Publish a Book in India: A Complete Guide

Publishing refers to the creation of books within India.

India’s print book market—which grew at a rate of 20.4 percent, compounded annually between 2012 and 2015—is estimated to be worth Rs 26,060 crore.

As per 2016, India is the world’s seventh-largest book publishing country (all languages) and the third largest English language publisher in the world. With more than 80,000 new titles in 24 different languages published every year in India, India is also the world’s third-largest book market.

Apart from the usual traditional publishing, self-publishing has also been playing a huge roll in the publishing industry. Self-Publishing is when an author pays the self-publisher to print their book. Though it has already been there for quite a while now, it’s currently taking the over the publishing industry with so many new publishers.

A recent study on Indian publishing called the Nielsen India Book Market Report 2015: Understanding the India Book Market, which is priced, and has been described as a “study” or “survey”. Based on this report, it is claimed that India ranks in second place among all countries as an English-language print book publisher, that it has some “9000 publishers” and that over 70% of Indian publishers have “digitised their content to produce ebook versions”.[1] The Indian publishing industry has grown over time and in 2017 was estimated at US $6.7 billion.

The adult literacy level in the country is projected to hit 90 percent in 2020, and this is expected to continue feeding demand for books.



Step 1: Get in Touch with the Publisher

Get in touch

Contact the publisher. All self-publishing companies have easy access. Their websites have a phone number and email id through which you can contact them through.

Step 2: Submit Your Samples

Submit your samples

Their publishing consultant would require a few sample chapters of your work to have it evaluated for publishing by their editorial team.

Step 3:  Choose the Publishing Package

Once their team approves your manuscript, their publishing consultant will get in touch with you to discuss which package will be suitable for your manuscript. After selecting the package and paying, you will receive the order form and Agreement copy for signature.

Step 4: Submit Your Full Manuscript

The submission team will get in touch with you to get the entire manuscript and any other information that is required.

Step 5: Publishing Process

The collected files and author (you) information will be transferred to the Project Management team from the Submissions Team. A dedicated project manager will be assigned for your book and will be the only point of contact from then on.

  • The team will work on getting the Word file preformatted, by removing technical formatting errors without disturbing the content.
  • Interior designing process.
  • Interior file will be designed from the final word file by feeding it in Indesign, and the final output will be sent as PDF Digital proof for approval.
  • Cover creation.
  • Selection of cover sample.
  • After the cover and interior is finally approved by you, QC – Print quality check will be performed.
  • Print.

Step 6: Distribution

You have various distribution channels to choose from, and your book will be out for distribution.

Step 7: Marketing

You can choose the type of marketing you want for your book. Their in-house professional marketers will help you and your book gain maximum exposure.

Step 8: Post Publishing Support

Post publishing support

Once your book is out, their Post Publishing Support team will help clarify any doubts you have.

Most authors assume they can self-publish without spending a dime, but that’s not true. Other than traditional publishing, other types of publishing require the author to pay. What’s the catch? You become a published author!

Read further to know about the 3 major types of publishing in India in detail:

  • Traditional
  • Self-publishing
  • DIY


Traditional book publishing is when a publisher offers you (author) a contract to publish your book. The publisher buys the rights of your book so they can do anything they want with it right from editing to removing whatever they feel like it.

Traditional publishing was always sought after. but not everyone can traditionally publish. Meaning, the publisher gets to decide if your book will get published or not after reading it. A traditional publisher always has the upper hand.

Once you’re done with your manuscript and you decide to self-publish, it roughly takes about 1-3 months for your book idea to transform into a book proposal to your literary agent. From the agent to the editor and for the book contract offer, it takes another 2- 5 months.

The total amount of time from the idea of your book to publishing it might even take up to 2 years! If you think that it’s not worth it, think twice.

Here are few popular traditional publishers:

Traditional Publishing


They publish English-language fiction, poetry, general and narrative non-fiction, biographies and memoirs, current affairs, business, travel, cookery, religion, philosophy and self-help, reference and quizzing, photography and illustrated books.

