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Kiran Pereira

Kiran Pereira

London, United Kingdom

Kiran Pereira is the Founder and Chief Storyteller of SandStories.org, a platform dedicated to creating awareness about this little known global environmental crisis - sand mining.

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Pre-orders

517

Funded

$10,200

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0

517copies
0 250 500 1000
Success! Sand Stories sold 517 pre-orders by April 6, 2018, was pitched to 98 publishers, and will be published by Ingram.

$15 eBook only

67 readers

If you like to curl up with your Kindle, get yourself an eBook of Sand Stories at a discounted price. Simple, convenient and quick! For a limited period only.

Ebook included

$20 Limited Offer Sold out

50 readers

You'll get one copy of Sand Stories in print and ebook form, plus you’ll get exclusive access to updates and an invite to join the Sand Stories community. *This bonus is limited to the first 50 readers.

1 copy + ebook included

Free shipping

0 of 50 left

$25 VIP

45 readers

You'll get one signed & personalised copy of Sand Stories in print and ebook form, plus you’ll get exclusive access to updates and an invite to join the Sand Stories community.

1 copy + ebook included

Free shipping

$59 Cool Cat

20 readers

You'll get 3 signed & personalised copies in print, ebook AND audiobook form + a HUGE thanks from me in the acknowledgements section. In addition, you will get a cool, lightweight aluminium water bottle that you take along to the beach or your next hike.

3 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

$99 A Behind-the-scenes Video

6 readers

You'll receive 5 copies of my book, signed & personalised, plus your name in the book as a sand supporter. You’ll also get exclusive access to an hour-long video. If you've ever thought of writing a book, allow me to shorten the learning curve and help you get started on making your dream come true too. This video will reveal behind-the-scenes stories of the creative process from both the first-time-author's perspective as well as the artist's perspective.

5 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

$299 SANDBOX

4 readers

You'll receive 15 copies of my book, signed & personalised, plus your name in the book as a sand supporter. You will receive the video from the previous bonus. In addition, I will assemble a surprise box, full of items that I find interesting, fascinating and inspiring. Example items range from favourite books/DVDs to nourishing teas.

15 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

$500 Fine-dining in London with Kiran

1 reader

You want this book to reach a group of people and contribute to this campaign in a big way! You'll receive 25 copies of Sand Stories, get recognized on the first page as a Patron, and also get any of the above bonuses. As a special thanks, I will also organise a dinner for you and a guest at a fine London based restaurant. We can talk Sand Stories, artwork, travel, or whatever else you'd like. Excludes travel.

25 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

$1000 Sand Patron + Premium Artwork

0 readers

This is where the numbers start to become BIG. You'll be considered a sand hero ;) You'll receive 50 copies of the book and get recognized on the first page as a Patron.

As a special recognition, you will receive an original artwork replication (chosen from three print designs) from the illustrator behind the cover and art in Sand Stories, Michelle Bauer. Michelle is a very talented artist based in Switzerland. Her support has been invaluable throughout this journey.

50 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

$1500 Online Lecture

0 readers

This is for sustainability-focused organizations, small groups or interested private individuals who want to help spread the word and become Patrons of Sand Stories.
You'll receive 75 copies of the book and get recognized on the first page as a Patron + get a 1-hour online lecture on sand-related issues followed by a 30 minute Q&A portion.

75 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

$1800 Professional Photoshoot & Corporate Video

2 readers

You'll receive 90 copies of Sand Stories and get recognised on the first page as a Patron. In addition, you will get a professional photo shoot and a corporate video from www.paulcapelliphotography.com for a key event or for your marketing requirements. Includes the photographer's travel and shooting for 1 day anywhere in Europe.

90 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

$2400 Hire to Speak!

0 readers

Hire me to speak at your event and I'll bring 120 copies with me for you and your guests to take home.

I will share both heartbreaking and heart-warming sand stories. We'll talk about wars between the Davids and Goliaths of our world, the Geopolitics of Sand and how we need to design solutions with women in mind.

120 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

$5000 All Inclusive Weekend

0 readers

Ok, here is where you'll officially become a sand saint ;) You will have my gratitude forever and 250 books to distribute to your community.

I will organise an all-inclusive weekend of discovery for you in Northern Ireland. We will spend time doing nice things such as visiting The Giant's Causeway, a World Heritage Site. We will also visit another gem, Lough Neagh. It is the biggest freshwater lake in Britain. To put it in perspective, Lough Neagh is bigger than Malta and it is designated as a European Special Protection Area.

