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An author reveals ten secrets to marketing your own book

The writer is the best marketer, and once a book is out, give up hopes of writing for a while.

After months of extensive marketing for the first in my Anantya Tantrist series, I am back at the desk, somewhat dazed, somewhat wiser, and definitely craving to go back to my first love: writing. As I move on to various other exciting projects that are brimming up for me (including the third instalment of the Anantya Tantrist’s series), I thought I should whisper all the trade secrets I learnt on the way, for others who might walk the path that I have in the past.

Take a few months off
First of all, for any marketing effort, you will need to take out a couple of months. That’s a couple of months of no productivity, as in no writing, and doing things you might hate – talking to people, connecting, pushing your book, chasing, and all other things that marketing requires. So prepare yourself mentally for this.

Connect with people in media
I’ve worked in media houses for more than twelve years now and understand that media (all kinds, be it online, offline and blogs) is very useful in disseminating the word about your book. The thing is, the traditional ones (like newspapers and magazines) are usually loaded with books (about 80 a month), so making personal relationships with the journalists who read your kind of genre might be helpful.

Take time out and figure who these journalists are and connect with them and let them know about your book. Your publisher might be doing it on their own, but it’s useful for you to do it too. And this includes not only newspapers, but magazines, television, radio, blogs, online sites, Instagram and Facebook people. Build relationships with all kinds of people in traditional, online, or social media. If you can’t do this yourself, hire a PR agency, but keep it personal with whoever you connect with.

Do something other than a book launch
When was the last time you went to a book launch where you didn’t know the author? A launch works for a celebrity author. If you’re not one of those, try to do something else in an event. I tried doing an occult quiz for my tantrik book launch and got much more media interest as well as a larger crowd than I would have if it had been just a humdrum literary discussion (which wouldn’t have worked for Anantya Tantrist anyway).

For my kids mystery, Ghost Hunters of Kurseong, I went to schools and did detective workshops with kids, spreading the word about my book. The best way to do an event is to tie up with something else that’s already happening. Launch your book at a music concert or just before a play or at an art exhibition. Combination events work much better to reach new crowds than your own networks.

Play to your strengths
I am a natural communicator. I love connecting to people, am naturally curious on how they work and what they do and how I can help them as well as take their help in spreading word about my books. For Cult of Chaos, I’ve connected with other authors and musicians and done a giveaway on their websites, connected with event organisers and requested them to put freebies of my book (really cool blade shaped bookmarks) on their ticket boxes.

It might or might not work, but my books are being talked about in these different groups, and that helps. (Or so I think and hope.) Another author friend of mine is simply lovely at helping others write, so he runs a writing club offline and online (which comes with an extensive email list). It’s organised and fabulous. Think of your strengths and weave a marketing plan around it.

Look beyond bookstores
Where do people read books? It’s not only bookstores, it’s cafes, parks and libraries and homes. Readers are everywhere. Can you reach these spaces? How about offices, colleges and apartment complexes? There are reader groups everywhere, try to find them and connect with them. Begin small and continue your efforts.

Be more than a blog online
A personal blog or website is great, but online audiences are fractured and each has their own preferred social space. Today, you need to be present on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, YouTube, and others. If you know your audience well, try and find out where they hang out the most and be there.

There’s no use being on Facebook if you’ve written non-fiction and most of your audience hashtags over at Twitter. And be on as many social networks as you can. You don’t need to post separately on anything. But connect them all together, use auto-posts, schedule posts and let it be.

I wrote Anantya Tantrist‘s voice over a day, for two months, and put it on auto-schedule. For two months, she talked on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You’ll need to be efficient with this, otherwise your writing time may be eaten into. Another important thing for you to do is have a strong voice across these social networks. It will be a reflection of who you are as a person and as an author. Like I love supernatural/fantasy stuff and I constantly write on folklore, mythology, tribal  and occult things, which matches my interest in writing supernatural and tantric fiction.

