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India is an exciting market for indie authors and today, Rasana Atreya gives an overview of the publishing landscape and outlines tips for self-publishing in India.
In the introduction, I talk about the death of Prince and the need to reflect on our mortality and what will make up our creative body of work. I mention the Tim Ferriss podcast with BJ Miller on learning how to live when faced with inevitable death, and also the interview with Austin Kleon on Unemployable podcast.
Plus my launch of Destroyer of Worlds, an ARKANE thriller, set in India; and the Smashwords indie author survey results, with a lot of great actionable tips for authors; and returning to direct sales with Selz.com. You can now buy my ebooks direct from me, the author 🙂 I'll blog more about selling direct in coming weeks.
This podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets through the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors.
Rasana Atreya is the bestselling author of Tell A Thousand Lies, which was also shortlisted for the 2012 Tibor Jones South Asia award. Her other works include The Temple Is Not My Father and 28 Years A Bachelor. She is also the Alliance of Independent Authors‘ India correspondent.
You can listen above or on iTunes or Stitcher or watch the video here, read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and full transcript below.
- Why English is the unifying language in India, and the size of the English-speaking population in India.
- On the types of books that sell in India and the focus on print rather than ebooks.
- Ecommerce in India and the importance of mobile.
- The expense of print on demand in India.
- The vanity presses that are springing up in India.
- The age of the market, and the popularity of WhatsApp and Facebook.
- How book marketing is done in India, and the stigma against indie authors that still exists.
- How indie authors can try selling the Indian rights to their books.
- Rasana's predictions on the future of digital publishing in India.
You can find Rasana at www.RasanaAtreya.com and on Twitter @rasana_atreya
Transcript of Interview with Rasana Atreya
Joanna: Hi everyone I'm Joanna Penn, from thecreativepenn.com. Today I'm here with Rasana Atreya. Hi, Rasana.
Rasana: Hi, how are you?
Joanna: I'm good. Just a little introduction, Rasana is the bestselling author of “Tell A Thousand Lies,” which was also shortlisted for the 2012 Tibor Jones South Asia Award. Her other works include, “The Temple Is Not My Father” and “28 Years a Bachelor.” She is also the Alliance of Independent Authors' India correspondent, which is what we are talking about today.
Tell us a little bit more about you and how you got into writing.
Rasana: I am used to working in IT back when I lived in the U.S. And when I moved back to India, I had two little children. I just couldn't get to work at 3 in the morning if the network went down. I was forced to look at something else, and I have always loved writing. I decided to give it a try. And once I started writing fiction, I was hooked.
Joanna: That's fantastic, and how long ago was that now?
Rasana: About 10 years now.
Joanna: When did you get into being an indie author?
Rasana: My story is a little different and that I did have a trade publishing contract. But I've been watching how things were being done in the U.S. and watching Joe Konrath and Amanda Hocking, and I really wanted to give it a try. People told me I was crazy to give up a traditional contract. But I was like so if I fall flat on my face, I can write another book and look for another publisher. I wanted to do that. I have no regrets at all.
Joanna: I think that's a really good point because I was in Australia when I first discovered Joe Konrath and Amanda Hocking, as you say, at a similar time. It probably would have been in 2009. I think that's what happened is that it did start in America. And it kind of spread to other countries from then which is fantastic.
We are going to talk about India today, obviously, because that's where you are and many people including me, really fascinated with India as a market.
But I know many people will not have been to India. I have a couple of times, and I love it. And some people might have had outdated views of the country based on media over the years.
Could you just talk a little bit, for anyone who doesn't know, about what is India like right now, the economic growth, number of educated, English speakers, that type of thing.
Rasana: Let me give it you as points, a few different points. I think movies like Slumdog Millionaire do India great disservice. Yes, we do have poverty, but we also have insanely rich people. And then there is also that rest of us, average middle-class people who live like other middle-class people that are around the world.
And also in the Indian state that I come from, the job goals that you first get in engineering, they make them fit around what you want to do with life. As a result, I have a masters in engineering as do a lot of authors from India. There is so much social pressure to get a professional degree to make sure that you can support yourself, to be a family.
