S for Self-publishing #AtoZChallenge

Firstly, get this clear. There are companies that ask money upfront (25k to 3lacs) to publish your book and call themselves the “Self Publishing Company” – it is actually, vanity publishing! They layer the company with this fancy term to save themselves from getting burnt and use the naive nature of first time writers to make money! Vanity is different from self-publishing, self-publishing is when you do every little thing for your book by yourself or pay someone to do the same (Time=Money), period!
Any consultant (?) that fancily calls you and says “we offer 20% discount on publishing packages” – DUDE RUN AWAY! Anything on web that reads “Select your package” – CLOSE THAT TAB ON YOUR FIREFOX, those “guided publishing plans” are sheet CRAP! – “We publish your books in any size and format,” they would claim – say NO THANKS!
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Requirements:
  • You had an idea and spent months on it, made it to a decent 25k to a lakh word book
  • You employed a beta reader or an editor, proof read – and it is all set to go to print
 
Self-publishing: (EBook)
  1. kdp.amazon.com
  2. Sign up and create a kindle publishing account
  3. Title, other details of the book necessary, book category, cover (Design it by self or ask a designer, it must cost less than 5000 INR) – ensure you already have the ePub version (get it done at smashwords.com)
  4. The tax information might be confusing; it is actually nothing in India. Just punch in your PAN number when it asks for an ID and your bank details where you get royalty ( you get 23 INR for every book sold if it is priced less than a dollar)
  5. In a few hours or maximum one day, your book will be up on amazon kindle
  6. Market the book – sell it!
  7. I don’t recommend it and I don’t do it, and I will NEVER do it – but you can suffix or prefix your name on Facebook with the ‘Author’ tag! J No offense to the existing! I respect their choice!
I want my name on print – on books – I want DP with my book in hand – yes! You can my bunny writer. You can.
  1. Get your book a roll number i.e ISBN
  2. Find a printing company – 1000 copies must cost you around 36,000 INR to 45,000 INR or if you think you know how many copies you are most likely to sell, the cost would increase. More you print – lesser the price
  3. Amazon and Flipkart – you can distribute following the guidelines on their website
  4. Find distributors and aggregators who will place your book in book stores for a cost
If you don’t know a printer or find it costly, www.pothi.com has options to print on demand – I STRONGLY PERSONALLY RECOMMEND

R for Royalty #AtoZChallenge

With my interaction with friends, fellows, and aspiring writers, I have always been questioned if I get to take the MRP of each book sold. Many think, I have made lakhs with my book (Chuckles) whereas in reality, I only spent more than what I made. This, in real, is the case of most of the authors. Even during one of the workshop, one writer ended up asking if he can make enough money just by writing. Sad truth being a NO, I thought I will bring Royalty into picture. Now that you know how much you will have to spend to publish with Q for Quotations post, here is what you should know about the ROI (Return on Investment)

royalty

So, what the author makes?
The money that the author makes out of books is called ‘Royalty’ what a fancy term! It is just a small percentage of the MRP. The Percentage varies according to the author (Big authors get advance payments too) and also, the publishers. Big publishers pay better than the second tier, they say! So mostly is varies between 7% to quote the least to 20% as the maximum.
So if the book’s MRP is 200 INR then the royalty is between 14 INR (No I didn’t miss a zero in the end, it is fourteen) and 40 INR.
The above is for traditionally published, for vanity publishing – you get up to 50 to 60 INR (Of course, you pay 20k to 1 lakh up front) and for self-published books via pothi it is around 20 INR only.
What if you go through a literary agent? you have to give 10-20% of the ROYALTY that you make. Yes, 2 to 4 INR of every book sold goes to the literary agent and I have heard that you should promise a count of books that would be sold for sure, if your book don’t meet the count, author has to buy the rest. Stop crying!
And, any promotional offers or slashed price to help sell the book – author makes no money!

