SheThePeople had a #TwitterChat with Milee Ashwarya, Publisher, Penguin Random House India. Here’s a lowdown on what it takes to get published. She busts some myths, talking of that word we fear ‘marketing’ and reflects on how publishing has changed in social media times.

Recommendations for first time authors before sending their manuscripts

According to Milee “Prepare, prepare, prepare. Write a strong proposal, present it well, and keep it succinct. First impressions do matter.”

A manuscript should have…

Milee says she looks for “Fresh and original ideas and writing always gets me hooked. I am keen to acquire and publish thrillers, popular science, history, literary fiction this year.”

About an author’s platform or personal brand when signing them up

“This is particularly critical for a non-fiction book. We would like the author to be an expert in the filed he is writing on. I believe that the author is the brand ambassador of the book and the publisher its strongest champion. It definitely helps if the author is active, engages with the readers, has a following, and promotes the book.” says the publisher.

Fiction over non-fiction? Have heard you talk about your interest in good fiction ideas for a short while now.

“Yes, my search is still on. We have a strong list of non-fiction titles lined up. I don’t think there is any lack of ideas for fiction but I have not come across too many good proposals recently.” says Milee.

The kind of book proposal that catches her eye

Well according to Milee nothing like, “Good writing, solid research, gripping plot for fiction, original and fresh ideas for non-fiction.”

Those of you who want go the self-publishing route… keep this in mind

Milee says “Be prepared to be the writer, publicist, publisher all rolled into one if you are opting for self-publishing. it is, however, an option that you can explore.”

On the importance of presentation while pitching an idea to a publisher

“A presentation is key especially if you are a debut author and are approaching the publisher directly. You can make a mark with a well written proposal with a clear pitch.”

So, you want to be in publishing, here are the essentials

Her passion for the publishing world comes forth when she talks about her field. She says “The essentials for a life in publishing would be: Love for books, creativity and new ideas and hard work among other things.”

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