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

July 11, 2017
by Neelima

Textbooks, GST and South Asian Writers @ Lit Browser

What’s happening in the writing and publishing world in India right now? Found three stories related to this sphere.

There are around 10,000 publishers in India today, with textbooks owning a large chunk of the business. The managing director of the publishing house S Chand group is one example. Founded in 1939 in Old Delhi, the S Chand Group has raised its IPO in April 2017. They’ve come a long way for a company that publishes textbooks. To know about the textbook business in India, read this Forbes story by Paramita Chatterjee.

 text books oc students semester GIF

Another story I stumbled upon is about the GST book connection. The good news is that there is no GST on books but the bad news is that making a book has just become a bit more expensive. So the raw materials that are required to create a book including paper and glue and the cost of employing freelancers have all gone up.

“But why will publishers not get the same benefit that other industries will get? As with the older Value Added Tax, the GST also includes the concept of Input Tax Credits (ITC). Put simply, this means that the seller of the final product has to pay GST at the prevailing rate, but can claim credits on all the GST already paid by his suppliers. In this scenario, the publisher would have been able to claim ITC on the GST paid its suppliers – had there been a GST on the books it’s selling.”

For more analysis read this essay in the Scroll by Jaya Bhattacharjee Rose.

 i dont understand GIF

On a more positive note, writers from neighboring countries are finding the Indian publishing industry a better bet with a large number of manuscripts from Pakistan and Sri Lanka adding to the South Asian quotient. Why is this happening? Several reasons have been mentioned including rejection at the homefront owing to fear of controversy and censorship. Some writers also feel that India has a diverse enough audience to accommodate fiction from another country. More about South Asia’s publishing haven by Somrita Ghosh here.


May 31, 2017
by Neelima

Vodka, Vikram Seth and Indian Literary Mags @ Lit Browser

If you have missed the author Vikram Seth, you will appreciate this article called ‘A Suitable Girl’ is coming. What was it like to read Vikram Seth’s ‘A Suitable Boy’ 24 years ago? on Scroll by Devapriya Roy. The exciting news is that Vikram Seth is on track with A Suitable Girl and he writes about a new India, a far cry from the India Lata inhabited in his magnum opus published in 1993. There is also a link to a video conversation where Seth fans will get to meet the man himself and his cat, Vodka.


I also stumbled upon an interesting story about the inception of The Indian Quarterly, a literary magazine in India. The birth of the magazine was triggered by the horror of 26/11. The idea was to create a perspective through ‘art, poetry, photography and cinema’.  Thus came the birth of the shelfie:

A magazine or publication with staying power unlike those which transit momentarily in our homes before going to the kabadiwala.

What is interesting about this article is how it throws light on how little we know about the story of magazines. The author delves into the genesis of the little magazine founded by so many philosophers and thinkers in Europe and the US. The author narrates the peculiar story of the literary magazine Encounter who was backed by a group hard to guess.  I suggest you read the article to find out more.

The author is optimistic about the future of literary journals though he is aware that this space too is fast disappearing. What about India? Are there any literary magazines of note here?

The Lalit Kala Akademi used to publish a Lalit Kala Contemporary journal. Marg, a quarterly magazine founded by late novelist Mulk Raj Anand in 1946, is still going strong.

Many magazines have shut down and turned into collectibles. But The Indian Quarterly has long-term plans. Read the article by Madhu Jain here: From Selfie to Shelfie.

May 24, 2017
by Neelima

Textbooks, Middlemen and Bond @ Lit Browser

At Lit Browser, we talk about news that has to do with books, publishing, reading and writing in the subcontinent.

Today I came across an essay by Iain Marlow called India’s Book-Buying Habits Say A Lot About The Country’s Economy. Apparently, books have never sold better in India and desi writers are profiting from the hunger for books. The book business is worth $6.76 billion according to Nielson estimates. Educational bookdom is booming and English language books are raking in the money as are books with the word ‘India’ in them.

Some people are profiting from the gains that publishing is making in India. I stumbled upon a story in the Indian Express about how literary agents are on the rise here. If you want to know about the literary agent scene in India it would be a good idea to read this: The ‘middlemen’ who are changing India’s publishing scene.

If there has been a phenomenal writing success in India, it’s Ruskin Bond. Did you catch him on Scroll on his 83rd birthday? If you didn’t well read his book excerpt here.

