consider creating a group. It doesn’t have the same features as a page and will need to be treated differently. But if suitably managed, it can help build long-term relationships with readers and also keep them engaged.
Promotion is not a one-day wonder. It takes a lot of effort. Be in it for long term and work on strategies to direct people to your own platform outside facebook as well. Facebook’s policies keep changing and you might work hard on building a following and then not able to reach it. Building an email list could be life saver.

To understand more about advertising on facebook, go through this link:

August 10, 2016
by Jaya

Three Essential Ingredients for Online Book Marketing

Once considered the black sheep of publishing, self-publishing is now the mainstream. No longer deemed amateurish or even unglamorous, writers who have even been published by traditional publishers are choosing self-publishing.  Why? Control and profitability!

By having control, the author now must take the book’s marketing into his or her own hands. This is not so difficult any more, considering that the author can create an online presence on her own. A web brand is a sure-shot way to  market the book. A strong web presence is the first step in an author’s marketing campaign.

Here’s three ingredients that help create a successful online book marketing campaign –

  • An author centric website which informs as well as acts as an outlet to purchase the book.
  • A social media profile on all the major social media sites – like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc
  • The author’s personal blog that will create comments and bring readers to the book. Interaction is essential for a successful online marketing campaign.

With all marketing content linked back to your website, those interested in purchasing your book can do so easily. That is the purpose and design of a successful online presence. With all of these efforts, be prepared for the long-term, nothing happens overnight.  Take you time and build your audience.

Let’s look at these essential ingredients.

Your website

Websites come in every shape and size. You can have just one sheet – that just introduces the book and gives the reader a place to purchase it. You can build a 10- page site, with photos, your bio and excerpts from the book, as well. To develop a site can be very inexpensive and a very cost-efficient method to reach readers. If you are not tech savvy, there are many different ways to manage your site.  It will be the major platform where your readers can reach you. 

A Social Media Profile

The next aspect to your web presence is your social media interaction. Everyday it seems like there is a new social media site emerging. Facebook is still the #1 way people connect on the web, with 250 million users a day. Google says that YouTube airs 4 billion videos per day and Twitter is the third most popular. Some more potential sites in the image below:


All of these sites translate to millions of potential fans and buyers for YOUR book. Plus, every social media page/profile you create will be linked to your site so purchasing your book is easy and quick. All that is needed is your willingness to create pages/profits for each social media site (almost all free) and invite everyone you know to join. Yes, it can seem like a full time job. And once again, there many ways to manage your social media posts. (We will go into this further in subsequent posts)

Your Blog

Blogs are controversial because there are so many. But more than 50% people online read more than one blog a day. Blogs are how people are getting their news, their opinions and advice. For a writer, a blog can be a fun experience or seem like a chore. But you will be glad you have one. Your blog will create interaction and feedback. Exactly what Internet marketing is all about. Here are a few tips on what makes a successful blog –

  • Speak to your target audience. Be direct and interesting.
  • Don’t make them too long… 400- 600 words
  • Make them easy and fun to read
  • In other words, show don’t tell. Stories sell, facts tell. Tell a great story.
  • Try to engage the reader – include a call to action at the end that gets them excited and involved.

More online marketing tips to come. Stay tuned!

August 3, 2016
by Neelima

How to Write Characters

If you have a single good character that could be the driving force of your story. So how do you create a good character?

First think of the characters you admire. They could be characters you have watched on TV or read about in books.  They could be characters in novels you have read or epics and folklore you have read and heard as a child. They could be the people you have met in your life time or people you have invented from scratch.

A character has certain physical traits. You must have learned how to write a character sketch in school when you had to learn how to use your adjectives. So you already know that your character has physical traits, facial expression, specific voice, etc. Some writers create a list of characters and outline all their characteristics before they begin writing.

Before you design your character, you have to know the genre of the book you are writing. If the book is a fantasy, you can be more adventurous about your characters- they could fly or change shape, but if your book is set in a middle class suburb in Bangalore, the characters need to look like contemporary Bangaloreans.

