Literary agents in India

Several years back when I was searching for the best literary agencies in India, there were very few names to be found. There were many self-proclaimed literary agents, but the good, authentic ones were very few. After all these years, I tried searching for literary agents in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai and many other bigger cities.

The story doesn’t seem to have changed much. You still find the same agency names that have gained more credibility over time. And yes, there’s a bigger number of unknown names claiming to be agents but with very little data on their track record and book sales to the big (or even small but good) publishers. So most first time authors in India, seeking representation, continue to send query letters to literary agents in the USA (New York, being the hub of such activity).

If you are in the same situation that I was in when I first started my hunt for the top literary agencies to represent my MBA book, here’s a short list to get you started.

Note: This listing considers only the agenting aspects of these businesses and not their editing services (if at all they provide those).

Literary Agencies in India

Red Ink Literary Agency | http://redinkliteraryagency.com
Agents: Anuj Bahri (New Delhi), Debbie Smith and Sharvani
Authors: They represent a pretty small number (under 50 at the last count, or maybe they’ve not listed them all) of authors. Amish Tripathi (The Shiva Trilogy: The Immortals of Meluha, The Secret of the Nagas and the last one in the pipeline) is big name in there.
Submission guidelines: They ask you to fill up a small form on their site with the basic details. Be careful what you type in there. That’s your query letter! They don’t accept poetry, plays and screenplays

Jacaranda | http://jacaranda-press.com/
This might be one of the oldest (since 1997) and most respected literary agencies in India. The agents have moved out of India, but they have solid ties with the Indian publishing industry.
Agents: Jayapriya Vasudevan (Singapore)
Authors: Anita Nair, Shashi Warrier, Sameer Kamat 🙂
Submission guidelines: Accepts email queries only. Send them a query letter to info@jacaranda-press.com and more details on if, when and how to make the submission.
Read my interview with Jacaranda literary agency where Jayapriya talks about her work and how new authors can get her attention.

Siyahi | http://siyahi.in/
Agents: Mita Kapur (Jaipur), Namita Gokhale
Authors: Sidin Vadukut (he’s written the Dork Trilogy) plus around 80 others (including Yana Gupta!)
Submission guidelines: Accepts email queries. You can send completed manuscripts (along with details about yourself and a synopsis of your work) to the following email IDs: mitakapur@siyahi.in or mita.kapur@gmail.com. Turnaround Time for the response is 8 to 10 weeks.

Sherna Khambatta Literary Agency | http://www.shernakhambatta.com/
A small Mumbai based agency with a dhinchak website completely designed using Flash. I prefer regular text/HTML content (so I usually turn off my plugins). I had to go the extra distance to view this one. There doesn’t seem to be too much recent information about this agency in the public domain.
Agents: Sherna Khambatta (Mumbai)
Authors: About 10 in total, with 5 Indian authors
Submission guidelines: Accepts email queries with sample chapters. Response time is 7 days for the query letter and about a month to review the full manuscript. Email ID: sherna_khambatta@yahoo.co.uk

Don’t rely only upon the information provided here. Visit their websites as there may have been updates that I’m not aware of.

Also make sure that your manuscript is in the best possible shape before you even think about sending a query letter to agents and publishers. Spend some time to review and the ideas posted here –> Improve your writing skills.

If there are any other good literary agencies that you might be aware of, post their details (website, track record, big wins, big clients, deals involving big advances) as a comment.

107 Comments

  1. Nithya says:

    Hi Sameer,

    Thanks for your kind reply, appreciate it a lot. 🙂

    Well, I did Google a lot especially for literary agents and publishers accepting works of first time authors. Apart from the above mentioned agencies, I found another new LA called Divya Dubey (Gyaana Books). She doesnt have a website, but a blog: http://www.authorzcoracle.blogspot.com/.

    As always, your post is very good. I have bookmarked it and keep returning to check for updates.

    Have a good day. 🙂

  2. Sameer says:

    Hi Nithya,

    I did come across Divya Dubey’s name through one of the articles she had written about Literary Agents in India. But her blog has only been recently launched (less than a month old), so I’ve not included it on the main list yet.

    Once there’s more information about her clients, book deals etc, I’ll include her details.

    For now, readers who come to this post will be able to use the link that you’ve so generously shared and hopefully send you a thank you note once they get published through Divya’s agency.

    On a related note, one of the agents listed in the post reached out to me for a correction. I’ll probably publish an interview about this agency soon. So watch this space. Also, if there are any burning questions in your mind that you’d like me to include in the Q&A, let me know.

    • mukesh says:

      Hi Sameer,
      I am writing a novel in hinglish with little bit poetry stuffed in it..are there any novels published in hinglish previously..whom should I approach and will it work?

