6 Indian Authors Who Self-Published

6 Indian Authors Who Self-Published

While once self-publishing meant a route of consolation for those who couldn’t avoid notices of rejection from traditional publishers, today self-publishing is a predominant democratic creative tool for unestablished authors. It’s daunting, trudging the road not taken. But self-publishing is hardly a road untravelled anymore. Most often, evidence of success helps strengthen one’s will for the path that one worries may work backhandedly, especially with something as precarious as publishing. But these six Indian authors stand testament to the fact that self-publishing can be a hugely successful route if pursued committedly.

  1. Rupi Kaur

In today’s age of Instagram poetry, who doesn’t know Rupi Kaur? In fact, she began the move towards Instagram poetry which is still a largely popular phenomenon today. More Indian-rooted than Indian, Kaur is a Punjabi-Canadian poet who struggled to get her poetry published. Her first collection, Milk and Honey, was first self-published by her in 2015 before it was picked up by Andrews McMeel Publishing. The key to Kaur’s success has been the immense following she garnered on Instagram for her poetry. It is this large community online, surpassing over four million followers, that upholds the credibility and necessity of Kaur’s poetry. As a brown, Punjabi-Sikh immigrant woman, Kaur recognised the lack of support the conventional publishing industry would afford her. Nonetheless, her need to express her poetry drove her to opt for self-publishing. Today, she stands to be an explosive case of success who began her journey with the efforts of self-publishing.

  1. Amish Tripathi

If Amish had decided to stick with the rejection from all twenty major publishers, then his best-selling Shiva trilogy would have never seen the light of day. Combining historical fiction and mythology, Amish’s books are a kind that caters to a diverse readership. Having a literary agent, Anuj Bahri, Amish enlisted his help to self-publish his first book, The Immortals of Meluha. Distributed under Depot, a division of Pantaloons Retail India Ltd., Amish relied on marketing tactics to make his book stand out. In his case, it was his aggressive marketing that helped shoot his work into fame. Amish asked for his books to be handed out for free at counters and made a book trailer which he uploaded to YouTube. Relying on freebies and word-of-mouth, Amish was able to achieve the status of a best-seller not long after he self-published his book. Later, his trilogy went on to be re-published by Westland and today, he’s signed under HarperCollins as a wildly successful Indian author.

  1. Ashwin Sanghi

Sanghi turned to Lulu Press to self-publish his genre-bending thriller, The Rozabal Line. The release of the Kindle version later in 2007 only pushed the success that Sanghi found as a self-published author. Sanghi enjoyed wide success internationally more than on home ground in India. Conceived to be an ambitious project anticipated to fail in the Indian market due to its lack of engagement with thrillers, Sanghi’s work found its right audience abroad after digital self-publishing. Now, Sanghi enjoys the status of a successful traditionally published author. And yet, his belief in the advantage of self-publishing stands. Self-publishing not only helps tap into alternate business models but also opens routes to success as a writer that traditional publishing may not facilitate.

  1. Devika Das

Devika Das struck success with her first book, 7 Vows of Marriage, which she self-published through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) in 2016. Her poetry collection, Reminiscence, which followed soon after under BlueRose Publishers has managed to garner critical acclaim nationally and has since been published in anthologies nationwide. Das’s trouble with finding a traditional publisher relied on the fact that the printing cost seemed to account for more than could be returned in profits with sales. Moreover, contractual conditions such as copyright ownership and content length proved to be disagreeable to Das. She too, like most self-published authors, believed in the purpose of her work and its accessibility to readers. Turning to acquaintances from her personal and professional circles, Das had successful book launches at Jaipur and then in Delhi. It was people from her own circles that supported the promotion of her book which led to further sales and eventual profit.

  1. Savi Sharma

Traditional publishing can turn up slower outputs. Recognising this, Savi Sharma took matters into her own hands and self-published her first book. It took less than a year for Everyone Has a Story to be picked up by Westland for reprint. Sharma’s book was so big a success across Amazon that several traditional publishers turned to her for the rights to publish her book. A multi-publisher bid broke the stalemate of who would be able to publish Sharma’s book, which Westland ended up conquering. Sharma’s case shows her drive to be her own publisher and distributor instead of waiting around for traditional publishers to mark her debut as an author. While her case demonstrates the success of an author upon self-publishing, it also shows the need for a writer to be well-versed in the business tactics of publishing so that they may reap outcomes that are most profitable to their creations.

  1. Rashmi Trivedi

Being settled into the hustle of a Public Sector Undertaking did not stop Rashmi Trivedi from pursuing her bent for writing on the side. Beginning a tryst with BlueRose Publishers, Trivedi turned to self-publishing for her first book, Woman, Everything Will Be Fine. Her work enjoyed the status of a best-seller on Amazon before she followed it up with her poetry collection, Handful of Sunshine, Pocketful of Rain. Though Trivedi may not be pursuing the role of an author professionally, self-publishing ensured her indulgence in the role just as seriously. 

For some time now, there has been a move to acknowledge that being a self-published author is just as real and credible as being a conventionally published author. The idea of creative worth is no longer attached to conventional publishing alone. Self-publishing is just as, if not more, worthwhile seeing how it allows a writer to customise a model of publishing that is most beneficial to them and their work. This is nowhere more verifiable than in the cases of these six wildly successful Indian self-published authors.

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