They DON’T publish textbooks, technical and scientific research studies/monographs and papers and medical books.


They are currently accepting work in English across genres including fiction and non-fiction (adult and children’s), biography, current affairs, and self-help.

Pan Macmillan

They accept manuscripts that have a strong connection to India or the Indian subcontinent.

Fiction- modern contemporary fiction, horror, historical fiction, thriller and suspense, historical thrillers, fantasy, literary fiction.

General and narrativenon-fiction – self-help, current affairs, sports, fitness and diet, business and management, family and health, popular philosophy, anthologies, travel writing, cultural studies, literary essays, social sciences, politics and government, history, memoirs, epidemiol-ogy, biographies.

They DON’T publish school and college textbooks.

Rumour Books

rumour books india

They are currently accepting publishing proposals for fiction (romance, crime and thriller, short stories, childrens’ and young adult, humour, fantasy and sci-fi, historical, literary, poetry), and non-fiction (autobiographies, biographies, narrative non-fiction, sports, politics and current affairs, cookery, business and economics, travel).

Srishti Publishers & Distributors

They are open to considering publication for unsolicited fiction and general non-fiction works in the English language.

They DON’T publish textbooks or scientific and technical books

Half-Baked Beans

They publish all genres – romance, thriller, adult and children books, short stories, sci fi, literary, humour, and poetry. In nonfiction -autobiographies, biography, narrative nonfiction, politics, sports, current affair, business, economics, travel

Grapevine Publishing Services

They are are currently accepting unsolicited work in English across genres including fiction and non-fiction, political writing, economics and self-help.


If you’re not aware of what self-publishing is, it’s when you (author) pay money to a self-publishing house to publish their book. With that being said, everyone started penning down stories, poems, etc., and have been self-publishing so that they become published authors. Self-Publishing is currently taking over the publishing industry.

Thanks to the rest of the Gutenberg Press in the 15th century, most authors fund the publishing of their books, but it was not until the existence of eBooks and Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, the domination of indie authors became possible.

Apart from printing the author’s manuscript, a self-publishing company consists of in-house designers, typesetters who design your book cover, typeset your manuscript, and take care of everything till your book’s distribution.

Many authors nowadays prefer self-publishing to traditional publishing because:

  • You keep 100% rights of your book.
  • You have direct support: websites list a phone no/email which you can directly contact to start publishing.
  • You can publish whenever you want to without any rules.
  • You have a short wait time: a month, minimum.
  • Although the professionals help by pitching ideas, you can go ahead only if you want to. In other words, you get to be the boss of your entire publishing process.
  • Of the non-exclusive agreement. You can self-publish with other companies and go ahead with traditional publishing too.
  • Marketing and distribution are handled.

Read further our article self-publishing vs traditional publishing to know more about both types of publishing.

Here are few popular self-publishers:

Notion Press



Textbooks, cookbooks, poetry, non-fiction, they publish all types of books in any language.

While few self-publishers like Notionpress, Blue rose 24/7 Publishing​ & Pen2publishing have a variety of publishing packages ranging from ₹9,900 to ₹1,49,000.

Blue Rose Publishers

Blue rose

Though they specialize in publishing novels and poetry books, they also publish other fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, academic, and text books.

White Falcon Publishing

White Falcon


DIY publishing is when you prefer to do everything yourself with the help of many softwares. Some authors also hire freelancers for few tasks they can’t do themselves or hire some companies like Pothi and Pen2publishing who focus only of services that start from just ₹1,500

Here is the list of softwares used for every step of self-publishing.


There is no need for you to pay if you get publishing traditionally. But the only setback is that you give away 100% of your book’s rights.

The cost of self-publishing is usually package wise. With a variety of publishing packages offered for every budget, you can choose whichever suits you best.

If you DIY, you spend on a lot on software for various stages of publishing or by hiring freelancers.

