Booknomics

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

Interview with Nikesh Rathi: Author of Somewhere@Nowhere

| 11 Comments

Nikesh originally self-published his book through Pothi.com after which the book was accepted and published by PustakMahal.

Pothi: Nikesh, congratulations on getting your book published by Pustak Mahal! Tell us something about yourself.

Nikesh: I belong to Raipur, have done most of my schooling at Baroda, my engineering at NIT, Bhopal and MBA at IIM, Lucknow (2008). I have worked in IT and FMCG industries for some time before moving to education sector recently. Currently I am working with the academics team at IMS Learning Resources, Mumbai. I have lived in several places in India.

Apart from writing, I am interested in reading, watching movies, quizzing, cricket and travelling.

Pothi: Where can we find your book on the Web?

Nikesh: It is available with several leading online stores: Flipkart, Infibeam, Indiaplaza, Amazon (Kindle version), etc.

Pothi: Favourite author/book? Name the one that made the biggest impact on you.

Nikesh: It is difficult to single out a book but some of my favourites are: 1984 and Animal Farm (both by George Orwell), To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), Catcher in the Rye (J D Salinger), Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams), Shantaram (Gregory David Roberts), Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand), The Prophet (Khalil Gibran), The Godfather (Mario Puzo) and The Day of the Jackal (Frederick Forsyth).

Pothi: How did you get the idea to write a novel? Is it a novel? Memoir? Fiction based on real life?

Nikesh: It was a mix of various factors. It was something which I always wanted to do!

I have been somewhat creative throughout my life but this had been mostly limited to blogs, short stories, few articles in college publications or just cracking PJs! There was always an urge to do something more, maybe on a larger platform and this is where I got this idea to write a book. I started and abandoned the project a few times, but eventually I got going and wrote it.

It is a work of fiction, but at some level it has been influenced by my life—my beliefs, opinions, travels or experiences while working in FMCG industry, a result of watching too many movies, a reflection of my confused self or just a figment of my imagination!

I guess there will be people reading between the lines, and there is nothing I can do about it. Maybe, if this happens I can consider it as a good omen!

Pothi: What is your favourite part/passage/chapter from the book?

Nikesh: Impossible to single out any one!

Pothi: How much time and effort did it take to finish the book?

Nikesh: It took a few months to write. It kind of followed Pareto’s principle—the first 80% took 20% of the time! That was when a basic skeleton was ready. Then it was all about revising it, re-revising it, re-re-revising it and so on. Theoretically there is no end to it. This went on for almost around a few months. Most of that time was used in giving ‘finishing touches’!

The process was quite interesting and it often involved stretching my imagination and kind of living two lives—one real, and other one virtual, imagining what the book’s “hero” would be doing! Once the image was ready, putting it into words and what would finally come out was a lot different from what I had initially imagined.

Pothi: How was your publishing experience? Any advice for new authors?

Nikesh: The publishing experience was a kind of mixed bag. To begin with, I was a ‘nobody,’ sending an unsolicited manuscript to publishers. There were publishers who never replied, there were some who rejected it outright and there were some who wanted to make major changes to the content to make the book more ‘spicy’!

I eventually decided to go ahead with self-publishing on Pothi.com and the feedback was quite encouraging.

Later on, Pothi sent me a mail regarding a competition by Cedar Books. I participated in it and my book was selected for publishing.

As far as writing a book is concerned, I think getting started is the most difficult part. Once you break that inertia, you have set the ball rolling.

To begin with, self-publishing provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase your work. Also, since there are no major copyright issues or other legalities involved, switching to a traditional publisher (the advantage in this is the reach of their distribution channel) is hassle free. With pothi.com, they were quite responsive and willing to help and also have a transparent system in place, which makes the self-publishing (especially for a new writer) experience a lot more comfortable.

Pothi: Did you find the experience of self-publishing worthwhile? What more would you like to see?

Nikesh: Absolutely! Self-publishing is a wonderful opportunity as it lowers the barriers to become a published writer.

Also, it lets you control your content as some of the traditional publishers dictate terms about content. It is like you have a movie ready and the producer comes and says, “This won’t work. Add a few item songs, introduce a love story as a sub-plot, put in more masala and make it spicy.” If you are comfortable with it, it might work in your favour, but as an author I felt that my book should be what I want it to be.

