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

April 5, 2017
by Neelima

What is Plagiarism?

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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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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

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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.

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:

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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: