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 Pothi.com.


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 Pothi.com 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!



Recent Changes on Pothi.com Platform

We have pushed some small changes on Pothi.com’s publishing platform recently. Here is a consolidated update

  • Links to other books from the same category on Book Pages: As the number of books is increasing on the platform, discovery mechanisms are becoming important, so that potential readers can find books of their choice. We have started off with a simple feature in this direction. The book pages will now have links to few other books from the same genre. So, people interested in similar books can browse around.
  • Fields for subtitle and ISBN: These were long due. There was no way for the authors to specify subtitle and ISBN for their books. Authors can go to their book pages, edit them and include these information.
  • Introduction of Tags field on the book edit form: Tagging the content helps in search and discovery of the content. There is now a “Tags” field that authors can populate for their books. Once we have sufficient number of books tagged, we will expose them suitably.
  • Setting MRP of the book, instead of setting the author margin: Till now, authors used to set the author margin for a book and the price of the book was calculated by our system. This was counter-intuitive to many people, who wanted to set the final price of the book. We have changed that system, so that people can now set the MRP of the book and author earning (royalty) is calculated by our system. It does not change the underlying price/margin relationship. Authors get the same earning for a given price as they used to get earlier. You can try out our new price estimator for the same. If you have used the price estimator earlier, you will notice that there are now two tabs instead of one. One of them called “For Yourself” lets you calculate the “Author Price” – the price at which authors can always buy the copies, irrespective of how they are priced on the store. The other one called “For Distribution” let’s you calculate the royalties at various MRPs. Again, the underlying logic has not changed. The earlier estimator also used to show you the author’s price apart from the store price. We have only rearranged the forms for the convenience of users.

Some more exciting stuff is in the making right now. Stay tuned for them 🙂

Now get instant feedback on common file errors for your book

Pothi.com is open to, even encourages authors to prepare their book on their own. The specifications are available in details on our website.

However, there are some common errors that are often present in the files submitted. Till now, authors needed to wait for our verification process to get the feedback on those. We have now introduced an automated files checker in book submission form, which will instantly analyze the submitted files for the common errors like page size of the interior and size of the cover. So, you don’t have to wait to correct those.

Enjoy the power and contact us if you face any problems with the new system.

You Make the Story – We Make the Books!

Shachii and Gaurav Manik are a Mumbai based couple who run a software company as a day job. However, it is their kids at home (two boys aged 5 and 3) , who do a great job of challenging their creativity. Gaurav loves to make up and tell stories which he creates with the help of the two boys.

This family exercise made them realize how creative the kids’ minds can be and the idea of “You Make the Story – The Creativity Workshop for Kids” was born. During the workshop the kids are encouraged to come up with a basic story plot and draw pictures of a scene from this plot. Then Shachii and Gaurav expand on the story and make it comprehensive, create and design the book, publish it and have it printed from Pothi.com. Two books from their earlier workshops are available on Pothi.com – “Adventures of the Red Club” and “The Amazing Journey to Zog“. A copy of the book is given to the kids who helped create the book.

The workshop is targeted at the kids between the ages five and ten years. These workshops are a one time session of 90-minutes each and the duo is open to conducting the workshop in any locality in Mumbai. ” We think it is a great way to bring out the imagination of a child, they seem to enjoy working in a group to create a story and draw the pictures. In the end it gives them a personalized book and a “I helped create this!”-feeling, and a special bond with the other kids that were present in the same session,” says Shachii about the workshop.

You can follow Sachii on Twitter.

Publishing books from the workshop is a great example of the use of Print on Demand. It does not take a lot of money to become a publisher and the encouragement the children get from seeing their work in a book is invaluable.

What are your kids doing this summer? Encourage them to express their thoughts and become a publisher for them right away!

Check out some other awesome books created by children which are available through Pothi.com. We will also try and bring to you glimpses from some of the privately published projects this month.

Now restrict the shipping to India only

We have been shipping the books internationally and this is very convenient for most of our authors and readers.

However, in certain circumstances, authors need to be able to restrict the shipping from Pothi.com to India. It generally happens in one of the two cases

  • The rights of the book for outside India are with someone else and hence the authors can not sell their books published through Pothi.com there.
  • The author wants to introduce a low price version specifically for Indian market.

So, we have recently pushed out this feature where you can specify if you want your books to be shipped only within India. If Pothi.com is the only place you have published your book at, you probably do not need to bother about it. But if your case is either of the two mentioned above, you can use this feature. Log in to your account, go to your book page and click on edit link. Under the field “This book can ship to”, select “Only India” and save the book. Now, this book will not be shipped to any location outside India.

Even more power to our authors! 🙂

Changes pushed to Pothi.com’s publishing platform

Continuing with our aim of moving towards a Do it Yourself platform, we have pushed some more changes to our system. There won’t be too many visible changes in user experience. But you will find that the Book Submission form appears slightly different.

While submitting the form you only need to mention the production options (size, paper type etc.) and some basic information about the book which can’t be changed later (book language and category). After the submission, the book files (interior and cover) are checked for technical suitability. This checking has now been semi-automated. The only impact this will have on book submission experience is that our turn around time will be faster. Once the files pass the technical review, you will receive a mail with instructions to enter book details like “About the Book”, “About the author” etc.

While entering the book details, you can also choose whether to publish your book for public listing or keep it private for only your use. This setting can be changed any time. So, you can keep the book private initially, order a copy for ensuring that it has turned out all right in print and then go back and make it public. This is something that many of our authors wanted to do, but the process was tedious since they had to ask us to make the book public or private. So with the ability to do it on their own anytime, more power to our authors!

Keep writing and keep watching this blog for further updates.

Towards DIY – Modify Book’s Information and Price

As mentioned in one of the earlier posts, at Pothi.com we want to make the publishing platform at DIY as possible.

