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Self Publication: Things That Every Aspirant Needs to Know Few authors do get a lucky break, there are several others whose work of merit never gets published because they were not as fortunate

By Chandan Sen Gupta

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All writers harbor the desire to get published, but even the best one's may be frustrated in their attempt to do so. Publishers are evaluating manuscripts from the viewpoint of their selling capacity and only a handful, in their opinion, make the grade. The fortunate part is that opinions differ. Hence, we have instances like J K Rowling's, whose first book, Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone, was published after having been rejected twelve times. The amazing part is that Rowling is not alone in the list of prominent authors who ran up against repeated rejections before shooting to fame. This goes on to prove that publishers are also human beings, after all, and their judgement might be wrong. While a few authors do get a lucky break, there are several others whose work of merit never gets published because they were not as fortunate.

Self-publication The Term

Self-publishing has come as a silver lining for aspiring authors. With its growing popularity, now they need not wait for half the year, the usual time for evaluation of a manuscript by the biggest names in traditional publishing, and get a depressing rejection at the end. Uploading one's manuscript as an Ebook on Amazon and Smashwords is absolutely free and the book is available for sale, within a very short time, to millions. In India, however, paperbacks still rule the roost. This is where the paid services of self-publishing companies come into play. For a pre-agreed sum of money, they make the books available online with major distributors as "Print On-Demand." As the name suggests, the publisher prints the book only when there is an online order and dispatches it post-haste to the buyer. Often there may be packages with editing, marketing and stocking at select bookstores, for a limited time, thrown in. A traditional publisher is supposed to all of the above at his cost.

Why Not Explore Self-publication

While self-publishing might be the only choice for many authors, there are quite a few writers who have switched over to it from traditional publishing of their own volition.. Moreover, the royalty earned by a self-published writer on the sale of his books, is far more than that earned by a traditionally published author. While self-publishing is becoming increasingly popular all over the world, it is unfortunate that the Indian media still treat it with a certain amount of disdain. The leading newspapers of the country, with regular book-review columns, usually refrain from featuring self-published authors and their books. While some may cite overburden and long waiting lists as reasons for not publishing, others are more forthright in expressing their regret, "Sorry, we don't publish book reviews of self-published authors." This can be very disheartening to a newly published writer, as book reviews in the media still play a major role in the publicity and sale of a book. While the media would, today, eagerly review a book by Amish Tripathi or Ashwin Sanghi, self-published authors who shot to fame, promising new writers still need to fight an uphill battle to make themselves heard. The web is an important tool in the hands of these Indie, short for Independent, authors in their quest for publicity. Interaction with readers through the social media and getting featured on popular blogs is only to the means on the internet that help the author market his books.

There is no doubt that self-publishing has arrived and is here to stay, but setting one's book up for sale is only half the job done. Marketing, to reach out to the readers, is equally important and with its success, an author's battle is won.

My write-up on Bahrain and its people won the 1st prize in creative writing and was published in the coffee table book, "Best of Bahrain," in 2012. My first book, also a thriller, named "Land of two seas," published in 2015. It is a fiction woven around facts that takes off from a daring air-raid during World War 2, by the Italians, to bomb the oil refinery of Bahrain. The book has been very popular in Bahrain. "Unforeseen: A battle for his daughter's life," is my second novel published in 2018. 

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