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

November 27, 2017
by Jaya

5 Common Mistakes Authors and Self-publishers Make While Assigning ISBNs to their Books

It’s not enough getting the International Standard Book Number (ISBN). This numeric identifier that contains thirteen digits needs to be properly understood before you add it to your book. In this article, we look at five common misconceptions that people have about these much-coveted ISBNs.

                                                     Source: Wikimedia Commons

1. Using the same ISBN across different titles
An ISBN doesn’t represent an author, so you can’t use the same ISBN across all your titles. It is even more specific than a single title.

2. Using the same ISBN across eBook and print book
ISBN not only represents a title but also a specific format and edition of the book. It cannot be shared between eBook and print versions of even the same title.

3. Using the same ISBN in paperback and hard cover
Even using the same ISBN for different formats of print books is incorrect. Paperback and hard cover must have different ISBNs.

4. Using the same ISBN across different editions
An ISBN has to be unique to a specific format of a specific title. It also has to be unique to a specific edition. If a new edition of a book is being brought out, it can’t reuse the previous edition’s ISBN. Reprinting with the same ISBN is fine. This concept, however, runs into some trouble with print on demand since you can keep making small changes in the books all the time.

At what point does a book deserve to be called a new edition? When you make significant changes,  calling it a new edition and assigning a new ISBN will be good from a marketing perspective. Another recommendation we have is if your changes are significant enough that they change the physical specifications of the book like the number of pages or page size, then you should treat this as a different edition and assign a new ISBN.

5. Using the same ISBN across different country editions
Even if the content is the same, if you are creating different editions to sell at different prices in different countries, you should use different ISBNs for them. ‘Price change’, as such, does not require changing the ISBN. But having two differently priced editions at different places at the same time is not exactly a price change. It is really two different editions. Keeping the ISBN the same across differently priced editions can also create confusion in the listing of your book on online stores. So, use two different ISBNs in such cases.


Let us know if you have any ISBN related queries that haven’t been answered.


November 23, 2017
by Neelima
1 Comment

Interview: Chetana from

We spoke to Chetana,  founder of IKnowItMOM Pvt. Ltd. She started the company with her husband Ishwar Bhat.

Chetana is an engineer, animator, storyteller, entrepreneur and a mother. She has a keen interest in psychology and she loves children. Her experience of working as a program analyst in Infosys has helped her map professional problems with childhood issues. She has had great success in combining development psychology with storytelling. She is a certified storyteller from Kathalaya. Her stories are popular as she talks about difficult topics without sounding preachy.  Ishwar, the co-author,  is also an engineer. He has 20+ years of experience in training and blogs at Mid Manager.
Tell us a little about your venture

The IKnowItMOM company was born with a vision to create a better childhood. Children who develop the right attitude early on become more successful in life. To help with all-round growth, we cover all aspects of childhood like bullying, safety, money, health, food, memory techniques, leadership, relationships, etc. We bring the best of technology into education through physical books, interactive eBooks, animation and mobile games.

The books on bullying are a prominent part of your series. Why did you choose to write about this theme?

When my son was 5 years old he said he wanted to learn Kung Fu. He joined Kung Fu class and was good at it. Within a year, he got his first belt. Then he started making excuses and skipping classes. I knew he still liked Kung Fu, since he enjoyed practicing it at home. After talking to him, I came to know that the other boys in the class call him ‘Baby’ and teased him. As a caring mother I tried to help by saying “Just ignore them”. Of course, it didn’t work. He was emotionally hurt.  That’s when I realized how bad the effect of bullying could be. I wondered how many children out there missed opportunities because of bullying. I couldn’t find books that taught practical tools to handle it, so I decided to write about bullying. These books cover all types of bullying: verbal, physical and cyber. They make children self-sufficient and confident.  My son is 9 now and has already reached Red belt in Kung Fu.

Some tips to prevent cyber bullying?

Cyber bullying can be very well managed with awareness. We need to tell children about the risks of being online. Most children don’t know that downloading a game can be dangerous. We need to install Anti-Virus software and use kid-safe browsers. Children should never reveal their identity to strangers and parents should monitor any emotional stress in the children after using the Internet. Most important, keep communication open with the children. They need trusted adults to share their problems.

How to be safe online, what to do when we receive hateful messages, trolling, mobile addiction, social media addiction, hacking, dangerous selfies, and many more topics are covered in  Cyber Bullying and Cyber Safety. It is one of a kind book with unique illustrations.