Q for Quotations (Cost Involved in publishing)#AtoZChallenge

I have tabulated the cost involved in publishing! Took me a while to prepare! I hope it is worth the efforts 🙂
Cost involved in each Type of publishing
Factor Traditional Publishing Kindle Publishing Self-Publishing Pothi Publishing Vanity Publishing
Book Cover Anywhere around 5000 INR for a decent cover, few cost 2,500 INR to 3000 INR as well accordingly! Kindle gives you an option to use a simple color template with book title, or you can choose to design one at a lesser price. It should be around 3000 INR as it is just a kindle version Anywhere around 5000 INR for a decent cover, few cost 2,500 INR to 3000 INR as well accordingly! Pothi also has an set of covers designed, you can either choose o spend on it Covers in the package mostly or you can choose to buy a cover outside
Editing a 50,000 word manuscript publishers edit the novel and the author need not pay. However, if the author is not good at grammar, they can choose a round of proof reading before submitting the manuscript to the publishers. In Vanity, there are packages that might cover editing which would cost  the same
Substantial Editing: Approximately 25,000 INR
Copy Editing, Line Editing: 15,000 INR to 20,000 INR
Proof Reading: 10,000 INR to 15,000 INR
Beta Reading Publishers don’t cove beta-reading Beta-reading a novel should cost anywhere from 5p to 50p per word
illustrations, photography and graphics Publishers cover the cost It can cost around 3000 INR or more according to the requirements in the novel. Comes with the package
layout, formatting and ebook conversion Publishers cover the cost Costs 3000 INR – Hint: You can do the same for free at http://www.smashwords.com Publishers cover the cost
Book Printing Publishers cover the cost Not applicable 40 – 60 INR per book of around 200 pages if bulk printed Print on demand. Costs around 120 for 100 pages book Publishers cover the cost
Distribution cost Publishers cover the cost Not applicable Lesser in comparison. At amazon I believe it is zero cost, and flipkart asks a nominal fee 1500 INR for amazon and flipkart Publishers cover the cost
Marketing cost Publishers cover the basic cost – depends on the tier Depends on the type of marketing. A newspaper interview if it is through a PR would cost at least 15,000 INR. Book Reviews, Book tours, Spotlights – might start from 8000 INR to 50,000 INR depending on various choices of marketing
Publishing cost Not Applicable Not Applicable Not Applicable Not Applicable 25,000 INR is the least and cheapest available. It goes up to 1,25,000 INR with other added valuable services

“Am worried that youngsters are deprived of good books,” says Nalini Chettur

I am not fond of the word ‘Ma’ and I don’t get close to any elders or my friend’s mom, so I don’t use that term a lot. Unknowingly, the first word I uttered when I met Nalini Chettur was ‘Ma’ and she scooped my heart in a jiffy. I spent two solid hours with her, talking about the bookstore, the Indian publishing industry, her experience with books, and my experience with publishing, and to the recent issue of a girl wearing a knee length dress but commented by the auto driver at Bangalore.
She is versatile, intense, scintillating, high-spirited, determined and passionate. I can just go on and on!
Why Taj did this?” I frowned. “Because they are TAAAJJJJ,” she said and laughed. “But, yes, they have been kind so far. “They don’t charge me a lot. There was a family that flew down from Singapore just to visit my store and take some books. There are many who mention the book store at the feedback forms at the Taj.”
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She knows a lot about books. She is keen not to stock her store with best sellers but to stash exotic and one of a kind books. The minute you start talking, she can analyze you and say what type of books you need.
This bookstore is my oxygen,” she added. “I always suggest books to my people. I know them for years, and I love interacting with young people like you. I believe that my store will live with the kind of individuals who visit,” she smiled.
There are authors she knows; there are authors whom she introduced to Madras. She looks like a Living book encyclopedia. Give her the title or author name or publisher name – you will get the story from her! Such intense person who dedicated her life on books is indeed an inspiration.
I need a list of books, here it is,” I handed over. “Just read once, I store it in my mind!” she said and indeed she does.
Giggles Book Store:
•    Smallest bookshop in Chennai rightly named as the Biggest Little Bookshop
•    Location: Taj Connemara Hotel, next to Spencer Plaza – Near the car parking, as small as just 150 sq feet where books are stashed, and you can see Nalini Chettur sitting in a chair welcoming you with a smile. She is running this store for the past 41 years.
•    Issue: Taj wants to expand or whatever, and wants Nalini Chettur to vacate the place ASAP
What we need:
•    A store in and around Spencer Plaza
•    Rent of 10,000 INR
•    Required in 2 weeks time
Help yourself! Visit her – talk to her and walk home with a heavy bag full of books and face shimmering with a smile!
If you’re not in Chennai, ping me with a book request, I will get you the same with her autograph and courier it to you. You can transfer the amount to my account.
If you’re in Chennai, JUST VISIT HER! No excuses.

