MyKitaab podcast in India features experts in the publishing industry in an effort to helps authors get published. Jaya Jha, founder of Pothi.com and InstaScribe, was featured here. We get to know more about the woman behind the organization. Jaya left Google where she worked for some time with a better idea of what an organization should like. This alumnus of IIT Kanpur and IIM Lucknow is also one of the most viewed contributors in the publishing space on Quora. Jaya talked about her books Moving On, and her collections of poems in Hindi called Kuch Pal and Tumhare Liye as well. She also spoke about her venture Summary Town.
Jaya has mentioned an important tip for writers- they need to work on marketing their brand or creating a platform as early as a year before release of the title, be it fiction or non-fiction.
For more publishing gyaan, listen to the podcast here: http://mykitaab.in/podcasts1/pothi
We have been shipping the books internationally and this is very convenient for most of our authors and readers.
However, in certain circumstances, authors need to be able to restrict the shipping from Pothi.com to India. It generally happens in one of the two cases
- The rights of the book for outside India are with someone else and hence the authors can not sell their books published through Pothi.com there.
- The author wants to introduce a low price version specifically for Indian market.
So, we have recently pushed out this feature where you can specify if you want your books to be shipped only within India. If Pothi.com is the only place you have published your book at, you probably do not need to bother about it. But if your case is either of the two mentioned above, you can use this feature. Log in to your account, go to your book page and click on edit link. Under the field “This book can ship to”, select “Only India” and save the book. Now, this book will not be shipped to any location outside India.
Even more power to our authors! 🙂
And don’t want to be one either?
This is how a lengthy conversation explaining what Pothi.com is ends with many people.
Yes – one problem of our business is that it takes lot of time to explain to people that we do not fit into any pre-defined category from traditional publishing. Most importantly, Pothi.com is not a publisher!
What does this mean?
- Books published through Pothi.com are published by their authors or other people/organizations behind them – not by Pothi.com.
- Pothi.com does not do any ‘selection’ of the content except to ensure that it is technically fir for printing and that it is not against the law or our terms and conditions.
- The entire responsibility of content, its accuracy and quality, its preparation lies with the author/publisher, not with Pothi.com. Same is the case with Book Design, Marketing, Promotion and Sales.
What does Pothi.com do then?
Pothi.com provides tools and services to help you through all these steps of publishing. Meaning
- There are detailed information and guidelines on preparing your book
- There are tools for formatting and cover design (e.g. blog to book tool, cover design wizard)
- There are reasonably priced services for editing, designing etc. if you need help in preparing the book
- There is an e-commerce store where you can list your book for free and sell it without bothering about logistic hassles of printing, maintaining inventory and shipping them
What’s the future direction Pothi.com will take in that case?
- Create More technological tools to make the publishing process easier and financial burden minimal
- Figure out some innovative ways to help authors widen the reach of their books
- Develop Technological Solutions for filtering out good content from bad
Ouch! So, you will never, never be a publisher?
Pothi.com – the platform will remain Pothi.com the platform. It will not become a publisher. We may or may not have a parallel business as a publisher, but that would be under a separate imprint most likely. We haven’t decided anything on that front yet.
That’s sad! Pothi.com can’t help me become the next Chetan Bhagat.
In all likelihood you are right. Exceptions can occur, but Print on Demand based self publishing model is not optimized for creating best-sellers. It works better for books with niche audience or publications for small, targeted audiences. It is also good for casual publishing.
One of the most common questions we get asked.
First let me clarify all that it does not mean or refer to.
‘Pothi’ has nothing to do with the name of the famous silk shop in Chennai called ‘Pothys’.
During the book festival we learned that ‘Pothi’ is a caste/surname in Kerala. Our use of Pothi has nothing to do with that either. We are not a Pothi matrimony site, rest assured.
And it also does not mean grand-daughter in hindi. That one is ‘Poti’ (पोती) and not ‘Pothi’ (पोथी).
Pothi means ‘a book’ in Hindi. It has come from the Sanskrit word ‘Pustak’ distorted through Apbhransh and other languages that developed in North India. ‘Pothi’ or some variation of it means ‘a book’ in many other North Indian languages too including Punjabi and Bengali.
The word is not used in day to day spoken Hindi though. It is an obscure word now and is sometimes used to refer to old manuscripts or scriptures. Sikhs use this word to refer to their religious book. If you have studied Hindi at some point of time in your life and still can not place the word, the following couplet from Kabir may come in handy
पोथी पढ़-पढ़ जग मुआ, पण्डित भया ना कोय,
ढाई आखर प्रेम का, पढ़े सो पण्डित होय।
Approximate Translation: Nobody becomes a learned person by reading lots of books. Those who just read the two and a half letters of love become the learned ones.
Although this couplet discounts the usefulness of books (and we don’t like that 🙂 ), but the reason I mention it here is that the word used for book in it is ‘Pothi’.
So next time you hear Pothi, think books – printed one at a time on demand just like the handwritten manuscripts of yore.