  3. Sairam says:

    Sameer,
    Got to know from Indiblogger that your book completed its first print. Congratulations!

    Thanks for the info. Your website info is of great help to the first time authors.

    I have a question. Considering the long lead time, is it a good idea to contact literary agents once we have an idea of the book and first few chapters? Or should we wait till we finish the complete manuscript?

  4. Sameer says:

    Thanks, Sairam. The first print-run for ‘Beyond The MBA Hype‘ got sold off in under 3 months and it’s gone into a re-print faster than expected.

    I had attempted a few (unconventional) writing, structuring, presentation and promotion ideas for the book. Get a copy and see if you can discover a few of those secret ingredients that might have contributed to its success. You could replicate in your own book project 🙂

    Coming to your question, for first time authors it’s a good idea to complete the manuscript before approaching literary agents and publishers.

    They may not entertain your queries unless you have a completed book. It just adds too much uncertainty, if they don’t know how the final product will turn out.

  5. Shilpa says:

    Thanks for the information Sameer, the time stamp is encouraging(less chances of info being obsolete).

    I know some other agents also but due to the exorbitant fee that they want to charge in the name of enhanced editing discourages me from posting their names.

    Thanks once again, I am going to try approaching them one by one :))

  6. Sameer says:

    Shilpa,

    Hope you sign a representation contract with one of the good literary agents soon.

    Come back and share your experience when you do. Good luck!

  7. Dev says:

    Sameer,
    I need to know something. Should I make my manuscript copy-right protected before I give to an editor or literary agent. I heard that it’s kind of amateur but what if they steal it?

  8. Sameer says:

    Dev,

    You automatically get the copyright to your work when you create it. So a formal copyright process isn’t really needed. However, having a copyright would strengthen your case in case there’s a dispute. For most authors, it’s not a big concern.

    But sure, if you have the inclination, it’s a relatively straightforward process. An easier option is to deal with editors and literary agents after you’ve done a background check on them. No matter how desperate the urge to get published is, I’d say stick to the trustworthy guys.

  9. Dev says:

    Do you have any idea about these editors?

    1. Mukul Dube– a freelance editor and writer, I came to know about

    2.mohinder krishan bhatnagar — Editor, Claims to have collaborated with authors as Shiv Khera and Balwant Gargi.

    Mine is a chick-lit novel. Can U suggest some editors for this?

  10. Sameer says:

    Dev: I haven’t heard of them before.

    Another literary agent who was doing pretty well is Renuka Chatterjee from Osian’s. She has a good list of authors – including Karan Bajaj (his novel ‘Keep off the grass’ did very well).

    You’ll find the name in many old literary agent lists that haven’t been updated. But somewhere along the way, Osian’s stopped the literary agency work to focus on their art/paintings business. So I did not include it in the list above.

    If anyone is aware if Renuka is still looking for new authors to represent, let me know. I’ll update the post.

  11. Dev says:

    Sameer,
    Thank u for the reply.

    I need to ask one more thing. I need to write a synopsis for my novel and it’s the hardest part. Can u suggest me a site or place about it, or any example of how to write a synopsis(preferably for indian novel)

  12. Sameer says:

    Dev,

    If you are struggling to get started, you could check out the following two posts: How to write a query letter and Query letter FAQ.

    In the first post, the ‘What’ part (section 2 of the query letter) is where you’d need to customize the voice, tone etc based on your genre (chick-lit in your case).

    Plus you’ll find a ton of genre specific information on the internet. Just be careful not to blindly follow an international format in India, just because it has worked for another author.

  13. tiku singh says:

    hello sameer , its too impressive for me as you answer for all in the publishing department. i am a new author in hindi language.and wish to publish my novel.pls help me as i am unable to find a trusted pulisher or litrary agent.i will thankful to you if u provide me any information. Also tell me about protection of my novel , means how to get copyright of it.

  14. Sameer says:

    Thanks, Tiku-bhai,

    Unfortunately, I can’t help you out with Hindi publishers as I don’t know much about them (though I know for your book, you probably have a much bigger market than I do). And I’m guessing you won’t need an agent to approach Hindi publishers as you can do it directly.

    For new authors, getting a publisher interested is a bigger challenge than getting a copyright. But if you are inclined, you’ll get the process details here: http://copyright.gov.in/

    It’s a relatively simple and low-cost process. But if you find procedural hassles too much to handle, an IPR lawyer could do it for you, but for a hefty fee.

  15. tiku singh says:

    thank you sameer for your reply.i wrote many of query letters to hindi publishers at delhi.but but got no reply .what do you think ??
    in what way and where i should approach?

  16. Victor says:

    Hello, Sameer:

    Thank you for your blog. I have proposed my novel to an agent in Delhi who is asking for an upfront agenting fee of $600. Here in N. America agents work on commission from royalties. Does my Indian agent sound suspicious?

