In an exclusive conversation with NewsX in its special segment, NewsX A-list, Ajay Setia, Founder-Director of Invincible Publishers opened up about his journey, life and changing dynamics of the publishing field with us.

 Sharing his insights on the future of books and publishing industry in the next few months amid Covid-19 crisis, Setia says, “During this pandemic, both book publishing and book reading trends have gone up. People are reading more books as they have more time and in terms of book publishing, in fact, authors are writing more content. We are publishing more than what we were doing before.”

 The publisher also shares how most of the readers are actually opting for paperbacks over ebooks and audiobooks. “Now they’re coming back to paperback because of the actual feel of books, that freshness in the book, roughness of the paper, and the smell of glue, I think people still prefer that.”

Also read: “It’s going to be a very interesting time ahead for the FMCG sector as a whole”: Varun Chaudhary, Executive Director, CG Corp Global

Also read: Build a vision around a solution and a business around a vision: Rahat Bhagat, Co-Founder, UV Pure Pvt Ltd

Talking about his company and how Invincible Publishers is changing the game, Ajay tells us that Invincible is both a publishing and marketing platform where they have digitized the complete publishing process. “We need to do the proper marketing and hence it’s a publishing and marketing platform. It is a software-driven company where we digitized the entire publishing process. We have digitized the complete supply chain in our dashboard and our authors can track sales till distributor and retailer level at runtime.”

Setia’s Invincible Publishers provides a marketing platform to the authors as well, “If one is publishing with us, they need not hire any marketing agency or PR agency. I think we are changing the tense the way other traditional publishers were doing earlier. We are giving it a more corporate and organized approach.”

Talking about his journey and stint in publishing, Ajay shares how working as a software engineer with TCS to publishing his own book changed his career direction. “I worked there for almost five years and eventually published my own book in 2012. Coming from a first-time author who didn’t know anything, I saw gaps between what most of the publishers are doing. They’re just publishing the book. There I sensed an opportunity where we need to put the publishing industry in a more organized and corporate way.”

“To give it a corporate approach I started this in 2017. And by now we have 500 plus authors, influencers, and motivational speakers and they’re working with Invincible Publishers. I think every publishing company needs to have a marketing department so that they can help new authors,” adds Setia.

Touching about topics that publishing industry are picking up and whether there is somewhat resistance in publishers to pick up only controversial topics, Ajay shares his side and views stressing that it is content which should be relevant over anything. “Either it’s controversial or not, that is completely secondary. If the content is relevant, we are ready to publish. Even there are so many desperate authors who are writing only controversial content and biased content. They’re supporting a particular political party, but we never support them. It’s just the relevance of the content.”

“Personally, my political views, I have them but sharing anything on politics won’t make much difference. But in terms of content, what we are sharing coming from authors. We choose relevant content, rather controversial content.“We have a separate team editorial team who is doing proper fact-checking, and checking all facts whenever anybody shared their content, so it’s not driven by any agenda,” added Setia.

Sharing about his company’s publishing mantra, Setia elaborates how they focus on categorising authors and develop marketing strategies. “Either they are first-time author, midsize authors, or established authors, and further whether they are celebs, politicians or influencers. So whatever marketing strategy, we are opting for celebs or politicians or influencers, we cannot have that marketing strategy for first-time authors.”

“Though we have divided we have categorized authors into three categories. The first category is a self-published author who can come to our website, use the software and do the editing, designing, marketing, publishing everything online, and launch their own book. The second part is for midsize authors, we suggest their marketing strategies so that they can target their audience. For celebs and influencers, we use the third level reach.”

 Talking about marketing and publishing ideologies Ajay Setia feels it depends upon the author and explains how they go both hands in hand including sales and promotions.

“If it’s the first time new authors, we need to create hype, firstly, we do the proper marketing so people start taking them seriously. We have a separate online marketing team and offline marketing team and work with 20 plus distributors.” “But getting books on bookstores for first-time authors is very difficult for other publishing companies, but we work with distributors all over India.” “Now, if the content is relevant for the audience and people are liking the cover page, the content, definitely get to sales.”

Sharing his advice with budding authors and writers, Setia advises firstly it is paramount to write good content and secondly understand one’s audience. “One needs to know who they are writing for and taking writing seriously, or work to become the bestselling author, definitely one needs to put efforts,” Setia tells it is important to understand that it’s a continuous process and publishing is a very slow process. “It takes time, one needs to have patience and proper social media set up. So this is my only advice, marketing and good content.”

 COVID-19 is changing landscape of publishing business too. Setia speaks to us about the welcoming changes and recovery he sees in future for this industry. “In terms of delivering the content, people are writing more books, even there were many people like many authors, we were chasing them to write books, but now they have enough time to write But in terms of sales, most of the sales are happening online nowadays.”

“If we talk about the supply chain distribution, and distributors and retailers, but that has affected for sure. But if we talk about education, in publishing, so with online education, people still prefer a book, which has not changed much. And once schools and these institutions are open, we definitely we can see the same time what was there before this pandemic,” adds the publisher.

Talking about future plans and projections for Invincible Publications, Ajay Setia says his first aim is solely to grab more content and getting good authors on their platform. “After this, like we have plans to promote them doing literary events. Every month, we are doing two-three events but now it has shifted to online. But once the situation is fine, we aiming to do more literature festivals in other cities and further planning to have different editions in different cities, even outside India.” On a concluding note, Setia says he wants to focus more on their authors and ensure them good reach and does not plan on writing any sequel of his own self-help book.

Also read: ‘Nepotism doesn’t exist’: Sunil Shetty’s FTCTalent emerges as a marketplace for talent amid Covid-19