Following her attendance at the recent PublishingNext conference in Goa, ALLi Ambassador Rasana Atreya has compiled a series of fascinating take-home points on the state of the Indian market for self-published books and indie authors.
PublishingNext is the brainchild of Leonard Fernandes and Queenie Rodrigues, co-founders of the India-based POD (print on demand) company, Cinnamon Teal. Publishing consultant Vinutha Mallya is an advisor to PublishingNext.
“If you’re looking to keep up with the publishing trends in India, this conference is the place to be,” said Rasana. “It is very well organized and small enough that it is easy to interact with attendees over teas, lunches and dinners.”
As one of India's leading indie authors, Rasana was a panellist in an event entitled The Nuts and Bolts of Self-publishing. She shared the stage with self-published Tamil author Vaa Manikanda, Jaya Jha, co-founder of pothi.com, a print-on-demand (POD) company, Kinjal Shah, CEO of the large Crossword Bookstores chain, and moderator Leonard Fernandes, moderator of the panel.
Attending every session that didn't coincide with her own, Rasana has compiled an extensive and valuable list of take-away points These include down-to-earth practical tips such as “use only Unicode type fonts for Indian languages” (Google will translate into 11 of them), and terrific marketing insights into the nature of the potential Indian marketplace, e.g.:
- mobile/cellphone penetration is 900 million, but this also includes people with multiple SIMS, not necessarily unique individuals.
- The penetration of mobile/cellphones phones is much greater than either that of the Internet or TV
- 50% of the population is under 25, and their search engine of choice is YouTube
- Most phones in India have limited data plans, which makes audiobooks are more expensive to download and hence a harder sell.
Her insights into payment plans in India illustrate some of the idiosyncracies of this potentially huge market, and indicate the importance of adapting your marketing strategy to suit local needs:
- One distributor, DailyHunt, reports they have no plans for subscription model selling of ebooks or magazines because India doesn’t allow auto-renewal via credit card in order to clamp down on potential fraud. They provide the option of carrier billing (in addition to credit cards), which means that any downloads of books etc. are billed to your internet provider. You pay up at the end of the month.
- ReadMyStori said they’re working on a subscription plan (not necessarily with carrier billing), so I'm sure there are creative ways in which you can take this forward
- It is also possible to use micropayments – i.e. buying one magazine article at a time.
If you're planning to target this significant market, her full blog post is essential reading and you can read it here.
On a second post inspired by the Publishing Next conference, Rasana also warns Indian writers against being taken in by vanity publishers:
“It is getting harder for UK- and US-based vanity publishers to get naïve authors to fall for their ‘publishing packages’ – which can run into tens of thousands of dollars. This is thanks to activism on behalf of authors by platforms like Writers Beware and Preditors & Editors. As a result, vanity publishers have moved operations to Asia and Africa. That includes India, of course.who are increasingly targeting their country from overseas, as growing awareness of their unscrupulous behaviour is diminishing their success in western markets such as North America and Europe.”
Rasana offers an extensive list of tips on how to identify and avoid inappropriate publishing partners, which you can read in full on her blog here.
Thanks to Rasana for sharing her experience of an important conference here – we welcome reports from members on conferences around the world, so if you'd like to submit one on an event near you, please contact blog editor Debbie Young.
OVER TO YOU If you'd like to ask Rasana any questions, please feel free to do so via the comments box below.Interesting insights into the #India market for #selfpub #authors by @rasana_atreya Click To Tweet