Shambhu Sahu is a journalist-turned-book publisher based in New Delhi. During his 12+ years' stint in print media, he worked with leading media organizations like The Times of India, PTI, and The Indian Express and wrote primarily on Hindi cinema. He also edited the "IFFI Daily", on behalf of Directorate of Film Festivals, in Goa in 2010. Then, he worked with leading international academic publisher SAGE Publications India where he single-handedly published over 120 titles within 5 years. He now works with Rupa Publications India, a leading publisher of India and is based in New Delhi; and writes occasionally on varied subject but more specifically on cinema.
Welcome Shambhu, I would like to ask you the following questions:
1. Share with us your role at Rupa Publishers (Publications) India.
I look after commissioning and acquisition of high-quality non-fiction as well as fiction books, which would be the next bestsellers.
2. What is the Genre that is being selected for publication in India these days?
Both fiction and non-fiction, though the latter is somewhat more preferred. A fiction - unless it's by an established name or has a mind-blowing new story/concept - could be slightly risky as an acquisition. Among non-fiction, I personally prefer books on politics, cinema, history, and self-help genre.
3. Do you see this changing in the next 5 years? If yes, in which direction do you see the shift?
Not really; I believe the fine mix which we are seeing between fiction and non-fiction books is likely to continue for some time. Just that non-fiction as a genre will see more titles, comparatively. Within non-fiction, we may see more genres emerging, just as we saw a spurt in sport, food, chick lits, in past few years.
4. How do you see the immediate future of publishing in India?
As India continues to grow, along with increasing literary rates and purchasing power among more Indian in tier B, C, and D towns, publishing will grow. What Chetan Bhagat and Rupa Publications have done is tremendous: they have broken the myth that books are for only a small group of intellectual people, and taken the books to masses. So, every year there will be new readers being added and new writers telling new stories - particularly Indian stories. I am no industry expert to give you figures, but I can tell you as more and more people become interested in reading and writing across classes, publishing will see interesting times. One aspects we all would need to watch out for is innovations in publishing. Everyone will have to do something new to remain in news, business and sustain themselves. It could be content, its marketing, or finding new readers and ways of reading.
5. Is it really important for writers looking to get published by top league publishers to have a strong platform ready before approaching publishers?
See with Social Media playing a huge role in our lives, the authors will have to be more marketing savvy and 'social media ready'. Many of them already are. They know an author's job doesn't end with writing the book. With people having really short attention span, the authors will have to do their bit to catch attention of buyers to augment sales of their book.
6. In your opinion, should the writer write for a particular audience / genre in mind or write what he wants to and think of the target of their work later?
This is not an easy question to answer. You could never say what would work for sure. So, believe in your stories.
7. Share with us the ingredients of some of the best-written queries you have received?
I like authors who clearly and briefly explain their work along with a note about their manuscripts USPs. It's important to get your proposal quickly understood and liked by the person receiving it. Reading the whole manuscript comes later.
8. What is a weekend to you?
Weekend is strictly ME time. It belongs to me the person.
9. One question I ask all my guests – what is your favourite non-alcoholic drink?
10. Advice to the writers of ‘Write Scene’ who are looking to get their work published.
Your job does NOT end with writing a 'great book'. That's one important part of it. The other critical part is selling it till your name itself sells the book. But do tell your story. All the best!
If you want to know more about our guest, please visit their blog below:
He blogs at http://shambhusahu.blogspot.in/