It's odd I know, but that's why you will find pretty much all the top selling authors in India have either engineering degrees or MBAs from really good schools. They get this degree out of the way, and then they decide that they want to be authors and they do it.
Another fact for you, about 10% of our billion plus population speaks English. That's a pretty big market for authors from outside and even from India, people who write in English.
Joanna: That's a really good point. I have read that there are more middle-class Indians who speak English, who were therefore educated, because English is the main international language isn't it? In India?
Because everyone speaks a different dialect, but English is what everyone in India either speaks or is aware off.
Rasana: The thing is that we have 35 official Indian languages and 600 are dialect. You have to have a uniting language and that's what English is so, yeah, a lot of people speak English.
Joanna: And obviously, we won't go into the British Raj, but that's generally the reason. It's the historical reason why English is the language and, in fact, what's weird when people come to India a lot of the signs are in English, aren't they? A lot the street signs.
Rasana: Yes, they are because otherwise if I were to go see the state of Assam, and they had it in Assamese, I would not have known what to do because I don't know 35 languages. I know like four to five.
Joanna: Four to five, which is four more than I know. But that's fantastic. What I was saying there is there are more educated middle-class Indians, who speak English than, I think, the whole population of the U.S.
Joanna: Which is kind of crazy I think. And as you say, so many very well educated Indians, too. I'm always astounded at all the degrees.
Let's talk about the current state of publishing books in India. How do people buy books what languages are they in what is the market like right now?
Rasana: I'm big into points, so that's how I'm going to do it. I'm sure you know this, but according to the Indian book “Market Report” by Nielsen, India ranks second in the English language market and publishing after the U.S. but before the UK. It's a pretty big market. The interesting thing is that English books are sold in the newer, glitzier malls in India, and they are also priced higher. If you want to read your language books, you go to the corner mom and pop shops.
What kinds of books sell? Topping the list is really books to do with higher education. If you want to come out with the self-help book on how to get into top schools in the UK, that's something that might get your leg in. If you're looking at fiction, romance is vague. And you know that the curious thing is that all the top romance authors in India are men. And they don't want to call it romance. They call it campus lit. Most of these are modern romances set on college campuses.
And the other thing that is very big in India is Indian mythology. You cannot get away from retelling in India. Retelling, that's big business. Regional language fiction tends to weave stories against casted social issues those kinds of things. And the other thing is that fiction and regional languages are almost all print only, and they are printed on really cheap paper. They are essentially treated as disposable commodities. The big ones that people want keep, the hardbound ones that are traditionally religious or philosophical text.
The other point I wanted to make was India's biggest selling author, Chetan Bhagat, who also has an MBA from an elite business school. I think one of the reasons he does so well, is that his paperbacks tries to move, almost use and throw. He makes his money on volume.
This morning, I checked the price on his latest book “Half Girlfriend”. On FlipKart, it is selling at 145 rupees, which is $2.15. That's low even for India. It's really hard to compete against that for indies because you will not make money on that. He makes his money on volume but not to say that books that are priced higher are not selling. Jeffrey Archer is very big in India as is JK Rowling and all the top international authors they do sell well, and their books are priced higher.
I was also looking for ad journals from other popular authors and they're are all priced around $2 and $3 and the interesting this is, I think, one of the reasons that E-books haven't picked up in India as much is that there the publishers price them almost, like say, 20%, 30%, 40% lower than print books.
It's like they are driving people to the print books because they'd rather that people buy print books than E-books, which doesn't make sense to me because you're in it for the money, right?
Joanna: That doesn't make sense to many of us, and it's crazy how that's happening. Couple of things there, first of all, I've read some of Chetan Bhagat's books, and he's great. I really like them. They are actually quite short, aren't they? I would say they must be 60,000 words max. They're not massive, thick ones.
Rasana: There not. Sixty to I would say 90,000 tops in. That's about it.
Joanna: And they are very like you said “Half Girlfriend.” I think I read the call center one. Young Indians, meeting each other at call centers and clubs but it's quite urban. What did you call it? Campus lit. Kind of urban young people.
