Women entrepreneurs are close to our heart and today we bring you an interview with Lipika Bhushan — who’s spent more than a decade in the publishing industry, including with HarperCollins India. And while she does mention that, as a civil servant’s daughter, her family would have initially preferred a more traditional career like engineering or the medical stream, they came around, and fully supported her decision to do a degree in Business Administration, an MBA, and indeed, to choose the career that she has. A trained Bharatnatyam dancer, Lipika feels that being the daughter of a vocalist (her mother), helped instil creativity and discipline in everything she’s done.
She talks to SheThePeople.TV about publishing, being an entrepreneur and setting up her own marketing firm MarketMyBook, to support publishers and new writers.
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What inspired you to be an entrepreneur?
I began a career in marketing and in the first few years handled a varied portfolio such as White Goods, Telecom and Jewellery. Then one day, due to some mix up at the job consultant’s end, I landed in an interview with an international publishing house. As once put by my ex-boss, I suddenly appeared in publishing and have since held on to it purely for the love of books. My exposure in other industries and varied product categories, I guess has been the reason for a successful tenure as a book marketer.
After having worked as a Head of Marketing and Publicity in HarperCollins India, I moved to launching a consulting firm MarketMyBook after having a baby. It was the best way to continue to use my abilities and remain in touch with what I am best at, while at the same time to give time required to my daughter. Under MarketMyBook we extend marketing and publicity support to publishers and writers.
Currently we are working on a new product, which is a communication solution that we intend launching soon.
Entrepreneurship wasn’t a natural progression but more a dream, that I believe every Business Administration student nurtures, mixed with an opportunity.
What’s the concept of ‘Market My Book’ and what’s your vision behind it? What market gap are you trying to address by bringing your venture into the society?
MarketMyBook was an idea which filled a big gap in the current market. While working for a publisher, I always found a few books that had immense potential and could do much better than what they eventually did but lacked a dedicated and focused effort due to the sheer volume of new titles, which big international publishers came out with. The focus largely used to be on top line or big brands to help sales meet targets. It was also practically impossible to give equal marketing support to all titles being published.
MarketMyBook helps provides that focus to make small big and big bigger.
It provides complete marketing solution to publishers and writers. We handle 360 degree marketing which includes online, social media management, promotional tie ups, events, PR and media management. MarketMyBook is your dedicated marketing and PR professional that provides tailor made solutions for marketing a book successfully.
Could you also please tell us about your future plans with ‘Market My Book’?
MarketMyBook is looking forward to emerging as a specialist in ebook marketing.
What are the current projects or initiatives you working on?
There is a very interesting historical fiction that has come our way after a long time, so looking forward to working on the marketing of the same. Also quite excited about the new product as it plugs in yet another gap in the market.
What makes you different from your competitors?
Personal touch :). I work with my team and get involved in each and every project that we take on. I personally read every manuscript and book before taking on its marketing as only a good product can extract the best in you and your team as a marketer. It may limit quantity but improves quality manifold.
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How did you manage funding for the base operations initially?
My savings went into launching MarketMyBook but it had a quick turnaround as the idea was an instant hit.
What were the initial days like – what kind of challenges you’ve faced and still facing as an entrepreneur?
I started with a blank page not expecting much to come in but was pleasantly surprised to get my first project even before I launched MarketMyBook. Thanks to Kishwar Desai. I think my experience with working with some of the biggest names in not just the writing world but stalwarts in the fields of sports, business, politics, entertainment, media etc helped me gain immediate positive response.
Getting good books that drive your marketing instincts, is always a challenge.
What skills do you think an entrepreneur must have to be successful?
The two D’s – Discipline and dedication.
How do you think the digital boom in India is empowering women? How it helped your venture grow in the market?
I feel the digital boom has helped all, irrespective of gender, in reducing the startup time for new ventures. For women I am sure it helps bring in convenience of space, time and reach. Digital boom has also opened wider avenues of reaching readers and getting direct reader reviews. Writers have started banking more and more on online marketing tools and concentrating on sales coming in through online channels.
What else is your passion other than running a company?
Dancing though I haven’t been able to learn a new dance form that I really want to but yes I do write poetry from time to time.
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The rise of the woman entrepreneurs – Do you think the term is shaped up because of the digital boom in India?
I would rather attribute it to women experimenting with their careers more than they used to earlier. Yes digitization has increased exposure and accessibility for sure to add wings to their dreams.
What advice would you give to fellow entrepreneurs?
Follow your dreams with conviction.
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