Authors in Indie Blu(e) Anthologies: Somrita Urni Ganguly

It can be a daunting task to work with such talented writers/poets as Indie Blu(e) Publishing has had the fortune of working with. Somrita Urni Ganguly is no exception. We met via The Kali Project and have followed her work since. She is literally an explosion of talent and energy and the very best slam-poetry live speaker we’ve seen in a very long time. Somrita’s boundless energy and enthusiasm is infectious and a beautiful thing to witness. She truly loves what she does and that’s probably one of many reasons she’s so good at everything she turns her hand to.

Somrita Urni Ganguly is a professor, poet and literary translator. She was a Fulbright Doctoral Research Fellow at Brown University, and is an alumna of the University of East Anglia’s International Literary Translation and Creative Writing Summer School. She served as a judge for the PEN America Translation Prize, and an Expert Reader for the English PEN Translation Grant, the National Translation Award (USA), and the National Endowment for the Arts Translation Grant offered by the US federal government.

Somrita is currently Head of the Department of English, Maharaja Manindra Chandra College, University of Calcutta, and has co-founded The Writing Programme in India. Her work has been showcased at the London Book Fair and she has read in cities like Bloomington, Bombay, Boston, Calcutta, Cove, Delhi, Hyderabad, Miami, and Providence. There is something powerful to witness Somrita reading a poem. It’s beyond the brilliance of the writing, she throws her entire spirit into reading, she has the whole room enraptured by her passion for the subject and it’s an experience like a concert, not just a reading.

Somrita has delivered lectures and presented her work at several institutes around the world including the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, the National University of Singapore, Bath Spa University, the Emily Dickinson Museum at Amherst, the American Literary Translators Association, the Oregon Society of Translators and Interpreters, and the University of Nottingham. This comes as no surprise. She literally has her finger on the pulse of what matters to young, educated, intelligent Indian women and women throughout the world. On subjects of skin color, body, sexual freedom, and sexual assault, she speaks loudly without apology, and with great truth.

Somrita edited the first anthology of food poems, Quesadilla and Other Adventures (2019), and translated 3 Stories: Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay (2021), Firesongs (2019), Shakuni (2019), and The Midnight Sun: Love Lyrics and Farewell Songs (2018), among other works. She is a recipient of the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund Award and the Sarojini Dutta Memorial Prize. No surprise there, she’s teaming with good ideas and enthusiasm for her next project, it’s incredible she does so much, and still has time to deliver some of the most provocative, honest and intense readings yet:

Somrita says: “Words are my way of processing emotions: hurt, anger, love, pain, trauma; and of making sense of the world when things seem to be falling apart. I am a voracious reader, but I am not a disciplined writer; that is to say, I do not meticulously write a sonnet every fortnight, or haiku on changing seasons every year. I write when I can no longer hold the words in me, when I’m choking on them, when they come rushing out of me: ink bleeding on paper. “

“I am currently working on four wildly different literary translation projects: one is a brief history of the print industry in Darjeeling; the second is a work of historical fiction on the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s mother, the third is a gangster-novel-meets-Jack-Kerouac, and the fourth a Bangla graphic novel.”

(Somehow! Despite working full time as well!) “I also put together an anthology of poems about places, people, homecoming, and home-leaving that I wrote over the last five years. It’s called The Architecture of Dreams, and I am now, somewhat hesitantly, embarking on the arduous but fulfilling journey of looking for a publisher for this work.” if you’re reading this and you know of a publisher who appreciates brilliance, you might want to let them know about Somrita. Translation is no easy thing; Somrita translates from Bangla and Hindi to English. She was selected by the National Centre for Writing, UK, as an emerging translator in 2016, and invited as translator-in-residence at Cove Park, Scotland, UK.

When Candice Louisa Daquin of Indie Blu(e) Publishing and Megha Sood, worked with Somrita Urni Ganguly on The Kali Project, they were both blown away by her sincerity and desire to change the world positively. Covers of books are always debatable, and as a valued contributor to the anthology, Somrita contacted the editors with questions about how Kali had been depicted. We discussed it at length until all parties were assured we were not attempting to be disrespectful.

