My Tryst with Self Publishing

Kavitha Yarlagadda
6 min readSep 25, 2020
Self Publishing a Paperback in India

I had self-published my debut book of poetry on KDP, but many of my friends said that they didn’t have a kindle and asked if there was a print version of the book, but I didn’t have any. So now after I finished writing my second book which is a collection of short stories, this time I wanted to make sure to have both a print and eBook version of my book available on Amazon and Flipkart. So began my search for the perfect self-publishing platform to satisfy my requirements.

I started exploring all the self-publishing platforms, many suggested Notion Press and Pothi. So I started doing my research, and this is what I found.

Pothi Print on Demand (POD)

This is not a self-publishing platform but a print on demand service, wherein we can upload the manuscript, cover and publish an eBook and a print version of our book. I want to talk more on the print version of the book as there are many eBook publishers. So on Pothi we can print one copy of our book or any number, there is no limit to the number of copies we want, and the service is free and the book will be available on the Pothi store. We can share the link to our social media sites or to our friends, once ordered the book will be delivered accordingly, I received the book in ten days owing to the delays due to the COVID situation.

But what I wanted was that the print version of my book should be available for sale on Amazon and Flipkart. For this there is an option called extended distribution on Pothi, which allows us to sell the paperbacks on these partner platforms.

Pothi offers three packages

The Standard package costs Rs.1500/- and once we pay and approve our book for extended distribution, it will take a week to ten days for us to receive the links for sale on these platforms. I opted for this package, but please ensure that you order a print copy of the book from Pothi store and check if everything is according to your requirement and then only approve for extended distribution. I made the mistake of approving before receiving my print copy and I didn’t like the book size, the cover finish, the page colour and the sentence spacing, so I had to pay Rs.1500/- again and had to stop my earlier order of the books. The second time I selected a matte finish cover, with a book size of 5”x7”, a line spacing of 1.15 and selected the natural shade which means cream colour paper (the plain paper which I had selected the first time looked like I had put together a book out of Xerox copies).

If you do everything right and check your print copy properly your book will be available to order on Amazon and Flipkart for just Rs.1500/- which is a win-win situation. There is a renewal fee of Rs.1000/- for every year (which is currently waived), so if we want our print books to be available on the other two platforms after a year also, we have to pay Rs.1000/- and renew it (which is not a big deal I guess).

The second is the Premium — 200 package wherein, in additional to the Rs.1500/- for setup we have to the pay in advance the discounted author fee for 200 books and the yearly renewal fee is the same as above.

The third is the Premium — 600 package wherein, in additional to the Rs.1500/- for setup we have to the pay in advance the discounted author fee for 600 books and the yearly renewal fee is the same as above.

I published my eBook on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and used Pothi only to get the print version of my book out in India, and the print version is automatically linked to the electronic version of our book on Amazon, so I am pretty happy with this setup. And I also made the paperback available for sale on Amazon KDP, so that the print version is available for sale in US and other markets other than India (we can order it in India too but it has to be shipped from US which turns out to be much costlier).

Another thing I wanted to mention was that Pothi doesn’t provide us with an ISBN for the book and they said that an ISBN was not required to sell the print version on the Pothi store or on the other two platforms. But if at a later stage I wanted my book to be available for sale at a store or be displayed in a library it made sense to get an ISBN (not that I am thinking of doing any such thing now). So my book was further delayed as I applied for an ISBN, which I applied HERE, which is free of cost and it took me ten days to receive the ISBN, which I converted to a barcode using an application and later pasted it on my cover. I had designed the cover by myself using the cover creator tool on Pothi which was pretty simple, if you have the images ready.

But what I didn’t want was the Pothi logo (it was really big) which was inbuilt on the back cover next to the ISBN, so I downloaded the pdf version of the cover and converted it to a word document and then saved it as a picture and removed the logo in Paint and uploaded it on Pothi. So you can do the same thing if you don’t want the logo, or else keep it, if it doesn’t matter much to you.

We can set the price of the book above the minimum price mentioned on the site which changes depending on the number of pages, and after Pothi takes their cut in addition to the printing cost. The royalty is 50–50 for Pothi and the author on sales through the Pothi store, for sales through their partner sites (Amazon & Flipkart) the royalty is 20–80 between Pothi and the author, they have a royalty calculator which we can use to check the royalties received.

Notion Press — A self-publishing platform

Notion Press is a self-publishing platform and they offer Xpress and Guided publishing.

The Guided publishing has different packages wherein they offer help in publishing, and giving a few author copies based on the package. The packages start from Rs.17,000/- and go up to to above a lakh, the services depend on the package you select, I haven’t explored much on this, as I was not ready to pay or spend too much on my book.

The Xpress publishing is something similar to Pothi’s POD with some differences. The initial steps are similar wherein we upload our book details, the core specifications, and the cover which can be easily created using their cover creator. After the initial steps of the Book Information and the Book Content Design are complete, it takes us to the final page of Distribution and Pricing.

In this we are offered two options one is the Starter Package which is free, wherein we publish without distribution. Under this option the print version of our book will be available for sale only on the Notion Press website. They don’t provide us with an ISBN, and we earn 70% royalty from the sales of books sold on their store, but what I found way too high was the price of the book (for a book of 110 pages which I had uploaded, the minimum recommended price was 8.8 SGD (Rs.475/-), so I had to set the retail price higher than this (I was only experimenting and didn’t publish with them)).

The second option is the Standard Plus Package, this includes an ISBN and the book can be sold across major e-commerce platforms in India, US, UK, France, Germany and Singapore, and on the Notion Press website, and the cost for this package is 299 SGD or Rs.16,000/-.

My main purpose for going with Pothi was that I didn’t want to spend much money, and this worked out very well for me. For any first time authors or anyone who doesn’t want to spend much, but at the same time have their paperbacks available to a larger audience and on popular e-commerce sites in India, Pothi works out very well.

P.S: This is my author page in case you want to check out my two books.

And to know more about me visit my website