Constant vigilance!

This is perfect for all wannabe authors out there. Here's a new publishing house in the Capital and they are all set to take some great works on. But do not make the mistake of underestimating these newbies - they have already published a book called D.U. Love and are well stocked with a bunch of new projects. We spoke to Mohd Salman Khan about his Vigilante Publications. Read on...

Tell us a little bit about Vigilante Publications
Vigilante Publications is a passionate collective of people from many walks of life – media, advertising, academics, bureaucracy, and publishing, who have joined hands to experiment with Indian Writing in English. Vigilante is an eclectic, hybrid publishing collective that is one of India’s youngest, independent, progressive, and experimental publishing houses.Though based in NCR, we operate in and are propelled by the minds of those who seek change in what and how they read in India. We are Cloud Computing for the literary world – uniting bibliophiles from across the country in a collective writing and reading exercise.

What's the idea behind this publication house?
We at Vigilante Publications have one basic mantra – publishing must return to the people. Since we believe market forces should not determine what gets published or read, we primarily encourage experimental works, newer sub-genres, novel ways of narration, and a 'new' perspective on life, though, of course, we engage with traditional fiction too. We have a soft corner for marginalized genres, regions, people, and writing. Thus, we are not limited by tags, forms, genres or classifications. Fiction and non-fiction, poetry and prose, equally captivate us. The point is to publish low-cost, mass-market paperbacks that do something new: that’s why our motto – pulp fiction for the thinking soul.

Tell me about your team? Also, why did you – a trained engineer – choose to enter into the publishing industry?

While we are a youth-oriented start-up with revolutionary (and even crazy) ideas, we are steered by a highly-experienced Advisory Council comprising retired and serving bureaucrats, media personnel, academicians, and other professionals. As for why I joined this team, well, I work as an assistant manager in this organization and handle, among other things, constructive, mutually beneficial coordination between readers, writers and artists. We help writers and readers fight the flawed 'system' using the pen.

This ability to experiment gives us a chance to shape how people think and behave – I become an engineering professional who, in his own small way, is able to contribute to doing to minds what my counterparts do to computers and machinery. It is a fun experience! Moreover, if engineers can become writers, why cannot they become publishing professionals and literary entrepreneurs?

How are you different from other publishing houses out there? Why this name?
Books are not just 'products' for us, to be placed as per their 'target-audiences' and 'specific-markets'. They are not merely sources of profit generation, for books are creations of blood, tears and sweat of the author – babies that need to be nurtured, cared for, and then brought into contact with the world in systematic, phased manner that bodes well for both the writer and the reader. Taking these works to the public is what gives us happiness – the name draws upon how we intend to act as literary vigilantes to bring good pulp to the Indian drawing rooms!

How do you guys choose your books?

We don’t ask the question 'will this sell?' of our books, but 'is this a great story?' If we find a book interesting and quirky, we support, print, stock, market, and distribute it with all gusto.

What are the books we can look forward to from you guys?
We recently launched D.U. Love, which is India’s first cross-genre anthology of student-written short-stories set in Delhi University, and Animal Fables from Modern Persia, heart-warming short-stories translated from the Farsi into English by two leading academics from the field of Indo-Persian studies. Here is a list of some of our forthcoming titles: From Doon to the Moon: IAS - The Ultimate Vision - A fictionalised autobiography of one of India’s first visually-challenged IAS Officers that talks about the writer’s trials and tribulations while getting selected for the IAS – one of India’s most prestigious services – despite being blind; Wizards of Hazard - The poignant tale of a young-man-next-door caught in an existential crisis from which there seems to be no escape – not even the hope or possibility of it; and Aliens in Delhi - A science fiction alien-invasion novel that is a worthy sequel to a national-award winning thriller.
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