Mr. Sagar Sheth is an ambitious and talented individual with a tenacious mind. He believes in putting his utmost effort into something and once he sets his mind to do something, he does not stop until he accomplishes it. Despite his busy schedule, he keeps trying new ideas and stays on his toes. An IT engineer by background, he completed his MBA in finance from NMIMS. He is the 3rd generation of the educational book publishing company, Sheth Publishing House and also founded his new self-publishing venture known as Ink Your Thought.
We were extremely lucky to get an opportunity to have an interaction with him. Here is what transpired.
What prompted you towards joining your established publishing house?
My journey started nearly 6 to 7 years back. Since I completed my MBA from NMIMS, I already had an entrepreneurial journey on my mind. As we were skilled with the tricks of the trade of entrepreneurship, I thought why not take the already existing legacy of more than 45 years of Sheth Publishing House forward. Being the next generation, I took it upon myself to come with some fresh ideas which the earlier generation might not have had the opportunities. That’s where my contribution lies, with the new technologies and methodologies coming in, I can help to incorporate those ideas to take us to greater heights.
What drives you to be associated with a platform like Monomousumi services?
When we recently ventured out with Ink Your Thought, that’s when Monomousumi services came into the picture. I came to know about the various services they provide and the competitions they organize. Inadvertently the interaction happened and our goals kind of aligned since the idea behind what both the organizations are doing is pretty similar. What happened next was our collaboration that has now been more than a year old and we would like to take it in newer directions.
Do tell us about the unique features of Ink Your Thought.
Ink Your Thought, as it rightly says ‘U Create, V Publish’ and our tagline is ‘Ideate, Write, and Publish’, these three words talks about the three different journeys an author takes. Ink Your Thought benefits people as a self-publishing company since the author isn’t asked to make a huge investment from their side. Ink Your Thought doesn’t ask you to take a leap of faith but here we make sure that your confidence increases and the investments are decreased.
Can you explain the process of self-publishing?
Self-publishing is a process where the author is driving the entire book; the publisher is merely helping you by providing you with the right tools to get your book in the market. Self-publishing is a very new and emerging concept and a lot of people are actually going with it as people now have the power to put their ideas across, get them published and distributed. For example, Mr. Amish Tripathi began his journey through self-publishing and we all know where he is now.
How is self-publishing different from traditional publishing?
Traditional publishing is a concept where we approached publishers and to commercially sell the book you cannot have a high price tag for the book, so to fit in that rate, the books get printed in bulk numbers, which may go in thousands of copies, but all the investment doesn’t guarantee a sale. Secondly, the disadvantage of traditional publishing is Royalty. Since the traditional publisher puts in all his resources, he takes the major chunk of the cake and the authors somewhere remain dissatisfied about not earning much out of their own hard work and creation. Opposite to all this, self-publishing is author-driven and the author gets to take all the calls. Through this channel, you can test the waters and initially publish just a hundred copies and get feedback and reviews to proceed further with some changes. Additionally, 100 percent of the royalty on sales is given to the author, of course after subtracting some minimal operational costs.
Mention the kind of books that Ink Your Thought publishes.
As a self-publishing firm, there are various genres that we have worked with; be it fiction or nonfiction. Now we even have started publishing the scientific thesis and research work done by Ph.D. holders. They too have the desire to commercially sell their work in which they have put in so much effort and research. We give them a chance to get their work out there as a book and not simply leave it like a journal or dissertation. We have worked with literature, thrillers, sci-fi, romance, biographies, and the list goes on.
Any success story that you would like to share with our readers?
Ans. As we have collaborated with Monomousumi, through their channel we have published many bright and budding authors who want to self-publish their work, and now they are selling widely on portals like Amazon. Many authors have published educational books or books of poems and travel stories that are now widely acclaimed. I can go on talking about the stories of success that the authors have achieved when they have published with us. I can personally say that success can be measured with what the author wants to do with the book and the satisfaction he receives after publishing it.
As a publishing house, what strategies do you have for the promotion of an author’s book?
If we talk about e-commerce sites then Amazon is currently one of the biggest marketplaces for books, not only in India but globally as well. Hence to promote an author’s book we do list the book on Amazon. Today getting listed on an e-commerce site is extremely important as the word of mouth method doesn’t reach as many audiences. So in Ink Your Thought we make sure that your book goes out to a larger audience and has a wider reach.
Does Ink Your Thought provide the author with a one-stop-shop solution for all their publishing needs?
When you talk of a one-stop-shop solution it’s like talking about pin to plane, be it everything and anything that the author requires, and my answer to this question would be an emphatic yes. We provide all the services that a conventional author would require. Right from the editorial services, we have proof-reading services and designing services to design a beautiful cover and to layout and format the book, all these services are pre-press. In traditional publishing this is where your journey ends but with us, once the printing process is completed, few complimentary author copies are provided, we also help with the distribution process, in India via online and offline channels. Internationally too we are linked and listed with a lot of platforms like Barnes and Nobel, Ingram, Kobo, Amazon KDP, etc. Further, in the marketing of the book, we even do an online press release, interview with the author, video trailer of the book, we can also create a promotional website for the author as we have web developmental services well in place. Educating our clients is very important hence we have project management services where a dedicated project manager is there with the author, hand-holding with them to see their book through. A coach is also present to push and motivate the authors if they hit a writer’s block.
Apart from all these services we make sure that the author can avail their copyright certificate and get an ISBN generated for their book without any hassle.
With the arrival of e-Books and audiobooks, how do you see the market for paperback versions?
Everything is coming in the folds of digitalization but I have met a lot of people, be it the older or younger generation, who still like to have the feel of the book in their hands. The paperback version has a very different feel to the overall reading experience. No doubt e-book too is a very good concept but every segment has its pros and cons. The paperback version can be bulky at times but the e-books can be electronically kept and read even on our smartphones. But the e-books have a limited time period and may get deleted sooner or later whereas the paperback version stays with us and people like to exchange and share the books with each other which is much easier with the paperback versions. Paperback versions cannot become totally obsolete altogether, as it provides an aesthetic impact on the reading experience. There is still a large audience out there who cherishes the feel of the book in their hand, and they like to flip the pages as they read across as they take in the vibe of the book.
Many people don’t know what an ISBN is. Do you think it’s important for a book to carry an ISBN?
For a book to contain an ISBN is extremely important. If we observe a book’s back cover, we find a barcode and a code of 13 or 15 digits, that’s the ISBN. It stands for International Standard Book Number; like we have a car registration plate which is unique for each vehicle and helps in identifying which car is yours, similarly, ISBN works on a similar concept. The books all across the world are separately given a specific number which acts as an identifying number for the book, and no other book in the entire world would have that number. The ISBN, along with the name of the book and the author is listed with the authorities. Every country has a registration authority of the ISBN, in India, this is done by the Raja Ram Mohan Roy Authority which looks after all the ISBN needs.
Any message that you would want to give to the writers out there who have a dream of becoming an author.
If you have a dream in mind that’s where the ideation is already in place, so just buckle up, be more confident, and have an idea of the market as to what is in demand. Let your thoughts flow and your pen move on paper, there are no word limits, you can always get your book edited later on. The self-confidence that comes with holding your own creation is an amazing feeling altogether. Success is everywhere, you just need to believe in yourself and continue writing. Publish your book for the world to imbibe your ideas and notice your talent.