Image result for ruskin bond

May 17, 2017
by Neelima

Interview with Hema Saramma Varghese, Freelance Book Cover Designer and Illustrator

We conducted an interview with Hema Saramma Varghese, the Freelance Book Cover Designer and Illustrator who works with us at and has been designing covers with us for around nine years. She has done her  MCA  from  MK University, Tamil Nadu. She lives in Trivandrum, Kerala, with her husband and daughter. Her passions include photography, visiting art exhibitions and experimenting with new handmade craftworks. She loves to watch old classic movies.  You can check out her FB feed here:

Describe the cover creation process in brief. What are the parameters you look at before starting and how do you go about it?

Most authors either call me up or maybe send me a short synopsis of the book they have written. They even send me their ideas of what they expect their cover to look like. If the idea is pretty complicated, then sometimes I need to step into their shoes and imagine what they are visualizing. Perspective is one parameter that I look into before I start with any complicated cover design work.

Sometimes the thoughts of an author can go pretty much overboard. They conceptualize a lot of stuff on their cover which don’t make a good fir aesthetically speaking. A bold and a specific theme that goes along with their writing is another parameter that I look into while creating cover design.

The last but not  least parameter includes the colors which give an overall feel of the book for a specific genre. But then sometimes, in the end, the colors are always left to the author’s discretion.

How many revisions does a cover typically go through?

A maximum of 3 revisions.

Why is cover design important? Your message to writers and potential cover creators.

Recently I read in a magazine that a cover design is like a 3-second ad and every writer needs a design that can catch the attention of the readers.

Well, I am a lover of art. When I was a young child, I had a library full of books published by Ladybird (A London-based publisher, now a part of Penguin publishers). There was one book that I read and I never liked its story. But I never gave the book to anyone because I loved its cover design.  Everytime I held the book, I spent more time looking at the design. After many years I realized that cover design is a unique art.

My message to all potential writers and all  writers who have not seen a breakthrough with all their writings is to Never separate creativity and writing. Both need each other just like a soul needs a heart and a heart needs a soul. Your creative idea for your cover design can speak more volumes than all the words you may have written in your book.

And to all potential cover creators, learn to respect the author’s ideas. Learn to implement it and learn to give. Ultimately this will help you to grow not only professionally but even on a personal level.

How did you get into cover designing?

After completing my Masters in Computer Applications from MK University, I got married and settled in Bangalore. I didn’t find any life in programming and instead I enjoyed doodling a lot. I created a portfolio of  art works and then mailed it to all the well-known advertising agencies in Bangalore. My works were noticed and thus I got a job as as a junior graphic designer in a graphic design firm. My first book cover design work was a handbook about a school festival from a reputed school in Bangalore.

That’s how I got into cover designing.

Who is your inspiration when it comes to art/cover design?

I pick up inspiration from  books, newspapers, film posters and even art exhibitions. Even nature is a great inspiration for me to do a cover design project.

Which cover that you have designed are you the proudest of? 

The Legend of Amarapali by Anurag Anand – a woman oriented historical fiction book.

You also create infographics and comics at InstaScribe. Tell us about the experience.

As a graphic designer, I love comics more than Infographics. On a professional level, learning to create comics is a challenging experience, especially when I need to create comics as per other people’s ideas. But then this helps me a lot in my visualization and illustration skills.

Some links to Infographics and Illustrations Sara has worked on at InstaScribe here:

World Book Tour- Japan

How to write a Romance Novel

The Secret Life of the Writer’s Cat

You’re a freelance cover designer based in Trivandrum. Tell us what you do when you don’t design covers and create graphic art.

Other than doing my usual household chores, I keep updating myself with new graphic design trends or participate in workshops where new handmade craft works are taught.

Do you have any advice for cover designers who are starting out- any software they should know or courses they should be doing?

Listen and learn about the author’s ideas and give as per the author’s requirement. Adobe Photoshop or any other image editing softwares will be the best software to start out with.

Thanks Sara! Was a pleasure talking to you.



April 5, 2017
by Neelima

What is Plagiarism?

 homer simpson marge simpson episode 18 season 7 chief wiggum GIF

As readers and writers, you must be aware of what plagiarism or intellectual theft is and how you can prevent instances of it from coming through in your writing. If you use someone else’s words and ideas without attribution, it’s called plagiarism. This is common in the academic world where students copy passages without giving the author his due.  However, the consequences of plagiarism are dire. You could get expelled from college, lose a book contract and lose opportunities.

You may not be a copy cat and get involved in direct plagiarism or word to word copying on purpose, but you could get careless and accidentally plagiarize someone else’s work as well.

You can prevent this from happening by citing all your sources and writing with awareness. Many times students submit internet research without really understanding what it is they are writing about. Also while you take notes from sources, you must remember where your sources are. If you are quoting a sentence word to word, you should put the words quoted in double inverted commas. If you want to talk about the gist of an idea, you paraphrase it. It’s as simple as creating folders that hold the correct information; this is always safer than pasting information onto word docs and forgetting later where those notes came from.

