Self-publications and Authorpreneurs
Dr. G. V. Purnachand, B.A.M.S
Author, Critic and Researcher
“In the Telugu country an author has generally to be his own publisher and bookseller” said Gurajada Apparao, the pioneer of Telugu vernacular writings, more than a century ago. The situation of book publishing and book selling by writers is hardly finding a difference till date.
Self-publications and Authorpreneurs are more in Telugu Language for the reason that Book Publishers are not equipped to get them published. No Publisher is happy today due to the weak book market and is not in a position to help writers.
Writers out of their zeal and eagerness write books and usually spend money for printing and publishing them. It is sad that some are even selling properties to publish their books.
After printing a book, the ‘Author publisher’ further spends money for the book inauguration Function. Guests extend felicitations to the gratification of the writer. The writer dole out the copies free of cost to friends who never open a page of the book.
Choosing the book seller or distributor, getting back money for sold copies and taking return of the unsold copies ... all are extraordinary Tasks for author publishers. Getting Number for the book, obtaining `library purchase orders’ and finally receiving the payments… all are possible for the persons who can spare time and Money.
Disliking this awkward state of affairs, most talented Telugu writers are shutting down their pens. Every writer is facing the deficiency of out letting their writings.
Most of the Publishers are preferring subjects like personality development, popular medicine, vastu, yotisham and vedantam. Creative writings like stories, novels, criticism, social problems and people oriented books are usually rejected by the publishers.
While creative writings are discouraged or disappointed, how one can expect Jnanapeeth or Noble prize for Telugu Language. Kannada and Malayalam are mostly benefitted since high honor and encouragement extended to the writers in those states.
There is one mistaken belief among most publishers that books of literary standard are not reader friendly. Usually, the publishers or book sellers unwillingly refuse to publish or to sell such books. Most of the literary works faces instant denial with a comment “who will purchase such useless Books”.
One must learn the fact that many Sahitya Akademi award winning Telugu Books were author published. It may not be true that all books published by publishers are commercial without standards and all books that are self-published are qualitative one. Yet, the content in self-published books retain more creative talent. If properly marketed, self-published books attract more readers.
Book Publication is a profession for the publisher, whereas writing of books and selling of books is not profession for writers. Professional Telugu book Writers are few in Telugu. It is the reason, writing has become a non-committed hobby in turn cause low quality writings. At the same time true qualitative works generally face refusals by publishers.
Writers by and large have a fascination to publish all whatsoever they write. Few writers are approaching seniors or resource persons for editing and corrections of their writings. Most of the Telugu Publishers are also not appointing book editors before commencing publication of a book. Ultimately erroneous, invalid and inaccurate works are dumped into the book market, which leads to lack of concern among the people.
Lack of professionalism in the book publication field lead to compromise with quality in the content.
Failure in creating book markets
The quantity of Published books is in reverse proportion with the number of readers. Reduced readership is a bad symptom of social disorder.
Publishers have become helpless in creating positive book markets. Most of the books got published are unfamiliar to the public. So many habituated readers do not know that books of their liking are published and available in the market. Selling outlets are not maintaining marketing strategy. At times Indifferent and uncaring attitudes of certain book sellers in promoting the sales are also responsible for the death of so many valuable books.
Publishers with innovative Marketable Ideas can do miracles. Had the Publisher maintain a good rapport with writer as well as reader he could win the race and produce quality. Unfortunately, there is no demand from publishers’ side for reader oriented books. The writer is compelled to publish it at his own cost. It is the depressing fact that a self-published book scarcely reach the targeted reader. The reason is obvious, he is not a trained book-seller.
“Is my book idea what a publisher wants?” is a big question for a writer. “Is this book idea what a reader wants?” is the predicament of a publisher. Writers who possess authorpreneurship get more recognition and publicity. His books are sold as hot cakes. The credit goes to the intellectuality of that particular writer, but not the publisher.
A survey for viable, marketable books was not completed. What reader really wants is a big question. Everyone tells his own version about the readers` pulse. The book purchasing readers are also not happy with the stuff in the books dumped in the market.
A composite effort of the Associations of both the Writers and Publishers to make a survey on readers` requirements and their purchasing abilities. This may help the publishers and writers as well, to understand which idea is a breaking one for marketing.
During the earlier days, publishers used to print a minimum no. of 3,000 copies and could sell them within a year of span. Today the publisher is not daring to publish even 500 copies as there is no assurance that he can sell them within 3 years.
Most of the rupees spent on self-publications have become a national waste. It is all due to lack of understanding in the Makings of a Traditional Publishing Deal. The market analysis must indicate the potentiality for great reader interest and large sales.
The Last Decade is a decadent one as far as book publications concerned. The Governments regardless of political parties must be blamed first for their inaction in saving the Library movement. No proper funding for libraries is given, no proper fitting authority is assigned or appointed and no proper method is applied to purchase books. The fate of the Telugu Literature has become an unclaimed child.
E marketing of books
E marketing is the best way of reaching the readers globally. Amazon.com, Kinige.com and so many E-sellers are selling Telugu books and e-books also. The writer shall be familiar with the Internet and Social Media in order to make use of these sources.
Print should be the secondary focus. Face Book, Twitter, Blog and other social media helps the writer to publish his writings. More likes and more page views prove the caliber of the content of the book. Self-e book publication gets more name and money than a print book if properly placed in the Social Media. E-Book is eco-friendly also.
E book marketing is not a smaller one. E books can reach the areas where the print books can never reach.
Here is my personal example. I asked my blogger to show my page views by clicking `now’ button in the `stats’ option. I find the following viewers from various Countries are reading my pages in my Blog by that particular Time.
Entry Page views
United States 145
Saudi Arabia 9
United Kingdom 8
United Arab Emirates 4
This table proves that social media is more reader friendly. The longwinded social media help bringing instant reputation, recognition and also money to the writer. This view need not support the opinion that printing of books is a waste of time and Money. Any app. in the internet can never replace the book.
A printed book is eternal.