Indie Blu(e) is founded on the promotion of minority rights, and stands for equality and integrity. But Somrita didn’t know us then and she had the moral courage to ask us directly which we think says a lot about her generation and her commitment to being an ethical and good human being. After all, if we questioned things more often instead of letting them slide, we wouldn’t have some of the issues we have today – would we? This alone marks Somrita Urni Ganguly as a person of worth and integrity, and that’s without considering how talented she is in everything she turns her hand to.

Matla Nodi

There is a river in Canning, called
Matla (n., meaning: intoxicated/ the first couplet in a ghazal).
I would like to be her, someday:

a drunk roaring raging raving poem of a river

Our rivers never get judged.

All the online videos of Somrita’s LIVE readings are HERE and she’s just a BRILLIANT live poetry reader so please if you do one thing today give her a listen. You will be very glad you did!

Links to your work published online: Read:
Your website:

3 Stories – Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay (2021) | 
Quesadilla and Other Adventures: Food Poems (2019)

Any social media links:Facebook:
Instagram: @blessed.damsel ( )Twitter: @blessed_damsel ( )YouTube:

Indie Blu(e) Publishing is VERY proud of our authors / poets / artists and contributors to our anthologies. We love highlighting their accomplishments. If YOU are a IB contributor and wish to have a profile here, please get in touch ( including information we’d like to promote on our website such as: Bio, photo, live readings, links, interesting information and one short exert or poem. http://www.indieblu.netHERE.

Authors in Indie Blu(e) Anthologies: Zilka Joseph

Zilka Joseph and Indie Blu(e) Publishing met through Indie’s The Kali Project, which Zilka submitted poems for. We were very fortunate to have poetry by Zilka in this collection, she is a particularly addictive poet with a keen artistic eye and someone not afraid to write out truths.

Indie Blu(e) caught up with Zilka Joseph, who is always creatively busy writing books and submitting successfully to anthologies or editing others’ works. She shared with us: “I am fortunate to be be part of two projects sponsored by Michigan State University–two of my poems will appear in an anthology on “Home” and are on the shortlist offered to filmmakers for the Filmetry Festival, where film makers choose a poem and make a film to enter the contest. At the moment, I am writing poems inspired by creation hymns from the Rig Veda that will become an audiovisual component for an Odissi dance production/video.” These are incredible multi-layered, exciting projects with the medium of film utilizing poetry, which sounds like it’s becoming an ever-popular genre in its own right.

“Later this year, I hope to collaborate on some projects with artist Siona Benjamin, (who, like me, is from the Bene Israel community), whose themes of immigration and myth resonate with my work. Her art is on the cover of my book In Our Beautiful Bones.” When Indie Blu(e) first saw Zilka Joseph’s cover, we were similarly impressed at the extreme beauty of this cover art, which compliments the stunning writing therein.

Zilka Joseph reading from her new book IN OUR BEAUTIFUL BONES – on Rattlecast 131.
Joseph’s incredible poetry collection with jaw-droppingly beautiful cover art.

Here is Zilka Joseph reading from her collection – In Our Beautiful Bones, at her book launch at Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI. October 6, 2021. Here she is reading with Nawaaz Ahmed and NN Carlson.

Zilka Joseph was born in Mumbai, and lived in Kolkata. Her work is influenced by Indian and Western cultures, and her Bene Israel roots. In the India she grew up in, communities of all religions and faiths lived side by side, went to school together, celebrated festivals together, and were quite integrated. It was natural for her to absorb  Indian and Western cultures and literatures, in addition to her own Indian Jewish culture, and read writers such as Tagore, Nissim Ezekiel, Kamala Das. Her work reflects a range of subject matter and complexity.

She shares with us some information about this unique community she belongs to:

“There are many theories about the origins of the Bene Israel, (called “Shanwar Telis” or Saturday oil pressers) from India. The three most well-known ones are (1) they arrived after the destruction of temple by the Romans in 70 C.E., (2) that they were the descendants of the Lost Tribes, who came around the time of King Solomon in the tenth century B.C.E., and another one says that they were fleeing from Galilee and the rule of the Greek overlord Antiochus Epiphanes, in 175 B.C.E. Some scholars seem to think it was more likely that they came in the fifth or sixth century C.E. from Yemen or South Arabia or Persia. (Sources: The Jews of India by Benjamin J. Israel Mosaic Books, and The Bene Israel of India: Some Studies by Benjamin J. Israel, Orient Longman.).”