Unfortunately, this Jewel is threatened by unlawful sand extraction. To give you an idea of the scale, the sand extracted from it in one year could fill over 10,000 volleyball courts. We will meet a community deeply impacted by this activity.

For more information about Lough Neagh visit: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/northern-ireland/lough-neagh-why-europes-wildlife-jewel-needs-space-breathe

Includes travel from mainland Europe or UK for 1 person.

250 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

Sand Stories

About the Most Consumed Commodity on Earth

Sand Stories sheds light on why sand is the most consumed commodity on Earth. It examines the problems caused by indiscriminate mining across the world and offers potential solutions.

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Science Environment
60,000 words
50% complete
19 publishers interested

Synopsis

Sand has always been perceived to be a symbol of abundance in many cultures. It is popularly believed to be both renewable as well as inexhaustible. This book will challenge that perception and draw the reader's attention to a common yet surprising phenomenon of the scarcity of sand as a resource. From glass to urban infrastructure, from silicon chips to pharmaceutical products, sand is used in mind-boggling volumes.  But extensive consumption has resulted in several social, environmental, economic and geopolitical impacts across the globe. Although specific industries have already begun to find alternatives due to shortage of sand, the gravity of the situation hasn't percolated into the mainstream yet. This book attempts to fill that void and make the subject readily accessible to those who wish to delve deeper. The language used in the book is not academic although reference is made to available literature. 

I grew up in Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India. As the city grew exponentially, I recall reading numerous newspaper reports about rivers being damaged due to incessant sand mining, yet I remember seeing miles and miles of sand laden trucks along highways. The topic always surfaced whenever there was a particularly serious problem but then receded in the media's eternal quest for new stories. From 2010 - 2011, I did a Masters in Environment and Development from King's College, London and I chose sand mining as the topic for my dissertation. After graduation, I continued to research and write blogs to raise awareness about this pressing environmental issue.

I believe I am the right person to write this book because of my wide variety of skills, experiences, and demonstrated passion. My forthcoming book will re-examine the way our society engages and deals with sand as a resource. Most importantly this book will bring a unique 'join-the-dots' perspective to the subject as it connects today's problems with potential solutions. Together with you, I hope Sand Stories will be another step towards creating greater global awareness and advancing a platform for change in our lifetime.  


Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. The Making of an Oxymoron
  3. It's a Third World Problem. Or is it?
  4. A Victim of its Versatility
  5. Hiding in Plain Sight
  6. The Elephant in the Room
  7. How Does it Look?
  8. Let it Flow
  9. Too Much of a Good Thing
  10. Why Mark Twain would have been Surprised
  11. The Currency of Development
  12. Cracking the Cradle
  13. Private Gain at Public Expense
  14. The Dark Side of Development
  15. Builders vs. Fishermen
  16. Stranger to the Seasons
  17. Gazing into the Mirror?
  18. Rebuilding the Tower of Babel
  19. Mind Your Own Business. But...
  20. Could Architecture be the Bridge?
  21. Digging Deeper into the Cost of Convenience
  22. I Wasn't Exposed
  23. Beware of False Prophets
  24. The Circle of Life in the Anthropocene
  25. The Magic Wand
  26. Designing Solutions With Her in Mind
  27. Through the Eyes of Faith
  28. The Final Answer


Audience

This book is written particularly for those who are passionate about topics related to the environment and sustainability. It is a surprising inquiry into the production of a resource that is often taken for granted - sand. Sand is the world's most overused, yet undervalued resource after fresh water. Even though sand is part of nearly every square metre of what we see in our cities, it is truly the forgotten foundation of modernity. 

A brief introductory video from Al Jazeera English

This is what Dr. David Tickner, Chief Freshwater Advisor WWF-UK had to say about the topic on Twitter:

"#Sand might well be the biggest, least well known environmental issue on the planet. Huge implications for #cities#finance#rivers#coasts#crime

There is much to be said and much more to be learned. My book is an attempt to humanise our ceaseless demand for sand. It will appeal to anyone who self-identifies as an eco-conscious individual. In addition, professionals such as Architects, Urban Planners, Landscape Architects, Civil Engineers, Geologists, Environmental Lawyers, Water Sector Professionals, Coastal Engineers and Professionals working in the Sustainability Sector would also find it interesting. 