There is no limit on the number of characters you can have, though it is sensible to have as many characters as you can be true to. The Mahabharata is successful inspire of the enormous number of characters that take the stage. If you know how to bring out specific traits for each character successfully and if your character has an important role, not to mention a nice-sounding name, he will steal the show. Even after so many centuries Shakuni is a character that every Indian who has some knowledge of the Mahabharata can talk about.

So why do we remember Shakuni? Because of his wily ways and fondness of deception and trickery. We know this about Shakuni more by what he does than what he says. When you write a character, you do not say that the man was deceptive and fraudulent; you show how he makes fools of others and this action becomes part of the plot as well.

Who is your favorite character of all time?

Some more links on how to write characters effectively:

July 27, 2016
by Neelima

How to Write Dialogue

Good fiction is 30% dialogue. So how do write good dialogue?


To write a good dialogue, you need to be a good listener. Haven’t you seen the artist with his sketch pad who sits at a café and sketches people as they come and go? A writer can also jot down interesting conversations in her notebook when she is at a café or at a park. Eavesdropping is good! Watch plays and watch movies to understand contemporary lingo and how dialogues can sound natural.


Dialogues need punctuation. You start and end the dialogue with double inverted commas.

So, the dialogue can be,

“Stop eating my brains, Mom!” she said in a feverish voice.


“The fish jumped out of the glass bowl,” the child said with tears in his eyes.

Note that the comma is placed inside the inverted commas.

When you use an em-dash, it means that the conversation has been cut off.

“I swear I saw her yesterday night but—”

Be Honest

Dialogue is not so polite and well-trimmed. So a good writer would use profanities without hesitation and if the situation requires it.

Tag your dialogue

Who is saying what? If you have multiple dialogues in your story, it makes sense to mention who said what, each time; otherwise the reader could get confused and lose track.

Read Aloud

Read your dialogues aloud. That’s the best way to test if they work or not.

Avoid Dialect

Unless you have the proficiency of a writer like Alice Walker or Manohar Shyam Joshi, avoid dialects as far as possible. To be able to write in dialect, you have to know it very well yourself. In his Hindi book, Kuru Kuru Swaha, Joshi writes in as many as six dialects of Hindi. You can pull off such a feat only if you know what you are doing.

Some links to help you write good dialogues:



June 22, 2016
by Neelima

How to Write a Good Plot

The plot is the masterpiece of a novel. It’s the hidden scaffolding on which a writer builds his palce. So how do you make a good one?

What the masters wrote: You must of heard of Joseph Campbell’s archetypes. Go through this link to understand more about typical protagonist situations that have been repeated for time immemorial. Any plot runs on these lines- whether the hero accepts the challenge or refuses to; whether he goes on an adventure; whether he succeeds or fails.

Plot Structure: Every conventional plot has a beginning, middle and end. So when you write your story you should have an idea about where your story begins and how it ends. If you know this in the beginning, you can move it around too. There are no hard and fast rules as long as you have control over your material. The Shakespearean drama followed a typical five act plan-

  • Exposition: The introduction to the tale and characters.
  • Rising action: Complications ( like death or a simple misunderstanding) arise for the characters.
  • Climax: The showdown. The characters face opposition.
  • Falling action: What happens after the climax.
  • Resolution: The end of the story where problems are resolved. If the story is a tragic one, it is called a catastrophe; there is no resolution in sight.

Plot outline/skeleton:   Using the plot structure described above,  you can write basic foundation of the story that you probably shouldn’t deviate too much from while writing. What made you want to write the book in the first place? The character faces some obstacle and must get out of it. How? This is what the plot describes. If you are clear with this, the rest of the writing becomes easier.

Filling the plot: You may have a one-line story but that’s not enough. You have to fill in the story with meaningful details. Here is where location, greater theme, characters and dialogue come in. They help flesh out the plot and bring it to life.

Subplots: You don’t create the narrative arc of just one character or situation. If you are writing a novel there will be additional characters and situations. You will need to create an arc for all of these. The arcs should meet somewhere so that they bring value to the primary plot in the book and hold all the layers together.

