Recently, I happened to attend the book launch of Author Ravi Subramanian, and during the Q&A session when we asked about self-publishing and vanity publishing, he said “According to the recent research and statistics only 72 copies get sold on an average of a newbie Indian author among which 60 are bought by their own friends,” which is absolutely true in most of the cases.
Let’s take a sneak at the vanity publishing industry for instance:
I recently saw a video where a lady ties her cows near a temple, and sells fodder for those who visit the temple to buy and feed the cow. She owns the cows, she gets the fodder from her own garden, and though it is her duty to feed her cows she makes it her business model to make money, to feed her cows and also makes money selling the cow’s milk.
In vanity publishing,
Cow – your manuscript
Fodder – your money
Those who buy fodder to feed the cow – your friends who buys the book for you
Cow’s milk – Publisher’s profit
If you want me to be brutally honest, I would also say that you get the cow dung – Royalty.
Do you know? The vanity publishers feel damn shy to shout out loud that they are vanity publishers, they hide their identity with a term “self-publishing book platform”
What prompted me to write this post? – well the picture below
I had a few bad experiences during my transition from a novice writer to the person I am who knows the sad truth about the publishing industry.
If I were the one who talks without giving it a second thought, soon after reading that message, I would have replied:
How on Earth you call your book a best seller?
Who the F*** gave you the liberty to give it a tag like that?
Who published your sick book?
How much did you pay for those fake reviews?
I would actually go on and on. Most of these fall under the filthy rich, the sick who sucked in love and failed miserably, the I want to become famous greed bitten imbeciles. I would be more than happy to meet someone who doesn’t fall under this category, but unfortunately almost 60% of those sick newbies who Facebook search the word “Author”, join all the writers-authors related groups and add the authors available fall in this category.
The most disgusting part is the fake reviews and fake ratings! Worst? – Yes buying 100 copies of their own book on amazon to get a better rating. A few newbie authors want to be the “best seller” but none focuses on building a readership. A few wants the word “Author” before their name but are really not. A few just wants pictures by their friends holding the book on their timeline but don’t care a damn whether they read. And the best of all, a few claim that it is absolutely okay to publish a book with grammatical mistakes – do you have an answer for a person who would pick a book to enhance their grammatical skills? What if you teach the worst to them? – Why are you not ready to spend on a good editor than on marketing? All you want is a search result with 10 different links talking about you but are you really worth it, who on Earth would actually Google your name? Grow up!
There are a few who stick reading to authors outside India pointing out the miserably failed so called best-sellers. I don’t have an answer, being an author is painful, the tag is burdening.
I am not trying to pull down anyone here, am not offended by what you do but please aren’t we responsible to take Indian literature to the next level?
Please stop publishing your college love stories, your school encounters, making out with your friend’s girlfriend, etc.. Oh yeah, I hear you, who am I to say that? right! But please what are you actually giving back to the world? Your novel will have your name inscribed even after you. Do you really want to write a book that has a bit of sex, a sucking love story, a super stupid conversation over a coffee, an unnecessary accident, an uncalled for betrayal et al. All these stories are taken, these are said – please stop! Stop writing your teenage stories.
I would like to thank the Indian authors who don’t fall under any of the or most of the or many of these categories.
I repeat that this post is not to hurt anyone or even about anyone in particular. Am just another author but not a best seller, and my book is not one of the bestselling. At least, forget that am an author – as the one who reads and reviews books day in and out, I very well know the standards of the Indian books that are getting published. I respect the authors who have written good stories, and my reviews are honest indeed.
Please write a good story, take the traditional publishing route or self-publish by yourself. Please don’t spend your or your parent’s hard earned money to vanity publish. (I did vanity publish, as I had no leads to follow, I was ignorant about the traditional and self-publishing route) Please ask for mentoring from a proper author rather than blindly spending on vanity publishing.
I just wanted to plead the others not to run behind the tag or fame.
God save the industry, please!
About me and my debut: I self-published my debut novella via a vanity-publishing firm as I was ignorant enough to understand how waste of a money it was and that I missed my chance of using other publishing ways, I thought I should write this post.
My debut is not a best-seller, but a good book. I don’t throw my book’s cover time and again asking my friends to buy – I keep writing and I am building my readership. I don’t have good grammatical skills and diction – but I employ a good editor as I feel responsible.
I organized a meet for aspiring writers in Chennai to help them understand the pitfalls in the publishing industry as well.
If this post by chance hurts you or your ideology – please pardon me!
I hereby end my rant.