Books in a bookstore

How to Publish a Book in India: Publishers & Literary Agents

In this part, I’ll elaborate on the publishing process.

The are many traditional publishers in India who will not charge you money to publish your book. They will ask you to submit the first three (in some cases two) chapters of your book, along with a detailed synopsis. And if they like what they read, they will ask for the entire manuscript. If they like your manuscript in entirety and find it for their publishing calendar and scope, they will take it forward and publish. Now, this process usually takes about 6 months. So be patient. Some publishers like Srishti ask for a marketing plan along with the complete manuscript. I suggest talk to a few people from the publishing business and have a marketing plan in place. Writers like Chetan Bhagat and Amish Tripathi, did have a formidable marketing strategy. So, yes, investing time in chalking out one is bound to help.

Do keep in mind that sending your complete manuscript doesn’t guarantee anything. The publisher may choose to or not to publish your book. Don’t give up on writing if they don’t. Remember, this is just the beginning of a long and adventurous journey.

Who are the publishers you can go to, once you’ve finished writing and editing your book?

You can approach:

  • HarperCollins: Well, they are the best and it’s tough to garner a response from them. You can snail or email your manuscript. Here’s the submission page. Authors writing under their banner include Devdutt Patnaik, Raivinder Singh, Anuja Chauhan, Anita Nair etc. None of whom are debut writers.
  • Penguin India: One of the top notch publishers in India. Snail mail or email your manuscript. Here’s the submission page.
  • Rupa: One of the biggest names in Indian publishing. They have published a range of interesting titles over the years. Their biggest success story is Chetan Bhagat. But their success is not limited to him. You’ve to courier the chapters and synopsis for preliminary review. You can email your complete manuscript though — only if they ask for it. Here’s the submission page.
  • PanMacmillan: Huge worldwide. But not as big in India. You can email your manuscript to them. They give higher priority to books send via literary agents. But send your book anyway. Thing is, every publisher gives higher priority to submissions made via agents. More on that later. Here’s the submission page.
  • Westland: They have been acquired by amazon. So you won’t find their site or the submissions page, right now. But wait up and once they are up and running, you can send in your book. You can like their facebook page and stay updated on their publications and activities.
  • Juggernaut: They are at the helm of some very interesting publishing endeavours. You can write on their platform and get published instantly. Or, you can send your chapters and wait. Here’s the link to their submission page.
  • Fingerprint: They publish a wide range of books from thrillers to romance. I find their books pretty interesting and different. Here’s the link.
  • Srishti: They are a mass publisher. And almost all their books have a love story at the heart of it. They do publish thrillers as well. Ravinder Singh’s I Too Had A Love Story and Preeti Shenoy’s Life Is What You Make It was published by them. Here’s their submission page.
  • Harlequin: If you’re a romance writer, you can send it your manuscripts to them. They are the biggest sellers of romance books worldwide. Currently, they publish ebooks as well as paperbacks under their various categories. See where your book fits in. Here’s their submission page.
  • Speaking Tiger: They publish literary fiction. And opened shop in 2014. Here’s their submission page.
  • Aleph:  Founded by author and publisher David Davidar, Aleph publishes books of all genres. And are partners with Rupa publications. Here’s their submissions page.
  • Alchemy: You have to send in your complete manuscript to them. Here’s the submissions page.
  • Hay House: They publish books on Self-help, Alternative Health, Psychology, Food and Nutrition, Philosophy, Business, Astrology and more. Apart from these, they also publish select titles which include biographies and books on current affairs and cinema. Here’s the submission page.
  • Grapevine: They publish audio books, videos and books. You can email them.
  • Ombook: They have retail outlets or books stores and a strong distribution network. Here’s the submission page.
  • Leadstart: They have bestsellers and award winning books under their belt. You can email your submissions.
  • Tara Books: Right now, they are not accepting submissions. But do keep an eye on this Chennai based publisher.
  • Zubaan: This is an independent feminist publishing house based in New Delhi. Here’s where you can submit.
  • Roli: You can send in your submissions to them.
  • Himalaya: You will have to fill an online form to submit.
  • Pustak Mahal: They call themselves India’s biggest mass publisher. You’ll have to fill an online form here too.
  • Lifi: One more publisher to submit to. Here’s the link to their site.
  • Hachette: They accept submissions via literary agents only. So unless you are into writing children’s books or reference books, don’t waste your time. I’m sharing a link to their page here, so you can get the names of the literary agents. Here’s the link to that page.
  • Grey Oak: They don’t accept unsolicited or direct submissions from authors. You’ll need to go through literary agents. Here’s the submission process.

Literary Agents. And then there are literary agents. What’s the deal with them? Well, you can send your manuscript to these middlemen and women and if they like it, they will take it up for representation and sell it to publishers. In return, they will charge a percentage from the royalty you’re offered by publishers. Unlike in the UK or US, in India, not many authors approach literary agents. And not many publishers insist on receiving manuscripts via agents. However, publishers like Hachette and Grey Oak insist on having a literary agent. Here’s a list of the top names in India.

Kanishka Gupta of Writer's Side
Kanishka Gupta of Writer’s Side
  • Writer’s Side: They call themselves the largest literary agency in South Asia. They provide additional services like editing too.  And have edited bestsellers like I Too Had a Love Story and You Are The Best Wife in the past.
  • Siyahi: Led by Mita Kapoor they are keen to take up new voices.
  • Purplefolio: Led by Urmila Dasgupta.
  • Sherna Khambatta: They have a flash website which is impressive but takes time to navigate and get to the submissions page.
  • Red Ink: You’ll need to fill in an online submission form. So be careful about what you submit.

Remember: None of the traditional publishers or literary agents will charge you money to get your book published. If you can’t get published through them, then, you can self publish through amazon’s KDP programme and createspace. I’ll talk about self publishing in detail, in the next part of my blog series titled how to publish a book in India.

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