Just for the fun of it, you can check out a Chetan Bhagat Plot Generator here:

Some reference links:


June 15, 2016
by Neelima

5 Types of Books you can Self-Publish Apart from Fiction and Poetry

Despite the stereotypical image, a writer of books is not always a recluse or an eccentric person. Books give expression to many different kinds of talents and purposes.

Here are five types of books beyond fiction and poetry that people have been writing and self-publishing on


Exam Preparation Books

‘Competitive exams’ is a phrase Indians of all ages and regions are familiar with. If you are a teacher or a professional in the relevant field, you can write a book to help people with these competitive exams. We have seen books related to engineering, medicine or design entrance exams, CA/CS preparations, civil services exams and everything else you can think of. Solved question papers of previous years and interview preparation books are some attractive sub-genres.



Professional Books

Whether you are a software engineer working on a niche technology, a manufacturing executive with a lifetime of learning in mechanical products, or a teacher who has figured out how to spark student interest in difficult subjects, you may have a book in you. Write that book to help others in your profession succeed!

Also common are short introductory books to fields that are in the news, but an average person has little information about.



Family Cookbooks

People are more mobile these days and families are often spread not only all around the country but also across the globe. Nothing connects Indian families more than food. So how about creating a family cookbook with your own crazy, unique family’s special recipes that will help youngsters moving out recreate the food magic from back home? You can keep this book private to share only with family members, or let the world have a peek too by making it available for sale.




Translations of Public Domain Books

Are you bilingual? Then you can make a great contribution to your mother tongue if you translated out of copyright books into or from that language. With out of copyright or public domain books you do not have to worry about rights and legal issues. Check out the yearly posts on blog about authors who entered public domain in last few years.




Brand-building Books

Are you a consultant, a freelancer or a corporate trainer? Add a book on your subject of expertise to your professional armory. You can give it out to potential clients and it will help your business and brand.

Of course, all these suggestions don’t mean that fiction and poetry should stop rolling in. The human race has always loved stories and our hearts have always leapt with great poetry.


Bring out the book in you!



June 1, 2016
by Neelima

Benefits of Not Reading- Author’s Perspective

Are there are any benefits for a writer who doesn’t read? Turns out there could be:

You get more time to write

Instead of sitting with your nose in a book all day, a writer must write a minimum word count on a daily or weekly basis. Instead she uses all her free time to finish the latest fantasy trilogy or swim in a book of poems. So if you are not obsessed with all the latest books, you get that much more time to write.

You  eavesdrop a lot more

A writer is someone who should know what’s happening around him. If he’s in a busy railway station reading a book, he wouldn’t hear the story about the grisly murder that just happened in that town. He wouldn’t scout around and inspect his surroundings. He would be watery-eyed and dreaming of another writer’s plot and characters.

You get your plot lines from TV

Why do you need books to get a good storyline? There’s enough material on TV to create many series. Good excuse to be a couch potatoes.

You wouldn’t waste time reediting your own work

If you read books by the greats, you become a perfectionist. You become too ashamed of your sentences. So you reread them and rewrite them so much that it takes you far too long to write the chapter at all.

You stop focusing on other characters

So you have a fantasy book in your head. You have sketched out your characters and the dialogues run through your mind, only to be interrupted by Harry Potter or the Hobbit. Why would you want to be immersed in another author’s world when you are creating your own?

You market your own book better

Instead of being enamoured by the words of other authors, you find worth in your own words and you frantically facebook and tweet your latest words. You want everyone to read what you have written and you become the n=best promoter of your work.

You just might write a bestseller!

Many writers swear by the books they read but some writers have hit the bestseller lists by not reading books at all.  They are pretty sure about how time consuming marketing a book is and wouldn’t even try drinking in other’s words.

You become a mentor writer

It’s easier to be a mentor if there is no burden of greatness of other writers on your shoulders. Ignorance is bliss. You think ‘If I can write a book, anyone can!’ And this becomes one more income stream for the writer who wants to reach out to millions of wannabe writers.

Disclaimer: There is no guarantee that not reading books will make you a bestselling writer. We recommend that you read books with an intent to emulate and when you write, just focus on writing the book.

April 20, 2016
by Neelima

Where can you get Free Images from?

