Nishad Deshmukh is the founder of CAREER Consultants & Publications. He is the winner of the British Council Young Communications Publishing Entrepreneur Award 2009.To read more about the Young Creative Publishing Entrepreneur Award click here. To follow British Council Young Creative Entrepreneur Award on Facebook click here. YourStory spoke to Nishad on his venture and publishing as a business idea.Tell us about yourself
I am a person who enjoys living a constructive and creative life and I, always look forward to new experiences. I am excited by new ideas and work relentlessly to realize these ideas. I believe that human beings are basically trustworthy. Ethics and trust are the values close to my heart; therefore my interactions with the people are enjoyable and fruitful.
Having graduated from a reputed college affiliated to Pune University, I worked in the marketing field for a few years and then decided to fulfill my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Being a first generation entrepreneur never served as a handicap. In 2000, we set up CAREER Consultants & Publications. Since then we are publishing quality text/reference books in Pharmaceutical Sciences and coaching Pharmacy students for their PG entrance examination. We started with a modest office space of 80 sq ft and today; we operate with 42 employees and have a Headquarter of 2700 sq ft and an additional branch office of 600 sq ft.The journey of building an organization has been indeed fulfilling so far, yet there are many more milestones to be crossed. With our mission - ‘empowering learners’, we are in the process of building up a professionally run publishing house.
How did you get into publishing?
In 2000 we got an unexpected opportunity to publish a book. It was a secondary activity back then for us. We loaded all the copies in a car and did a 18 days tour covering entire Maharashtra. We sold 850 copies out of 1000 and that served as the trigger point. I personally enjoyed the entire process of developing and marketing a book. By 2001, we had published three more books and decided to enter in publishing full time.
We continued publishing one title after another with significant improvements in content quality and production. In the process I handled all roles – commissioning editor, reviewer of manuscripts, editor, production person, marketing, sales etc. It was a learning process for me. But to learn the process scientifically, I attended a one-month course on Publishing in New Delhi. The course broadened my vision and I could visualize the industry at national, as well as global level. Attending various seminars / workshops helped me to know topical, central issues related to the industry.
Right from the beginning we never compromised on content quality and our titles became popular amongst readers. We put considerable efforts in developing our Editorial Team. Our Editorial Team plays a vital role in assuring the content richness, fineness and esthetic quality of our titles. Looking at our developments, authors from different fields got associated with us and we were able to promote new authors as well. The majority of our authors were first timers and almost every one of them has now established himself successfully.
We started with publishing text books. Since 2006, we started establishing business association with international publishing houses by participating in Frankfurt Book Fair. Now, we have established business tie-ups with LexiComp,US, SPRINGER, Germany & Pharmaceutical Press, UK, Euromed Communications, UK.
What are the factors that led to starting up of your venture.
Before entering in the publishing business, I was trading medical equipments, where in technicalities were involved. Being a non-technical person, I faced difficulties in giving after sales service, this led to some dissatisfaction.
Before 1999 pharmacy institutes in Maharashtra were under different universities and it was a scattered market. In 1999 Maharashtra University of Health Sciences came into existence and pharmacy institutes across the state were brought under one university. We picked up this opportunity of availability of state level market.
More importantly, I personally enjoyed creative process of publishing a book – conceptualization, content development, editorial, printing and marketing.
At the same time, Pharmacy students were looking out for options for Pharmacy GATE preparation. We identified the need and started the Guidance Programmes. In last ten yeas, it has become popular amongst the students. Now we have 1300+ students registered with us for various programmes.
Your view on publishing as a business and career aspects
Publishing is an enjoyable business providing many creative opportunities. It gives a platform to build a team of creative people like authors, editors etc. In India very few publishing houses have developed themselves as professionally run organizations. To be a professionally run publishing house gives a leverage to be established not only in Indian market, but also across the globe. With increasing awareness and educational options, the opportunities in publishing are limitless. E-publishing has also become a new challenging publishing medium, as it is an opportunity to reach throughout the world.Also one can provide career opportunities to many professionals such as editors, proof readers, typesetters, sales & marketing etc.
Of course, taking risks and finding innovative paths to build up this business are inherent just as any other business. In 2006, Career Publications took a risk of participating in Frankfurt Book Fair. It was absolutely a new path, which very few publishers in our field had followed. It was the beginning of exposure to international market and latest trends in publishing. The consecutive participation in 2007, 2008 developed business associations with few international publishers leading to expansion in product range. I would like to humbly state that, some of the old publishers who initiated expansion activities on the same lines during the same period left the model in between, but we stuck around and today we are proud of it.
Challenges you faced as an entrepreneur
- As mentioned earlier, there was no background of entrepreneurship; we had to build our own systems in organization based on our experiences. We faced the same challenge, which most first generation entrepreneurs face - transforming owner driven into process driven organization.
- Non-availability of experienced professionals in publishing is I feel most important challenge. Therefore, we need to develop our people, which is time consuming and it requires investment. There are very few opportunities available in India for formal education in publishing, which limits the availability of trained professionals.
- Year 2008 was disturbing, because of piracy of our two titles. Again we brought certain disciplinary initiation in our industry against this antisocial activity. We took strong steps against it and created a promising environment amongst the publishing professionals. The steps were well appreciated across the industry because no organization of our size, has dared to do anything against Piracy in past few years. Tell us about your experience with British Council YCE Award
IYPE is, truly, a great opportunity for young publishers to get exposed to publishing industry, especially in UK and also internationally. The most important outcome of participating in IYPE for us was ‘broadening of vision’ which, I’m sure, is true for every participant. The second gain, I would say, is international recognition to be an ‘Independent Publishing House’. Naturally it has helped us in standing apart in domestic market, too. It gave us an opportunity to establish networking in eight other countries through the finalists of those countries. It helped me build a relationship with publishing professionals, not only on professional but also on friendly basis.
Changed ways in doing the business –
Interaction with UK publishing houses highlighted the importance of plan specific publishing schedule for a year or two, which we are now implementing in our business.
The UK tour helped to understand the world of E-publishing. This too, is being adopted for our publications. We are publishing a few E-books this year.
Effect on Career –
As mentioned above, identity as ‘IYPE finalist’ created a special kind of impression and confidence in the minds of publishing fraternity – both in international & domestic industry – which has led to new business associations with various publishing houses.
New business associations resulted in expansion of the existing business.
It boosted our confidence to take up new challenges and led to initiation of publishing English titles in general trade.
Taking up responsibilities in Publishers’ Association and starting activities in the association has also proved fruitful and our organization is now recognized among the fraternity.
Future plans and vision for your company.
In our existing publications stream, we will develop strong list of titles in both text as well as reference category. We plan to publish many reference titles, at international level authored by Indian authors.
Through another imprint namely Gautami Prakashan, we are diversifying publishing activity in General reading English & Marathi Titles. We plan to publish many titles in this sector.
Our Vision - By 2020, we will become a reputed publishing house publishing 500+ titles every year.