“Probably the most popular theory about their arrival is that two ships were shipwrecked on the west coast of India in 175 B.C.E., and it is said that they were fleeing from Galilee and the rule of the Greek overlord Antiochus Epiphanes. The survivors settled in villages, and made a new life for themselves. They adopted Indian ways, clothes, foods, and kept the Sabbath.”

“Their descendants have thrived in India and wherever in the world they immigrated, contributed to the greater good and to society, and made their mark in varied professions.”

Zilka has a BA in English and a BEd (a post-graduate teaching degree), from the University of Calcutta, India and an MA in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University, Calcutta. India. She was a high school English teacher at St. James’ School for Boys, Kolkata. She moved to Chicago with her husband later in life, where she began volunteering at a public school and the Indo American Center. She attended several literary festivals, read contemporary American literature, and was inspired by the writers and poets she read and met. After she moved to Michigan, she began taking writing workshops, attending conferences, and publishing her work.  

She has been nominated several times for PEN, Pushcart, and for a Best of the Net awards, participated in literary festivals, readings, interdisciplinary collaborations, been featured on NPR/Michigan Radio, Rattlecast, podcasts such as Desi Books, Culturico, CEW’s Strength in the Midst of Change— Center for the Education of Women, University of Michigan, and other audio and online interviews.

Published internationally, her work has appeared in journals such as Poetry, Poetry Daily, Frontier Poetry, Kenyon Review Online, Michigan Quarterly Review, Rattle, Asia Literary Review, The Writer’s Chronicle (AWP), The Punch Magazine, Poetry at Sangam, Review Americana, and in anthologies such as 101 Jewish Poems for the Third Millennium, The Kali Project, RESPECT: An Anthology of Detroit Music Poetry. Sharp Blue Search of Flame, her book of poems, was a Foreword Indies Book Award finalist. Her third chapbook Sparrows and Dust won a Best Indie Book Award and was a New and Notable Asian American Poetry Book (Lantern Review).  

In Our Beautiful Bones, her newest book, has been nominated for a PEN America and Pushcart prize.  She was awarded a Zell Fellowship, the Michael R. Gutterman award for poetry, and the Elsie Choy Lee Scholarship (Center for the Education of Women) from the University of Michigan.

Zilka Joseph teaches creative writing workshops in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and is an editor, a manuscript coach, and a mentor to her students.

Zilka Joseph’s prolific talent and stunning cover art – stands out yet again with her collection Sharp Blue Search of Flame.

You can also click on this link and see Zilka Joseph reading from In Our Beautiful Bones, for Third Wednesday Magazine: The Living Room Online Literary Series hosted by ML Liebler: Reading with Kirun Kapur, Sumita Chakraborty and Indran Amirthanayagam.

Sparrows and Dust

I believe! I believe!—

In the sparrow, happy on gravel;

—From Roethke’s Praise to the End!

The first time I noticed a cloud of dust rise

from the playground, I squinted my six-year-old eyes

and saw sparrows flailing about

in gravelly dirt. My mother told me, Look, they’re having

their daily dust bath! See how well they wash themselves.

Such a cleansing! Dust with dust, letting what’s broken, biting,

or dead flake off. I have always loved house sparrows even

when they drove us mad with their noisy fights and ferocious

nesting inside our second-floor Kolkata flat. Raining dirt,

twigs, eggs and just-born chicks on us when rival pairs fought

for territory on tops of cupboards, chinks in clutter and junk

stored everywhere. Our house was heaven, and a kind

of hell. Sometimes when streaking in from the hot sun,

one would fly into the fan’s spinning blades. With a soft

gasp, it would die at my feet.