    Victor

  17. Sameer says:

    Tiku: If you’ve tried all avenues and haven’t had much luck, you could explore the option of self-publishing. If you have a marketing platform (like a popular blog), read this blog post about trying to tap into the potential of your own blog.

    Victor: The agenting process in India is the same as it is in the US. It is unusual for agents to ask for an upfront fee.
    Think about it – if I took money from 10 authors like you in a month, I’d make $72,000 a year. After that I don’t have to worry about making any sales.

  18. tiku singh says:

    thank you very much sameer for your reply . I am trying still . I will be happy to read your blog continuously . you are doing well , keep it up . my prayers will help you . keep writing . my only request was that , as you are and others are discussing about english publishers . a hindi author also need a platform like this .Thanks once again for your response.

  19. Rahul Sirsikar says:

    Hi Sameer,

    Very useful blog. Keep up the good work and congrats on the success of your book. Mine is an allegorical fiction (like Jonathan Livingston Seagull) but finding representation for such genre is very tough . Hoping for the best.

    Regards,
    Rahul Sirsikar

  20. Kiran says:

    Hi Sameer!

    It’s pleasure reading the information you have put on your blog. It really helps to the budding writers as to how to go about publishing the books once they are jotted down.

    Diya Dube has had a professional website as well.

  21. Niru says:

    Hi Sameer,
    Found the tips you give very useful.
    I am ready with my novel but I would like a ‘reader’ or an editor to go through it. Where and how do I go about that and isit a must?
    Niru

  22. Sameer says:

    @Rahul Sirsikar: It can be tough to sell certain genres in India. But if you have a plot that could have a universal appeal, you’d have better luck. I’m not saying you should change your manuscript for that reason, though.

    @Niru: I don’t think a formal review by an editor is needed. You could ask people from your friend circle to review it for you.

  23. Navin says:

    Sameer,
    Your post has been very helpful to many. Wishing you luck ahead.

  24. Megha says:

    Hi Sameer,

    Thank you for all the information you have on your blog. A great help indeed!
    I have a few questions –
    a.)Would you know which Literary Agencies specialise in non- fiction work like Famines etc.?
    b.)Can the work be sent to different Literary Agencies at the same time? Or is that considered unethical/unprofessional?
    c.)Could you name a few professional editing agencies please?

    Thanks,
    Megha

  25. Sameer says:

    @Navin: Thanks!

    @Megha:
    a) You could start off with the list on this page. Also, there are many agent databases (mostly international) that you can use.
    b) Yes, you can send it to multiple agencies. A few might request for an exclusive submission if they really like your query letter.
    c) Can’t help you there. In my post on freelance editing services, if you read between the lines, you’ll get an idea of where I stand on this.

  26. Lavanya says:

    Hi Sameer!

    Congrats on the success of your book! I just stumbled upon your blog and love the content and the fact that you keep updating it so often with all the relevant information one can hope for! Couple of queries:
    1) Do you double-up as a literary agent? Any plans to do so?
    2)According to you how is the market for period fiction? I am writing a novel set around the partition of India and I believe I have a story to tell but I am nervous!
    3)Is it entirely true that your query letter makes it or breaks it for you? Tips please for the perfect query letter!

    Thanks!

    Lavanya

  27. Sameer says:

    Lavanya,

    I’m not a literary agent. Just another writer who’s had some luck in a tough industry. So hoping to ‘give back’ to the writing community, by sharing my experiences on this blog.

    There is market for almost everything. The scale may differ. You’ll have to help the publisher in selling your book by attracting readers who might be fascinated by this subject.

    Query letter is your primary tool to get the good guys to take you seriously. So, if you don’t have alternative ways of getting doors opened, the your query letter can make or break you. Several blog posts covering –> Query letter tips

  28. Sundeep says:

    Hi Sameer,

    Have you heard of Kanishka Gupta of Writers Side ? Is writersside a reliable literary agent ?

    Look forward to your response.

    thanks,
    Sundeep

  29. Sameer says:

    Sundeep,

    Their website says they provide literary agency services and also editorial services.

    Depending on what you are looking for, talk to some of their existing clients to form a perception and then take a call.

  30. Nik says:

    Hi Sameer I am very much thankful to you because I find some literary agencies when I red your questions answers pages. So one thing I do also want to know that do you know any literal agents who take or exploit screenplay, scripts or story into bollywood. I find every thing about hollywood but when I search for bollywood there was not special links or websites or agencies. so please if you could help me for this then tell me about some bollywood agents or agencies because production houses only require solicited scripts and screenplays.

    Thanks

  31. Sameer says:

    Nik,

    Unfortunately, the Indian literary agency business hasn’t matured as much as the US market where there are agents who focus on scripts and screenplays.

