The Indian book publishing has long been like a government department. Deep entrenched bureacracy, the authors dependent on the maai baap culture of the publishers, who for no fault of theirs had become government like babus.
They all receive even today hundreds of manuscripts each week. So they naturally have got a huge discretionary power, which they at times delegate to their team. They can't really publish each and every work that comes at their door, but there can be no strict parameter to pick the best book of the lot. Hence the culture of babudom.And I can't even blame the publishers for that.
Recently, I received an e-mail from Rashmi Bansal, a renowned author herself, (I had reviewed her blog youth curry here, in 2007) informing me about her new venture. I think, if implemented well, this could be a revolutionary idea. Even though self publishing has really taken off, it has created a glut of books in the market. So much so that many of them lie unnoticed for years. Rashmi's concept which she has started off with Niyati Patel is a good one. I like it.
It states that new authors submit their manuscripts on their website, bloodygoodbook.com
Next, people, visitors on the website vote for these manuscripts (like those boring reality TV shows, only here it is more fun)
So whoever gets the maximum no. of votes gets to have his or her book published. Of course it is not as simple as that but that's the gist of it. The fine print is that they pick up 10 most favored books and from that bunch decide which to publish as e-book or with partnership publish a print version through Westland.
All in all, it is a win win situation for everyone. You submit your three chapters on the website. If readers like it, you will get published. If not, at least you got a fair chance of representation. For the publishers, who have to play the risky game of backing a new author, a decent public support beforehand will make them more comfortable publishing the book. Also significant is the fact that many wannabe writers or published authors would participate in the voting process, naturally for they would like to come and see whats on display. So, in a way the writer would also be judged by his/her peers. And not just votes but also comments/feedback. So even if a writer fails to top the finishing line, he still gets a lot out of this.
I myself would prefer self publishing over this. But to all new writers out there, my suggestion would be, even before you decide to choose a publishing route, go through this experience. Yes, don't just take this website as a process or a contest but as an experience. Whatever you learn out of it, will help you greatly in many ways. For, when we decide to get our work published, we have decided to face our audiences. And what better way to interact with our targeted audiences but here?
For readers and bookworms, this is a platform more for you than for writers. No one asks us for our view, even though its the reading community that ultimately decides the fate of a book. Why not give our opinions today, before the book is published ? Rather than after the book is published. This is one of the best opportunities for reading hobbyists to get their voice registered.That too by just marking stars and writing a review.
Of course that will be a challenge for BGB team. Apart from a very long name, they have also taken up a complex and difficult responsibility. That of an fair and impartial moderator. My best wishes for them.
India needs a lot of good and knowledgeable writers and thinkers. I hope this platform brings out the best of the Indian writing talent, using the power of democracy, which India is well known of.