Give people some other names of Indian authors that they might want to have a look at in the different genres so that we could just find out more about them, and I'll put the links in the show notes.
Rasana: Ravinder Singh is another campus lit author. Amish Tripathi is big in mythology. He's a huge seller. Ashwin Sanghi, and Ashok Banker, these are all men and very big sellers. And there are a lot of literary writers as well like Anjum Hasan. I adore her writing, but she's not very well known because it's literary fiction.
Joanna: Do Indian authors sell widely in the other markets? You mentioned Ashwin Sanghi who I've heard is like the Indian Dan Brown. I've got one of his books. And what you said about the mythology, it's pretty dense on mythology rather than fiction. It's quite a dense book.
Do these authors sell well in the U.S. like an expat Indian market?
Rasana: The expat market, yes. But I don't think mainstream in America would buy that because, like you said, it's very dense. But they have a huge market in India. Retellings do insanely well in India, in the retelling mythology.
Joanna: Yes, it's funny, isn't it? I equate that to the Christian market in the U.S. where their retelling Christian stories. That's basically what it is. What I was also going to note on the cover design, which is really fascinating. I'm hoping that at some point indies will be able to load a different cover per country.
I looked at a lot of Indian book cover designs. A lot of them are more colorful, I would say, than the British designs. Have you got any thoughts on cover design for the Indian market?
Rasana: I think the reason that does is that books set in India lend themselves to those kinds of covers. My books have pretty colorful covers as well. I guess because we wear very colorful clothes. You've been to India, so you know what I mean. It's natural; it comes from there. So maybe that's part of that.
Joanna: That's a good point, I must say. I bought Indian saris to have clothes made out of them because we just don't have that kind of color on our High Streets in the UK. I love Indian clothes. I always wish I could get away with the sari. But I'm not sure white girls can carry it.
Rasana: You have YouTube videos. You could practice.
Joanna: I could practice. That's a good point. What I wanted to go back to is the digital market because of course most indies are making most of their money out of E-books.
You mentioned is not big at the moment, but 2016, this year, as we record this, Amazon's taken a jump into Indian E-commerce. Kobo has taken over FlipKart's E-book business.
What is happening in digital and what's happening with mobile?
Rasana: Mobile is the way to go now because most of the E-commerce in India happens in mobile apps and not on computers.
That is the way to go, and I'm really hopeful that something comes out of this because there are a lot of players that have also jumped into this digital market. There's Daily Hunt and they also do digital books in regional languages and there is Rock Stand, which is the other one and Juggernaut.
I'm really watching this closely because the Chiki Sarkar, one of the people who started this used to be the publisher of Penguin Radom House India. And she's quick to start this up. If she cannot get it going, I don't think there's much hope for the rest of us. She does know what she's doing and we are watching her.
And this is going to be an E-book only thing for now. I don't think if they'll come up with anything else later on. But they have an interesting model as does Daily Hunt.
Daily Hunt signed up Amish Tripathi, and he's another very big author. What they are doing is they are selling chapters because lots of people in India don't have credit cards. By some estimates, about 22% of the population does, and people are very wary of using credit cards.
What they do is that they use carrier billing. If you were to buy a book on Daily Hunt, they don't want to price it too high because it goes to your mobile carrier. They are selling chapters in cities that say 49 rupees, and they say they see a lot of market there. Even in additional languages, mostly Hindi, because that's such a big market. That's the other language. And they say they have good sales that way.
Joanna: That's interesting. These are micropayments and what you mean by carrier billing is that people get them on their phone, and it's charged to their mobile phone account. And this is what is going to happen in Africa, the rest of Asia, South America because it's the mobile economy, right?
Because like even in India, in some of the poorest areas, you still will see people with the cellphone in the market selling some vegetables, but they'll still have a cell phone.
It might not be a smartphone yet but people do mobile phone economy, don't they? That seems to me the most obvious place for it.
Rasana: Absolutely, by some estimates about 900 million people have smartphones. Actually, there are 900 million smartphones out there and according to statistics released by Daily Hunt, they say up to 42% of people who own smartphones have done E-Commerce transactions at least once. It's pretty big market out there.