The average cost of publishing a book after it receives developmental editing, copy editing, proofreading, cover design, and professional typesetting is roughly Rs.25,000    -Rs. 1,60,000. Although the average cost varies with the genre, the final price also depends on the length of your manuscript and level of freelancers’ experience.



Editing is vital to any book. Errors in your writing can put your credibility as an author at stake.

According to statistics online, the average cost of editing varies from Rs. 0.60 per word for copy editing to Rs. 1.50 per word for Developmental editing. It aims to improve the content and structure of a manuscript. 

 Copy editing roughly costs about Rs 60,000 Also known as text editing is a word by word editing done for grammar, usage, and consistency issues. Copy editors check for spelling, grammatical errors, typos, linguistic and syntactical errors along with punctuation such as commas, semicolons, and quotation marks. The final cost depends on:

  • The genre.
  • The length of your manuscript.
  • The amount of work needed for your manuscript.
  • The editor’s experience.

Cover Design

Cover Design

A book cover is essential to your book as it’s the first thing people see before taking a second look. The job of a book cover is to stand out and attract people. Graphic Designers take care of your book’s cover.

A professionally designed book cover can cost you:

– Rs 2,000 to 3,000 by a fresher.

– Rs 3,000 – Rs 4,000 (2+ years with significant publishers) by an experienced designer

–  Rs 6,000- Rs 10,000 by a veteran (10+ years with significant  publishers)

When it comes to cover design the main factors are:

  • The style of design.
  • The number of ‘iterations’ rounds the design requires.

You might have found the perfect designer to do your book, but keep these two things in mind:

– If they’re working on other projects simultaneously, you will not be treated as a priority (you might not be able to meet them as much as they have other clients to attend to as well).

— Every time you want to change something on your cover because you are not satisfied, you will be charged.

If you opt for a print book, you’ll need to design to make the back cover and spine of your book which costs extra, obviously.

Book formatting

Book formatting

Book formatting is the process of preparing the text for reading. It is crucial to format your book  properly to ensure an enjoyable reading experience. It also includestypesetting and book design. Readers will want to read your book only if your work looks good and maintains uniformity. Every page of a book is different, so don’t be surprised if it gets more expensive than book cover design. Sure you can use templates and do it yourself, but you can also hire freelancers to do it for you.  According to statistics, 78% of self-published books cost under Rs15,000 to typeset.

The cost of Book Formatting depends on:

  • Your book’s word count. Longer the book, more time it will take.
  • Typesetter’s experience.
  • The amount of pictures or anything. For example, a novel is easier to typeset than a textbook.

eBook Formatting

ebook formatting

The cost of eBook Formatting ranges between Rs 3,000 – Rs 5,000 depending on the number of formats and complexity. If you choose to publish an ebook, you need to format your ebook to the seller’s guidelines like Amazon KDP, IngramSpark, Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks, and Google Play Books. If you don’t meet their requirements, you will not be able to sell your ebook on the platform.


Everyone wants to be the next bestseller. For that to happen, it starts with marketing. More than money, the amount of effort put counts in marketing.

Social media

Social media

Not everyone is an expert in marketing to do it themselves. Various freelancers charge differently. The price ranges from Rs 15,000 – Rs 50,000 They charge according to:

  • Post
  • Social Media platform and
  • Service (create a FB page, run an ad, etc.).
  • Hour



The price ranges from Rs 15,000 – Rs 30,000. Amazon is also widely used for marketing books around the world. Marketers can help you optimise keywords, and advertise on Amazon.

The cost for both varies on:

  • The number of designs.
  • Banners per social media platform and number of banners.

Some include basic advertising cost. Rs 15,000 – Rs 20,000. While some freelancers charge only for design, some include the cost of ads. NOW that you know how much it costs to hire freelancers, I’m going to tell you how the pricing with a self-publishing company works. Before I get it, let me tell you how a bit about self-publishing companies for those of you who don’t know.

