'We aim to push growth of 50 first-time authors'

'We aim to push growth of 50 first-time authors'

'We aim to push growth of 50 first-time authors'

Chennai-based publishing company Notion Press was founded in 2012. Naveen Valsakumar is the Co-Founder of the publishing house, and the company recently launched the Accelerator programme for books. In an interview with Furquan Moharkan of Deccan Herald, Valsakumar said that accelerator for books is modeled exactly the same way as a startup accelerator.

What led to the formation of Notion Press?

Notion Press was formed because two of the founders wanted to publish a book in India and found that it is incredibly difficult and time-consuming for a first-time writer to publish a book. Traditional publishers usually prefer to work with authors who already have an existing platform. Like a well-known author, journalist, actor, celebrity or politician. This gave them better Return on Investment and reduced risk of the book failing.

It also made marketing the book easy. It is fair from their point of view but the question was, if everyone wants to work with established writers, who will work with new writers? How do they get established? That is when we stumbled upon self-publishing and found that there were not many options in India. We decided to use our technical skills and partnered with another founder who was already into publishing to form Notion Press as a launch-pad for new writers. The idea is to help writers publish a book the proper way. We want the lines between traditional publishing and self-publishing to blur in terms of quality and marketing support provided to the author.

How does the accelerator work?

The accelerator for books is modeled exactly the same way as a startup accelerator. Authors need to have a published book and show sales traction to join our accelerator programme. We treat every book as a startup and require the author to cross two metrics to show his commitment to the project before accepting the book into the accelerator program. Upon acceptance into the programme, we help the author re-position his book, identify the target audience, create engaging marketing strategies for the book and give a fund of Rs 1 lakh for the author to use the fund to promote his book. At the moment, this programme is only open to authors who self-publish their books via Notion Press.

What is the business model of the accelerator?

To give you some context, in our self-publishing business, the author invests money to create and launch an awesome book. Since he invests, he gets 100% of the net profits from every book that is sold. Once he self-publishes with us and shows enough traction to join the accelerator programme, we invest time and money in helping the author grow his business, in exchange of which we take 30% of the net profits. The authors get 70%. So, essentially, our authors and us make more when we sell more books. This is a win-win for both parties.

What is the payment model for the to-be-author?

There is no payment required to join the accelerator programme. However, in order to first self-publish a book with Notion Press, an author could choose from our range of professional services, including Editing, Book Design, Printing and Distribution and pay the charges for the services they choose.

How many to-be authors have signed up and are being mentored?

We have just launched this programme, and we have over 30 authors who have applied to join the accelerator programme and there is a healthy competition among our authors to see who will qualify first. We are still reviewing their books. Our goal is to accelerate the growth of 50 first-time authors by April 2016.

When do you start mentoring the authors?

Like any accelerator, we require that authors fulfil two criteria — must have a published book and must have decent traction. Once the authors self-publish their books using Notion Press and meet these metrics, they can apply directly from their author dashboard on our website for the accelerator programme.

What is the size of the book publishing market in India?

The size of the book publishing market in India is very debatable. There are so many numbers floating around and since the sector is still unorganised, it is difficult to get accurate reporting. FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) did a study couple of years ago and pegged the industry at about Rs 11,000 crore.

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