Joanna: I listened to a documentary on Amazon India, and they were saying in these areas where it's hard to get deliveries and stuff, there might be one person in the village who has the smartphone and people will go to them and use their smartphone and get things delivered to a local place. It was fascinating. I'll link to it in the show notes. It's a really amazing documentary about how, although Indians doubt credit cards or don't have credit cards, they're still figuring out ways to do Internet commerce.
Rasana: Absolutely, yeah.
Joanna: And in such an entrepreneurial nation. I'm always impressed pretty much everyone's an entrepreneur in India, right?
Rasana: Oh yeah, they find ways around things.
Joanna: Yes, exactly, they do find things. But these micro payments and you said, selling volume this, to me, is the way forward.
It's not going to be selling a $12.99 E-book to Indians. It's going to be like you say a 49 rupee per chapter. How do we get on Daily Hunt or this Juggernaut?
Rasana: Juggernaut is really a traditional publisher. In India, you don't need to go by a literary agent. You can just submit directly.
It really does help if you have the email addresses of the publishers. A lot of them will respond to you, and that's really the way to go. The Daily Hunt actually has a submission process. You can just go to the website. I think it's email@example.com or something. They will get back to you. That's what they told me. I talked to them about that.
Joanna: Okay, great.
Have you used it yourself?
Rasana: They have invited me, but I haven't gotten around to it. I will. That's on my to-do list.
Joanna: We all have this big to-do lists, obviously. That's super. I'm very excited about. Let's talk about print. There were obviously…and way back when I was in Australia talked to Cinnamon Teal and Pothi, who I see as still the people that CreateSpace right now does not have an Indian setup. I've heard rumors about it.
Can you talk about print on demand in India?
Rasana: The thing is that print on demand, though Cinnamon Teal and Pothi are good alternatives, they're still very expensive. Because if you were to price your book at what they give you, you would not be able to sell too many copies.
A lot of people that I know go to local printers, and get their books printed and then they've been trying to sell it from their websites because it's much cheaper that way.
But like you said, there are rumors that CreateSpace is working out a deal to come to India and have a local POD. IngramSpark is already doing that as well. I'm very hopeful about that. The only thing is that that's a good thing if they work with local printers. It's a good thing that brings the prices down both for Indian authors and for non-Indian authors. I'm waiting on that.
Joanna: I think it's interesting. Back on pricing, you mentioned Chetan Bhagat fiction would be around 145 rupees, which is for a full-length fiction.
How much would a full-length non-fiction be so the people know to put their pricing into Amazon, and Kobo, and iBooks?
Rasana: Non-fiction, self-help books, education books, people are willing to spend. You can price your books higher 300 rupees, 400 rupees. People will buy those books. Anything that has to do with education, people will spend in India.
Joanna: I think that's true in general. I certainly price my nonfiction higher than my fiction because you, as a reader, I always think if I get three things from this book that will help me in my life, then it's worth paying extra money for. I see what you mean there so yeah. Non-fiction is a good idea.
I saw in one of the articles you've written about vanity press kind of springing up everywhere. What's happening with that?
Rasana: Actually, I've written a huge post on that, and that's one of my most popular posts. The problem is that a lot of people are unaware of what they're getting into. They don't do research and my problem is that these vanity publishing companies call themselves self-publishing outfits and confuse people.
And I know ALLi carefully vets assistant publishing, and they do endorse them. But I don't know that we have such a great dealers in India. I don't. As far as I'm concerned, if you pay up front and then you buy your ISBN from them, it's like they own your book because as they say they pay you royalty.
If you are both paying for the initial fees and also getting royalties from them, I don't think that's a very good deal for authors. It is interesting because we don't have the same kind of regulation in India that the U.S. has. I don't know about the UK because I've never lived there. It makes it pretty sad because I did a session on self-publishing at a festival last year and an elderly gentleman stayed back after the session to talk to me and his English was very shaky. He spoke to me in Hindi.
He was close to tears because he published with one of the biggest vanity publishers in India, and it was associated with one of the biggest trade publishing companies. They're no longer together. You know what I'm talking about.
