Stop publishing your book, unless you have a 3-month plan of the promotion before you launch it. That’s just one piece of great advice from author and publisher New Delhi-based Harshit Bhardwaj in this episode. Hersh as he’s called, runs Shreem Info Media and published books in India for independent authors. Lots of great tips including a strategy for entering the Indian market of 1.4 billion people, 80% of which speak English and are keen to learn from foreign experts.
Text into human voice-over in realtime.
Welcome to this episode of the UnNoticed Entrepreneur today. I'm delighted to have Harshit Bhardwaj who's joining me from just outside new Delhi and, goes , by the name of Hersh a name given to him when he was studying Liverpool, Hersh. Welcome to the show.Hersh Bhardhwaj:
Thanks a lot, Jim.Jim James:
Now Hersh you're on the show because you're a literary agent, also an ad man. but we're going to talk about how you can help the unnoticed entrepreneur with their publishing, because let's face it. If you write a book, that's only just part of the project. So tell us about how the unnoticed entrepreneur can use books and publishing and what normally goes wrong. When they launch a book.Hersh Bhardhwaj:
That's a big one. Jim.Jim James:
Yeah. Let's break it down into smaller bits, but I mean, you're an expert, you published books, you've written your own book and had great sales. And I know from my own book that writing it and getting it onto Amazon really is just the start. Right. it doesn't mean that people are going to buy.Hersh Bhardhwaj:
That's right. That's that's the big problem. even today when we, get manuscripts and go through the entire 360 of publishing a book, what most annoys me is that still feel that, that s the job done. We've written a great book. I've given it to you now. It's your job to get it out there. Not so right now with social media influence. Everyone needs to see who the hell. The author is right. And when I, when I came out with my book, I thought everyone knows me. I have a platform of 10, 20,000 people. The book will fly off the shelf and things going to happen. So I did not really get out and promote it being a literary person. I was a little, you know, I, I didn't believe in shameless promotion of your own product. So I felt just going out, trying to sell my book to my friends and families. Hey, my book is out. "Come on, buy it," I didn't do it. I didn't feel like it, which is right. So now I'll break it down into what one should do, I'll focus on your specific book because every book is different. Every author's target audience is different. So your book at 50 entrepreneurs, you put together a kind of a brilliant case study of how to get noticed. So they are, these are experiental professional advice from people who have done it successfully. So your target audience is more such people who want to get noticed what you can learn from that book. if you want to reach out to people who are trying to make it happen, trying to get noticed and not everyone can afford the kind of advertising and marketing that is needed. So how do you hustle? How do you get the word out? So your book, I've told you this before. So your book for you, of course, it's a brilliant credibility to all your experience and it puts it all together and it it's it's, it's a great thought. It's just a glorified business card. God, please don't be offended if I'm using this blower.Jim James:
right. I mean, it's. And that's why many write books is to give that credibility. Absolutely.Hersh Bhardhwaj:
So, how do you make it, how do you leverage the most out of it? You're not, you're not trying to sell a million copies. What you're trying to do is you're trying to reach probably a million people. Our book is a brilliant way to get in the hands of million people. And, they'll, they'll get to see your name. Your book is in their hands. They trust you. They trust your credibility and they would want to know more about you you, now this is where we start. So as soon as the book comes out, Months before the book is coming out. That's where the preparation starts. We need to bring the author out in front of. So people don't buy products as you know, people buy people. So gone are the day is when you could bring out a book and the author sits somewhere in the shadows comes out for the book signings, that's it. They need to see the author, you know, as much as they can because everyone else is doing it. The brand seven days, two days, they're on social media, they're tweeting. 