We talked about a major issue with self-publishers in India being using images from the internet. Most images are copyrighted and are not for indiscriminate use. But there are many sites which provide free images.


Here are five websites which provide free images you can use In your books:

  1. Unsplash:

Unsplash has some cool high-resolution images, 10 new photos every 10 days. All images can be used whichever way you want.



Pixabay  has 620,000 images and also links to some sponsored images, which are not free. For free images, stick to the non-sponsored ones. All images can be used whichever way you want.

3. Realistic Shots:

All photos published on Realistic Shots are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos, even for commercial purposes.

4. Life of Pix:

This site is free and all pictures have no copyright restrictions, with pictures being added on a weekly basis. All images can be used whichever way you want.


Flickr is a free service. It was created by Ludicorp in 2004 and acquired by Yahoo in 2005. You can share, store, search, and sort your photos here. You need to use the license filter to get images that can be used whichever way you want. Follow these steps:

  1. Go to flickr.
  2. Search for a term.
  3. There is a license filter available, select “Commercial use and mods allowed” there.


Advantages of these sites:

  • The images you get are high resolution images that can be used for print.
  • The license is not restrictive. So you can use the images in any way you want.
  • Many good quality images are available.

Disadvantages of these sites:

  • While there will be ample choice for generic images, if your needs are very specific they are unlikely to be satisfied. For example, most of these sites won’t have many Indian images. They are also unlikely to have images of celebrities or historical figures.
  • Since the images are free to use for anyone, they aren’t going to be unique to your book, especially when used as is. So you have to be prepared to see those images pop up at all kinds of places.

Let us know if there are any websites that you have come across that provide free images.

Disclaimer: Licenses were checked at the time of writing the post.

April 6, 2016
by Neelima
1 Comment

Five Mistakes an Indian Self-Publisher/Author Often Makes

15401031_084808915a_z1. The Indian Self-Publisher/Author sometimes picks up images from the internet

Although everyone has access to thousands of images online, most of these images can not be used in your self-published book.  There are two major reasons for this:

  1. Legal Issues: There is a general feeling that any image on the internet is free. This perception is incorrect. Most images are protected by copyright and users could face legal consequences if they use images that are copyrighted and thereby do not have permission to use. Unless specifically mentioned in public domain or under suitable creative commons license, you should assume that the image is copyrighted. Also when you search for images at google you can search using the usage rights option.Read this:


  2. Technical Issues: Most of the images on the net are low-resolution and don’t print well. You need a minimum resolution of 300 DPI for the image to print well, otherwise the resulting image will be pixelated. More about understanding image size and resolution here

    So think twice before you use an image from the internet.


2. The Indian Self-Publisher/Author doesn’t often write in the language s/he is comfortable with

Many writers opt to write in English not because they are well-versed in the language but because it is far more convenient to get copy typed and not worry about font issues. Plus the English language has a wider reach.

Unfortunately, without  fluency in the language you publish the book in, having a wider target audience is pointless. Writing in a language you are not comfortable with means you don’t put your best foot forward. Nowadays books published in regional languages are making a mark, so why hesitate to write in the language that you love?

3. The Indian Self-Publisher/Author doesn’t always think about marketing

Whether it is traditional publishing or self-publishing, marketing is key and this is something the author is responsible for. Just because the book is written, readers won’t come. The writer has to think about building a platform even before the book is written.

4. The Indian Self-Publisher/Author is prone to scams

Instead of focusing on platform building authors end up being taken for a ride and  fall prey to expensive promises.  If something is too good to be true, it probably is. Publishing is the easy part. Getting readers and becoming an author readers are looking to read is difficult. If someone promises to do that for a lot of money, they are probably lying.

5. The Indian Self-Publisher/Author is usually paranoid about manuscript protection

“One setback many writers bring in their own path is their obsession with protecting their manuscript,” says Jaya Jha, co-founder of “If you are just starting out, your problem is obscurity, not theft or piracy. Focus on writing the best book and bringing it to as many people as you can, instead of being paranoid about someone stealing your work. Selling a book is a difficult task. People, in general, aren’t on the lookout for a manuscript to steal.”