    In India, quite a few authors have got their books converted into movies (Amish Tripathi, Chetan Bhagat, Ashwin Sanghi), but only after they’ve had popular and commercial success in the print media.

  32. Krish says:

    Hi Sameer

    I was looking at Authorz Coracle Literary Agency and thing is, couldn’t find a list of books they have published anywhere on the blog. Another thing which struck me as weird was their asking for the entire manuscript in the first submission.

    What do you think?

  33. Sameer says:

    Krish,

    Nithya also mentioned about the same agency in the first comment. I don’t know about the agent or her success stories. So can’t help you there.

    But I wouldn’t read too much into the full manuscript vs partial chapter requirement. Different agents have their own preferred style of working.

    Bottomline is whether the agent’s authors are getting a good deal with the best publishers.

    Sometimes new agents can devote more time to their authors and the need to build an impressive track record is also stronger.

    So, if you have the manuscript ready, no harm in sending it across.

  34. Mauji says:

    Hi Sameer,

    Hats off to you, such an informative blog.

    I contacted few literary agents for my fiction novel of word count 55K. Different agents have quoted 8K to 18K as editing fee. I am totally new to this area, could you please tell me how much these agents charge at an average?

    Thanks
    Mauji

  35. Sameer says:

    Mauji,

    Literary agents should NOT charge authors. They make their money after they sell your book to a publisher.

    The Editing business is independent of what agents are supposed to do. You’ll find my views on that in other posts on this blog. Do check them out.

  36. Mauji says:

    Sameer,

    Thanks for prompt reply. I’ve got confused with the role of literary agents. According to them, they’ll do line editing and creative editing and ONLY for this work they’ll charge the mentioned amount. If they like the manuscript they take it forward, for which there will be separate charges!!!
    Please note that I feel my novel need a professional editing before taking it to publisher.
    Please suggest how should I proceed? If I go with a literary agent, I’ll have to spend money now(editing charges) and also the commission later!

    Mauji

  37. Kumar says:

    Hi,

    How much do literary agents charge publishers for accepted proposals. What is the generally accepted payment norm across India in this regard. Do they charge separately for sending manuscripts after proposals are accepted.

  38. Sameer says:

    Kumar,
    Hope you found my email responses to your queries useful.
    Good luck with your publishing company.

  39. Nik says:

    Hi Sameer, how are you?

    Sameer, I want to ask you that you know about any literary agencies which accept poetry or movie scripts and screenplays in India or foreign. I have been searching on internet but havent yet found any or bundle of them I don’t know which one to trust and the literary agencies that on your blog I see them but they do not accept poetry or movie screenplays or scripts. I am totally fed up searching again and again on internet but havent yet found a bit of these kinds of agencies. I write poems too in english but not yet find any authenticate agency(except Penguin) which accept poetry. In India, it is like one search and search but find nothing but when search of foreign market one find everything. Tell me how to approach foreign agencies some good ones.

    And one thing more Sameer, I know that I am giving you pain of questions but When I search Writer Guild of America, I find all there authenticate agencies but they all say ‘We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts’ then tell me how to contact them and how make our unsolicited manuscripts, scripts or screenplays solicited, or hire any agents or something like this, if yes then tell me about their websites links or any links.

    Sameer you have been of great help because of only you I find some good literary agencies’ names in India otherwise not possible.

    Thank you very much and reply my questions soon please.

  40. Sameer says:

    Hi Nik,

    You are right. Poetry is difficult to publish.

    When agencies say they don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, they mean you shouldn’t send across any attachments with your full work. Most would prefer a smaller query letter which they can read and then ask you for a partial or full manuscript if they like what they see.

    Feel free to approach the right ones with a well-designed query letter.

    Btw, your query prompted me to write a blog post on Publishing poetry books.

    You’ll get some ideas on what you can do before you approach publishers for poetry submissions.

  41. Nitin says:

    Hi Sameer,

    Have you ever heard of Purple folio? Agent is Mrs Urmila Das Gupta. If you know, could you please give some reviews on this agency?

  42. Sameer says:

    Hi Nitin,

    I’m not familiar with the agency and their track record.

  43. Pooja says:

    Hi Sameer,
    This would be really helpful to me and to my friend. She is exploring a few literary agents with whom she can get her novel vetted…till now she has come across three agencies, namely, Authorz Oracle (Ms. Urmila Dasgupta), Purple Folio (Ms. Divya Dubey) and Literary Angels (Ms. Ahalya Naidu), who have further sent their quotes for only proofing.
    Now, I have two ambiguities here, if you could throw some light:
    1. Her novel is about 30k word length, and these agents have quoted between 30k-45k. Your views on this? Is that economic or too hefty just for proofing, and not rewriting it in the creative way?
    2. Is it true that novels are only proofread by such editors for corrections to be made by writers and not rewritten?
    Also, could you please suggest us some good people who can be contacted for complete editing of the fiction, and give an idea about their charges??
    Many thanks!
    Best,
    Pooja

  44. Sameer says:

    Hi Pooja,

    I can’t comment on individual agencies. But your query triggered this post on Editing services in India: Are you paying too much? It should give you a general idea on how to evaluate the pricing.