Sometimes, how it struggled, poor thing, I would cradle

its head as blood seeped into my hand, give it water, whisper

comfort. Often, when I shut its eyelids, a vision of my own

feathered body lying lifeless below

would flash by, as I hovered above. As if

I have been somewhere else. Weeping, I willed them—

Come back from the dead. Failed shaman, I never saved anyone

or anything—my parents, the animals and birds

we loved, the locked flat fallen to ruin. Now, years later,

in short Michigan summers, I look for flusters of dust,

feel a warmth thrill in my aching bones when I see

the happy birds squirm in soil, then spring from a cloud, fluffing,

cheeping, cleansed, whole. I think of the little-known tale I read—

about the precocious, five-year-old trickster Jesus who played

by the river one Shabbath evening, and who shaped twelve

sparrows from wet clay. When his father scolded

that he had violated the holy day, Jesus clapped, shouting

to the birds to “remember me, you who are now alive,”

and the living sparrows

rose and flew away.

Zilka Joseph’s Notable Indie Book Award Winner – Sparrows & Dust – poems.

Sparrows and Dust, Notable Indie Book Award Winner, 2021. Book launch at Literati, with poets Robert Fanning and John Freeman:

​You can also click on this link and watch Zilka Joseph reading at Stony Brook University, Matwaala South Asian Diaspora Poetry Festival, 2020. She is reading with Pramila Venkateswaran, Monica Ferrell, Usha Akella and Sophia Naz. Both Venkateswaran, Akella and Naz were fellow writers in The Kali Project.

“My new manuscript of poems is currently in circulation. I continue to teach poetry workshops via email, and coach clients via Zoom and Facetime. Critiquing book manuscripts, guiding writers on their journey to publication, and working with students/clients to help them get to the next level, whether it be for an MFA, or to publish a poem for the very first time, is what makes my calling worthwhile. What gives me the most joy is to witness their joy when they accomplish something they set out to do, and when the manuscripts I helped them hone get published!”

Indie Blu(e) Publishing is VERY proud of our authors / poets / artists and contributors to our anthologies. We love highlighting their accomplishments. If YOU are a IB contributor and wish to have a profile here, please get in touch ( including information we’d like to promote on our website such as: Bio, photo, live readings, links, interesting information and one short excerpt or poem. HERE.

Authors in Indie Blu(e) Anthologies: Antonio Vallone

We’d very much like to highlight poet, editor and professor, Antonio Vallone whose work was featured in Indie Blu(e)’s But You Don’t Look Sick anthology last year. Vallone’s work impressed the editors so much we nominated him for a Pushcart. When you read Vallone’s work you’ll see why this wasn’t a hard decision but a natural one.

Maybe his years as an educator, and editor, or perhaps a combination of natural talent and life experience, have lent Vallone’s work a brevity and succinct emotionality that cuts right to the core of subjects. It takes a lot for a poem to grow those kinds of roots but much of Vallone’s work has that gravitas and unflinching insight into the human condition. How perfect for an anthology discussing invisible physical illness? Though we are certain, Vallone can write on any subject with the same intoxication in his approach. It’s no wonder this poet is a beloved academic for so many years as well as founding publisher of MAMMOTH books (created while a student at SUNY Brockport).

Antonio Vallone studied at Monroe Community College (AS), SUNY Brockport (BS and MA) and received his MFA from Indiana University. He also has PhD coursework from Purdue. No wonder then, Vallone has spent many years as a treasured Associate Professor of English at Penn State DuBois.

Vallone is also the poetry editor of Pennsylvania English and the co-founding publisher and editor of The Watershed Journal Literary Group—which provide, for Pennsylvania Wilds-area writers, journal publishing opportunities through The Watershed Journal, a quarterly literary magazine, book publishing opportunities, and runs Watershed Books, a literary arts center and used bookstore.  Vallone is a board member of The Watershed Journal and the Pennsylvania College English Association. 

Vallone’s Poetry collections include: The Blackbird’s Applause, Grass Saxophones, Golden Carp, and Chinese Bats. Forthcoming: American Zen and Blackberry Alleys: Collected Poems and Prose. In progress: The Death of Nostalgia. 