Write columns 
Journalists don’t have time to review all books or do interviews of all authors. But you’re a writer, so play on your strength and write free content for as many magazines, papers, blogs, e-zines that you can connect with (some of them might pay for it too). Most editors are open to new ideas, especially content from authors (they think that if you’ve written and published a book, you might be able to write well). Pitch ideas around your book, not things that are directly promotional but ideas that you feel strongly about, or the themes of your book. I write columns on folklore and tantrism and things I know across four or five websites and magazines. On each site, I get about 10-300 shares every time I post something new.

Work with your publisher
Publishers usually have decent marketing teams, but they’re really busy people, so keep track of your marketing representative, give them a call once in a while, send them an email, inform them of all your activities and ideas and thoughts and keep asking what’s happening next. And if you have an idea, always ask if they would do it, even though you feel it’s too expensive or weird. You know what’s best for your book. And the marketing team is usually accommodating to most of the reasonable demands you make as an author.

Go on bookstore tours
A lot of us go by the recommendations made by the staff of a bookstore. Use this to your advantage. Understand the people who’re selling your book on the ground, for whom it’s just a day’s boring business. Tell them about your book, enthuse them with what you love about your book. Do bookstore tours in your city, speak to groups that sell books and figure out how they do it. Convince them to push your book out.

Keep in touch with the sales team
You don’t need to find out how your book is doing (that dreaded question that is asked one too many times to all of us), but I’ve found it quite useful to understand how your book is being sold. Who is the sales person? Do they read? Do they know about your book? How do they recommend it? What kind of pressures do their bosses put on them? What are their targets? What kind of distribution do they have? Is your book going to be available in all stores or just a few? Who decides these? It’s essential to understand the business of sales within a publishing house. To be honest, I am still figuring out these things myself.

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The next Industrial Revolution is here – driven by the digitalization of manufacturing processes

Technologies such as Industry 4.0, IoT, robotics and Big Data analytics are transforming the manufacturing industry in a big way.

The manufacturing industry across the world is seeing major changes, driven by globalization and increasing consumer demand. As per a report by the World Economic Forum and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd on the future of manufacturing, the ability to innovate at a quicker pace will be the major differentiating factor in the success of companies and countries.

This is substantiated by a PWC research which shows that across industries, the most innovative companies in the manufacturing sector grew 38% (2013 - 2016), about 11% year on year, while the least innovative manufacturers posted only a 10% growth over the same period.

Along with innovation in products, the transformation of manufacturing processes will also be essential for companies to remain competitive and maintain their profitability. This is where digital technologies can act as a potential game changer.

The digitalization of the manufacturing industry involves the integration of digital technologies in manufacturing processes across the value chain. Also referred to as Industry 4.0, digitalization is poised to reshape all aspects of the manufacturing industry and is being hailed as the next Industrial Revolution. Integral to Industry 4.0 is the ‘smart factory’, where devices are inter-connected, and processes are streamlined, thus ensuring greater productivity across the value chain, from design and development, to engineering and manufacturing and finally to service and logistics.

Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence and Big Data analytics are some of the key technologies powering Industry 4.0. According to a report, Industry 4.0 will prompt manufacturers globally to invest $267 billion in technologies like IoT by 2020. Investments in digitalization can lead to excellent returns. Companies that have implemented digitalization solutions have almost halved their manufacturing cycle time through more efficient use of their production lines. With a single line now able to produce more than double the number of product variants as three lines in the conventional model, end to end digitalization has led to an almost 20% jump in productivity.

Digitalization and the Indian manufacturing industry

The Make in India program aims to increase the contribution of the manufacturing industry to the country’s GDP from 16% to 25% by 2022. India’s manufacturing sector could also potentially touch $1 trillion by 2025. However, to achieve these goals and for the industry to reach its potential, it must overcome the several internal and external obstacles that impede its growth. These include competition from other Asian countries, infrastructural deficiencies and lack of skilled manpower.

There is a common sentiment across big manufacturers that India lacks the eco-system for making sophisticated components. According to FICCI’s report on the readiness of Indian manufacturing to adopt advanced manufacturing trends, only 10% of companies have adopted new technologies for manufacturing, while 80% plan to adopt the same by 2020. This indicates a significant gap between the potential and the reality of India’s manufacturing industry.

