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Literary Entrepreneur Rewriting Rules of Publishing in India

In year 2014 when author turned entrepreneur S N Sharma decided to start a publishing house in India the challenges looked enormous and prospects gloomy. Though the market is virgin, yet working in a place like Kashmir was full of obstacles. “There were host of issues ranging from lack of good infrastructure including quality printing press to lack of even a decent readership,” said SN Sharma. “But we were prepared for the challenge and thus Edupedia Publications Pvt Ltd was born.”
Barely months into the business, Edupedia Publications Pvt Ltd, with imprints like 'Pen2Print', 'Eduindex', 'IJR', and 'EduPub', which hit the trajectory of growth that no other publishing house has seen in India in recent times. With huge social media presence and intelligent promotion of books appealing the younger generation, Edupedia Publications Pvt Ltd got the knack of the market. Authors started pouring in with their manuscripts and the end product had decent sales too.

The unique thing about this self publishing house turned out to be its flexible packages, which it offers the authors. In a traditional publishing house, it is the publisher who pays the author for the book, but in a self publishing house, it is the author who pays to get his book published.
“We never sweet talk with authors. We have certain packages from lowest averaging Rs 3000 to highest which we offer to authors. The choose whatever they wish and we give equal commitment to every package,” said SN Sharma CEO of Edupedia Publications Pvt Ltd. “The royalty to authors is 100 percent. If an author witnesses sale of 1 lakh copies, he or she will earn equal amount. Everything is transparent.” Some of the authors like Dr Henana Barjes and Shuja Tasleem have seen good revenue from their books, thanks to the royalty model.
With packages that suit even a person from a lower middle class income group, the otherwise shy and poor authors got a boost of confidence. An author from different region came all the way to his office recently just to sign agreement for a book and left. Similarly another person doing menial jobs saved the amount and went on to publish his dream book. “We have so many stories to tell. Every author is a story,” said SN Sharma.

After the stupendous success, which saw almost one book release every week, the publishing house changed it tagline from “Pen2Print Services”  fast growing self publishing house”. It happened just in nine months. At present they have published 333 books.
Most of the books are fiction followed by books in other genre. Though English is dominant language in majority of books, but the house has also published books in English and Hindi languages.

A unique thing about the publishing house has been its encouragement of teens and even children to write books. Of the 333 authors which the house has published 25 are below 20 years of age. 

The love for writing made SN Sharma to ditch his degree that would have made him a manager.  The book was a huge success in comparison with other writers of same league.  “As people particularly youngsters saw my success, there was sort of encouragement in air. Many authors approached me to enquire how to publish their books and how this industry works. At that time it was evident that people with deep pockets could easily get their work published and rest struggled. I got the idea to start a self publishing house to meet this demand. It took almost six months for me do research in the market as I knew nothing about it,” said SN Sharma. “We carefully planned everything keeping a watch on every variable.”
EduPub’s strength has been its social media presence. Its Instagram page has crossed 10000 in a year and they are now applying for blue tick. Its blog is widely read and very blog gets readership of around 6000. “No self publishing house has social media presence as like us in entire India. We opt number of small strategies like keeping address of our Instagram page Delhi during promotions to reach wider audience. It is continuous improvisation, ” said SN Sharma. “And investing in social media has brought us benefits. Now we are even going national. Very soon we are launching a book by an author from Lucknow. ”  Then there are open mic events organised by youth wherein authors from Pen2Print interact with readers at cafes.

In addition to being available on e platform like Amazon, SN Sharma also started courier service to cater to the needs of hard cover loving readers. The company has 24 hour delivery commitment in Srinagar. Working in India has its own period and SN Sharma is aware of the consequences. The publishing house usually avoids political books and even conflict is wetted.
“The future looks equally bright. If a person has a clearer vision and gives 100 percent commitment then success is not far away. We have few more collaborations in mind and even are on the lookout of international authors. We want to make Pen2Print a brand from India that has global audience,” said SN Sharma content with the fastest growing tag in an industry that is struggling to cope up with declining reading trends and online onslaught.

- Editor, Eduindex News