The Education of Frederick Douglass

At twelve, enslaved,

Frederick Douglass read,

he said, to be saved,

and so he didn’t feel

like a slave.


The ancient men whose works he read

wrote he was a living being

who shouldn’t be oppressed.

His mind was liberated then,

free, like his body should be.

When we discussed poetry with Vallone he shared that: “The potential for poetry exists everywhere around us. Since I’ve had a cancerous kidney (and two toes as a bonus) removed and now need dialysis three times a week for four hours a session every week for the rest of my life, I’ve written and published several poems about those experiences. At the same time, I’ve looked out my front and back porches and have seen turkeys and ducks I’ve written and published poems about, as well as a friend’s experience with bringing a hummingbird out of torpor.”

“(it is for these reasons in part) I feel like a hairier version of Snow White, except poems land on my outstretched fingertips instead of birds. I think everyone, if they opened themselves up to poetry, could be the same way. Poetry, after all, can be about everything. It’s in the air around us.”

With such a positive perspective on writing poetry, no wonder Vallone has impacted so many people’s lives despite his own health set-backs. He stands as an inspirational writer for those coming up through the ranks as well as his contemporaries and people who have fought serious illness and still want to retain their creativity. Indie Blu(e) was honored to publish Vallone’s work in our anthology on invisible physical illness. It is one of the best aspects of our job, to meet talent like Antonio Vallone and share his work with others.

A lovely story about Antonio’s name: His given name is Antonio. “When I turned 16 and got my driver’s license, I listed my name as Anthony. (My grandfather who lived in the US and my uncle both used Anthony instead of Antonio–since it was more common). And I–a stupid 16-year-old– didn’t want to seem “different.” When I started publishing, I wanted to honor both my grandfathers, so I used Antonio, which was my given name anyway.” This story is a potent reminder of heritage, honoring our ancestors and the power of names.

Antonio also shared: “Near the end of WWII, my father’s father, Antonio Vallone,  was mayor of Presenzano, a small town in Italy. As the Nazis were moving through Italy, a squadron came to the town and demanded that he tell the townspeople to turn the town over to them. He refused, so they executed him in the town square.  When I was eight, I visited Presenzano. Sitting in the square with my mother one day, townspeople came and gave me coins. When I asked my mother why, she said it was the Feast of Saint Anthony Day, and they were giving me the coins in honor of my grandfather, a local hero, who I was named for.”

“My mother’s father, Antonio Manicone, came to the US alone when he was twelve, riding steerage in a ship that was part of the White Star line, the same line that the Titanic was part of. He worked most of his life in the foundry at Bausch and Lomb, raising four children with my grandmother. Later in life, he developed breathing problems from working without the safety measures that exist today. After his death, an autopsy showed his lungs had turned to be a brittle as glass. So, in different ways, both Antonios were heroes to me.”

Antonio Vallone is Associate Professor of English & English Coordinator & Co-Program Leader, Letters, Arts, and Sciences at Penn State DuBois as well as Publisher, MAMMOTH books, Co-Publisher, Watershed Books, Poetry editor, Pennsylvania English.

You can check out a audio of Vallone reading his poetry HERE HERE. >>>

Concerto in B-Negative

            for Jackie, my wife,

            and Sean, who also waits

How difficult to be the Salieri

to your beloved’s Mozart

of illness, from the first movement

pacing in the sterile

off-key echoing

of hospital halls and rooms, waiting


for them to come out

from behind curtains

drawn by stagehands dressed in white

in this latest surgical

opera they’ve composed,


sitting bedside

with no intermission

as they wake from the stupor

of sickness and success, knowing

they will always be the maestro,


composing their next symphony

out of your worry and grief

even before the final movement,

and you’ll always be hovering

unseen in the shadows,

in good health, for now, second best.

Antonio Vallone’s book GOLDEN CARP can be purchased HERE via Amazon and by ordering at your local bookstore.

Antonio Vallone’s book THE BLACKBIRDS APPLAUSE can be purchased HERE via Amazon or by looking in antiquarian and independent chapbook collector sites. We absolutely LOVE the cover of this creation – it reminds us of those classics from the 60’s onward published by the originators of the chapbook poetry world.