34 times a day. So they need to see who the offer is. So I want to know who Jim James is, and the boundaries are really thin. I mean, from personal to professional, the boundaries of an, I really want to know who you are. So 300 rupees book or 400 rupees book, money is irrelevant this is, this is probably the only product where people really don't look at the pricing of the book. If they like the author. It's okay. They won't worry about two, three, $5 here and there. So for example, when I, why do I want to read your book? I've been in touch with you on LinkedIn for a few months. I have read your posts. I know enough about you, that there is an intrigue to see what you've done in the. That's the intrigue you need to create in your potential readers. And you need to be getting in touch, being out there, producing content to, to, to show the 360 of your personality. So it'll be good. If you have one in one post, you're talking about your dog, it's fine. Everything, everything goes. So we want to know as potential readers, who are you? What's your thought? Because a book is a collection of thought. It said it's a tangible form of your thought process. And I want to know everything about. So that's where the content production side and the social media side of the books of the authors is really most crucial more than the book. So book, they haven't read the book before they bought it. So before they buy the book, they need to buy you.Jim James:
So how do you go about that then? It just talk us through, what should an author do? what should I have done? Six months before the book coming out?Hersh Bhardhwaj:
Yeah, that's it. It's a good question to ask six months before the book is coming out and it's always too late. The window of opportunity for selling you book is really very small. Even on Amazon, they have a list called hot new releases. That stays for about four weeks. So if you don't make it into that list in the first four weeks, that list is gone, then they have the movers and shakers. That is again, even the first four weeks, the book is moving. So you, you make it to that second list. Then of course they have the best sellers list, the top hundred list. So they only Ever show top hundred. So if you're not in the top hundred in any category, you don't make that list as well. And Amazon, I know it for a fact that they promote all these lists really well. So they do a lot of work for you. If you make into one of these three lists that I know there must be a lot more lists that they curate, so if you make into those lists, so that window of opportunity is about four to six weeks. So you can't start the day. Your book has come. So, as you said, you need to start early. You need to start six months or three months before that. That's the first thing. And we're talking about non-fiction business books, not literary fiction, not fiction. So that's a different model for that for non-fiction business books, primarily building an author platform, which everyone talks about. But what you do that author platform that's that's the thing. I mean, what, what can you, do you been in the PR for so many years? And I can definitely say that you will run out of ideas. If I will say that Jim, you have to post at least 10 times a day. I can bet you won't be able to post as much content. But that is needed. You're going to have to post enough number of times consistently long enough to get people on board to algorithmically, build your reach and engagement and all that. found you on LinkedIn because you're posting at least once a day. So if you that by 10 or five or six a day, engagement will definitely reach. That's the first thing that consistency of creating, producing content and bringing it out there. Number two, what do you post, how do you, the logistics of this now, even though we're talking about publishing, I'm talking about marketing and promotion ' cause I'm not, I'm drifting away because the publishing part, I'm assuming it's already done. You've already self published a book. Why Amazon or any other publisher? So the book is in the making it's coming out in three months and you planned it So you have three months to build your platform and you can wait. You're going to have to wait because once the book is ready, there is a rush. We just get it out there and see what happens. So if you're not prepared, nothing's going to happen. Being in the publishing business. I know that the book's done like anything. Nine or 10 books don't sell beyond 200, 300 copies because of this. This is a major reason that they rush into getting it out there without any preparation, without any promotion, they don't have any platform or they think they have, but it's not there. It's not quantifiable. So plan it you're going to have to do it. Now. The logistics of it is you won't be able to do it yourself. That's something you have to accept. You need a backup team. You need people behind you who will do the dirty work for you. For example, you can shoot 10 random videos during the day with your smartphone, but to bring them to a post table quality, you need somebody to do it. You know that well, you do a lot of that. Work yourself.Jim James:
that the time taken, for production and post-production and publishing and promotion is, overwhelming, in fact, could take more time than the job you're trying to do. Right. So that's why you need a team like you have.Hersh Bhardhwaj:
Yeah. So as I said, three months, I go by the rule five, eight to 10 posts a day, times 30 times three. So that's the kind of content you should have on the table before you start in an ideal world. For that you need a backend team for that. You need to plan your narrative. Now we'll come to the third part. The second part is you need somebody to do the logistics for you. You will need a backup team. You will need somebody who can produce audio and video and text. And who understands the three major platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and some video logistics part is number two. Third is what kind of content do you bring bring down. Now a student of literature who started working in marketing and understood the narratives of brands over decades, like apple and Google, how it takes them years and decades to build that narrative, you are really not trying to sell your book. That's the first thing you're trying to sell that idea that your book is based around the, gist and the core of it. And you have to break down that idea. Into thousand stories. Like my book is based around 1001 Arabian nights. So there's this queen who marries his king who's slaughtering Queens every night. The condition is if you can entertain me throughout the night, you live otherwise you will be slaughtered in the. So I use that metaphor as a client and customer relationship. So you have a finite amount of time, right? Only a finite amount of time, which the client has given you. After that you will be slaughtered you just a click away it's eight second rule, or you have a finite amount of time. So this girl marries the king and she has a plan of action. She starts telling stories. And the story is so enthralling and it's so engaging that, and she deliberately does not end it by, by, by the morning by Dawn. So the king is really curious to know what happens next and she gets a pardon, the first pardon and then the next night, the story continues and the stories are forking out. One story never ends. The story always continues. So she's always forking the stories out from the same stories and it goes on for 1001 nights at that moment, he really falls in love and the big story ends, the big narrative ends so for us, we need to continually fork out those little bits from one story to another. So that three month narrative is not really a three month narrative is going to be long-term narrative and never ending narrative. gist of it is your, your book's idea or your idea. That's where most people struggle. They don't know. I mean, even I've seen authors, who've written great books, but if I asked them to sum it up in 10 seconds, they struggle. It's often too complicated. A lot of books are just put a compilation of different, various ideas of other people. Your book is a compilation of various different ideas, but the idea is simple. As far as I understand. And how do you get noticed what works for you? There are 50 examples. There is an absolute need for you to get noticed, right? And I'm giving you 50 different ideas that have worked,. . Once I read the book, I can summarize it in one minute. All those 50 ideas will have something common. We'll have common running threat. The routes might be different, but the idea will be. The idea is similar, the storytelling. How do you entice your customer long enough to stay with you, start believing in you? once they start believing in you, they'll stand up in the lines at 4:00 AM for apple stores for the next iPhone, once they start believing in you. So the content part is the most difficult part, and that's where the real offers and the not real offers are differentiated.Jim James:
How interesting. Yeah, as you say, reminds based around this idea of, of thymus and the, and the fundamental need of, of people to get noticed, because actually it stimulates a chemical release cause at a primal level, we need the support of others in order to survive. Right. And, that's how we get. either social needs, but in business, that's how we get our value transferred, to others. Right. So thymus is the essential ingredient in getting noticed. so yeah, so that's wonderful. So how does it work then for a, a publisher like me? Is it too late? I launched the book in August, for example. And now it's October, have I lost the window? Hersh? Are there remedies? An author can take post event or do they have to sort of throw that one away and get on with another one?Hersh Bhardhwaj:
Yeah, I think in terms of that, that Amazon marketplace, I told you that window is gone even in, in, in UK, because you can't get into the hot new releases list anymore after four weeks. And you can get into the best sellers list. Whenever the book starts to sell for that to happen, the book consistently needs to sell X number of copies based on your category. You can get into that list anytime. So that's something always open, but yes, that window. Is there, but now that's gone. Let's say the book is I work with books that were published two years ago. Are we working with a, with a famous us physiotherapist, a world-renowned physiotherapist. He wrote a book I think three years ago, and I'm trying to get it to publish in India. So in India, in India, we'll start a fresh on Amazon India. It'll start afresh. So it'll be a new listing.Jim James:
The best marketing advice that I can give to you as an author. And this is not my advice. This is Stephen Kings. Who's probably the most prolific author alive today and the amount of work that he's done and he's still doing, despite he doesn't need to. His advice is the best marketing advice is to write the next book because every time you're writing and bringing out a new book, your reader base increases. It does increase. So as opposed to a one book person, like my book came out in 2019 and nothing else has come out, ideally I should be bringing out one book in a year. So the best promotional advice is that you continue to provide books, bringing them out so that after let's say five years, you have five books, the reader base increases incrementally.Jim James:
Okay. now what about India though? Hershey you've mentioned publishing in India. Does one need to then have a separate strategy for India? If I launched globally on Amazon, is India not being taken care of, then.Hersh Bhardhwaj:
No, technically Amazon sells, the Amazon's pod that, that you operate, it sells in, multiple locations. I think us Canada, Japan, Australia, England, some parts of Europe. It doesn't, it doesn't work. The pod doesn't work in India. So if you, if you need to sell your book in India, and if you need to get, get access to the Indian audience, Somebody local must, print it and publish it on Amazon. You can do it from wherever you are, but let's say you are in UK. So sending inventory to a UK publisher will be a lot more costly as opposed to printing it locally in India. now the quality and everything. Not an issue anymore. same or better quality. Can we print it at a one fifth, one sixth of the cost? So somebody local must be here. That's where that's where somebody like me comes in that will take your book and we'll print it locally. We'll acquire the rights first off of publishing, printing and selling in Indian sub-continent we'll promote it and then market it. Technically we'll list it on Amazon as our book, published first in UK, it'll have your your name and then published by James Hemingway. Then coming to the, in terms of promotion and launching your book in Indian market. Now, this is the logistics sorted. The book is available on Amazon at a local price. As opposed to the price that we get to, if you were to import your book, it's around 2002 PS. If it's coming from Amazon, UK, if we make it available in India for 3 99, which is the right price. So the logistics is sorted. You need a local partner or a publisher, and the many models to work around. You can send the inventory at your own cost. You can print the inventory at your own cost and ask them to sell it. Or the publisher acquires the rights and then bears all the cost.. Right. These are the two standard models that, that work. I work on both. So if the book is really unknown and I don't think he is, I think it's a big risk. Then I'll ask the author to contribute towards the printing cost in India or send us the inventory. So we'll, we'll take a percentage and we'll try and sell it. If I think there is a day, there, there is a chance and it's, it's something that the Indian audience would appreciate, like, for your book. So we'll take that. We'll print and sell based on whatever we, whatever print run we feel would be fine. That's a logistics. So you need a local player right now. Jim, James, I don't know how many people know about you. LinkedIn, of course you have, you have, you have a global presence. Of course you have followers. You must have followers from e'lla will, as we are talking about will produce an Indian edition of the book. Maybe the foreward or introduction would be written by somebody from India to give it, give it an Indian edition feel. We'll interview more with the Indian entrepreneurs Indian people, Indian players, that you get more interaction with the, with the Indian audience over a period of time, about 25% of your content strategy should be focused on the Indian audience.Jim James:
Yeah, well look Hersh. That is something I'm really excited about doing, but I also share with the audience, the unnoticed entrepreneur out there who might like to talk to you as well, how can they get in touch with you?Hersh Bhardhwaj:
LinkedIn is a, is a, is a good, good way to get in touch with me because it's in my phone. My g-mail I'll share with you. You can share the short notes and. I, I really love, really would love to work with, international consultants, coaches, trainers, anyone who would like to tap into the Indian audience and because there is a market here. Start with the book, bringing a book to the Indian market and then the promotion and marketing follows. So you will have access to 1.5 billion people around 75, 80% of them speak English, understand English and do their business in English. So I'm trying to make that happen. Great voices, international voices into India. And it helps them both. It's a win-win.Jim James:
Hersh Bhardwaj, thank you so much for sharing and taking interest in my book. I'm really looking forward to working with you and introducing you other unnoticed entrepreneurs. Thanks for joining me today from new Delhi.Hersh Bhardhwaj:
Thanks a lot, Jim. Thank you.