  • Most self-publishing companies consist of various publishing plans ranging from Rs 25,000 – Rs 1,90,000 with many services included. When you decide to publish your book, a Project Manager will be appointed to you and will guide you. Till your book’s Post Publishing Support, you will be the #1 priority.
  • The publishing house will consist of professional editors, designers, typesetters, etc., with top-notch experience in their field. This way, every book is created by a team of professionals regardless of the book’s simplicity. They are not only trustworthy but also easily accessible. The main advantage of working with a publishing house is that you don’t have to work with multiple freelancers.


Marketing in the key ingredient to promote something. Excellent marketing leads to more sales. Apart from old school marketing like word of mouth, posters, bookmarks, book reviews, online marketing is now evolving – especially on social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter are the most popular social media platforms now, so what was once a platform to meet people is now one of the main marketing hubs in the world.

Apart from the old school and social media marketing, some other powerful forms of marketing like


Google ads

The ads you see on various blogs/sites are called Google ads. You can create and manage Ad campaigns for your book. This is done by identifying the target audience using specific keywords and categories relevant to your book and creating text and banner ad designs.



Creating YouTube videos are a great way of promoting your book. You can talk about your journey, make tutorials related to writing, publishing, etc

Online press release

As many prefer reading news online, issuing an online press release is a great way to market your book.

Author Website

Author websites

Creating an author website helps increase exposure for you and your book. You can always have fun interactive sessions with your readers.


Good reads

Just like Amazon, Goodreads offers many ways to promote your book. You can host a giveaway, advertise, and make sure your followers up to date with any news you want to share.

Book trailer

Book trailers are now becoming a way to promote books. It helps increase anticipation amongst readers and can be forwarded via WhatsApp, etc.

Now that you know the different methods of marketing your book let’s talk about which methods publishers use.


Now comes the distribution part. This is the most vital part of the publishing process, duh. Once your book is published, it will be available on leading e-commerce websites. The more channels you have to distribute your book on, the easier it is for readers to purchase.

The distribution is almost similar to all kinds of publishing.

As you know, Amazon is the number 1 online distributor in the world for (e)books. Apart from that, some of the most popular distribution channels in India are :


Ingram spark

IngramSpark is the largest book distributor in the world that has tie-ups with around 30,000 books stores globally. You can have your readers from around the world purchase your book too.


It is one of the largest online retail platforms for buying books in India. All possible genres are available in this platform.

By now, you would have understood that self-publishing is comparatively cheaper than DIY.

Now that you have a rough idea of how much publishing costs, here are the traits the perfect self-publisher must possess:

  • They must be approachable. A good self-publisher must be approachable and easy to coordinate with.
  • They should offer services at reasonable rates. You don’t want to spend a bomb on something and regret it later, do you? A good self-publisher has packages for every budget: higher the package, the better the services. But a good self-publisher will not cheat you into buying a package you don’t require.
  • They must let you have 100% ownership and royalties. A good self-publisher must let you keep 100% of profits from your book’s sales, no matter what the package is.
  • They must be professional. They should have an in-house team of professional designers, editors, marketers, etc., who know what’s best for your book.
  • They should have a non-exclusive agreement. A non-exclusive agreement allows you to get your book published with more than one agency. Make sure your publisher has one which can lead to more opportunities for you. This agreement can also land you a contract with a traditional publishing company if their agent is impressed with your book.
  • They should be punctual. When they give you a certain deadline, they must follow it.
  • They should not keep you readers waiting for long. A good self-publisher will maintain an inventory of your book and see to it that it never runs out of stock during the lifetime of your book, i.e. until you terminate the agreement.
  • They should have a variety in distribution for every package. Your book must be distributed on 5-6 platforms, including the self-publisher’s website. The physical book must also be sold at the premium bookstores.
  • They should let you have full control. Though they are helping you, you are the boss of the entire process.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin