Advisers are coming up with novel ways to educate people. Besides meeting clients, they are busy hopping across book stores and events to promote their books.
Mumbai based adviser Vinayak Sapre published his maiden book Dohanomics by inaugurating it at a book store in Bengaluru. His book draws analogies from the timeless solutions offered by Sant Kabir and Rahim to the complexities of life for investors. It is a collection of forty gems from Sant Kabir and Rahim, interpreted by Vinayak who has studied their ancient wisdom and applied it to behavioural aspects of investing. “Generally, whilst taking any investment decision, people tend to follow the herd. Kabir explains that if by shaving one’s head one could attain moksha, then the sheep would be the most liberated living creatures; but it doesn’t happen. Similarly, before taking decisions on investments, one must consider one’s own need, risk appetite, goals, liquidity, etc. Following the herd is not a good idea,” writes Vinayak in his book.
The trend is not new. A cost accountant and company secretary, Pune based adviser Arvind Paranjape used to handle public and right issues of shares before becoming an adviser. He used to share his wisdom on how IPOs are structured in Saakal newspaper, a popular Marathi daily, which gave him instant popularity. When he started his practice in 2003, he started writing about mutual funds in newspapers which captured the imagination of many investors who recommended him to compile his articles into a book. “The articles were based on the past market situation and thus could not be compiled into a book. When I started my practice in 2003 the awareness about mutual funds was low. I thought of popularizing mutual funds through a book. Since simply explaining the benefits of mutual funds would be very text bookish, I was thinking of how I could make it easy for a layperson to understand,” recalls Arvind.
Arvind says that the popularity of the book depends on how the author articulate his/her ideas. He avoided taking the text bookish approach and instead started thinking of presenting mutual funds to people more creatively. It took him almost two years to crystalize on the book’s format and style.
Arvind developed three fictional characters Yash & Isha (prospects) and an adviser Shekhar. The book starts with Yash & Isha attending an investor awareness seminar organized by Shekhar. He is talking about ‘How to Grow Rich’ through financial planning. Inspired by Shekhar’s ideas, Yash and Isha decide to enroll for financial planning. What follows is a long interaction with Shekhar where Yash and Isha clarify all their doubts about investments.
The Marathi edition launched in 2008 has met with reasonable success. In its fifth edition, the book has sold 8,000 copies so far. To reach out to a wider audience, Arvind started translating it in English, which he completed in three months. However, finding an English publisher was not easy. After a long search, Tejal Prakashan came on board. Though his English edition has been appreciated by people, it has not been a commercial hit, having sold only 800 copies so far.
Unlike the current crop of authors who are promoting their books on social media, e-commerce websites and events, Arvind did not have such options a decade back. He adopted a more traditional approach. “My family members are into acting and have done a lot of dramas. I took their help to enact the SIP story written in my book live at an event. This helped me sell 150 copies,” recalls Arvind. He has started selling his books on e-commerce sites only recently.
Nevertheless, he is happy that his book has been appreciated by investors as well as advisers. Sharing once such anecdote, he says, “Some of my peers told me that their family members didn’t know what they do professionally. They gave my book to their family members which helped them understand about the wonders of mutual funds. They said that now their family appreciates the noble work they do.”
Arvind is not alone. Mumbai based financial planner Gaurav Mashruwala also published his first book ‘Essential Guide To Carefree Retirement’ more than a decade back. The book explains how retirement planning can be done at different ages and stages of life.
The writing trend which started almost a decade back is now gathering momentum. Gaurav published his second book Yogic Wealth last year, which is a compilation of his articles written for newspapers. In this book, Gaurav unlocks the secrets of wealth creation and its preservation from the teachings of scriptures, bringing out their value and applicability in today's world.
While he doesn’t keep a track of book sales, he estimates that his book would have sold close to 10,000 copies based on the royalty received by him so far. The book has also been translated in Gujarati and Hindi.
Why has the writing bug caught advisers? Besides helping build credibility and recognition, acquiring a new identity as author is helping advisers acquire clients. Gaurav has been inundated with speaking requests after his book Yogic Wealth came out. While Gaurav’s intention of writing his book was not to acquire clients, he believes that he would have converted many prospects who would have heard him speak at events.
Other advisers who have authored books in the recent past include Kanak Jain, Manish Chauhan, Nandish Desai and Brijesh Dalmia.
Translating thoughts into ideas and presenting it to an audience which may have never heard of ‘financial planning’ needs dedicated hours free of distraction. When Deepali Sen quit her job to set up her practice, her friend recommended her to articulate her ideas on how she can help people in a book which she could share with prospects. By putting in eight hours a day, she finished writing her e-book 'Why greed is great' in 30 days. She put her e-book on digital library scribd. “I shared my e-book with Gaurav Mashruwala and he suggested that I should approach a publisher,” recalls Deepali. The 1000 downloads she got on Scribd also encouraged her to get the book published, which has sold 15,000 hard copies so far.
Her book talks about our psychology behind money making, our unique relationship with money and the equilibrium all of us seek to achieve. It emphasizes upon the need for financial planning through 12 life stories shedding light on the thumb-rules to follow.
Mumbai based adviser Amar Pandit is perhaps among the only advisers in India to author four books - Financial Planning for Doctors, Art & Science of teaching children about money, Bill and Penny’s Money Adventures and The Only Financial Planning Book that you will ever need, all of them published by Network 18 Publications.
His new-found passion seems to be working its magic. “I have been working in the software sales industry for the last 12 years, being fairly successful but I haven’t really done a lot of savings… until your book really brought many things into clear perception. I will be picking the other book (Financial Planning for Doctors) to gift my wife as she’s a Physio and started her own clinic a few months ago. I’m very confident it will help her,” reads a comment posted on Amar Pandit’s blog.
The number of authors from the advisory community is only increasing. Mumbai based IFA trainer and author of ‘Riding the Roller Coaster’ Amit Trivedi believes that dearth of Indian books in the financial planning space and publisher’s thirst for good writers is fueling this trend. “I delivered a presentation on how to write and publish your book at an event recently. After my presentation was over, five advisers approached me to seek my help for publishing their book,” says Amit. Amit’s book has sold 8,000 copies.
The book’s success also depends on the popularity of the author. The more popular the author, the higher the chances of the book becoming a bestseller, observes Amit. “It’s one thing to write, it’s another to make it popular. If your publisher is renowned, they will take care of promoting your book. If not, you have to put in a lot of effort to get visibility,” says Amit.
You can also expect to earn a steady income through royalty which ranges between 7% and 10% of invoice, depending on your negotiation with the publisher. It is generally the publisher who decides the book’s price. The publisher then markets the books through distributors at a margin, which can be as high as 30%. Assuming the book’s cover price is Rs 500, the actual invoice raised for the publisher is Rs 350, after deducting 30% margin. So the author gets a 10% royalty on the invoice price Rs 350. Assuming your book is purchased by 5,000 people, you would earn a royalty of Rs 1.75 lakh (excluding taxes).
With hundreds of books vying to get the attention of readers online, the book’s success depends on pricing, the publisher’s pedigree and the books’ title which must be catchy enough to get added to the cart. Take for instance P V Subramanyam’s book ‘Retire Invest: Rs. 40 a Day’. The book’s catchy title coupled with the author’s simple writing has helped the book sell over 1.50 lakh copies across Hindi and English editions, including kindle.
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