Although the term 'Sustainable Development' is highly contested, the concept of sustainability is becoming more important by the day. The UN has chosen 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. In our resource-constrained world, what were once simply 'externalities' are fast becoming material. In their article in the Harvard Business Review, Lubin and Esty (2010) have proposed that sustainability is an emerging megatrend. This presents a huge challenge as well as a great opportunity. Since the key focus of the book remains on solutions, it would appeal to Change-Makers, Activists, Journalists, as well as Entrepreneurs working on green solutions. 

Promotion

Social Media is a key part of my campaign. I post regularly on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus as well as LinkedIn. I have an active website with a growing community of subscribers. I plan to reach out to key audiences through various groups on facebook and yahoo. I am also in talks with a few in the teaching community to use the book in their curriculum.

I have invites to speak at conferences as well as editorial articles and guest posts in the pipeline. Once the book is completed, I plan to host live events as well as virtual summits to bring together a diverse set of stakeholders and spark conversations around the book.

With the right publisher, we will work together to leverage my social capital and your marketing resources to ensure the book reaches the widest and most relevant audience.

Competition

Book 1:

  • Title: Impact of Sand Mining and Effluent Pollution on Rural Communities.
  • Publisher: Lambert Academic Publishing
  • Author: Manjunatha Arahalli Venkataronappa
  • Publication date: 2011
  • Description: The book is based on a specific case study on the north Pinakini river basin of Karnataka, India and offers scientific evidence on the negative impacts that sand mining has on groundwater of a region. The book provides a theoretical and empirical analysis of sand mining and distillery effluent impacts on groundwater use and possible solutions for internalisation of negative externalities. It serves as a useful read for economists and policy makers to understand this subject better.
  • How my book is different:  The above mentioned book is a direct result of academic work and it does not make for an easy read, particularly for a general reader or one who doesn't know enough about the topic. In addition, since it is based on a specific academic study, it does not offer a global perspective nor a comparative analysis of similar cases elsewhere. These points are addressed in my book.

Book 2:

  • Title: Sand Mining - Environmental Impacts and Selected Case Studies
  • Publisher: Springer
  • Author: D. Padmalal and K. Maya
  • Publication date: 2014
  • Description: This is one of the earliest books on the subject that offers a succinct overview on the environmental impacts of sand mining, particularly in river ecosystems. It examines case studies from South West India and gives brief snippets of information on river sand mining in other countries. It also touches upon non river sources of sand and uses of sand very briefly. The book is well written and well illustrated. Despite the fact that it's largely aimed at an academic audience, it does make for a very interesting read even for a general reader.
  • How my book is different:  The academic nature of the above mentioned book limits its scope. Even critical topics such as hydraulic fracturing which use enormous quantities of sand, (albeit of a very specific kind) fall outside the scope of this book. As a result, the pervasiveness of sand in various industrial processes and the global impact of classifying sand as a low-value resource does not come through to the reader.  My book will also focus a lot on solutions - current and potential.

Book 3:

  • Title: When the Hills are Gone: Frac Sand Mining and the Struggle for Community
  • Publisher: 
  • Author: Thomas W. Pearson
  • Publication date: 2017
  • Description: This book offers a vital insight into America’s environmental battles along the unexpected frontlines of energy development. It tells the story of Wisconsin's sand mining wars using a creative blend of ethnography, social theory and the author's own point of view. 
  • How my book is different:  While this book is specifically about the Frack Sand Industry, mine offers a more general overview of the myriad uses of sand. However, I too will attempt to tease out the struggles over community and democracy in various parts of the world.

Book 4: 

  • Title: The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How it Transformed Civilization
  • Publisher: Penguin-Random House
  • Author: Vince Beiser
  • Expected Release Date: Aug 2018
  • Description: Although specific details are yet to be revealed, this book is bound to be a page-turner. Vince is an award-winning journalist and a master of his craft. He is also a grantee of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. He has written several articles on the topic in highly reputed publications and I cannot wait to get my copy of this book :)

19 publishers interested
Black Rose Writing logo Black Rose Writing

500 copies • Partial manuscript • Looking for fiction, non-fiction, and children's book genres, all having one thing in common: an individual's originality and hardship.
Black Rose Writing is an independent publishing house that strongly believes in developing a personal relationship with their authors. The Texas-based publishing company doesn't see authors as clients or just another number on a page, but rather as individual people who deserve an honest review of their material and to be paid traditional royalties without ever paying any fees to be published. We are proud members of IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association), a recognized ITW (International Thriller Writers) publisher, members of Publishers Marketplace, and currently serving on the Ingram Publisher Advisory Board.