Joanna: We don't mention them by name, but yes, we know the one.
Rasana: He said that they pursued him relentlessly when he first made contact and, unable to stand the pressure, he gave in and he published his book of poetry with them. And then he had at least 200 friends and family buy books from them. But the vanity publisher claims that no sales were made, and they've stopped taking his calls. They won't respond to his Emails. And because he got the ISBN from them, he doesn't own rights to his books.
A lot of our vanity publishers who claim they're not vanity publishers but they're really assisted publishers, they do pretty much the same thing. As far as the main market is concerned, I honestly don't see a difference. I'm very skeptical about that.
Joanna: But otherwise Indian authors can publish through KDP. They can use Draft2Digital. You can use Kobo. There is no restrictions in that way.
Rasana: Except for iBooks.
Joanna: Except for iBooks.
Rasana: Which you can go to…
Joanna: Draft2Digital or Smashwords. That's good, and I'm excited to see a new sort of different voices. That's why I'm really keen to be talking to people. I had an author from Nigeria. I want us to start reading different things all over the world. I think that's fascinating.
I read on another post that you wrote on the Alliance of Independent Authors that 50% of the Indian population is under 25. What does that mean for writers and publishers?
Rasana: This is the segment of the population that is Internet savvy, and they're most likely to have smartphones. And they're comfortable downloading Apps and using them. Like I mentioned before, most E-commerce in India happens in mobile phones as opposed to computers. This is a very positive thing for indie authors if you're looking to sell in India.
The other thing is that you really need to look at different things, different strategies in India. WhatsApp is very big in India. It's a mobile messaging app. If you can figure out ways to leverage that, it could get you some more visibility as well.
Joanna: I must say I've done one thing on WhatsApp. But I haven't used it loads.
I also read that Facebook is actually surprising big in India.
Rasana: It is. Facebook and WhatsApp are the big ones, yeah.
Joanna: How do you recommend that people use those sites for marketing to Indians specifically?
Rasana: We are still figuring it out quite honestly. And you see, as of now, we have groups. I have a group with my college friends and family, different groups like that. But authors are not using it as yet and if you can be the first one to use it, I guess that can get your leg in. That's my goal for the next year to figure these things out.
Joanna: That's super. We'll be excited about hearing back from you.
How is book marketing done at the moment then?
Rasana: At the moment, book marketing is done in through book bloggers. You just seek reviews from them and ask them to cross both to Amazon and to Goodreads. And the thing is that since Indian authors cannot upload directly to iBooks as yet, that's one advantage that non-Indians will have there if you upload it directly. Because if you have control over the dashboard, you can quickly move the price or raise the price up or down or promote books that Indian authors don't have access to as yet. That's another thing.
But the other thing is that there is still the stigma against indie authors. You don't really have access to the same things that are non-indies would in India. But my situation is a little different in that I was one of the first people to adopt indie publishing and write about it and major in the newspaper and without intending to I seem to have become the voice of self-publishing in India. I do get a lot of visibility.
Joanna: Which is fantastic because you're intelligent, articulate. You've traditionally published. You're not like a rah, rah. You're not a Joe Konrath, actually, which makes you quite acceptable, I think, to the establishment in a good way.
And you speak at all these literary festivals which generally don't invite indies.
Rasana: They don't. I've been to the biggest festival in India, and I guess I've been really lucky that way. That only happens because I was the first person to do it. And I'm the most visible. So, unfortunately, other indies don't get that chance. But then a lot of other literary festivals that are happening in India and they are catching up. I hope more and more indies are invited there and things happen for them as well.
Joanna: I want to come to Jaipur Literary Festival. It's on my bucket list.
Rasana: It's a mad house. I tell you it's a mad house. And it's like how you would…authors get mobbed in India. In the Jaipur Literary Fest, authors get mobbed. I spoke to a couple of American authors, and they were just astounded because they said this would never happen in America. And I do know that it's quite different. Authors are treated like celebrities in India if you make it big.
