ABOUT THREE MONTHS AGO, Nuzhat Aziz, a Pune-based journalist, finished the manuscript for her first book—a collection of short stories on anti-Muslim prejudice, and on women’s rights in Islam today. As the work neared completion, she did as every aspiring author does, and went in search of a publisher. The publishing industry can be fickle, she soon understood. Several large, traditional publishers never got back to her, and smaller firms showed interest but nothing more. Aziz was stuck.
Then, on Twitter, she heard about Bloody Good Book, a new publishing venture inviting online submissions. Aziz logged on to the company’s website, and sent in her manuscript. In June, as part of the company’s official launch, Bloody Good Book uploaded three of Aziz’s short stories for public view, alongside samples from fifty other submitted manuscripts.
“In terms of publishing, we are trying to do something different, and there is space for us to alter the way publishing works,” Niyati Patel, who co-founded Bloody Good Book with the Navi Mumbai-based author Rashmi Bansal, told me over the phone in June from Ahmedabad. The company aims to harness the power of the online crowd to discover good books, and to open doors for talented young writers. When a manuscript comes in, and if it meets certain minimum standards, Patel uploads the first three chapters or stories from the work to the website. There, readers pass judgement through ratings and reviews. Participation is open, and only requires registration on the website. Bloody Good Book currently has just over 3,500 users.