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

March 8, 2017
by Neelima

The Art of Rewriting

You may have written a book. That is hard enough, but what do you think about rewriting? The very idea of rewriting a manuscript that you may have spent months or even years on daunting. But the truth of the matter is that writing is sometimes synonymous with rewriting.

Let’s look at what some great writers have had to say about rewriting:

Hemingway: The only kind of writing is rewriting.

Toni Morrison: I rewrite a lot, over and over again, so that it looks like I never did. I try to make it look like I never touched it, and that it takes a lot of time and lot of sweat.

Vladimir Nabokov: I have rewritten — often several times — every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.

There are many ways you can make that manuscript shine. You could write the first draft and then rewrite it. Or you could work on detailed character and plot outlines. Another way of rewriting is to write bits and pieces of the story and then go back to those sections and rewrite it until the pieces gel.

What you could do is maybe hand in a chapter or two of your manuscript to a trusted beta reader or preferably an expert- a writing teacher or a knowledgeable reader- and get their feedback. This helps you when you are trying to find a direction for your first or second draft. Many times, we think our story is complete but it takes a fresh pair of eyes to catch a character mismatch or inconsistency in plotting. This helps for a smoother and more meaningful rewrite.

When you rewrite, make sure that you keep the overall plot idea consistent. If you go way off tangent, then you may end up writing a different book altogether. Keep targets. No amount of polishing is going to be enough but there has to be a time to stop.

What’s your experience rewriting? Tell us.

Links about Rewriting:

How to Rewrite

The Art of Writing is in the Rewriting

Six Rules for Rewriting

loop rewrite

January 11, 2017
by Neelima

India Public Domain 2017: 17 Indian authors whose works entered public domain in 2017

In keeping with our our tradition  (2012,20132014, 2015, 2016), we have compiled a list of Indian authors whose work has entered public domain at the beginning of this year. The criteria for a particular work to enter public domain this year is for the author to have died in calendar year 1955 and the work to have been published before his death. If the work has been published after the author’s death, it will only come out of copyright after 60 years from date of publication.

We collected the data from various sources including Wikipedia, books on the history of Indian literature (brought out by the Sahitya Akademi) and other online sources. While the sources for individual photos and pieces of information have not been attributed, we would like to acknowledge all these sources here. Many of the sources are linked below.

There are bound to be mistakes in this data. So please point out anything you notice. If you know of more Indian authors who died in 1955 and hence have entered public domain this year, do let us know and we will add it to the list with your reference.

Why should you as a writer or someone who loves books care? An author entering public domain means that most of his works are now free to be republished, translated, and converted to different formats and introduced to a new audience in any way you can imagine. It is possible to digitize these works and conserve them forever. So dig into the list and find some gems. And when you find one, let the whole world know.

Amarlal Hingorani (1907-1956)

A Sindh short story writer known for his realistic portrayal of characters. His famous story is ‘Ado Abdul Rehman’ which was included by the UNESCO on one of its publications.

Anantram Kandukuri (Karuna Kumara) (1901-1956)

A famous Telugu writer of short stories, first to treat rural life as themes. He was also an actor of mythological roles.

Bal Sitaram Mardhekar (1909 – 1956)

B.S. Mardhekar was a writer-poet, critic and novelist who is also known as the Father of Modernism in Marathi poetry. Born in Maharashtra, he studied in Pune and London, and worked at All India Radio. His earlier collection of poems, Shishiragam, was a product of Ravi Kiran Mandal poetry which was sentimental and lyrical. But his later avant-garde poetry altered his reputation. Works by him include Anakhi Kahi Kavita, and novels like Pani and Ratrica Divas. Mardhekar was influenced by Marathi bhakti poetry, the poetry of T. S. Eliot and W. H. Auden.

Baishnaba Pani (1882–1956)

He was an Odia jatra writer and arranger. He incorporated mythology and contemporaray issues in his fiction. He is credited with writing 600 works, including 150 yatras, 19 farces, 65 anthologies of lyrics, etc.

 Har Datt Sharma (1890-1956)

A Dogri poet, author of Dogri Bhajanmala (1936).

Makhmur Dihlavi, Fazl-I Ilahi (1900-1956)

A well-known Urdu poet, his famous work is Kulliyat-I Makhmur.

manik_bandopadhyayManik Bandyopadhyay (1908-1956)

One of the major Bengali novelists and short story writers, he produced 36 novels and 177 short stories in his short lifespan. His earliest works reflect the impact of Freudian ideology. When he became a Communist, the sentiment reflected in his writing. His works include Putul Nacer Itikatha (1936), Padmanadir Majhi (1936), Jiyanta(1950), and Sahartali.


Mohammad Mobin (pseudonym Kaifi Chiryakoti) (1890-1956)

His important work is Jayahiri-I sukhan, va’ni, Urdu shu’ara ke kalam ka intikhab (4 volumes-1935-1939), a selection of poems by various poets. His own poems were collected in Parah hai Jigar and Nashter-i-gham (1927).

Munsif Nachiket Drupadlal (pseudonym Ketan Munsi) (1930-1956)

A Gujarati short story writer, some of whose works are Andhari Rate (1952) and Svapnano Bhangar (1953).

Pandit Godavarish Misra (1886-1956)

A major Oriya poet, dramatist and novelist, he wrote a number of ballads and lyrical poems. Although he belonged to a conservative Brahmin family, Mishra was a socialist. He was also a competent editor. He published magazine Lokamukha from Banapur in 1924. He also used to write for the Eastcoast (An English paper) published by Shashi Bhusan Rath. He was awarded a doctorate in literature from Utkal University. He used literature as a weapon to promote patriotism. His works include Alekhika, Kalika, Kisalaya, Gitayana, Purusottama Deva, Mukunda Deva, 1817 and Arddha Satabdira Odisa O Tahinre Mo Sthana.

Qazi Mohammad Abdul Ghaffar (1888-1956)

He was a journalist and a political activist. His publications include Ajib and Tin paise ki chokri.

Sitaramacandra Rao, Oddiraju (1887-1956)

Along with his brother, these scholars have made a substantial contribution to the Telugu language in the Nizam state.

Sobharaj Fani (1883-1956)

A poet and essayist in Sindhi, especially known for his historical essays on about eighty towns and cities of Sindh. Some of his write-ups include Khyali Jhalka, Chita Phulawari, Roohani Tijala, Tarjuma-e-Gulistan (translation of Gulistan from Persian).

Vavilla Venkateswara Shastri (1885-1956)

He rendered many services for the development of Telugu studies by bringing out innumerable journals and publications.

Virumal Begraj (1874-1956)

This Deshbhakta was one of the first nationalist authors in Sindhi to go to jail during the freedom struggle. His famous work is Munhinji Jail Yatra (1923).

Yaganah Changezi (1883-1956)

He was an Urdu poet who published several volumes of poems with Mirza Yas. Yagana has four collections of poems to his credit: Nishtar-i- Yaas (1914), Tarana (1933), Aayat-i-Wijdani (1927) and Ganjina (1948), besides his works in prose, which include Ghalib-Shikan.

Zafar Ali Khan, Maulvi (1873-1956)

He was an Urdu poet and prose writer; founder and publisher of the Zamindar of Lahore, he wrote satirized poetry. His publications include Khayaban-I Faris, poems like Chamanistan and Nigaristan, and novels like Haqiqatva afsanah and Tilismi hur.

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:

 twitter GIF



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.