P for Plotting #AtoZChallenge

Most of us think plot and story line is the same thing. Or, we just elaborate the same thing in different ways. If they are one and the same, why two different terms though? Yes! They are different.
Plot – Main Events of the novel arranged in a manner such that it has twists and turns, with tinge of drama or emotions or thrill.
Story line – Chronological order of what the novel is all about.
To put them simply, plot is watching the movie and story line is your friend narrating the 3 hour movie in 3 minutes revealing all the twists well in advance. Thank me later 😉

cyber_threat_intelligence_-_connecting_the_dots

Baby steps of plotting
  1. Define your protagonist, and add meat as of his reactions to every frigging thing that he or she would cross in the novel. Note all the directions possible with respect to the travel.
  2. Take your character through twists, turns, and new developments to reach the final stage of the novel
  3. When plotting – tighten the scenes adding more details, the character traits, engage more and add more thrill because only you know what happens next, not the reader. Don’t let them guess! – What’s the fun? 😉
How do we plot?
Have a clear motivation of what you want to convey in this novel. Structure it out. Add more sub-plots which adds more meat to the story.
  • X and Y get married in the end – Plot
  • Sub-plots:
    • X went through a bad relationship before
    • Y was skeptical to propose for long
    • X waits for Y to propose
When creating sub-plots, it is almost like diving chapters and hence, ensure to do the following.
  • Readers should feel the urge to flip the page – when do they feel it? When there is something out there to figure out.
  • Play a guessing game with your reader – give them food to think
  • Add suspense elements and add a mild action that would be seldom noticed, but makes sense in the end
  • Meaty reactions by characters
  • Don’t get lost in the middle – don’t add extra meat to add pages – write what’s required
There are numerous worksheets available online for plotting and there are pretty good number of online courses, resources, that would help one to plot better! If you find it difficult to plot, try books on plot prompts for the same.

O for Outlining #AtoZChallenge

More often, we start our novels from a small spark and keep it growing. Sometimes, it gets clumsy and the end product would be something totally different from what we expected. It is not wrong, but maybe, if you try properly outlining the novel, it would be of great help to not just finish the novel but finish on time because you know what you’re writing. I did this clumsy mistake of starting at a point and not knowing the travel of the story with my first novel, but with my second WIP, I have improved a lot on this.

bricks-and-mortar

So, let’s outline – the silver line of the cloud! Let’s do it.
One best way to outline is using the snowflake method. I have covered it in methods of writing! Check out!
Or use the Freytag’s Pyramid – jot down the one-liners that would cover under each part of it.
Even if you’re a panster – if you work on outlining, it would help you overcome the writer’s block. Trust me! It works. Anyhow, the outlines are just as flexible as ever, to alter according to the flow.
Things to ponder and write down first:
  • Write down the important characters
  • Pen the important scenes that you want to cover – there are times that we have a scene in mind than the actual story plots. So put them down.
  • Chapters – divide them into chapters, and divide the meat accordingly. Figure out ‘what’ you’ll cover ‘where’ this will avoid any spill at all
  • Also, tunnel them. Divide your sheets and pen down the different tunnels or paths you have in mind and let the story choose the road to travel to complete the maze
Doing this will help you find loopholes, blunder mistakes, research requirements, and there are thin chances to discover a new plot or a sequel plot.
A person who outlines their novel will be curious and interested, this would make them write faster and publish sooner than usual or planned. You can use mind mapping or sticky note mapping.
Software like Scrivener helps a lot in outlining, you can also do the same in an excel sheet or a word document at ease.
I have outlined my next novel and it is coming up really well! And am so thrilled about it as it falls under dual timeline and is a different take and leaps beyond my capacity.
Quickly open an excel sheet and start outlining! See ya!

“Are you a Virgin?” he asked.