    As far as the scope of the editing work goes, there are no market standards about how this works. You are free to negotiate with the editor on what needs to be done and how much you are willing to pay for it.

    On your last point, I can’t make recommendations as I’m not familiar with the work of any freelance editors.

  45. Deepa says:

    Hi Sameer,

    Your website is very informative I must say. Would you have any information on how much an established agency like Redink charge a debutant writer? Specifically, for approaching publsihers on the writer’s behalf? What are the additional services that one can expect from these organisations?

    Yes, I am a debutant writer; will complete my manuscript in less than a month. So, researching the industry at this point.

    Your response will be most appreciated! Regards…..Deepa

  46. Sameer says:

    Deepa,

    I don’t know about individual agency policies, but as a general rule, the author shouldn’t have to shell out any money to get published (at least in the traditional publishing model).

    Read more about the concept of ‘money flows to the author‘ here –> Will you pay to get your first publishing break?

  47. Deepa says:

    Hey Sameer,

    Thank you so much for your response. I shall read the note suggested by you.

    Regards,
    Deepa

  48. Kavitha says:

    Hi Sameer,

    Any info that you can give me about this publishing house Leadstart Publishing based in Mumbai. They offer vanity publishing dressed as “partnership publishing” and they have been demanding an hefty amount. Any inputs that you can give me before I take the plunge.

  49. Sameer says:

    Kavitha,

    Apart from their website, I don’t know much about them.

    But on your reference to ‘partnership publishing’, there’s an earlier post that might be of interest: Vanity publishers in various forms.

    Irrespective of which team you decide to work with, be aware of what you will (and will not) get as part of the deal.

  50. Anns Elizabeth says:

    Hai,

    i loved the way you opened my eyes to literary agents.
    i have question to ask a stupid one

    i have already send my manuscripts to some publishing companies already; but i not so sure i am gonna get clicked so now i want to turn to a agent. but is feasible for me go to an agent when manuscripts is already in hands of publishers?

  51. Sameer says:

    Anns,
    Sure, you can reach out to agents. But it’ll be good to be transparent with them and share the names of publishers you’ve already approached, so they can use their discretion to re-approach or skip those names.

    Here’s an article that you might be interested in: Is it ok to re-send query letters to agents?

  52. Anns Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much Sameer.
    now i have serious question
    every one talks about the advantages of getting an agent -but not about the other part -there isn’t any?

    And i’m someone who don’t know that much about publishing industry so is that absolutely necessary to get an agent? or can i cope with the industry if i try?

    also, suppose i got an proposal
    from an publication house which is a sub branch from abroad. so is there a chance of they sending my story aboard-or is it best to approach an agent if i wished to get an proposal from abroad?

    Does that means extra fees for the agent?

    what’s your thought about Writer’s side Literary agency?

  53. Sameer says:

    Anns,

    I can’t comment on individual agencies. You’ll have to talk to their clients and find out.

    The agent commission for you will remain the same for each new ‘derivative work’, unless you re-negotiate it.

    Your other query prompted me to write this post – 6 benefits of NOT having a Literary Agent. Hope you find it useful.

  54. Salmaan says:

    Hi, i just completed my screenplay can you name me any literary agents so that i can submit my work…

  55. Sameer says:

    Salman,

    The literary agency model in India hasn’t evolved to a stage where there are specialized agencies for screenplays.

    You might be better off approaching folks in the movie industry directly.

  56. Bimal Walia says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I must congratulate you for having formed this wonderfully informative blog. I am an aspiring author and currently looking for an agent. I have the same question that Mr. Kumar`s asked on in June this year:
    “How much do literary agents charge publishers for accepted proposals. What is the generally accepted payment norm across India in this regard. Do they charge separately for sending manuscripts after proposals are accepted.” Also, do agents have share in royalties?

  57. Sameer says:

    Bimal,

    I’m glad many new authors are finding this blog useful.

    Mr Kumar is a publisher, not an author. So his query had a different context which he explained offline.

    For authors, Indian literary agents don’t charge anything for sending manuscripts. They only get a commission from your advance and royalty income.

  58. Salmaan says:

    Hi Sameer,

    You said “You might be better off approaching folks in the movie industry directly”
    I am planning to get my screenplay in Bollywood and my story is kind of superhero stuff and i know how people reacts when they hear the word ‘superhero’.Do you thing its wise to approach them directly? even if i have to whom should i approach? directors or production companies?