Joanna: If you make it big and what's interesting there is a great respect like you said, about the education. There is a respect for people who write books that I think has kind of been lost in the West, which is nice.
I did want to ask you about getting a traditional publishing deal in India. As you said, you don't need a literary agent. You can approach directly. I've seen you're also working with is it Read Out Loud, another company?
Rasana: That was only for my audiobook. Only for the audiobook, I had them produce my book.
Joanna: Tell us how can, if self-published authors like myself would actually rather sell rights, what would be the ways to go about doing that for India?
Rasana: Make a list of publishers in India, and you need to also talk to them about what kind of distribution networks they have because there are multiple because we have so many states and so many different languages. It's almost the English language, my segment, also has multiple distribution networks and regional languages have their own. If you're getting into translations, it's a little complicated.
Really you either need to be here or you need to have an Indian contact to actually sell a lot of copies. I'm being a little honest here.
But having said that, if you can get a trade publisher to just buy your Indian rights, they will take care of that for you and since you don't have to go both literary agents it's a little easier. But having said that, we do have literary agents in India as well. You can go through them as well.
Joanna: I am interested. I think it's the print distribution. As you say, it's a very big country and complicated. And just like you said, you have to be there unless it's just digital and, at the moment, the digital sales are tiny.
Do you think it's going to take 5 years for digital to reach U.S. volumes or is it going to be 10 years? What's your opinion?
Rasana: I hope five years, but Chiki Sarkar, the owner of Juggernaut, let's say, because she's involved, I'm hoping that it's five years. And I'm really hoping and shooting for five years.
Joanna: That sounds good to me too. What's so lovely about talking to you is like it's 2009 in America. Do you sense that that's kind of where we are? It's almost like before self-publishing really takes, off before digital to really takes off.
The Kindle has really only been out in India for not very long. It's not a very big chunk of the market yet.
Rasana: It's not a big chunk of the market even though they're aggressively promoting it. They have big name authors selling it on TV. It may or may not take off, but E-books are here to stay because like I said, most things happen on mobile apps. And you can still download an app for the Kindle or for your smartphone or an iBooks app. You can still read it that way.
Joanna: That's interesting.
The adverts they're doing on TV, are they advertising the Kindle device or are they advertising the Kindle store or are they are saying, “You can get this on your phone” type of thing?
Rasana: They are advertising the device, not the store.
Joanna: That's really interesting. I wonder if they'll change the direction of that over time.
Rasana: I hope so because Amazon has recently applied for semi-open digital wallet license. That means they are looking out more to do with E-books, and I certainly hope we are all able to sell more E-books that way.
Joanna: What about audiobooks? Is that happening at all yet?
Rasana: Audiobooks are happening to some extent but not as much as I would have liked. The thing is that in the U.S., I don't know whether UK, but in the U.S. people go on long drives or workout. That's when they listen to audiobooks.
And in India, it's a little different because, I think, another problem is that because most of everything that people do in India is on smartphones, there are also lots of distractions. If you're reading an audiobook and someone pings you on WhatsApp or Facebook, so maybe people are buying less books because of that. But I hope the next five years are going to change this.
Joanna: Exciting times. My final question, you've talked a bit about how we can do various marketing. And I've mentioned before, my next book “Destroyer of Worlds”, is set in India. I'm very excited about that and promoting it there. But obviously, it's a mainstream thriller. Is there any paid advertising? You've talked about WhatsApp, Facebook.
Is doing Facebook ads a good idea in India? Obviously, the return is going to be unlikely but if one wants to grow an audience, do you have any other specific tips, especially if a book does have the Taj Mahal on the cover.
Rasana: Well, Facebook ads is a good idea, and that's what I'm planning to do as well. And since you're so well known in indie publishing, I would suggest that you freelance articles for major Indian newspapers like The Hindu, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times. You'll get a lot of exposure that way.
If you can sell your Indian rights to a local publisher with access to a good distribution network that's important, that will be good too. The other things is that there are a lot of distributors who are actually offering services. They are offering to place your books at bookstores and…I'm still investigating this and I don't plan to do that myself, the entire for the distributor to have my books put in bookstores.