We loved the cover of this rare collection of Antonio Vallone’s work.

His collection GRASS SAXOPHONES can be purchased HERE.

You can read Antonio Vallone’s Pushcart nominated work in Indie Blu(e)’s But You Don’t Look Sick by purchasing a digital or print copy on Amazon HERE or asking your bookseller.

We hope to see a lot more of Antonio Vallone’s work in the coming years and are excited to be a home for poets of his talent and work ethic in our anthologies. Indie Blu(e) Publishing is VERY proud of our authors / poets / artists and contributors to our anthologies. We love highlighting their accomplishments. If YOU are a IB contributor and wish to have a profile here, please get in touch ( including information we’d like to promote on our website such as: Bio, photo, live readings, links, interesting information and one short excerpt or poem. HERE.

Authors in Indie Blu(e) Anthologies: Vandana Kumar

Vandana Kumar holding up the two Indie Blu(e) anthologies her work appears in.

Vandana Kumar is a gifted polyglot poet, academic and passionate writer and educator. Indie Blu(e)’s Candice Daquin and Kumar wrote to each other in French when they met through The Kali Project, mutually appreciating the love of language. Kumar is a self-effacing, gifted writer whose work is intense and informed by her travails and extensive knowledge of language and life. It’s impossible not to appreciate the widely-traveled, social-awareness in her perceptive poetry and prose. Kumar is a natural writer, but one whose love of writing has been honed by her journey with words and learning.

Kumar tells us: “(Today) It’s a sunless day in the cold capital of India. Somewhere I hear strains of ‘The Moody Blues’ number ‘Nights In White Satin’… I start to hum along “Letters I’ve written never meaning to send”… I realize my poetry journey could well have started with “Poems I’ve written never meaning to send.”

“I would write poetry and forward it to friends and they would ask me to send it to some international websites or make submissions to competitive anthologies etc., but I wouldn’t. Until a friend took matters into own her hands by submitting my work without my knowledge, to ‘The All India Poetry Competition in 2017’ which was organized by the ‘All India Poetry Society of India’ and I found to my delight, that I was included in it.”

Vandana’s work appears in this excellent Indian poetry collection edited by Sangeeta Kaul.

“This started my journey of being published in other anthologies and national and international websites. It has been a rewarding journey these past few years to be accepted and published in print and online magazines, journals and websites ranging from Singapore to US and Canada and off course, India.” During this time Indie Blu(e) became aware of Kumar for her notable submissions to our anthologies: The Kali Project and But You Don’t Look Sick.

“Meanwhile, my other interests moved in parallel. I had inherited a love for the cinema from my father and missed him acutely as I became a co-producer of a crowd funded film; ‘Ek Betuke Aadmi Ki Afrah Raatein’. The film was adapted from completely different stories by Dostoevsky and Prem Chand. The film’s director, Sharad Raj’s Souvenir de mes nuits blanches premiered at the ‘Festival des Cinémas Indiens de Toulouse’ (Toulouse Indian Film Festival). Sharad Raj, runs a cinema website and I have started writing articles for this website on the subject of cinema.”

The poetry of cinema is what fascinates me. Some of my poem titles are inspired by films and I wrote a little poem in an article on Abbas Kiarostami’s film ‘Where Is the friend’s home?’ Abbas Kiarostami is a legendary film director as well as a poet from Iran.” Kumar brings up the long-established linkage between cinema and poetry, with many films throughout the 1900’s and onward, being deeply influenced by poetry; tying the two art forms together indelibly.

Poet, Translator, Polyglot, Teacher & Creative Force. Vandana Kumar.

“Then the Pandemic started and we were all locked up in our respective homes and like so many of us, I turned more than ever to Poetry. My poetry found a home in these pandemic years in places like the 200 year old ‘Madras Courier’, Singapore’s ‘Borderless Journal’, ‘Lothlorien’, ‘Fasihi’, UK based ‘Destiny poets’ got me a couple of special mentions and Poet of the Month in March 2021, ‘The Grey Sparrow Journal’, ‘Piker Press’, ‘Dissent Voices’ to name a few.”