Traditional publisher

Children Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Horror & Suspense, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, YA Fiction, Biography & Memoir, Business & Money, Career & Success, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Personal Growth & Self-Improvement, Sports & Outdoors

Canada, United Kingdom, United States

Blue River Press logo Blue River Press

500 copies • Partial manuscript • Looking for non-fiction and fiction sports, health, fitness, education, games, popular culture, and travel.
Blue River Press released its first book in the spring of 2004. Today we have published more than one hundred books. Our books have been recognized with awards and national and regional review attention. We have had many titles reach Nielsen BookScan category top 50 status in retail sales, illustrating that readers have responded by purchasing Blue River Press titles. Our distributor, Cardinal Publishers Group, has placed our books in the chain and independent book retailers, libraries of all sorts, mass-merchant retailers, gift shops, and many specialty retail and wholesale channels.

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Literary Fiction, Mind & Body, Biography & Memoir, Business & Money, Career & Success, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Personal Growth & Self-Improvement, Science, Society & Culture, Sports & Outdoors, Travel

Worldwide

Imagine, a Charlesbridge imprint logo Imagine, a Charlesbridge imprint

500 copies • Completed manuscript • Looking for children's, history, women's studies, gender studies, multicultural studies, politics, nature and the environment, health, and wellness.
Charlesbridge publishes high-quality books for children, with a goal of creating lifelong readers and lifelong learners. Our books encourage reading and discovery in the classroom, library, and home. We believe that books for children should offer accurate information, promote a positive worldview, and embrace a child's innate sense of wonder and fun. To this end, we continually strive to seek new voices, new visions, and new directions in children's literature.

In 2010 Charlesbridge acquired Imagine Publishing and expanded our children’s picture book list with books that included CD performances by notable personalities such as Peter Yarrow, Judy Collins, Kenny Loggins, and Neil Sedaka. Imagine Publishing also brought Charlesbridge into the adult trade publishing business with an eclectic list of nonfiction titles and cookbooks, as well as a popular list of puzzle books.

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United States

Sunbury Press logo Sunbury Press

250 copies • Partial manuscript.
Sunbury Press, Inc., headquartered in Mechanicsburg, PA is a publisher of hardcover, trade paperback, and eBooks featuring established and emerging authors in many categories. Sunbury's books are sold through leading booksellers worldwide. We are a traditional royalty-paying trade publisher.

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250 copies • Partial manuscript.
Anaphora Literary Press was started in 2009 and publishes fiction, short stories, creative and non-fiction books. Anaphora has exhibited its titles at SIBA, ALA, SAMLA, and many other international conventions. Services include book trailers, press releases, merchandise design, book review (free in pdf/epub) submissions, proofreading, formatting, design, LCCN/ISBN assignment, international distribution, art creation, ebook (Kindle, EBSCO, ProQuest)/ softcover/ hardcover editions, and dozens of other components included in the basic package.

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Worldwide

Austin Macauley logo Austin Macauley

250 copies • Completed manuscript • Looking historical romances, celebrity autobiographies, illustrated children’s tales, in-depth technical manuals, hard-hitting thrillers, meditative poetry.
With headquarters in London, New York, and Sharjah, Austin Macauley Publishers™ has established itself as an energetic and innovative independent trade publisher. We pride ourselves on our hybrid publishing model, a progressively more popular means by which both new and previously published authors can establish themselves in the increasingly competitive world of books.

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Cranthorpe Millner logo Cranthorpe Millner

250 copies • Partial manuscript.
Cranthorpe Millner operates a hybrid publishing model. This means, should an author pass our editors’ strict filtering system, we can offer different kinds of agreements depending on the author and the manuscript. With some authors, we work under a ‘traditional’ model, whereby we cover the full cost of publication and the author is offered industry-standard royalties (8-10%). To some authors, we offer what we call a partnership or contributory agreement, whereby the author is asked for a financial contribution so that we may share the risk and enter into a partnership together to publish the author’s book. In this case, the author receives around 60-75% royalties.

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Canada, United Kingdom, United States

eBooks2go logo eBooks2go

100 copies • Completed manuscript.
eBooks2go, Inc. was founded in 2011 to provide the missing link for all your publishing needs. Our end-to-end solutions provide the guidance and support that enable publishers and independent authors to pursue their passions. To date, we have helped more than 750 authors and 100 publishers worldwide. We offer an array of simple and affordable solutions to assist self-publishing authors at every stage of the book publishing process. Our comprehensive service offering includes editing, print and eBook production, book marketing, cover designs, ISBN registration, and even website designs. We are a single source for all of your publishing needs.