Being a writer, I have my profile marked public with count of friends and followers summing a few thousands. Nevertheless, my walls are confined enough when it comes to friendship. I hardly have a handful of friends, and so as usual, one such ‘follower’ pinged and a conversation kick started. It went on and on at a point, where we shared our numbers. The conversation continued and after a few days he confessed that it was more than just ‘writing’ that attracted. ‘We don’t know each other much’ was all that I could reply at that point. So, then started the phone conversafc22050ef68b5ce39061a672ca343559tion.
*Sexism – yes! I would like to be a sexist in this post, for once!*
“Are you a Virgin,” he asked. Before I could answer, he continued “The other day I saw that you were tagged in a resto bar check-in, so obviously, you must have DONE that.”
“Oh!” I replied.
I tried deciphering the equation in his mind. I pondered more, I asked his thoughts and then yeah, it was
A girl who Smokes (and) (or) Drinks = Not a Virgin = Can be tagged a bitch or a slut as per one’s favourite word.
His questions didn’t stop there. “You were in any relationship before?” he shot the next. Maybe, he wants to figure out whom I slept with. “Yes!” I replied. “How many so far?” the next shot.
“What the F is wrong with you? Why are you asking all this?” I raised my voice.
“Just wanted to know!” he mellowed and I cut the call.
___
This is not something new. In fact, a trend right now. When one replies “Yes! Am a virgin,” there comes a tag called ‘WASTE’ I don’t see any difference between those who save themselves for marriage and those who don’t. To me, one’s sexual activity has nothing at all to do with their character. So is drinking, smoking or drugs. Aren’t we grown up yet to tag this as a big deal? Why these concerns?
It was hard to convince a friend who was about to marry a girl who confessed she has not saved her for marriage. ‘What if she had not told you? What one does before you have nothing to do with the life ahead,’ I blasted him, yet, he deliberately cancelled the wedding.
 ___
There are similar situations regardless of the gender. Are we all so small to define one based on their choice of having sex before marriage or sex when not in a committed relationship? Aren’t we all something better? Aren’t we humans who have virtues, career, passion, and love lined up.
A friend of mine was tortured for not bleeding at her wedding night. Other friend was pestered with questions whether she had kissed any or tried second or third base with any. Why is sex a big deal? Are you someone who slept tight during 1947 and woke up by 2016? Didn’t you grow up?
__
Why is the classification based on this? Why are a few so obsessed about this term ‘virginity’ I even find it funny when someone calls it ‘Losing Virginity’ where you actually don’t lose anything at all. Sex for a few needs emotional connects and for a few it has nothing to do with emotions, it is just their body’s need – well, it is equally right.
Now that I have crossed 26 years, I have a handful of girls as friends, and more than that count of guys as friends. Guy who are open enough to talk about it, who are aloof enough to accept the changes, and who are level headed to see a spade a spade are always those who gain my respect. I remember a friend of mine bluntly said the other male “Virginity is not gonna get yo even a kg of onions bro! Grow up!”
For those who still try to box and classify woman into two categories “The all the more homely who never smokes or drinks or had sex before as marriage as pious” and the opposite as a “Bad Ass” – Deep Sigh! God bless!

N for Narratives #AtoZChallenge

Narrative – an important factor that can either take your novel to an all new level or just move it to trash. For literary is such an ocean where all stories are already taken, the one best way to make your novel interesting is the choice of narrative. So, let’s sneak peak at the choices you have w.r.t narratives.53b5b2f21c59942e089f3220_5335c1a9f8f4cce52b000a7c_audio-narration
 I will start with my favorite form – Nonlinear Narrative, best used for thrillers. It gives a nice platform for you to change the patterns of the events to make your novel a very interesting one than chronological. It gives more space to add twists and turns that can make your novel an unputdownable. It is almost a time travel for the readers, and so, authors can very well choose this sort of narration.
 Linear narrative – As simple as a line from the start to end without any change from A to Z, which might not really impress the readers if the story is simple and breezy. If your story has a good tension throughout and interesting factors, linear might suit it best.
First person narrative – Usually, the protagonist or someone else who is a part of the story narrates it to the reader from their point of view. So the reader would be an observer of the interactions happening between the story teller and others.
Third person narrative – An omnipresent character will read out the story from a third person point of view, which can typically be an easy way to cover more details of what each character feels like unlike the first person narrative.
 Unreliable narrator – This is an interesting one. You can never rely on the narrator, where things are not trustworthy. A character’s narration that is not reliable makes it fascinating!
 Interactive narrative – This is an interesting type of narration where the reader and writer would interact. The story will be dynamic, and will have personalized engagement. Social dialogues will be used throughout to engage the reader. There are different patterns to it to choose from.
 Multiple Ending – While the whole story is in the author’s control, the ending is according to the reader. You give branching paths from a story, and let the reader to choose the one that they like. It is important to ensure all the endings suit the best and are equally good.
 Open ending – You handle the whole story and never give a closure, more like life. It never ends until you die, and every story that started ends in a small cliff that re-directs to another.

