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Self-publish your Book, Reach Your Readers and Gain Access to a World of Infinite Possibilities

As the legendary author, poet, essayist and mentor Maya Angelou had said many years back, ‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story within you’, any writer or storyteller worth his or her salt might know that the creative process of penning a book is nonetheless arduous than giving birth to a biological baby. But if it is a universal truth in terms of writing those untold stories, it is all the more important to get the book out for the readers for whom it was written in the first place.

Self Publish Your Book & Gain Infinite Possibilities

As the legendary author, poet, essayist and mentor Maya Angelou had said many years back, ‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story within you’, any writer or storyteller worth his or her salt might know that the creative process of penning a book is nonetheless arduous than giving birth to a biological baby. But if it is a universal truth in terms of writing those untold stories, it is all the more important to get the book out for the readers for whom it was written in the first place.

What are the earliest thoughts that occur in the context of writing and publishing your own book?

Imagine the earlier days, when online retailers like Amazon, Kobo or iTunes were nowhere in existence, opening up new horizons of online publishing and distribution. Imagine the times when the process of pitching your book baby to major book publishing companies, the prime gatekeepers of the industry used to be a painful journey of sending out sample chapters and proposals one after the other, resulting in negation and despair. Many times, the dreams of aspiring authors to get their books out in print were nipped in the bud rather mercilessly, as the rejection letters by the publishers kept pouring in after a never-ending wait.

Many authors those days were plagued by the thoughts of inadequacy and self-pity as the book ideas were rejected as not enough lucrative, not enough worthy of the marketplace. Sylvia Plath, the phenomenal American confessional poet, the Pulitzer-prize winner whose books are widely read and translated in various languages all over the world now had once written about the phase of her repeated rejections of her manuscripts of poems: “Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing, which remark I guess shows I still don’t have a pure motive about writing…” In fact, history is also witnessed too many timeless classics which faced repeated rejections, and finally were ritualized in print, resulting in widespread readership over the course of time.

The World of Amazon and Self-publishing:

Today, on one hand, there is still this insistent hierarchy of literary agents pitching your books to the top five or ten publishers and a cumbersome process of waiting and trying your luck. On the other hand, there is a whole new world of freedom and possibilities with the advent of Amazon, Kobo, and other online book distribution channels which has made self-publishing for authors a lot easier, hassle-free, and less time-consuming like never before.

The flurry of self-publishing companies and self-published authors gained momentum with the advent of Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) in November 2007, concurrently with the first Amazon Kindle device. Over the course of time, Kindle Direct Publishing, used simultaneously by self-published authors and self-publishing companies became a great game-changer and resulted in the emergence of many versatile authors with out-of-the-box themes and content for their books who wanted worldwide readership in a fast, effective way and also while gaining full control over the sales of their books. With the tools of technology, Amazon KDP enabled authors and publishers to independently publish their books directly to the Kindle Store. However, the hunger to self-publish print books remained a reality, hence in 2016, Amazon came up with their paperback services, using the benefits of print-on-demand technology that offered both digital and print editions (e-books and paperbacks) to book publishing companies and self-published authors, using the same platform in an economic way that appealed to many.

Over the years, the ordeal of the publishing world has resulted in the death of many a book, while a lot of bad books have also been buried in the sands of time. But we must acknowledge that many self-published authors today have earned readers through good content, proactive marketing in the digital media, and as a result, are getting lucrative deals with major publishing houses in the long run.

Neal Pollack, in his New York Times article titled ‘The Case of Self-Publishing’, cites the recent examples of the famous thriller author Barry Eisler backing out of a half-a-million-dollar dream book deal with St. Martin’s Press, deciding to be the bestseller author that he is, with self-publishing his book. Amanda Hocking, another bestselling author of 9 e-books, recently stated that she was tired of answering emails of publishers and just wanted to focus on writing. Many authors in Indian writing in English, and also diaspora writers are considering self-publishing or have already successfully self-published their books and reached a huge number of their target readers, leveraging the benefits of online distribution through Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and other major players. Some others, like the bestselling author Neil De Silva, started out with gaining considerable readership through his self-published books and are now getting major deals with big publishers like Rupa & Co. Hence, it can be argued that today, self-publishing crackles with myriad possibilities which were never conceived before.

Among the major self-publishing platforms that support authors from India, these are some to consider:

Amazon KDP: E-books from indie publishers and authors (which lets you earn 70% royalty on sales to customers in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, India, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, and more)

Smashwords: One of the leading distributors of indie e-books offering digital publishing and distribution to most of the world’s largest e-book retailers and libraries.

Pothi.com: One of the most popular self-publishing services in India for print books, with additional services like editing, formatting, book cover designing, and also e-book conversion. Pothi also enables extended online distribution through Amazon.in and Flipkart.

Also, for print books, a print-on-demand service like CreateSpace is probably the best bet, but delivery to India might be expensive compared to the US, Canada, and Europe

With all these resources at your fingertips, publishing your own book has been truly an easy, rewarding experience. You never know, it might be a harbinger of the revolution!

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