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Worldwide

Isabella Media Inc logo Isabella Media Inc

250 copies • Completed manuscript.
Isabella Media Inc is a Rhode Island-based, family-owned, mainline publishing organization with a mission to discover unknown stories. We combine unknown or little known authors’ undiscovered potential with Isabella Media Inc’s unique approach to publishing to provide the highest quality books to readers about stories they may not find anywhere else. It’s our desire to find unique stories that drive us.

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Koehler Books logo Koehler Books

250 copies • Completed manuscript.
Koehler Books is an Indie publisher based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Our team of dedicated professionals promises you a holistic publishing experience where you'll receive our full attention, collaboration, and coaching every step of the way. We offer two publishing models: a traditional non-fee model for the highest quality work, as well as a co-publishing model that includes creative development fees for emerging authors. Our titles are broad-based and include nearly every major non-fiction and fiction genre.

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Next Chapter logo Next Chapter

250 copies • Completed manuscript.
Next Chapter is a Rapid Versatile Publisher (RVP) that combines the professionalism and quality of traditional publishing with the creative freedom of independent publishing. We have published dozens of bestsellers, and take pride in the transparency of our business. There are no hidden fees or small print. Join us today and take your writing career to the next level.

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Prodigy Gold Books logo Prodigy Gold Books

The History
Prodigy Publishing Group was founded in 2009 and has been steadily publishing distinguishable trade paperback fiction since. Its flagship imprint Prodigy Gold Books is spearheading its journey with a fall 2017 line up that includes four novels by four authors sure to delight readers. Prodigy Gold Books is dedicated to publishing a variety of must-read books on a wide array of topics and genres.

The Mission
Our mission is to showcase established voices and to introduce emerging new ones—both fiction and nonfiction genres.

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1106 Design, LLC logo 1106 Design, LLC

500 copies • Completed manuscript.
1106 Design provides book design, production, and publishing services for independent authors who seek all the quality of traditional publishing without forfeiting their rights and royalties in return. 1106 Design provides traditional publisher quality with one-stop, end-to-end services from copyediting to worldwide distribution. We operate just like a publisher with one difference: YOU maintain complete control of your book, your schedule, and most importantly, your payments.

In our model, distribution accounts are set up in your name. When a book is sold, the retailer takes a cut, the printing cost is deducted, and the balance is deposited directly into your bank account, never ours first. The difference can amount to several more dollars per book in net revenue to you. Our most popular package for non-fiction books, 50,000 words and under, including copyediting, cover design, interior layout, proofreading, eBook formatting, and distribution set up in your name is just $7,353. Fiction titles are slightly lower, $6,488.

Need a different solution? Let's talk! We'll customize our services to your exact needs. At 1106 Design, we love helping authors release great books! If all of the above interests you, please respond with your email address and/or telephone and we'll reach out to answer all your questions. We hope to hear from you soon.

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Children Fiction, Christian Fiction, Commercial Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Essay, Literary Fiction, Mind & Body, Mystery, Thriller, Horror & Suspense, Mythology & Folk Tales, Poetry, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Women's Fiction, YA Fiction, Biography & Memoir, Business & Money, Career & Success, Children Non-Fiction, Christian Non-Fiction, Cookbooks, Food & Wine, Communication Skills, Corporate Culture, Current Affairs, Economics, Education, Entrepreneurship & Small Business, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Humor & Entertainment, Journalism, Management & Leadership, Marketing & Sales, Mindfulness & Happiness, Money & Investment, Motivation & Inspiration, Nature & Environment, Parenting, Personal Growth & Self-Improvement, Philosophy, Politics & Social Sciences, Popular Science, Productivity & Time Management, Psychology, Reference, Religion & Spirituality, Science, Sex & Relationships, Society & Culture, Sports & Outdoors, Technology & the Future, Travel, YA Non-Fiction, Science Fiction & Humour

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Atmosphere Press logo Atmosphere Press

250 copies • Partial manuscript.
Atmosphere Press is an independent publisher dedicated to author rights. We publish in all genres and have an exceptional editorial, design, and promotional staff. We stand for Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, and Kindness. We want our authors and their readers to be blown away when they first hold that book in their hands. It needs to look good inside and out, and feel good to the touch. And, of course, the words need to be top-notch, and our editors are devoted to making that the case.