The ‘Make in India’ vision of positioning India as a global manufacturing hub requires the industry to adopt innovative technologies. Digitalization can give the Indian industry an impetus to deliver products and services that match global standards, thereby getting access to global markets.

The policy, thus far, has received a favourable response as global tech giants have either set up or are in the process of setting up hi-tech manufacturing plants in India. Siemens, for instance, is helping companies in India gain a competitive advantage by integrating industry-specific software applications that optimise performance across the entire value chain.

The Digital Enterprise is Siemens’ solution portfolio for the digitalization of industries. It comprises of powerful software and future-proof automation solutions for industries and companies of all sizes. For the discrete industries, the Digital Enterprise Suite offers software and hardware solutions to seamlessly integrate and digitalize their entire value chain – including suppliers – from product design to service, all based on one data model. The result of this is a perfect digital copy of the value chain: the digital twin. This enables companies to perform simulation, testing, and optimization in a completely virtual environment.

The process industries benefit from Integrated Engineering to Integrated Operations by utilizing a continuous data model of the entire lifecycle of a plant that helps to increase flexibility and efficiency. Both offerings can be easily customized to meet the individual requirements of each sector and company, like specific simulation software for machines or entire plants.

Siemens has identified projects across industries and plans to upgrade these industries by connecting hardware, software and data. This seamless integration of state-of-the-art digital technologies to provide sustainable growth that benefits everyone is what Siemens calls ‘Ingenuity for Life’.

Case studies for technology-led changes

An example of the implementation of digitalization solutions from Siemens can be seen in the case of pharma major Cipla Ltd’s Kurkumbh factory.

Cipla needed a robust and flexible distributed control system to dispense and manage solvents for the manufacture of its APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients used in many medicines). As part of the project, Siemens partnered with Cipla to install the DCS-SIMATIC PCS 7 control system and migrate from batch manufacturing to continuous manufacturing. By establishing the first ever flow Chemistry based API production system in India, Siemens has helped Cipla in significantly lowering floor space, time, wastage, energy and utility costs. This has also improved safety and product quality.

In yet another example, technology provided by Siemens helped a cement plant maximise its production capacity. Wonder Cement, a greenfield project set up by RK Marbles in Rajasthan, needed an automated system to improve productivity. Siemens’ solution called CEMAT used actual plant data to make precise predictions for quality parameters which were previously manually entered by operators. As a result, production efficiency was increased and operators were also freed up to work on other critical tasks. Additionally, emissions and energy consumption were lowered – a significant achievement for a typically energy intensive cement plant.

In the case of automobile major, Mahindra & Mahindra, Siemens’ involvement involved digitalizing the whole product development system. Siemens has partnered with the manufacturer to provide a holistic solution across the entire value chain, from design and planning to engineering and execution. This includes design and software solutions for Product Lifecycle Management, Siemens Technology for Powertrain (STP) and Integrated Automation. For Powertrain, the solutions include SINUMERIK, SINAMICS, SIMOTICS and SIMATIC controls and drives, besides CNC and PLC-controlled machines linked via the Profinet interface.

The above solutions helped the company puts its entire product lifecycle on a digital platform. This has led to multi-fold benefits – better time optimization, higher productivity, improved vehicle performance and quicker response to market requirements.

Siemens is using its global expertise to guide Indian industries through their digital transformation. With the right technologies in place, India can see a significant improvement in design and engineering, cutting product development time by as much as 30%. Besides, digital technologies driven by ‘Ingenuity for Life’ can help Indian manufacturers achieve energy efficiency and ensure variety and flexibility in their product offerings while maintaining quality.

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The above examples of successful implementation of digitalization are just some of the examples of ‘Ingenuity for Life’ in action. To learn more about Siemens’ push to digitalize India’s manufacturing sector, see here.

This article was produced on behalf of Siemens by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.