Another thing that you could do is that Cinnamon Teal says that they can do audiobooks for as little as $100. If you're book is for the Indian market, you can do it with an Indian editor and it's not really a lot of money. You could get some exposure that way as well.
Joanna: In English or in Hindi?
Rasana: In English, too.
Joanna: How interesting. That's actually really interesting because there's a lot of Indians who speak English whose English sounds like my English or an American English. Yours is more American accented, I think than British. But that's really an interesting point.
I wonder whether it's worth looking into that in general for audiobooks.
Rasana: I think so because it doesn't really cost you that much it's $100, right? Compared to an audiobook in the U.S. or the UK. I'm sure it costs a lot more.
Joanna: Yeah, it was a couple of thousand dollars usually. That's fascinating. You've given us some really interesting things to think about.
Is there anything else you want to share before we go about the Indian market or anything else?
Rasana: I just wanted to mention one more thing that certain bookstores are also getting into this vanity publishing thing. Whether it's a good thing or bad thing, you can decide.
What they are doing is that they're offering to place your books in their stores, chain stores. And some places are charging as much as $12,000, and they claim that you'll get premium placement. My concern with this is that because they're not writing these books, obviously, you're not going to be placed alongside a Dan Brown or JK Rowling so that means you'll probably get your own self-publishing section, which kind of devalues your works. On the other hand, if you can drive people to buy your books, I don't know. If they actually like it and read it, that might make a difference. That's something new in India. I haven't really heard of this in the U.S. or the UK. So the bookstores doing that, chain stores.
Joanna: That's interesting as you said, a chain store. I've had of some independent bookstores doing that, but not chain stores like Borders for example. I mean Barnes and Noble. Borders went past, didn't they? Anyway, tell us where people can find you and your books online?
Rasana: I'm pretty much everywhere you can find books. I'm on iBooks, Kobo, and Amazon. And I have a website as well rasanaatreya.com. So it's R-A-S-A-N-A-A-T-R-E-Y-A dot com.
Joanna: Fantastic. Thanks so much for your time, Rasana. That was great.
Rasana: Thank you so much for having me here, Joanna.
Ritesh Kala says
Just a note, Juggernaut is not ebook only. They are doing print as well and distributing through Hachette. I however think that they will only do print for full length books which are already selling well.
Joanna Penn says
Thanks Ritesh – sounds like a digital first publisher, which is pretty sensible these days – although I question the benefit to authors when you can achieve the same with self-publishing!
Destination Infinity says
Rasana’s stories are great and have that Indian flavor. Will listen to the interview podcast shortly 🙂
Hi Joanna…I’m very interested to hear more about you selling direct again. Has something changed with the EU VAT laws? Is there a work around? Looking forward to those posts. Thanks for the great job you do. Love your site!
Joanna Penn says
Basically what’s changed is
a) if you are in the UK and sell to UK customers – but DON’T sell to any customers in other EU countries, then you’re not liable – see the workflow https://whitehall-admin.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/415931/VAT_MOSS_Flow_chart_FSB_edit_V1_0.pdf
b) the selling sites e.g. SELZ not have an ability to restrict the countries you sell to – so I have said I will not sell to any customers in EU countries.
Hope that makes sense!
Adria Jackson says
10% of India’s population speaks English, that’s a huge number, about 100 million. Great market opportunities, and also a huge pool of internationally employable workforce.
Belinda Pollard says
I’ve just had an email from Lightning Source about how to make my titles available in India. The issues is pricing of course… how to get it right. Thanks for this, Joanna. 🙂
Belinda Pollard says
(note to self: pre-read comments before posting haha)
Joanna Penn says
I’m waiting for Createspace to sort out their India option 🙂
Syed Arshad says
Nice article, but i also want to add a few points. As far as paid advertising is concered Facebook is the best way to promote your Book, since India alone has 250 million users. Paid advertising on facebook is very inexpensive compared to Google Ads or Twitter Ads. You can reach a large enought audience with breaking the bank. Alternatively you can also buy ads on Goodreads since the audience there is the most relavent i.e Readers. Although these are a little expensive.