Helping debutant authors getting published!

Considered as the King of Romance, Ravinder Singh is a well-known bestselling author with a whopping number of sold copies of his novels (approx 3.5 million). Ruling the Romance genre of the Indian trade book market for over a decade, he has now become readers’ author. And his huge fan following on social media is another testimony to his popularity. Now a full-time storyteller, he simply loves creating stories of love with love and is also helping new authors get published.

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Ravinder Singh, who after having spent most of his life in Burla – a very small town in western Odisha, is currently based in New Delhi. He has an MBA from the renowned Indian School of Business (ISB). His eight-year-long IT career started with Infosys and came to a happy ending at Microsoft where he worked as a Senior Program Manager. One fine day, he had an epiphany that writing books are more interesting than writing project plans. He then called it a day at work and took to full-time writing. He has also started a publishing venture called Black Ink (www.BlackInkBooks.in) to publish debut authors.

After enjoying great success for over a decade, how it feels, and he replied, “I feel quite good about the fact that what I wanted to do, I am able to do in my life… I am able to cherish my passion…. I have opinions to share… I have a platform on which I can share my views and I am my own boss, I love that part of my work.”

A welcoming change…

On asking about the changes he has witnessed in the Indian publishing industry, he shared, “Two decades back, there was no commercial market for fiction, which came into existence a decade and a half back. A lot of books that were not meant to be work of literary fiction or nonfiction have happened to see the light of the day which has been a good welcoming change in this industry. But, in the last one or two years, things have changed really fast. But I feel we are still at the tip of an iceberg and I believe that it’s just not even one percent of all the fiction work that is coming out. Overall, there is a big market for Indian books.”

And now, this current pandemic situation has changed many things…“I started writing short stories during the lockdown and realized that e-books are the best mode to take my content to the audience. What’s more, audio books have helped publishers to reach out to those who were not in the habit of reading, and so a large audience has started listening to books. All this has been very interesting,” he further added.

Uplifting aspiring authors…

In 2015, Ravinder started his publishing venture ‘Black Ink’ with an idea to help and discover first-time authors, who have an interesting story to narrate. Further elaborating, he added, “There are lots of debut authors, who are on the same page, where I was 12 years back when I wanted a publisher for my first novel. I endeavor to make their road less bumpy and help a few in getting published. I plan to mentor them at various steps of their writing process, hone their writing skills, and finally publish them under Black Ink (my publishing house). This is my way of providing a platform to aspiring authors.”

“It is a dream of every debut author to finally see his/her book in print and hold a physical copy of it. I also realized that a lot of publishing houses were tapping this opportunity. These so-called small publishing houses ask for money from the first time authors and exploit them. When I realized that all this was happening, I decided to do something for such authors,” he said.

“So far I have published many books of new and first-time authors. Some of them have gone on to write their subsequent book, while some of them have also sold the movie rights of their book. Richa Mukherjee is one of my authors. Her book ‘Kanpur Kufia Pvt Ltd’ rights have been bought by Endemol Shine India Pvt. Ltd,” he informed.

Selecting the BEST

So how has been the journey as a publisher and what’s the response so far? And he explained, “Remarkably, only one percent of all the stories are great stories, in fact even less than that. I am very particular about the content that I publish. There are thousands of authors who submit their work but at the end of the day, I only pick the best three. Today, we have to understand that there are too many platforms for people to get entertained and books can’t simply compete with them. A book nowadays has to compete with the OTT platform, gaming, social media, etc., so the quality of the content has to be outstanding. Notably, the percentage of great content is really low.”

The formula for a bestseller!

Churning out bestseller after bestsellers, do you have any formula? He replied with a smile, “The only criterion for writing a bestseller, according to me, is that your content should be entertaining and engaging till the last page. But then there is no formula for this. Technically, creativity can never have a formula. One can only polish creativity. You can’t learn it. It’s not just for book writing; it applies to any form of creativity. If you work on a certain formula, it may work for you once, but not always.”

Blessing in disguise…

On asking about his future projects and plans, he shared, “The Covid-19 pandemic situation has made me quite creative. There was a lot of content churning out in front of my eyes. As a creative person, real-life stories not just influence me but also affect me, and so during the lockdown, I came up with the idea of creating e-singles every week. I started releasing a love story every Friday. With an e-single of around 7000-8000 words, I did a series called “With love – Ravinder” with HarperCollins. It has 8 small love stories – each consuming 20-30 minutes of reading. I also wrote a love story on lockdown – Lovebite.”

“Also, my next own romance novel with HarperCollins is due in February 2021. Later this year, there is an anthology coming out with Penguin compiled through crowd sourced content, in partnership with Romedy Now,” he revealed.

Message to readers…

“Read more…Reading is the greatest source of entertainment if done with positivity, unlike watching the screen. Reading leaves you with thoughts. Read at least 5-10 pages in a day and finish a book in a month,” he concluded.

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