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Children Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mind & Body, Mystery, Thriller, Horror & Suspense, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, YA Fiction, Biography & Memoir, Business & Money, Career & Success, Cookbooks, Food & Wine, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Journalism, Personal Growth & Self-Improvement, Politics & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Science, Society & Culture, Sports & Outdoors, Technology & the Future, Travel

Worldwide

Authors Unite logo Authors Unite

250 copies • Completed manuscript.
Authors Unite helps you become a profitable author and make an impact. We take care of printing and distribution through major online retailers, developmental editing and proofreading with unlimited revisions. We take care of the entire process for you from book cover design all the way to setting up your backend so all your book royalties go straight to your bank account. We can also help with ghostwriting if you prefer not to have to figure out all the steps on how to write a book yourself.

With our book marketing services, you don’t need to worry about figuring out all the steps on how to market a book or how to become a bestselling author. We’ve helped hundreds of authors become bestselling authors on Amazon, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. We take care of the entire book launch process for you to help you sell thousands of copies of your book and become a bestselling author.


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Bhaskar Rao Patil looks weary as he talks about his experience with declining catches over the last few years. He is the president of the fishermen’s colony in Bankot, a small fishing village near Mumbai on the Western coast of India. The lines on his face tell the story of his life. His hands are calloused, gnarled and strong. One can tell that he has seen better days. His clothes look clean but threadbare. Seated in very modest surroundings along with a few other fishermen, he talks wistfully about bygone days, while the others nod in agreement. “Gone are the days when we could fish easily. We could catch 50 pamplets (the local term for pomfrets, a high value catch) in one hour. Today it’s hard to find 5 even if we fish for the whole day. In the past, five people depended on one boat but today one boat can support only one to two people. Our life is under pressure.”  His deep-set eyes turn to the horizon far away. He points to the dredgers and the big barges in the distant part of the river. They are his nemesis. The barges are filled to the brim with sand, a commodity that is dredged up from the rivers and transported to the trucks waiting along the banks. He explains how the local fishermen today live in constant fear for their livelihood because of them..

From a distance, the dredgers and barges look pretty harmless, but, they’re destroying the livelihood of these fishermen and many others in the region. Up close, the barges look big enough to hold about 10 to 20 boats of these fishermen. And when they are filled to the brim with wet sand, no prizes for guessing who wins if they crash into small boats of simple fisher folk. The fishermen say accidents happen fairly often and their nets too are frequently damaged but local officials are unwilling to register complaints against the barges as they are owned by ‘Big hands’ (i.e. elites). It feels like a losing battle for these local fishermen. They are up against a powerful, wealthy, well-connected and sometimes ruthless politician-builder nexus. The dredgers use suction pumps to suck up as much sand as they can, all of which is headed to the construction industry in Mumbai, the financial hub of the country. The commodity they take away to build a thriving city is the very lifeblood of these fishermen’s livelihood. 

Fishing is a seasonal occupation here as one cannot fish in the monsoon season which lasts from June to August. What the fishermen earn in three to five months of the fishing season is what they and their families have to survive on for the rest of the year. But seasons don’t matter to the dredgers and barges. They operate non-stop, all year round, shipping away precious sand to more profitable places. Most of the fishermen in these communities are illiterate. The few that can read and write have only completed primary education and most aren’t trained on any other income-generating skills. In the absence of alternate employment, they have to depend on money-lenders and fish traders to survive the lean period and this keeps them in a state of perpetual indebtedness. As the talk continues, Bhaskar Rao Patil’s wife Kanti Bai enters the room with a tray of steaming hot tea and some snacks. She chips in with her part of the story. The women of the village play an equal role in society in these villages. The men fish, but it is the women who sell the fish in the markets. With tears gleaming in her eyes she says “We’d like to send our children to good schools but we hardly make any money to spare these days.” 

Rampant illegal sand mining has resulted in falling fish stocks because dredging destroys the spawning habitat of the fish and muddies the water. As a result, only a few of the most resilient of fish are able to survive and they are not as profitable for the fishermen. When their boats are damaged by the barges, they are often unable to get bank loans to repair or replace them without a registered police complaint and lack of collateral property. So it drives them deeper into poverty. These people have been fishermen for generations and they know their river like the back of their hand. But sand mining is soon making their traditional knowledge obsolete. Indiscriminate sand mining makes rivers more violent as it deepens river channels and causes erosion of riverbanks. With families to feed and fewer fish left in the rivers, the fishermen are forced to head deeper towards the sea. But they are ill-equipped for the dangers this presents and they face a double whammy. Out in deeper waters, the tides have almost doubled in height, thanks to land reclamation around Mumbai. These fishermen are completely out of their depth in these waters and the only skills they have are rendered inadequate.  

