Meet the SHEROES - Pooja Shah

Last updated 4 Jan 2018 . 5 min read

A book is a gift you can open again and again - Garrison Keillor 

Pooja Shah, the founder and Creative Director of The Ink Pot  started her venture with the aim of providing publishing consultancy services. No, they are not a publishing house but yes they provide a platform for those with a creative mind. Let's read on to learn more about Pooja and the story of The Ink Pot.

How did the idea of The Ink Pot come about? How has your journey been so far?
The inspiration for The Ink Pot came from my first visit to the world's biggest publishing event - The Frankfurt Book Fair in 2008. Every facet of publishing was here, and as I strolled through the labyrinthine halls, I found my head spinning with surreal images: priceless antiquarian volumes, cupcake and champagne sodden aisles, stylish artist enclaves, talking books, themed stalls and finally, Paulo Coelho draped across a sofa giving an interview. This buzzy, busy, exhilarating atmosphere was at once infectious and deepened my resolve to contribute to this eclectic industry.

My love for books goes beyond reading and one could almost call me a bibliophile. I love everything from the scent and touch, to the rustle of a book. I have spent the most part of my higher education studying in England, preparing for this field and subsequently learnt the tools of the trade, working at India Book House (IBH), Mumbai before venturing out on my own.

In the spring of 2011, I set up The Ink Pot, a unique consultancy that provides bespoke publishing services to a spectrum of clients ranging from publishing houses to independent authors and institutions looking to self-publish. So, whether you are simply looking for an exquisite book cover, luxury stationery or for your manuscript to be transformed into a print-ready book, we have something for you.

Thus, through this exhilirating entrepreneurial endeavor I pay my tribute to the kingdom of books and to its wonderful architects; who create worlds from words.

How would you say your company is different from others?
To begin with, we are not a publishing house but publishing consultants.

The Ink Pot is a unique print and publishing consultancy conceived by a bibliophile & aesthete to give form to your content. Our endeavor is to create publications that are acclaimed for their quality, vision and erudition. We lay a great emphasis on quality of content, customization, design, production and originality.

We provide a range of bespoke editorial and production services for publishing houses; independent authors, corporates and institutions looking to self publish. Our services range from conceptualization, editing, ghost writing, photography, illustration, prepress to production &  distribution

We also provide a platform for creative individuals to showcase their works, by publishing outstanding, innovative and hand-picked works under the Ink Pot imprint each year.

What are the short-term business objectives of Ink Pot?
To create first class self published books that capture the imagination of the intended market and break the notion of self published books only being created for vanity reasons.

To create books that are acclaimed for their inventiveness, beautiful design and innovative production

To promote indigenous and upcoming artists through art collaborations on projects

To promote 'reading' through our social media platforms

To expand our stable of literary accessories. (In 2012 we launched our first gift products/literary accessories (The Lucky Diary, Wall art etc,  personalised art stationery). Reflecting the design and production skills we’ve learnt over the last few years, they come from the relationships we’ve developed with skilled illustrators and designers.) Another way to celebrate 'love for literature and the written word.'

What are the top three challenges you face in this line of work?
1. Potential Client's/Press Confusion over the difference between a publishing house & publishing consultant, and The Ink Pot is often mistaken as a publishing house.

2. Book Distribution for self published books. As books backed by large publishing houses get preference in an offline retail space. And due to space constraints in book retail, a fabulously self published book will have to prove itself before it gets shelf space next to the stalwarts. (E.g. UNJUNKED  a cookbook self published by nutritionist Suman Agarwal) However, online retailers such as Flipkart/Amazon are game changers.

3. Our main publications i.e. large format illustrated books (coffee table books) aren't placed to benefit from the rise of e-books, as they don't support that format.

What advice would you share with other women entrepreneurs?
Face your fears - I dreaded the administrative, legal and financial aspect of a business but being an entrepreneur means facing all your fears head on and overcoming them

Create the opportunity -If the right opportunity does not present itself, you have to create your own. In india there was nothing really known as a publishing consultant, but I identified a gap in the market and that's where Ink Pot came in

Find what you truly love- art and literature have always been a passion, and I combined the two to create my dream job.

Create value instead of discounts - Giving more than the client expected will always, even in a small way, [will] pay off in the long run. Every client I have today is simply through word of mouth.

I would like to end by a favorite literary quote of mine,

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain

Pooja Shah
Paroma Sen
Paroma Sen is a professional content and creative writer.

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