‘Is it fun to self-publish cartoon books?’ asked a dear friend. I was amused. Though I thrillingly relish the feel of holding the first copy of any of my cartoon books, I know for sure that it’s not fun. It’s a tedious process especially as I have to religiously do a couple of cartoons every day. The first challenge is always to shortlist the cartoons from a huge ‘stock’. There’s a dilemma of leaving out the better cartoons as well as including the ‘favourites, which may not be popular ones. Then other challenges follow. Designing, making pages, creating a cover etc etc. The best part is getting a foreword from my favourite cartoonists. This is an opportunity to interact with the legendary cartoonists like Surendra, Morparia etc whom I adore, but also gleefully look forward to their opinion about my works. I love it!
The most painful part of self-publishing is, marketing these copies! There are many cartoon lovers who wait for the book and order immediately, that number is not substantial to recover the cost. But reach more people and to communicate to them about the book, you have to use your social media presence, sometimes to the extent of irritating many friends. With Facebook relying on it’s own algorithm to hide any ‘marketing’ posts, it’s really difficult to reach your friends, followers. The good part of this marketing overdrive is, you get in touch with many cartoon lovers and get to know them better. Some of these people who disliked me for my cartoons on Modi or Rahul eventually discovered that this cartoonist is not ‘bad’ as they thought! Also I have been able to discover the real people behind those aggressive/abusive messages on social media!
If it’s not fun, why do I opt for self-publishing?
There are many benefits. I live in the coastal town of Kundapur in Karnataka. Both Bengaluru and Mumbai are little far. And with a hectic work schedule, I can’t afford to run behind publishers to cajole/plead them to publish my books. Of course an established publisher can help me reach more readers. And I always love gifting books to students, friends, journalists and cartoonists whenever there’s an occasion like cartoon workshops or cartoon festivals. So when I self-publish, I can easily deal with the copies, the way I like.
The most important part. When I give my books to a publisher the pricing is not in my control. They have their own channel to sell books, so the price goes up astronomically.
For me, affordable price is very crucial. I can go to any length to restrict the price to affordable point. So, I design/I make pages and I sell directly to the reader avoiding any extra burden on them. Quality of printing is as important as the reasonable pricing.
So, my books aren’t available on online platforms. That could inconvenience some people, but help many others to afford quality books.
Finally I make use of events like cartoon festivals, not just to sell my books but also to interact with the buyers to get feedback about previous books.
The most traumatic part of self-publishing is dispatching the books and making sure that the book ‘actually’ reaches the buyer!
My latest self-published books are ‘Cartoon Sarkar!’
and ‘Hum & Them!’
These books launched ahead of 2019 elections will be released on February 9th at Nammoora Habba in Bengaluru.
I need to make sure that every buyer gets a signed copy.
You can buy any of these books or can buy them together at a discounted price.
Finally, if you’re considering self-publishing your book I would recommend it only if you have enough time on your hands or the will-power to do it.