How do you advise parents and teachers to use the books in your series?

Our books are designed to be used as teaching material for parents/teachers and as books meant for children. Parents can also use our books as a Parenting Guide to develop the right conversations with the children. For each story, the introduction page sets the context. The Activities page can be used for introspection and assessment. The books begin with a quiz where children can check their knowledge. Life skills coaches can use these books as part of their curriculum.

Future projects?

Our next book will be on ‘School’. Many children don’t learn because they have issues with the school or the teacher. This book will motivate children to learn. It will also reduce pressure on teachers. We will publish many more books, eBooks and games next year. We also plan to design curriculum around these books. We want to give children all the tools to be emotionally strong, so that they can reach their full potential.

Tell us about self-publishing experience.

When Ishwar and I started our company, we had very little knowledge of book publishing. helped us to understand the publishing industry, especially self-publishing. Our first book was published at We like the simple workflow provided. It is easy to navigate, publish and try different printing options. Thank you very much.

Thank you Chetana for taking the time to answer all our questions!

November 2, 2017
by Neelima

Interview: Sunaina Patnaik

Sunaina Patnaik is a twenty-something writer from Hyderabad. Her writing explores the realms of vulnerability, loss, healing,and self-love. Warm Delinquencies is her debut collection of poetry and writing that deals with the matters of the heart.

We decided to talk to this poet about her journey.



I would come running with
shovels and spades,
torn paperbacks and bottles of ink,
and get my hands dirty all too willingly,
we aren’t meant for calm seas,
blue horizons, and clear skies,
who are we fooling?
we are only destined for
dingy basements, sappy music, and
warm delinquencies.

You have published a poetry book with themes exploring love, separation, and healing. How did you zero in on these themes?

In my experience as a reader, I’ve read a number of books that dealt with subjects like love, separation, and healing individually but not together. When I started writing ‘Warm Delinquencies’, I was certain that I wanted all these subjects together to convey the journey of a lover, the aftermath of a heartbreak and eventually, the healing.

Which poets or writers have influenced you the most?

Growing up, I read Ruskin Bond and Enid Blyton avidly. Inspired by Bond, I started penning personal essays at an early age, sent it to my friends in the form of letters, postcards etc. which made me familiar with tracing inspiration from my life and things happening around me.

The other writers that influence me are Haruki Murakami and Vikram Seth. I keep going back to Seth’s poetry because of its ethereal beauty.

Tell us about how you got started with writing and what motivated you to get published.

I did several pieces and interviews throughout high school and college. I found writing poetry and personal essays quite cathartic and started a blog in 2011, succeeding which I never had to look back. The intent of publishing it originated when I realized I had a readership that resonated with my thoughts.

Do you think that poetry is more popular than people would like to admit?

I like to believe that poetry has always been popular for its power to express a lot in little. Although the rise of poets on Instagram is a new trend, it’s still just an additional medium for writers to share their work. We’ve always sought solace in Plath’s or Bukowski’s poetry; millennials now are drawn towards the poetry of Lang Leav, Michael Faudet etc. because of the writing form which is lucid and deals with modern issues.

But what I think has really changed is the mindset towards poetry. When I was in school, poetry was perceived as something undecipherable; however, the world is now more open to poetry.

Where do you write? Tell us a bit about your writing process.

I can write anywhere. Through chaos and silence. In crowds and isolation. But mostly I tend to write in the comfort of my room, usually late in the night.

Tell us about your latest project.

Right now, I’m working on a collection of short stories. I’ve started this project much before I’ve embarked on writing Warm Delinquencies, but it’s still a work in progress. I’m hoping to finish it towards the end of 2018. Fingers crossed!

What is your favorite pastime besides poetry?

Juggling between reading, writing, and a 9-5 job leaves me with very little time. But when I find time, I binge-watch TV shows, movies, and explore new restaurants in the city.

Thank you, Sunaina!

You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

September 28, 2017
by Neelima

Writing Competitions and Opportunities (Free to Enter) Round-Up: September 2017 Edition

1. Short story competition with Juggernaut and Death of the Author 

You need to enter your contact details on this form, email your story (2000-8000 words on any theme)  to with the subject line: WRITERS’ SALON.  The winner gets a contract with Juggernaut Books. More details on the link. The last date for submission is 15 October 2017.