  59. Anns says:

    Hai Sameer,

    How much commission will an (estimate is fine) overseas Literary agent ask for representing an Indian author?

  60. Ritesh says:

    I’m trying to find the contact details of [edited out as suspected spam] – a literary agent…I’m no able to get from his website.

    Can you provide me his email id?

    regards,
    ritesh

  61. Sameer says:

    @Anns: Around 15% is average. The wider range is between 10%-20%

    @Ritesh: The email ID is clearly mentioned on their website. If agents have to resort to (direct or indirect)spamming, it raises questions about their credibility.

  62. Ramiah Ariya says:

    Hi Sameer,
    I made a direct submission letter, along with a synopsis and 3 sample chapters to a publisher couple of months back. The editor came back last month and asked for a full manuscript. I have sent it.
    In your experience what is the wait time for full manuscripts? I heard it is 6-8 weeks in India, typically. I plan to wait for 10 weeks, before nudging them ( completed 5 weeks now, going crazy).
    What is your experience of this kind of waiting? 6-8 weeks for a full manuscript seems reasonable, right?
    Also, In India, editors and agents usually respond, right?
    Thanks,
    Ram

  63. Bobby AKS says:

    Hi Sameer,

    Nice to see u responding to each n everyone. Your advice would help the first time authors a lot. I generally write articles for my organisation’s in-house journal. Inspired by the feed-back of my friends, i wanna start writing a book. Give suggestions as to evolve as book writer.

  64. Sameer says:

    @Ramiah: Unfortunately, there are no ‘typical’ timelines for a response and not all editors / literary agents might respond.
    But the silver lining for you is that you have got a response from the editor asking for the full manuscript. Send a editor a short note after 3 months to if it’s not fallen through the cracks.

    @Bobby: The in-house journal would’ve give you the exposure and a ready (captive) audience. As a next step, you could try writing articles for a bigger audience (outside your organisation). The feedback you get will possibly be more brutal & credible. But it’s a good way to test if your writing has commercial potential.

  65. Mayur says:

    Hi Sameer,
    I am the new publisher but are in the field of distribution for more than 40 years.So my question is what are the services we get from the agent and do they charge any thing extra other than royality

  66. Sameer says:

    Mayur,

    If you scroll up in the comments, you’ll find another publisher who has asked me a similar question.

    From the little research that I’ve done about your company, I see that you don’t have your own website or anyway to generate leads independently.

    Maybe that worked in your distributor’s role as it was a pure business-to-business (B2B) model.

    However if you are planning to get into publishing you should start building your own lead generation ‘engine’.

    If you don’t, agents will take advantage of your operating model.

  67. Param says:

    Hey Sameer,

    Can you tell me the average word count for an average Indian fiction novel? For instance, what is the word count of Chetan Bhagat novels? I’m in the middle of my manuscript and I thought it’s better if I know what word count to aim at rather than finishing the manuscript and trying to add/delete words later. Please let me know.

  68. Param says:

    Another thing I wanted to ask Sameer. What font and size are acceptable to Indian agents and publishers? Also, should the sentences have double-spacing or single-spacing? Thanks!

  69. prasannata says:

    hello,
    i need a editor , publisher. pls concerned person reply .

  70. Sameer says:

    @prasannata: Wrong number, dada.

    @Param: For fiction, most books fall have a word-count that’s between 60,000 words to 100,000 words. Stick to a regular, readable font & size (like Arial 11).
    You might find this article helpful – Average word count for books: How long should a novel be?

  71. Madhuparna says:

    Thanks a lot for this valuable information. I just have one doubt, do literary agents charge fees for proof reading and editing a manuscript?

  72. Mainak says:

    Hello Sameer,

    In response to your comment on this thread dated January 3rd, 2012 at 9:50pm regarding information about Renuka Chatterji, I recently came across the site for Westland where her name is mentioned. Below is the link where I came across the information. I believe both are the same individuals though I have not directly interacted with her yet. She is looking after the rights purchase queries, but not sure if she is still working as a lit agent in an individual capacity.

    http://www.westlandbooks.in/pages.php?page_id=4

  73. Sameer says:

    @Madhuparna: Proof reading and editing is the job of editors, not literary agents. These are two distinct roles. While independent editors (i.e. not assigned to you by your publisher) may charge, literary agents should not charge.

    @Mainak: Thanks for the update. It might be the same person. If she’s associated with Westland, I don’t think she can wear the hat of a literary agent.

  74. chiman says:

    dear sameer
    i have written a novel in gujarati. i live in uk and find it difficult to deal with publishers in ahmedabad or rajkot. any help would be appreiciated
    chiman

  75. Meenakshi says:

    Hi Sameer..!
    Thx for your posts to help the authors.to

    Literary agents like Mita kapur of siyahi, Divya Dubey etc ask for money for editing service. They do not even assure a publishing deal after charging for their editing services.