Self-publishing is a relatively new concept in India and its reach is quite limited. So, if I write a book, not many people outside my immediate friends circle might know about it.

Going ahead, I would like to see self-publishing sites having tie-ups with retail channels (especially online ones like Flipkart). This might help in giving authors a wider reach.

Pothi: Plans to write more going forward?

Nikesh: Definitely. But I would try to steer clear of all those life/love at IIT/ IIM kind of stories!

Pothi: Thanks for talking with us, Nikesh, and all the best for your writing endeavours!

Nikesh originally self-published his book through Pothi.com after which the book was accepted and published by PustakMahal (http://www.pustakmahal.com/book/book/bid,,9546B/isbn:9788122311303/index.html).

 

Pothi: Nikesh, congratulations on getting your book published by Pustak Mahal! Tell us something about yourself.

 

Nikesh: I belong to Raipur, have done most of my schooling at Baroda, my engineering at NIT, Bhopal and MBA at IIM, Lucknow (2008). I have worked in IT and FMCG industries for some time before moving to education sector recently. Currently I am working with the academics team at IMS Learning Resources, Mumbai. I have lived in several places in India.

 

Apart from writing, I am interested in reading, watching movies, quizzing, cricket and travelling.

 

Pothi: Where can we find your book on the Web?

 

Nikesh: It is available with several leading online stores: Flipkart, Infibeam, Indiaplaza, Amazon (Kindle version), etc.

 

Pothi: Favourite author/book? Name the one that made the biggest impact on you.

 

Nikesh: It is difficult to single out a book but some of my favourites are: 1984 and Animal Farm (both by George Orwell), To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), Catcher in the Rye (J D Salinger), Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams), Shantaram (Gregory David Roberts), Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand), The Prophet (Khalil Gibran), The Godfather (Mario Puzo) and The Day of the Jackal (Frederick Forsyth).

 

Pothi: How did you get the idea to write a novel? Is it a novel? Memoir? Fiction based on real life?

Nikesh: It was a mix of various factors. It was something which I always wanted to do!

I have been somewhat creative throughout my life but this had been mostly limited to blogs, short stories, few articles in college publications or just cracking PJs! There was always an urge to do something more, maybe on a larger platform and this is where I got this idea to write a book. I started and abandoned the project a few times, but eventually I got going and wrote it.

It is a work of fiction, but at some level it has been influenced by my life—my beliefs, opinions, travels or experiences while working in FMCG industry, a result of watching too many movies, a reflection of my confused self or just a figment of my imagination!

I guess there will be people reading between the lines, and there is nothing I can do about it. Maybe, if this happens I can consider it as a good omen!

Pothi: What is your favourite part/passage/chapter from the book?

 

Nikesh: Impossible to single out any one!

 

Pothi: How much time and effort did it take to finish the book?

 

Nikesh: It took a few months to write. It kind of followed Pareto’s principle—the first 80% took 20% of the time! That was when a basic skeleton was ready. Then it was all about revising it, re-revising it, re-re-revising it and so on. Theoretically there is no end to it. This went on for almost around a few months. Most of that time was used in giving ‘finishing touches’!

 

The process was quite interesting and it often involved stretching my imagination and kind of living two lives—one real, and other one virtual, imagining what the book’s “hero” would be doing! Once the image was ready, putting it into words and what would finally come out was a lot different from what I had initially imagined.

 

Pothi: How was your publishing experience? Any advice for new authors?

 

Nikesh: The publishing experience was a kind of mixed bag. To begin with, I was a ‘nobody,’ sending an unsolicited manuscript to publishers. There were publishers who never replied, there were some who rejected it outright and there were some who wanted to make major changes to the content to make the book more ‘spicy’!

 

I eventually decided to go ahead with self-publishing on Pothi.com and the feedback was quite encouraging.

 

Later on, Pothi sent me a mail regarding a competition by Cedar Books. I participated in it and my book was selected for publishing.

 

As far as writing a book is concerned, I think getting started is the most difficult part. Once you break that inertia, you have set the ball rolling.