Kumar was also included in a world literature series initiative where she was interviewed among many global poets. The theme of the book was critical thought in the 21st Century. She also secured an advance booking for being published in ‘Stray Dog’ in 2020. Her poem will appear in their journal this summer.

Vandana’s work is featured in this issue of Harbinger Asylum. (Winter 2020). Editor Dustin Pickering is a talented poet and writer as well as leader in the poetry community at large. He is a champion of fledgling poets and very supportive of international poetry.

One of the most gratifying things recently for Kumar was being editor of the print anthology called “Meet the poets of today – contemporary voices”. This was in Kumar’s words; “truly my pandemic baby.” She worked on this with Sharad Raj, a dear friend of hers and the director of the film she helped crowd fund. Cocoa Butter, the literary division of his film company wanted to tap hidden talent in remote corners of India. A lot of people participated in the competition from far flung places where they often do not have time to access anything beyond a WhatsApp.

The advantage of this – a pure submission process where submissions were far away from some of the more nepotistic or mutual admiration societies that exist on main-stream social media. During this time of working on this project, the pandemic made things topsy-turvy at times with the unpredictable always omnipresent, and the selection process was delayed. The judges were in three different parts of the World coping with the impact of the numbing second wave and lockdowns.  Against all the odds, the book was launched in November 2021.

Kumar says: “Finally – last but never least, I must mention my very special relationship with Indie Blu(e) Publishing. I was thrilled to find two of my poems in their epic Indian feminist anthology, The Kali Project: Invoking The Goddess Within –. It was a finalist in the prestigious National Indie Excellence Awards 2021’. I noticed recently The Kali Project anthology is part of the ‘North Carolina Regional Library and I’m so proud to have been included in this respected body of work.”

Kumar’s work was featured in Indie Blu(e)’s anthology in invisible physical illness.

“In November 2021, a poem of mine featured again in Indie Blu(e)’s anthology But You Don’t Look Sick. This anthology looked at invisible physical illness and the struggles many go through when nobody may see that struggle from the outside. I submitted to the anthology as the theme fascinated me.

“Being chronically asthmatic and having bouts of severe lung infections throughout my life I could relate to it. My prosthetic eye frequently gets infected and leads to debilitating headaches and watering. These are things – things that don’t usually qualify as being ill but they can stop you in your tracks. The anthology has been divided into categories and poems on heart, lungs and varied different ailments are there.”

“It really got me thinking about how many of us go through our daily routine, mess and chaos- hiding demons, debilitating illness of all kinds, daily chronic issues that people dismiss as ‘Oh! Plain Drama’ or ‘she is always sick”.

“(I found that) Indie Blu(e) builds a warm relationship with each of their contributing poets. The way they accept your poems to their announcements of launch and publicity. It’s like a family that gives home to your poetry in a very special way. I’m really proud to be part of this and I aim to continue writing and publishing my work as I have been, undeterred and glad to be part of the poetry community at large.”

Indie Blu(e) first published Kumar’s work in the award-winning The KALI PROJECT.

Kumar’s work can be found at MAD SWIRL HERE



also DISSIDENT VOICE (the black history of music) HERE

Midnight Craving: A poem of Vandana Kumar’s featured in the anthology SHINING STARS IN THE NIGHT SKY.

Vandana Kumar is a bon vivant who loves travelling, working with young minds and exploring possibilities beyond the ordinary. She is a middle School French teacher in New Delhi. Her passions include playing the piano and quizzing. Further she is a French translator for various reputed companies and publishers. An educator with over 20 years of experience, she is also a recruitment consultant.

Her poems have been published in international journals like ‘Mad Swirl’, ‘Lothlorien Poetry Journal’, ‘The Quiver Review’, Toronto based ‘Scarlet Leaf Review’, Philadelphia based ‘North of Oxford’, Saint Paul, Minnesota based ‘Grey Sparrow Journal’, California based ‘The Piker Press’, Canada based ‘Halcyon Days’, Santa Rosa, California based ‘Dissident Voice’, Founder’s favourites, W-Poesis etc.

