Saturday, September 7, 2013

Who the F*** Self-Publishes?

A couple of days ago, I was sifting through my email inbox, when I found something from a fellow author. Apparently, the guy was a top-notch Hindi poet, who, like many before him, had suffered the bitter disappointment of nobody buying his book of poems. The general consensus seemed to be that injustice had been done to him. Of course, this might have been just a gimmick to grab everybody's attention, or it might have been genuine. The point is, if almost every Pothi author hadn't received that frustrated email, our poet friend's book would have been doomed to oblivion.
As I mentioned before, he isn't the only one to have his books suffer from such a fate. There are probably millions like him. I happen to have the misfortune of belonging to this sad club. My companions would recall that, some time in 2010 or 2011, I published a novella of short stories, titled Tales From Beyond the  Mundane. Not surprisingly, no one bought it. The eBook business is not a particularly profitable one. Unless anyone knows about you, no one will buy the book. Self-publishing leaves all of the promotional work to you, which can be surprisingly exhausting. The premise of zero capital involved in self-publishing, as opposed to publishing through a literary agent, is non-existent. Likewise, book publishing agencies aren't particularly author-friendly. Unless you have a degree from IIM, IIT, Oxford, MIT or any other reputed university, chances are, the publishing agency will turn your submission down. You require credentials that have next to nothing to do with the quality of your work. You even need to invest in paying a small group of people to buy your book. Tell me then, in such a scenario, where should a demented soul such as I go?

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