More links on the whos and whats of plagiarism:

Gift a Book Day

April 1, 2017 by Neelima | 0 comments

Today is Gift a Book Day! Don’t forget to gift a book to someone special! Send us your photos and experience at


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By InstaScribe

March 29, 2017
by Neelima

Marketing Tip: Finding Influencers

Once you’ve written the book, you need the help of influencers or your fans to push the book sales. Influencers could be fellow authors, bloggers, reviewers, teachers, celebrities, fans and so many others. If other social media users tap your book into their social networks, it does help get the word out.

How do you find influencers? They could be your own friends or friends of friends. They could be people you look up to, other authors or readers who believe in your work.

booksales-01Gaining the support of influencers is a hard-won process and doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t flood someone’s inbox with emails and demand that they tweet about your book. It has to be on the basis of trust and this will take time plus you’ll have to return the favor as well.

How do you feel about promoting your book when you go out for book meets? Do you think that you are pushing the sell too hard? Do you feel better when someone recommends your book, instead of you having to do it? In the beginning, it will be hard and also pointless, considering the number of voices involved in self-promotion but if you connect with the right people, your book may just be known.

This is an excellent post by Jane Friedman about how to find and reach influencers to promote your book. Read it.

Another post on how to establish a fan base.




March 22, 2017
by Neelima

Creative Writing Courses and Workshops in India

There are many opinions about creative writing courses. Does a real writer need a course at all? The argument goes that if engineering students can study engineering and artists can study art, then why not writing? A course in writing could open a student’s eyes to the fundamentals of plot, dialog, characterization and themes. Talking to fellow writers expands horizons and critiques can help your work at times. Though the final judgement of the work is yours and your editor’s, talking about writing can put you in a zone that will help nurture your writerly instincts.

Here are some Creative Writing Courses available in India. Some of these courses are additional papers as part of a literature course (it’s a good idea to know literature before you embark on the career of writer, though it is far from necessary). Some are diplomas and others workshops.

British Council

The Introduction to Creative Writing Course at the British Council in Delhi and Kolkata deals with how to write fiction, short stories, poetry, screenplays, travel writing, etc.

More details here:

Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts

SSLA offers a creative writing course. The course structure includes a reading list and students are encouraged to express themselves with confidence.

More details here:

Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning

This Symbiosis Centre offers a Diploma in Creative Writing in English program. The course curriculum deals with writing in different genres and could be a stepping stone for those who wish to get into journalism and mass media communication.

More details here:

Jawaharlal Nehru University

JNU offers a creative writing course as part of their post-graduate program in literature:

More details here:

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Jawaharlal Nehru Academy of Languages

The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan offers a creative writing course which includes writing scripts, screenplays, dialogs, commercial.etc.

More details here:


Creative Writing Workshops:

Workshops are mostly for writers who are working on their books or for people who want a critique of their work. There are a couple of workshops in India.

UEA India in partnership with the British Council, Caravan magazine, and the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet

The University of East Anglia has been holding workshops in India since 2013. The workshop is led by the award- winning writer Amit Chaudhuri. This year he was joined by the Booker shortlisted writer Romesh Gunesekara.

More details here:

Bangalore Writers Workshop (BWW)

The BWW provides an intense writing and critiquing experience. Anyone above the age of eighteen can apply. Bangalore Writers Workshop (BWW) was founded by Bhumika Anand and Rheea Mukherjee in December 2011.

More details here:

There are other workshops like The Dum Pukht Fiction Workshop in Pondicherry but you may have to wait before they announce if they are holding a workshop in 2017.

More details here:


Disclaimer:  The above-mentioned courses should not be treated as recommendations, but only information. The reader should verify the quality and suitability of the courses before enrolling in one.

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: 18 Indian authors whose works entered public domain in 2017

In keeping with our tradition (2012,20132014, 2015, 2016), we have compiled a list of Indian authors whose work has entered the 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 the calendar year 1956 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 the 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 for 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.

Dakshinaranjan Mitra Majumder  (1877–1956)

He was a celebrated Indian writer in Bengali of fairy tales and children’s literature. His major contribution to Bengali literature was the collection and compilation of Bengali folk and fairy tales in four volumes – Thakurmar Jhuli (Grandmother’s Bag of Tales), Thakurdadar Jhuli (Grandfather’s Bag of Tales), Thandidir Thale (Maternal-Grandmother’s Bag of Tales) and Dadamashayer Thale (Maternal-Grandfather’s Bag of Tales).

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.