How to Self-Publish from India: A Case Study
How to Self-Publish from India: A Case Study


How to Self-Publish from India: A Case Study

It started when this reader from Chennai, India emailed me about one of my books being ripped off.

He was just being honest about finding some books being given away for free. So I thanked him and gave him some more.

Over a few years, we've been exchanging comments and books, helping each other out as we could.

Recently, he told me he wanted to write and publish books - along the line of self-help and personal development. 

The trick to this was that he had no computer or home Internet. He was going out to an Internet kiosk

So I made him a deal - I'd help set him up and he'd then help some others get set up.

The main point is this: If a writer in India with only borrowed Internet access can get himself successfully self-published, then anyone can.

I did the usual, which has streamlined even more as time goes on.

Here's the short-hand notes on how to get started: 

How to Self-Publish in India (For only sweat equity.)

Payment:
  • Paypal + PAN card

Book creation:

Book publishing and sales:

Book Promotion:

Let's take these apart - 

Payment:

Paypal has become pretty conventional these days. In India, you have to have a PAN card as well, so that they can collect their taxes. That's the way it goes there.

Book creation:

LibreOffice is accepted and converted everywhere. It's now simplest to upload your native .odt file to Lulu and they'll create the ebook for you. LibreOffice also generates a upload-ready PDF, but you can get Lulu to do this as part of your hardcopy version. Then simply download the epub and PDF versions (as well as selling that PDF version directly on Lulu) - so you can upload these other places.

GIMP is used to make your covers, if you don't get these made elsewhere.

Calibre is used to store the meta-data (descriptions and tags) as well as keep all your versions of the book in one central location. It will also convert your epub to mobi so Kindle users can upload it. (Most people are now using their smartphones or tablets these days, so will use the epub or PDF file.)

Book publishing and Sales:

Lulu will publish your needed versions in both ebook and hardcopy versions. Flipkart is for India and the surrounding area.

Blogger enables you to get sales directly, when you put a Ganxy script on your site. This also allows you to capture emails, which makes even MailChimp unnecessary to start with. You can email your customers directly. As well, it's possible to make a widget that only does email, and put this anywhere. 

You get blogger with a domain-name of it's own in order to get more respect. Blogger doesn't care how much money you make from it and takes care of all the backend support work. Yes, you're limited like anywhere else, but you can concentrate soley on creating more books, not on security updates, plug-in conflicts, etc.

Ganxy allows you to import and export email lists (just follow their terms of service closely.) So you don't have to have an email client to start with. Ganxy also sells directly to your other distributors without having a person have to leave your blog. 

As you get experienced with this, you can then do the needed homework on Gumroad - which has some great tutorials and short courses you can take. Gumroad has extra features such as memberships and subscriptions so you can get more recurring income by selling courses, etc.

Sellfy works with Facebook on a tab - so you can sell all your books in a bookstore setup.

You'll need to upload your books to each of these (Ganxy, Gumroad, Sellfy) in order to enable direct sales.

Book Promotion:

Podcasting is hands down the fastest way for you to get traffic to your blog. Use archive.org for hosting, and generate the RSS feed with Feedburner, then port that feed to iTunes and Stitcher (plus a few others.)

Social updates are done via Ganxy, and your Blogger blog will post to Google+ for you, but use IFTTT to push your content everywhere else. Almost too numerous to mention here. You will need to post to LinkedIn on your own, through.

Take that audio file and create a video from it, then post to YouTube. (And set up recipes on IFTTT so that they promote your video for you.)

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It's really that simple. A couple of years have boiled this down to what would fit on one side of a 3x5 recipe card. Funny, huh? 

I've got my buddy in India working through these. I did a lot of these for him, as he started out without having a computer and going to a local Internet cafe in order to get online access.

Now he's got a used laptop and is creating podcasts on his own.

As a side-point, Ganxy (and Gumroad, Sellfy) allow you to sell audio on their site as well - even create bundles with many files having a single check-out. So your audio files can be used as promotion (via Soundcloud or YouTube/Vimeo) and also as bonuses.

It seems the simplest is also the easiest and cheapest. 

This doesn't get you around editing your book, or creating enticing covers, or the work in watching your sales and running promotional campaigns. But if a guy in India can do it, then anyone else in the world with Internet access can as well.

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Make sure you're subscribed above in order not to miss out on any hair-raising, white-knuckled, cliff-hanging adventures in self-publishing.

See you next time...


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