Gyaana Books (http://www.gyaanabooks.com/) is a young publishing firm, founded by the beautiful and dynamic Divya Dubey. It takes passion and grit to set up a publishing firm single-handedly in the current Indian market. But Gyaana is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing firms, thanks some innovative services. For example, Gyaana offers Authorz Coracle - an editorial service that prunes and shapes your manuscript before you submit it elsewhere. Divya also started the Forum for Publishers, Editors and Authors in India and Abroad (FPEAA) group in Linkedin (http://www.linkedin.com), the first of its kind. The group brought together writers, bloggers, editors, designers, distributors, retailers etc all on one platform; providing a rich arena for interactions.
Could you tell us a little about your entry into publishing?
Divya: I always knew I wanted to be an editor. It was just a matter of time before I discovered I wanted to do book publishing. After doing an MA in English from St Stephen’s College, Delhi University, I applied for an MA in Publishing at several universities in the UK – out of which I finally decided upon Oxford Brookes. Upon my return, I joined the publishing industry in Delhi.
You set up Gyaana single-handedly. What is your vision for Gyaana? Is there a gap in the Indian (English) publishing scene that you seek to bridge?
Divya: When I began in 2009, our focus was on fiction of all kinds – literary and popular. We published some first-time writers and some established ones. In 2011, we began Authorz Coracle, an aspiring writer’s resource. In January 2013, we have launched a new literary e-journal, the Earthen Lamp Journal. We have been experimenting with different things.
What are the roles you handle as the founder of Gyaana? For example, do you still wake up with the slush-pile, or do you look at only the business –side of the operation?
Divya: I’m involved in everything – right from going through the manuscripts we receive for publication, to sorting the printed books and removing defective copies. All aspects of publishing – editorial, production, printing, marketing/distribution, etc, are important for a small publisher to be personally involved in, apart from the business side.
What are the challenges you face in terms of distribution and retail as new publisher?
Divya: Well, it’s rather a long and complex subject. I wrote an article on it which was published by The Bookseller (UK) last year. It explains everything: http://withinthepurview.blogspot.in/2012/08/indias-indies.html
There are a lot of people writing books – but not all have access to literary agents or publishing houses. Do you see that as an opportunity?
Divya: I would say, as far as writing is concerned, yes, the number of writers is burgeoning every minute. Perhaps not all of them are good writers, but today they have the means to write what they wish to, the way they wish to, and to reach their audience. Technology has made everything much more convenient for them. And, yes, a lot of good new authors have several opportunities today since they don’t have to depend only on the MNCs. However, as far as distribution goes, the situation is much bleaker. Several well-known book shops and book chains have shut down during the last few years. Shelf-space is decreasing, and there are too many competitors fighting for it, whether big or small. That isn’t a happy situation.