    Can you provide me phone contact
    of Jacaranda press because i forwarded my query letter on their mail address but did not receive even the acknowledgement of the receipt.

    My novel is complete and am looking for a publisher to get my work published

  76. Meenakshi says:

    I am tired of rejections..! I have talked about the life of a girl at the crossroads of choosing between a lucrative career or being a homemaker and put this in a form of an interesting story..do you think there are no takers for this topic..?

    Can you help me find a publisher for my work..?

    Meenakshi

  77. Sameer says:

    @Chiman: I don’t think I can help out, buddy. Sorry.

    @Meenakshi: Literary agents don’t generally prefer writers calling them up. Email works best.
    There is a market for almost anything that’s written well and promoted well. And those are the two areas that you need to focus on.
    – Have you written well?
    – Are you promoting it well?
    Not that things become too simple after that, but the odds of success definitely improve.

  78. Udai says:

    If I agree to be represented by a Literary agency, they will hold share of my royalty and foreign rights. Do the Literary agencies hold share in the movie rights or rights any other parallel business the book creates?

  79. ISHWAR CHANDRA says:

    Is it advisable to get a copyright before sending the manuscript to a literary agent

  80. Sameer says:

    @Udai: Yes, apart from the regular royalty, your literary agents will get a commission of ‘derivative rights‘ that are mentioned in your contract.

    @Ishwar: You might find this useful: Should authors copyright their work?

  81. Udai says:

    Thanks for your response Sameer. Thats useful information for me. I appreciate your patience and willingness to respond to all the queries.

    I have one more question. If I directly approach a publisher and they agree to publish my work, won’t they do the publicity and promotional campaigns. Is there a disadvantage approaching the publishers directly?

  82. Indu says:

    Thank you so much for such valuable information. I completed the the first draft of my book and is in the process of revising it. your blog has been very informative. Do reputed publishing firms in India look at submissions by new authors or is it better to approach through literary agents?

  83. Sameer says:

    @Udai: Theoretically, yes, it is logical to expect the publisher to manage the promotion. But in reality, unless you are already a big-name author, you’d be expected to manage the show on your own.

    @Indu: Sure, you can approach publishers directly. That’s how most new authors get published in India.

  84. Udai says:

    Thanks for your response Sameer

  85. Udai says:

    Dear Sameer,

    If my direct submission at a publisher gets rejected, can a literary agent approach the same publisher for representation on my behalf?

  86. Sundeep Singh says:

    Dear Sir,
    I want to know whether these agencies accept work in Hindi language also.My father has written a book on English grammar which is in Hindi and English language. Though the book has been published through POD(Publishing on Demand) service but we want to get it published through a renowned publisher.

  87. Sameer says:

    @Udai: Sure, they can. But let your agent know when you submitted and to which publisher(s). They may decide to wait for a while or suggest changes before re-submitting.

    @Sundeep: Sorry, I’m not aware of any.

  88. Udai says:

    Dear Sameer,
    For a romantic thriller is 82000 to 85000 words accepted by the publishers? Is there any strict line on the word count. Sorry, I’m really confused because some say it won’t be accepted if less than 80000 words. Some say it wont be accepted if more than 80000 words. Clarify on this would be highly appreciated. Thanks for all your responses so far

  89. sakshi pareek says:

    Sir, i wanna know that do really such big publishers like penguin, grapevine, roopa etc. Really considers the emails of debut authors.
    Secondly if i choose for self publishing then self publishing paid agencies like partridge, notion press etc are helpfull or not? Or if i myself opts to publish my book then are isbians numbers taken online are valid or not.?

  90. Vimal Kishore says:

    Hi Sameer ji,

    I have first time written a story of about 10000 words. Central idea of the same is about a female singer’s struggle, success journey and at the time she was about to achieve something big then terrorism spoiled his career badly.

    I just want to know that, is this length of litrature is commercially publiciable or I have to convert the same in a novel. Please guide me

    Vimal Kishore

  91. Sameer says:

    @Udai: The word-count looks good. There’s no strict limit as such.

    @Sakshi: The big publishers in India do accept query letters from new authors. Self-publishing is always an option, but it has it’s own pros and cons. Read this – Traditional publishers vs Self-publishing – Which is better?

    @Vimal: That’s too less for a regular book. Probably get it published as a short story in a magazine.

  92. Vimal Kishore says:

    Thanx for your valuable guidance.

