How To Get Published in India: Publishers Reveal What They Are Looking For

It’s an early winter morning. You can hear the birds sing. When you step on fresh, green grass with that glint of dewdrops, you can hear a crunchy sound.

If you walk barefoot, it feels like pure inspiration – to write, to let go.

But there’s more to come.

There can be no greater fun than walking into the company of writers. There is an electric energy in the atmosphere, with writers cutting across all ages and genres, stretched out on the green grass, basking in the sun.

At the Times Lit Fest in Delhi, we saw considerable excitement among writers for this morning session, ‘How to get published?’

English novels print 2,000 to 5,000 copies on an average

If you are an aspiring writer, you need to know what the print run scenario is for every book – Ashok Chopra, CEO & MD of Hay House India tells us. He cites that the younger generation does not enter bookshops. Also, publishing houses go through phases. For example, audio publishing is popular in the US and for a short while, it was a fad in India. It fizzled out but now it has made a comeback. The basic problem in publishing, according to Ashok Chopra is, ‘We are low in print numbers.’

Try traditional publishing, contemporary non-fiction is very relevant

In Hindi, Karthika V K says, ‘We get 30,000 copies of Surendra Pathak’s books. Within months, he brings out the next book and that too gets sold out immediately. His books are getting passed out around in a big way – it’s a huge market.’

She has another IMPORTANT tip for wannabe writers, ‘Contemporary non-fiction is very relevant – look for a subject that has a great deal of relevance. You don’t even have to complete the full book to do this. All you need to do is write a 500-page proposal. Publishers, if they like the synopsis, will be keen on non-fiction and faster to respond.’

Don’t follow trends, don’t lose heart, don’t limit yourself to love stories

‘A literary agent is like a bridge between the author and the publisher. However, it is not mandatory to follow the literary agent route,’ says Anuj Bahri of BahriSons.

He also has some great practical tips for writers:

  1. Don’t limit yourself to a literary agent.
  2. Publishers get 200 manuscripts a day – most get rejected. Don’t lose heart.
  3. Don’t limit yourself to love stories, have faith in your work.
  4. Don’t lose heart, carry on with your writing.
  5. Don’t follow trends, leave it to the movies.
  6. Stick to your story – that is important.

So, friends, the key takeaway is simply this: Keep writing, have faith in your work!

And let me add one more to this – learn to have some fun while you’re at it!


Swapna Raghu Sanand is the author of Tryst with Divinity, Pearl of Divinity & Blossoms (An Anthology of Poems). She lives inside the pages of the books that she reads and feels heartbroken when she has to move on to the next one. Her writings are based on her personal spiritual experiences.

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