 

எழுத்தாளர் என்ற பெருமையுடன் மாய்வேன்!

பெருமையுடன் பச்சை குத்தி கொள்ள பெரிதாக ஒன்றும் சாதிக்க வில்லை,

பல அவமானங்களை தாண்டி, DSC_8005

பல இழிவுகளை சுமந்து,

தேவையற்ற பிரச்சனைகள் கடந்து,

முன்னேறி,

சிந்தித்து, செயல்பட்டு,

பல கரங்களை பிடித்து,

சிலர்க்கு உதவி செய்து அதில் திருப்தி அடைந்து,

எண்ணற்ற ஏளன பார்வைகளை பொறுத்து கொண்டு,

வெட்டிய அனைத்து குழிகளிலும் விழுந்து, எழுந்து,

அதிர்ஷ்டம் என்று ஒரே சொல்லில் என் அனைத்து வெற்றிகளையும் புதைப்பவர்களை மன்னித்து,

ஒவ்வொரு நாளும் ஏதேனும் நல்ல குறிப்பு தோன்றாதா , நல்ல படைப்பு ஏதேனும் படைப்போமே என்று பார்த்து கொண்டிருக்கும் நான் எழுத்தாளர் என்ற பெருமையுடன் மாய்வேன்!

உன் சீண்டல்களும் கேலி பேச்சுகளும் தாங்குகின்ற சக்தியை கொடுத்ததும் என் பேனா தானே?

தூற்றுவதில் சந்தோஷம் அடையும் நீ, ஒரு முறை பாராட்டி பார் – அதன் சந்தோஷம் பன்மடங்கு பெரிது என்று புரியும்!

 

திருந்துவாய் என்று நம்பிக்கையுடன்

கவிப்ரியா

M for Marketing #AtoZChallenge

“I have written a good book, many of my friends who read told it is great, the Amazon score touched top 20 in a week, and Goodreads review states 4.0 to 4.5-star rating. Still my book has not reached many, it is not selling well, I don’t know why,” heard this somewhere? Yes! It was your mind talking to your heart or vice versa. Rather, it can also be said to a very close friend who is more like an alter ego.
Before you go through what good marketing is, first understand what marketing scam is.
marketing
There is one good method of marketing that out beats all other ways, the one that never costs you a penny, the one that is so traditional and works from day one that the literary world started mushrooming books – well what is it? – Word of Mouth
Yes! There is nothing like a book recommended by a person to another. So, what it takes for one to recommend a book? – Simple, a good book. So the solution – write a good book!
Ok! I see ‘hehhh?’ Smiley there. Fine!
My personal experience with marketing – I kept writing. Better writing. Day by day, it was improving, not that it was just felt by me but all others too. From writing simple love stories to harsh realities, to short poems, and ranting tales, where it started off to convince my conscience that I am a good writer, in turn, it did prove to my friends and acquaintances that I am improving big time. Whenever someone randomly pings asking when my book is scheduled to release, and they are eager to invest 200-250 INR + Shipping to read it, not that one can’t afford 250, it is just half the prize of a big pizza or a cold coffee at CCD. But, this counts, how many just buys a book for the sake of it? Until you’ve proved a point or an author whose name is well-known to the world? Especially, when your book is costlier than Sidney Sheldon or Dan Brown or Nora Roberts, so, here is the tip – keep writing! Keep your circle informed that you are improving with posts and short snippets from your WIP. Micro tales, terribly tiny tales – because none has the time to click open your blog post or rather they are on mobile with a 2G connection. None likes to scroll and read, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention. Do your best!
Create elevator pitches and loglines from your novel and share it across. Kindle the interest and leave questions for your readers to ponder and get to fetch a copy of your book.
Is that all? Yes!
The best type of marketing is writing a good book, proving to the world that you are a good writer and investing money on your book will never make them regret. If you still think these are not the right ways to market – there are links available with 71 ways to market your book and 89+ book marketing ideas available. Google them! All the best 