A vision to help others get rid of the problems, one has seen or faced has led to the formation of many successful start-ups today. Chetan Soni, recognized the same problem; amateur writers/ aspiring authors faced when it came to publishing their works and came up with a publishing startup to help them all get published without all those tiresome troubles, publishing process consisted of. When asked, what made him started the Half Baked Beans, he quoted, “The Indian publishing industry has always been very much disorganized with big MNC publishing houses or family-owned typical distribution houses. We wanted to be somewhere in between as Indie publishers catering to the need of writers as even before we started all we heard was how writers are never happy with publishers. The idea was to create a platform for amateur writers where they can get published without much hassle and we are still working toward that.”
“Publishing industry is a huge market in India with Academic publishing having the largest share. But there is a lack of startup publishing houses in this country. Most of them are family owned like Rupa, Om books etc. Since we are dealing with Fiction genre we occupy a very small share, currently, but we feel, looking at the response generated on our social media that we are doing something right.” He further added about the Indian Publishing market and his company.
Living his enthusiasm for the literature and startups, Chetan, through his Half Baked Beans, has till now published more than 30 books, one of which was India’s first double-header book. He also came up with literary workshops, with experts as mentors to help all the budding writers shine brighter. His company also come up with writing internship programs and is looking forward to numerous more workshops and intern programs in the near future.
One of the workshops by HBB
Like every great journey comes with some hardships, he also faced a lot of hurdles like financial instability, Government’s registration policies, people trying to put you down, reaching out to writers, audience and a lot more. As he said that the journey has had more downs than ups. He also stated, “Financially we have still not broken even and that is because of the nature of the industry. At the end of the day you can’t keep everybody happy but when an author acknowledges our efforts it makes us really happy.”
Half Baked Beans:
“The government needs to lessen the formalities required to register a company and other documents related things. There should be some programs for nurturing startups.
As for audience people should read more and spend more on reading and do not wait for free books. Reading is the only area where people are miser in spending and this should be changed and there is lot more to storytelling than movies.” He further suggested.
He also shared how the things like being financially unstable, too much pressure and workload at times, cutting social life and other fun-do activities had at times brought him a second thought of quitting. And how his fire for creating things helped him overcome the same. With the same fire of creating things, he came up with two more successful startups, Green Rock (an e-Commerce store for fan art merchandise) and Big Bang Trip (curated trips with people of different backgrounds on a particular theme).
Half Baked Beans, unlike other famous publishing houses, works real hard for every book publication and its promotion. “Facebook has proved to be their main source for the promotions on the social media platform”, states Chetan. The Authors leave no stone unturned to make their book launches big too. They (Authors) have invited some big names to the launch events of books, to gather a better audience.
Book launch by South Actress Regina Cassandra, Comedian Sanjay Maniktala
Book launch by actress Sai Tamhankar
When you focus your business on a mission, not just making money, prosperity will follow you. It was the sheer hard work and dedication over his venture that got Chetan’s work being recognized by some daily newspapers, and startup success stories too.
A news article mentioning the hard work beyond one of the books published by Half Baked Beans
“The Hindu” A major news Daily, mentioning about the India’s first double-header book published by HBB
Chetan’s charisma and dreams are quite evident, how much of a fighter and a winner as a human and entrepreneur he is. He has set an example for how your situations never dictate you; it’s you who sets a definition of yourself. About the future of publishing industry and his companies he mentions, “The publishing industry will become a service industry in future catering to needs of writers. Therefore we are moving towards that by starting book marketing services and helping writer reach wider audience”
And now it’s time for us to stand like him in the cult of people, who became the change, they wanted to see.