We have recently taken one such step towards DIY. It is now possible for the authors to edit some of the book’s information and author earning on their own at Pothi.com. In particular, if changes/corrections are to be done to the following, it can be done by authors on their own

  • Book Description
  • About the Author
  • Author Margin
  • Title
  • Author Name
  • Language

More details are available in this FAQ item.

Watch this space for more such stuff.

Whats and Whys of BookSmith

We started the new year with Public Launch of Booknomics – the blog to book tool as you would have read in the previous post.

What does the tool do?

You can give your Blog’s URL to BookSmith (e.g. blog.pothi.com for this blog), it fetches the content from there and creates a print ready book out of it. Then you can order print copies using Pothi.com’s Print on Demand platform. There are no minimum number of copies to be bought, since Print on Demand can print even one copy at a time.

What’s the big deal about the converting blog to a book? I can print it as it is.

There are several design considerations that need to be applied to create a good print book. Printing content as it is would not make it a good book. Some examples of things that BookSmith does are

  • Create chapters out of posts and start each chapter on a new page to make them distinct
  • Paginate the content
  • Format the content with a font that looks good in print
  • Insert blank pages suitably so that the important sections start on the odd pages/right side of an open book (very important and a basic consideration when formatting content for a print book)
  • Automatically create a table of content from the posts/chapters
  • Clean up the post for HTML issues before formatting it so that unnecessary extra spaces, tracking codes, content generated by plugins etc. are gone and you get the content that is suitable for a print book
  • Reformat URLs to separate out the anchor text and URL. Clickable URLs mean nothing in the print book. So, URL needs to be extracted out.
  • Several other things like putting suitable margins, handling images, handling WordPress smileys etc. to make it a good looking book.

Anything else?

Some distinctive features of BookSmith are

  • Support for images in the post. Booksmith supports including images from your post and suitably resizes them so that they do not go out of frame when too big.
  • Option to include or exclude images. When you have a blog where images are not essential to the content, you may want to leave them out in the print book
  • Selection of covers. You can select from the pre-defined book covers while creating the book. If you want you can also order custom cover design service from Pothi.com to get a unique cover before printing copies.
  • Free e-book download. An e-book is made available for free download, which is useful if you want to circulate the book online. It is formatted differently from the print book to make is good for on-screen reading. Some major ways in which the e-book formatting is different from print book formatting are
    • Use of a different font, which is suitable for online reading
    • No blank pages as they do not make sense for e-books
    • Links remain clickable in e-books since they are meant for on-screen reading
  • Option to include or exclude post date from the book. For a blog of short stories or poems, putting post date on a print book won’t make sense. But for a blog covering opinions of current events, it is absolutely necessary. So, BookSmith gives you the control to choose whether or not you want the post dates to be mentioned.
  • Ability to select posts to include and reorder them.

Why BookSmith?

Pothi.com wants to make publishing accessible to all. There are three major categories of expenses while publishing a book

  • Book preparation cost: This includes editing, designing and all the pre-press activities.
  • Printing and Operations Cost: Cost involved in printing the copies, maintaining the inventory, supplying them to buyers and managing the entire operation
  • Marketing Cost: Cost involved in promoting the book.

For making publishing accessible it is important to bring down the costs involved in all of these activities. For a casual writer/publisher, each of these costs in the prevailing set-up can be daunting. The only way to bring these costs down is to infuse technology in the process. There are some things for which humans can not be replaced. There is no replacement for a good editor or a designer who can do a super customized design for a book. But other things can be enabled technologically and hence the cost can be brought down. Pothi.com is on a mission to use and develop such technologies.

Internet as a technology and medium provides ample opportunities for an individual to market their book. Not with some overnight magic, but with persistence over time and by using suitable tools, an individual’s brand can be created with very little or no financial investment.

Printing and Operations costs are brought down by the Print on Demand platform provided by Pothi.com. You can print one copy at a time; so there is no need to pay upfront for printing in bulk. Besides the effort and costs to maintain the inventory or manage the logistics are gone too. Just set up your book on Pothi.com and they will be printed and shipped as the orders come. There is no inventory to maintain and logistics is taken care of by us.

A tool like BookSmith aims to bring down the book preparation cost. It lets you design a good looking print book. It is not a replacement for a super-customized design by a good an trained designer. But it is pretty good for most individual publishers. And it will keep getting better. Yantra – the cover design tool on Pothi.com is another such tool, which bring down the cost of designing.

So, convert your blog today. Or, gift a loved one a copy of theirs. It will really make them jump with joy. Meanwhile, we are working hard for bringing more exciting stuff your way.

Blog is now Book!

With the advent of new year, we are starting out in a very exciting direction! After 6 months in closed beta, we have finally opened BookSmith, our blog2book tool, for everyone. If you have not tried it yet, convert your blog right away and be amazed :).

The tool is very simple. You just give it the blog url and then click along. In minutes, you have your beautiful ready to print book available for preview. If you like what you see, you can buy just as many copies as you want. As we say here at Pothi.com, print 1 for that special someone, 10 for the family, 100 for the friends and 1000 for the world :). For the digital junkies among you, it also creates a e-book out of the same content which you can download and distribute absolutely free.

Did I mention you can select which posts go into the book – latest n or by date range, leave out certain posts (we all make mistakes 😉 ) and also reorder them? So you can create a book out of your best posts till date and give it to the new readers coming to your blog or may be just collect all the posts from one category into a book. Tools are all there, you are only limited by your imagination (with a few exceptions which we are hard at work to remove as soon as possible)!

Here is wishing a very happy new year to everyone! Do give your feedback and suggestions by leaving a comment below, tweeting to @pothidotcom or by dropping us a mail.