It is said that Jesus called his disciples and made them fishers of men. But here around Mumbai, with no leader to show them a way, 80,000 fishermen have turned to fishing for sand. They know for certain that their actions ensure their children will never be able to fish in these waters. At least not the kind of fish they used to catch. They know their identity and way of life is at stake. But that seems to be the only way they can feed their families. They pin their hopes instead on getting their children educated and sending them to the cities so they will never have to live a life of such hardship. For now, they are able to get by. The demand for sand has been increasing. 

Mumbai, a city that never sleeps and never stops. With an urban population pegged at just over 22 million, it is the most populated city in India and the eighth most populated city in the world. The massive growth in population has occurred over a relatively short time span though. In 1991, the city had just 9.9 million people. Nearly half of the influx has been due to the search for better employment prospects. The number of super-rich too has increased exponentially. Across 25 global cities, Mumbai has witnessed the highest growth in the number of  Ultra-High Networth Individuals over the last decade. The world’s most expensive home (at the time of completion) - Antilia , 27 storeys tall, with 3 helipads, underground parking for 160 cars and a staff of 600 people to maintain the house can be found here. It is named after a mythical island in the Atlantic. For the owner, it was the fulfilment of a long-cherished dream. Mumbai after all is the ‘City of Dreams’ and millions flock to the city hoping for a chance at a better life. It plays host to a wide range of industries right from manufacturing to cutting-edge technology and  houses 2 major stock exchanges. The Headquarters of many Multi-National Companies and large Indian companies are based here. The city is also a hub for cultural export in the form of the thriving Bollywood industry. Mumbai alone is responsible for over 6% of India’s GDP. The ports too are a critical part of its success. There is no dearth of jobs or talent in Mumbai. But there is one thing it is short of.

Space. This is its most precious commodity. A prominent journalist Bachi Karkaria says the built environment has increased fourfold since 1925 – and at its fastest rate over the past 30 years – all at the cost of green cover and wetlands. She writes ‘There’s less than 0.03 acres of open space per 1,000 people. The global norm is four; London has a profligate 12.’ Most of the working class lives in Chawls. These are multi-level tenements with small single rooms (usually used by a whole family) with a shared bathroom for each floor. Middle-class families on the other hand, live in one or two bedroom apartments. A luxury in comparison, but it is still a tight squeeze.  Affordable housing is in dire shortage. In the rest of the country, people manage to buy their own homes by their mid 30s. But here in Mumbai, people work well into their late 40s or 50s before they can pay off the mortgages on their homes. The demand is so huge that the government simply cannot keep pace and they turn to the private sector for help. Naturally, developers are hungry for as much sand as they can get. But for various reasons, sand is in short supply. They blame the politicians and the environmental lobby. ‘Roti, Kapda, aur Makaan (loosely translated as food, clothes and shelter) is the dream of every citizen’ says Satish (name changed), the director of a successful construction firm.  ‘How can you deprive them of this dream? It is easy to ban anything but it’s important to provide alternatives.’

‘In thirty years of my career, I have never heard of such a thing. Shortage of sand?!’, he snorts incredulously. ‘It’s not that there is no sand. This is all just a ploy to make you pay more’, he says. To Satish and his colleagues, the hullabaloo around the supply of sand makes no sense. They are more than sceptical and they harbour a deep mistrust. To them, sand is abundantly available and they feel the whole situation has just been engineered to create an artificial shortage. Once the prices go up by more than hundred percent, they never come back to the original price. Instead, they settle at about sixty-seventy percent of the previous price and that then becomes the new norm. ‘In the end, it is the consumer who pays the price. I run a business, not a charity. I simply have to pass on the costs to the customers.’ 

On the condition of anonymity, he talks at length about how developers are forced to buy sand from certain suppliers. He talks about how each region is controlled by powerful vested interests. ‘You can buy sand from elsewhere but you still have to pay these guys if you want your consignment to actually reach you. So in the end, you might as well buy from them.’ In sticky situations, some developers compromise on the quality of materials he says while others like him compromise on the price. ‘Sand used to be about 4-5% of the project cost. Now it is about 20% of the cost. We don’t worry about cement anymore. We worry about sand. Cement, you can pay and tomorrow you will get it. Sand - you will not. The sand supplier used to be the last person who would get paid. We used to stock sand outside and when it rained, it would often wash away. Not anymore.’ Reports indicate that sand is in such short supply that the Government has had to import sand from Indonesia and the Philippines. 

