Saturday, November 11, 2006

Truth of Indian Technical Book Authors.....

I am not a big guy to comment on this topic currently i have only 5 books to my shelf. But many software professionals want to jump to this trade thinking money in there mind. Let me share my experience in the technical book industry writing specially from Indian publisher perspective.

First thing the book market is really really sloopy. If you look at 10 years back it was a huge trade. But today because of web and free downloads and blah and blah the sales are really down. In previous times sales of 10,000 copies was easy for any book in India. But today10,000 copies means best sellers in computer technology world.

If you look at Indian computer book authors history we have great authors to our list Yeshwant Kanetkar ( The Let US C guy ) , Vijay Mukhi ( The first technical Author of BPB publications to my knowledge) , Ivan Bayross ( Best sellers of Oracle comes through him ) , Bala Guruswamy ( I think every college students starts career with his book ) and many other. So is Indian technical book writing really really very prospective from Indian market perspective.

Well the answer is no if you are looking for short term and yes if you are looking for long term ( When i say long term really really long term). Technical Book writing industry have two kind of authors :-

1) Who comes once makes a best seller and then work as consultants and they never write a book again. Probably they never even revise there book editions. The only purpose for these authors is to make a name and then work as consultants.

2) Who writes as full time authors and earning money from books is the only business.

So if you are thinking of entering this industry you should be damn damn clear which category you are lying in. For instance in the first category its essential that you have to make it a best seller or else you have gained nothing from it. But in the second category its important to be consistent. Consistent in terms you need to at least take out 4 books per year which sell at average level.

OK Shiv enough so how much will i earn if i become a computer author. Hmmmmm i will be realistic. On a average level a average good Indian technical book sell around 4000 copies. I mean its easy to write topics which can sell at least 4000 copies. For instance if you are writing on new topics and if you write averagely well you should sell 4000 copies.

Normal rates of Indian computer book lie in the range of 200 to 400 rupees and royalty vary from 8% to 10% ( Frankly i started at a very very low rate , but later seeing my performance publishers gave due credit to me). The amount of the book can vary depending on number of pages , topic , authors name etc etc. This royalty percent is on the face value of the book. Clarify this because many of the publisher can say on manufacturing rate and that can be really very very squeezy. The royalties are paid normally in the month of March or April. I mean most of publishers pay on one of these two months.

So here's the equation 4000 * (10 % of the book amount) is the authors profit. So lets say your book cost is 200 Rs then 10 % of 200 is 20 i.e. 4000 * 20 = 80,000 rs. Well the amount is not attractive for software professionals because many people will think i can earn so much in developing new products.

But one of the best thing about book profits are that they are recurring. For instance if you are writing a book on Basic of Object oriented programming then it will run minimum for 10 years that is a good enough profit. Yes your publisher should be loyal in giving out royalties.

But the effort put behind the book is much more than what your profits are. But if you really see five years down the line with a best sellers and 3 average selling books every year you can easily have a decent amount in hand.

If you really want to start as a author here are some guidelines which i followed :-

-- Take topics which will sell for mass people. For instance OOP programming will sell for mass public.

-- Advertise yourself by showing presence in news groups. If possible advertise yourself when you are writing the book itself. So that when the book comes in the book store you are already set right.

-- Write topics which will run for a long term for example OOPS , C , C++ , DBMS etc.

-- Keep you cost of the book moderate by talking with publishers.

-- Finally keep writing , keep up your commitment. Remember the publisher also invests on you so if you do good he does good.

Book business is good but needs huge commitment , know if the book will sell , finally above all consistency and quality.

------------ Slow and Steady wins the Race ---- Shivprasad Koirala is already in this business to take off....


Unknown said...

I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks.

Interview Questions India

RAJEEV said...

it was much candid, as u write what u felt. will read other statement from u, perhapes i will be able to relize how much changes is there in thoughts