 

To begin with, self-publishing provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase your work. Also, since there are no major copyright issues or other legalities involved, switching to a traditional publisher (the advantage in this is the reach of their distribution channel) is hassle free. With pothi.com, they were quite responsive and willing to help and also have a transparent system in place, which makes the self-publishing (especially for a new writer) experience a lot more comfortable.

 

Pothi: Did you find the experience of self-publishing worthwhile? What more would you like to see?

 

Nikesh: Absolutely! Self-publishing is a wonderful opportunity as it lowers the barriers to become a published writer.

 

Also, it lets you control your content as some of the traditional publishers dictate terms about content. It is like you have a movie ready and the producer comes and says, “This won’t work. Add a few item songs, introduce a love story as a sub-plot, put in more masala and make it spicy.” If you are comfortable with it, it might work in your favour, but as an author I felt that my book should be what I want it to be.

 

Self-publishing is a relatively new concept in India and its reach is quite limited. So, if I write a book, not many people outside my immediate friends circle might know about it.

 

Going ahead, I would like to see self-publishing sites having tie-ups with retail channels (especially online ones like Flipkart). This might help in giving authors a wider reach.

 

Pothi: Plans to write more going forward?

 

Nikesh: Definitely. But I would try to steer clear of all those life/love at IIT/ IIM kind of stories!

 

Pothi: Thanks for talking with us, Nikesh, and all the best for your writing endeavours!

11 Comments

  1. Wow!!! The interview is as good as, if not better than, the book itself!!!

  2. Interesting! Pothi is definitely a great platform for upcoming writers. Is this book available on Pothi?

    • “Pothi” is a weird name!!

      • @saras Perhaps you will not feel so after reading this: http://blog.pothi.com/2009/11/15/what-does-pothi-mean/ 🙂

      • @Abhaga I knew that “pothi” here refers to book. You have admitted that it as an apbhransh!!
        It is a weird name.

        If somebody tells me “Rushdie sahab ne kya pothi likhi hai” How weird it is?

        More over when I was in school, normally everyone used to refer disinterest in any book because of its size saying, “arrey voh book mat padd “pothi” hai voh.”

        The name being a distorted form of language certainly lacks attraction!!

      • पोथी पढ़-पढ़ जग मुआ, पण्डित भया ना कोय,
        ढाई आखर प्रेम का, पढ़े सो पण्डित होय

        In these two lines also pothi means (volumes of books ,big books, which lack true knowledge)
        I suggest you to come up with different name.

        The word “pothi” is used by illiterate people to malign the idea of reading habits.

        You can consult people, whom you think has good knowledge!

        “What is in a name?” said Shakespear.
        But here you are trying to justify that meaningless word.

        • Dear Saras,

          “Apbhransh” is not a bad thing – it is the name of a family of languages that evolved from Sanskrit. Hindi we speak today emerged out of these languages only. Hundreds of words we use in our day-to-day life have gone through the same process and have changed in form and meaning.

          Pothi is short, without (m)any spelling variations and easy to remember. Those are the qualities required by the name of an online business. What do you think about calling an online book store “Amazon”? 🙂

    • Alas, not any longer since we only carry Independent authors mostly. But it is available on most online stores like Infibeam and Flipkart.

    • You can keep the name anything it is your firm, but on one hand you are claiming that “pothi” padkar koyee pandit nahee bana, Dont you feel it has a negative sense eventhough it means book.

      Amazon has good ,strong and positive meaning , there is a river in south america and this word mean “fabled tribe of female warriors in South America”

      I am not asking that there should be any relation between the name and business.I understand the name pothi.com fills all the requirement of quick online business , but the name lacks sanctity.

      You can name it on the name good writers of the time of renaissance, you can draw inspiration from ancient India, so many things, which has any positive sense.
      If you dont find my suggestions good, there is no problem, I simply thought to convey. Your job is really good!!
      If you wish I can suggest you good names , my e-mail id is polydude.saras@gmail.com

      • I would stop the discussion from my side at this point but would like to point out that Pothi doesn’t have negative connotation. That couplet is about books, so going by that we would have to find a new business altogether :). Also, Guru Granth Sahib is also referred to as Pothi.

        So thanks for the offer but we would stick with Pothi 🙂

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