  93. Anil Maurya says:

    Hello,
    I have written a story of around 300 pages about a teenage boy and his struggle to save his friend.
    need to Publish it.
    Can u guide me on this.
    The story is writen in Hindi language.
    I stay in Mumbai and here their are few Hindi publishing house

  94. Sunil Kapoor says:

    What if publishers or literary agents don’t respond to email queries? Where else does one find them? Do they have a network that outsiders can’t access?

  95. Sameer says:

    @Anil: Sorry, bro. My knowledge about Hindi publishers is very limited.

    @Sunil: The third category described in this post might be of interest to you: Dealing with query letter rejections. There’s no secret network really, but a warm introduction (as opposed to cold calling / general emails) to agents and publishers can help in raising the credibility level of your work.

  96. Uday says:

    Hi Sameer,

    Literary agents are a scarce commodity in India. Even among the 4-5 agents you have mentioned, I believe not all of them specialize in every genre. Aspiring authors like me, who are looking for an agent specializing in the ‘Crime, Mystery and Thriller’ genre, are often at sea.

  97. Simran says:

    Dear Sameer,

    I have never found such detailed replies on any other sites. Hats off. Well I have a query. My first manuscript is ready. When I submitted synopsis to various publishing websites, I got a mail from Pegasus Publishers, London and Leadstart Publishers, Mumbai (of Asura & Ajaya Fame). They sent me letter of intent and asked to submit whole manuscript with my choice of publishing ie. either Traditional (which may take more time) or Partner Publishing where we share costs & profits. Is it a genuine? Should I submit my manuscript? Its been 3 months and they also sent me a reminder mail to submit manuscript recently. Please help. Thanks in advance.

  98. Sameer says:

    Simran, Traditional publishing is, well, traditional publishing. Whereas ‘Partner Publishing’ is Vanity Publishing.

    You might find this post useful: Vanity publishing in various forms.

    Btw, we also interviewed the author of the books you’ve mentioned (Asura & Ajaya) here –> Interview with Anand Neelakantan

  99. US1571 says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I’m regularly following your pages. I find your comments and article very useful. I’m a aspiring writer. I have already completed a fantasy-mystery fiction of around 82000 words. I mailed few sample chapaters to Leadstart. After around 45 to 50 day long wait, they came up with a Letter of Intent giving me 2 different options! (option1-regular publishing, option2-shared publishing. somthing like vanity i guess). I want my work to get published soon. Can i choose the option 2? Can i trust the publisher? As a new entrant to publishing market, I need your suggestion regarding their post publishing support like giving regular and accurate sales figures for my book, royalty etc. I have read in some websites like, Leadstart is poor in giving royalty amount and dosnt treat the authors well once the book gets published! Waiting for your reply!

  100. Sameer says:

    Like they say there’s no smoke without fire.

    If you’ve read bad reviews somewhere, reach out to the blogger and try to find out specifics.

    In your excitement and impatience to get published, ensure that you don’t end up with more issues. Do the groundwork and be aware of the risks of going down the vanity publishing route.

  101. US1571 says:

    thanks for your quick response sameer.
    one more clarification. in their LOI, they have mentioned that they recieve around 150 to 200 odd manuscripts out of which they select only 10 to 15 and keep them under MANUSCRIPT UNDER CONSIDERATION. is it true that, they recieve such a huge number of submissions or they are just sugar coated words?

  102. natron says:

    @us1571. They said the same thing to me. I’m starting to get suspicious too. Mr.Sameer! Please help.
    I’m not sure us1571. What about all their published works like that kaurava story? It’s really hazy, this whole thing.what about their distributors and other links? What if the cake was a lie?

  103. Govind says:

    Hi Sameer,

    This is indeed a terrific help line you have opened for aspiring authors. I too am one in the boat.
    Two agencies ( both are fairly well established names) have shown some preliminary interest in my work. However both of them have clarified that the work might need further editing which would entail a fee of around 20-30K. I note from your earlier comments that this practice is not viewed as ethical.
    However this seems to be now the accepted order of the day without exception among all agents in India. In fact both of them I spoke to explained at length the financial model of publishing in India and the very low initial advance publishers pay for new authors. There is obviously no assurance of subsequent royalties either. This position seems very different from the western scenario. They say that literary agents would find it impossible to operate particularly so when publishing houses expect only well shaped manuscripts from them. Would appreciate your thoughts as I think this is going to an issue every new author looking at an agent is going to face in future. Regards

  104. Meenakshi says:

    Dear Sameer
    I have read the comments. Renuka Chatterji is working as a literary agent with her agency called, “The Box Wallah Literary Agency”
    I have written a science fiction thriller but there are not many agencies accepting the work in this genre. Please suggest some and also, suggest the publishers accepting the work in science fiction.

  105. Dear Sameer,

    Authorz Coracle is not a literary agency; it’s a writers’resource/consultancy. And it does have a website: http://www.authorzcoracle.com.

    Best,
    Divya

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