While developers come to terms with the new reality, the government is working hard to promote affordable housing. The Mumbai Development Plan 2034 suggests that it intends to make additional land resources available for development by changing No Development Zones that include salt pan lands and coastal wetlands where scores of migratory birds seek refuge in the summer. Fierce protests are on to save eco-sensitive zones such as Aarey Forest that once used to be a part of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. But many Mumbaikars have no time for this debate. With exhausting commutes and long work hours, all they want is ‘Roti, Kapda aur Makaan’ and some fun along the way. A Mumbaikar friend explains. ‘Yaar (my friend), people buy apartments like they buy a pizza. You don’t care about what goes into it as long as it looks great’. 


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  • Kenda Cunningham
    on March 5, 2018, 11:26 a.m.

    Best of luck and thank you for working on such an important topic!

  • Karine BRULE
    on March 5, 2018, 2:42 p.m.

    Good luck Kiran! I think you for bringing awareness on the sand issue xx

  • Ana Osuna Orozco
    on March 5, 2018, 3:33 p.m.

    This will be a seminal book about an urgent issue that is rarely talked about. Well done for being a pioneer expert on sand stories, Kiran! Very much looking forward to reading the finished product.

  • Chendil Kumar
    on March 5, 2018, 5:12 p.m.

    Done, Kiran. All the very best in your efforts. Regards, ck

  • Jurijus Kravcenka
    on March 5, 2018, 9:26 p.m.

    Hi Kiran!
    Go ahead! Let the world be better place to live!
    Juri

  • Alexsandra Sena
    on March 6, 2018, 3:39 a.m.

    Congratulations on your book and all the best of luck in getting it published.

  • Peggy Koniz-Booher
    on March 6, 2018, 11:50 a.m.

    Fascinating! Best of luck with your campaign. I will spread the word. Peggy (colleague of Kenda Cunningham)

  • Allison Hunter
    on March 7, 2018, 2:53 p.m.

    Fantastic to see this out there Kiran - well done for bringing this subject to everyone's attention! Best wishes, Allison

  • Ben+Marta Freund
    on March 7, 2018, 3:09 p.m.

    Thankyou for keeping inspiring us! Great work! Look forwards to reading, lots of love Marta and Ben

  • Meena Raju
    on March 8, 2018, 12:35 p.m.

    Can't wait to read the book Kiran! Best wishes! xx

  • Shirin Ayandeh
    on March 9, 2018, 10:26 a.m.

    It looks like an interesting read, I'm excited to start :)

  • Mauro Massari
    on March 10, 2018, 8:08 p.m.

    God Speed Kiran, people like you are then ones that make it happen. Way to go...

  • Giorgia Donin
    on March 15, 2018, 11:53 a.m.

    You are such an amazing woman Kiran, way to go girl! Can't wait to read your book! G.

  • Juan Trell
    on March 15, 2018, 10:02 p.m.

    Well done Kiran!! All the best!!

  • Samir Akber
    on March 20, 2018, 8:38 a.m.

    Kiran I wish you the very best. I know how hard you have worked on this subject.

  • Charles Fattouche
    on March 22, 2018, 9:56 p.m.

    You deserve so much to get published!!! All the best for your campaign!! Fingers crossed, I'm sure you're going to make it!!!

  • Sarah Sannen
    on March 23, 2018, 12:19 a.m.

    Really looking forward to reading! It's definitely an issue we need to get out to the world

  • Kaustav Chakravarthy
    on April 1, 2018, 1:12 p.m.

    Great to see you emerge as an author to reckon with. Knowing the effort and focus you conscientiously bring to your endeavours, I know this book will be not just informative and relevant but a great read as well!

  • Manisha Sharma
    on April 2, 2018, 6:22 p.m.

    Wish you all the very best with your first publication. :)
    Manisha

  • Manoharan Gurusaravanan
    on April 3, 2018, 12:17 p.m.

    Best wishes Kiran :) Looking forward to read the full book and collaborate with you in future.

  • Sheetal Peter
    on April 5, 2018, 1:13 p.m.

    Super proud of you....Congratulations and wishing you the very best....God bless!
    Regards
    Sheetal