Choosing a young Indian author to read today would leave the readers only with love stories (loads of them), chick flicks or life in IIMs or IITs. Nethra A, a student of Christ University also had a similar experience when she began reading Indian authors.“I like writing and have been blogging since 2009. I have been reading foreign authors for years. Recently I began reading Indian authors and realized that the quality of writing is very poor. Also, in India only love stories sells. Authors get royalty on love stories and because of this they don’t write about other things. So I wanted to do something to change it. I didn’t get enough funds to start a publishing house so instead I started Fablery”, explains Nethra A, Founder, Fablery. Started by Nethra A, Fablery is also supported by Supraja Pulla (Nethra’s classmate) as Co-Founder. The team also includes another partner who does not wish to be named.
Now what is Fablery if not a publishing house? Started in January 2012, Fablery conducts a genre wise contest inviting short stories in one genre every month. It is a 10 month contest and is currently in its 10th month. After 10 months, Fablery will be releasing a book containing the winning short stories published by Mahaveer Publication. Going beyond the genre of romance, Fablery contest also includes the genres of horror, humour, fantasy fiction/mythology, action-adventure, thriller and mystery, historical, philosophical and occupation. Acclaimed writer Ritu Lalit is the final judge for this contest.
This startup is already thinking scale by being open to international as well as Indian entries. “Our contest’s first month winner was a foreigner. Some of the entries have been from published authors but they were not very good. We didn’t select them. I don’t know how they got published in the first place”, exclaims Nethra. Apart from this contest, Fablery also interviews authors and reviews books. Sunshine is a comic series currently running on Fablery. In another 3 months, Fablery will be launching another comic series on their website. Avisek Choudhary is the cartoonist that working on the Fablery cartoons on their website.Imagine getting your story published in an anthology of short stories. It sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? But like most startups that execute novel ideas, this startup also has faced its share of challenges. Writers have been hesitant to apply because Fablery has no cash prize for this contest. Odyssey was supposed to sponsor gift vouchers but they decided to back off.
Apart from the hassle of juggling between her studies and contest entries, Nethra has also had a tough time convincing sponsors who wouldn’t take her seriously because she is a student. “My dad is a policeman and he doesn’t know about Fablery. He’s strict. He wants me to go to college and come back home. He’s old fashioned. After I register I will tell him about it. I'm sure my dad would be happy after I get it registered and break the news to him. Mother is very encouraging”, shares Nethra with a smile talking about her family’s support for her startup.
Fablery generates its revenue through sponsored promotions of books. Though a lot of questions have been raised about the stand taken in the reviews done by Fablery, Nethra clarifies that they only provide unbiased reviews even for sponsored promotions done on their website. Fablery markets extensively through facebook and twitter. They also have printed bookmarks that they share with book lovers all over the country.As for future plans of Fablery, Nethra wants to register Fablery as a magazine that can be sold worldwide. She also wants to start her own publishing house sometime soon as well. “Not many Indian readers would appreciate good writing. If I price the book high, even if one book sells somewhere then it is a good sign that someone wants to still read good writing.
After 15 days or one month after the contest, their first book will be published. So by December their book will be out in the market. StudentStory sends its best wishes to Nethra and Fablery.
Want to enter your short story in the Fablery contest? Take a look at Fablery's website.