2.  DWL Short Story Contest 2017 

Email your short story entry(based on any theme with word count of up to 5000 words) to only as a Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) attachment. The top three entries for the contest will win $100 each and one of the top 3 stories will also receive the Dastaan Award.  The Submissions deadline is 30 September 2017. For further details visit the link.


All the best!


July 13, 2017
by Neelima

Writing Competitions and Opportunities (Free to Enter) Round-Up: July 2017 Edition

From time to time, we’ll be doing round-ups of competitions that are free to enter and that Indian writers are eligible to participate in. This is our first list for 2017.

1. TOI Write India Season 2 Contest 2017: Times of India

Write India is a Short Story Contest initiative by Times Internet that offers prompts from 11 of India’s top-selling authors.  Every month a winner is selected from the entries received with the help of the ‘Celebrity Author of the Month’. Please go through the faqs in detail. A book will be published with all the top winning entries.  The competition starts on the 7th of every month till the 30th of the month.

2. James Hemingway Short Fiction Award-2017

James Hemingway is one of the first publishing imprints under the umbrella of Shreem Info Media. SIM Publishing has launched a short fiction prize aimed at finding genuine Indian voices. The award is open to stories written in both English and Hindi languages. Previously published stories are welcome too.  The first prize winner will get a fixed cash award (to be announced) along with the submitted entry published in a book on the theme with other nominations and released worldwide. Twenty-one best stories will be nominated for the award. These twenty-one stories will be published in the book form by SIM publishing and launched worldwide. All nominated stories will be translated into English(if Hindi stories are selected). This year’s theme is ‘Delhi’. Deadline is at midnight 22nd July 2017. There is a late fee of INR 250 for all submissions after the deadline. The word limit for Hindi is 4500 and for English is 3500. Please go through the rules on the website.

3. Monsoon – My Article Contest

Looking for write-ups on Monsoon memory, recipes, etc. Email write-up at with your full name. Mention the contest category(mentioned in the link) and a title for your write-up. Your write- up should be at least 300 words long and it should be in MS Word only.You can send more than one article. Contest closes on 31st July 2017. The winners will be judged on the basis of Facebook likes (50%) and on the quality of the write-up/entry (50%). The winner will be announced by email on 10th August 2017. The best two winners will be awarded Flipkart gift vouchers of Rs. 500/- each. Articles will be accepted in both English and Bengali.

4. The Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction

Comma Press and the University of Central Lancashire have announced the first annual Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction. The theme for this inaugural year will be ‘Café Stories’, in honor of Dinesh’s Café Shorts series which he posted on his blog. He believed cafes to be “fertile ground for the short story.” The prize is open to anyone 18 years or over, and the story you submit must not have been published anywhere else, online or in print. It is free to submit your entry, but only one per writer. All entries will be made anonymous upon receipt. Entries will be made anonymous upon receipt and will remain so until after the shortlist has been decided. Entries open 10th May 2017 and close 31st October 2017. All entries must include a cover letter which states the author’s name, address, email, contact number, and story title. Any entries sent without this information will not be considered. You must submit your story both electronically and in hard copy form. Please send your story entry and cover letter electronically to in the form of a Word Doc, then send a hard copy of your story to Becky Harrison, Comma Press, Studio 510a, Hope Mill, 113 Pollard Street, Manchester, M4 7JA. The winning writer will receive £500 and all 10 shortlisted authors will be featured in an ebook anthology which will be published by Comma Press and sold online.

Please go through the rules on the website.

5. Futurescapes-Writing Contest

FutureScapes is an annual writing competition that asks writers to envision a particular future and tell its story. For 2017, the Futurescapes Contest theme is “Blue Sky Cities.” Contest winners will be published alongside multiple professional authors including Paolo Bacigalupi. There is an entry fee for second entry; first entry is free. The winner receives $2000 and five runners-up receive $500 each. Professional authors are not eligible to enter. Contest deadline is October 13, 2017. Check the rules in detail on the website.

6. Wordweavers Contest 

This is the 8th year of the Wordweavers Contest. All submissions for a single category should be copy pasted in the entry form along with the address details. The deadline for poetry (2-100 lines) and short story (5000 words) is August 15th, 2017. The entrant should be above 16 and a citizen of India. Entries should not have been previously published. Go through the details rules here.


Disclaimer:  The above-mentioned competitions and opportunities should not be treated as recommendations, but only information. The reader should verify the quality and suitability of each before submitting.





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: