Wed, 16 Oct, 2019

Self-publishing has opened up new opportunities: Heeta Parikh

CEO of integrated marketing firm Heeta Parikh, who will be discussing the impact of self-publishing as a panelist at Publishing Next conference in Goa, talks about current trends in the industry

19th September 2019, 02:50 Hrs

JAY JOSHI


Self-publishing is impacting the publishing industry deeply, and emerging authors who choose to self-publish their books can find various opportunities to market their books, says Heeta Parikh, CEO of Mumbai-based integrated marketing firm Silver Spun brand solutions. The entrepreneur will be in Goa to speak as a panelist at the Publishing Next conference being held in Goa from September 19-22. Parikh will be a part of a panel discussion on the topic ‘Impact of Self-Publishing’ that will look at the influence of self-publishing on conventional publishing practices and how it has altered authors’ expectations of 

publishers. 

“Self-published authors can use a number of strategies to get their book noticed. They can get in touch with book clubs and bibliophile community, talks to various bloggers and influencers and get the book reviewed on Internet portals, list the book for sale on Amazon and on Kindle,” says Parikh. “Many firms who offer self-publishing services have tie-ups with bookstores. That could also help authors. Apart from that, you could approach library-cafes and also participate in various events such as college festivals where you could set up a stall and sell your book,” says Parikh, adding that avenues such as Google ads and other advertising services are also available at reasonable rates. 

However, upon approaching online advertising agencies might ask authors for formalities such as GST number, which an individual author selling his own book may not always have. “In that case, authors could go through PR agencies who will have their own GST number and other requirements for business,” Parikh suggests. “PR agencies could help authors promote their books online as well as offline fora, and even arrange interviews with the media for additional boost,” she points out. 

The Silver Spun CEO also avers that self-publishing has grown vastly in recent times. “As a PR agent, I have done more than 10 book-launches, out of which 70percent -80percent have been self-published books. The way I understand it, an entirely new category of authors has emerged and people are more open to self-publishing. Good support has also been coming from the media. Initially, there was a time when the media did not touch self-published books, but that is now changing,” says Parikh, stressing that the trend is now shifting from conventional to self-publishing.

Self-publishing might indeed be an emerging trend, but it is not without its own issues. Conventional publishing houses have a quality control mechanism in place which ensures that good quality literature reaches the readers. That may not happen in case of self-publishing. So, is self-publishing putting average content out into the market? 

Responding to this, Parikh says that market forces are capable of filtering out such content. “In case an author puts out an average book into the market and even uses all the right strategies to promote it, readers will eventually discover that it is not that good and will not pick up the book,” says Parikh. “Even if you opt for paid reviews, how many such reviews could you buy? Maybe ten. But there will be fifty more reviews that will tell the reader how the book really is. Once the author realises that his book is not performing as expected, he will automatically shy away from writing the next book,” she says.

While conceding that growing online book sales are affecting real life bookstores, Parikh also underlines that regional languages need to be promoted more. At a time when regional languages are growing fast on the Internet, certain reports suggest that demand for books in regional languages is falling. “This is because the language of the Internet is regional language mixed with English. It is not pure regional language,” says Parikh. 

“In order to make regional languages grow, I think that all schools, even English medium should give importance to regional languages and make them compulsory till class X. Secondly, regional languages should be given the same importance as that of English. Lastly, the packaging of regional language literature has to be good as the Hindi saying goes jo dikhta hai wo bikta hai (whatever is seen as attractive, sells),” concludes Parikh.

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