Kumar’s work is featured in this collection – World Literature India Post Modern Poetry Series Vol 2. Edited by Dr. Jernail Singh Anand.

She has also been published in the prestigious ‘Madras Courier’. She translated one of Dr. Ampat Koshy’s English Poems into French which appeared in the ‘Fasihi magazine’. Five of her own poems have also featured in the ‘Fasihi magazine’. She has featured in the book ‘POSTMODERN VOICES – Volume 4’, which is a part of the ‘World Literature India Series’, where she along with five other poets from around the World have been interviewed and it carries fifteen of her poems. She was a jury member for the ‘All India Poetry Competition’ organized by ‘Cocoa-Butter’ and also co-edited their debut print anthology that resulted from this competition.

Apart from poetry she also writes articles on cinema. Her articles on cinema have appeared on websites and journals like ‘Just-cinema’, ‘Daily Eye’, ‘The Free Press Journal’, ‘’ and ‘The Artamour’. Poetry for Vandana Kumar, is her stress buster, her flight of fancy and strangely, what keeps her rooted too.

Indie Blu(e) Publishing is VERY proud of our authors / poets / artists and contributors to our anthologies. We love highlighting their accomplishments. If YOU are a IB contributor and wish to have a profile here, please get in touch ( including information we’d like to promote on our website such as: Bio, photo, live readings, links, interesting information and one short exert or poem. HERE.

Vandana Kumar – @ Destiny Poets HERE.

What’s the difference between vanity presses, small presses and other kinds of publishing?

When you’ve written a good book, be it prose or poetry, the next step is to find a publisher. If you are a relative unknown, you may be doing this without an Agent. If so, it can be hard to know what kind of publisher to choose.

Vanity Press

Typically a ‘vanity’ press refers to a publisher who takes some money upfront for their services. They may dress this up in a variety of packages but the bottom line is, they will ask you to pay for something. This is not to be confused with buying your own cover art.

Vanity presses do a good job of deemphasizing their ‘vanity’ aspect and focusing on the benefits. The reason for this is because for a long time publishing through a vanity press was considered ‘cheating’ by the publishing world at large and frowned upon.

This has waxed and waned as people have different needs and sometimes a vanity press can more closely meet the needs of an individual than a regular press. Example being: You want to break into a new marketplace that you are unfamiliar with, or you wish to have a large publisher behind you but without an Agent you can’t get a large publisher interested in you so you choose to pay a wing of that larger publisher who will by proxy, promote you more than a smaller publisher could.

Traditionally many famous authors employed vanity publishing as their mode to getting their first works out there. Unable to get Agents or Publishers interested in their work, by using a paid approach, they gained the attention necessary to be picked up by a non-vanity-press at a latter juncture. Read up on the company before signing ANYTHING and know exactly upfront what you are expected to spend.

Pitfalls: People may think your work is less legitimate because they are aware you paid to get it published. Other publishers may think the same. You might have to pay quite a bit. You have no guarantee of success.

Benefits: Many vanity publishers have a lot of comprehensive packages that focus on getting your book out there, so the marketing and design elements are heavily emphasized which can be challenging otherwise. Their potential reach could get you the exposure you’re looking for.


Typically vanity presses and self-publishing are related. The negative thought is they are ‘vain’ because you’re not actually under contract with a publisher willing to take a chance on you without any exchange of money. When you self-publish you often have to pay for: Editing services, ISBN, any other listings, upload costs to distributors and platforms, formatting services, and cover design. You shell out as much sometimes as you would going through a vanity press. Increasingly you also have to know a lot about technology to navigate the systems to upload your book successfully.

Pitfalls: When you self-publish you don’t have a legit publisher behind you so your work isn’t listed as published by a legit company.

Benefits: You have total control over your product and learn a lot along the way. You can connect with other self-published folks who will give you tons of advice.

Small Publishers / Micro Publishers:

Small publishers accept your work without any money exchanged. If you decide to pay for a cover designer you may pay for this outside your contract and the company, but within the company all the editing, promotion, and putting together of the book is paid for by the publisher, who essentially believes in your work enough to pay those expenses.

Small publishers vary. Some may be more ‘take em in, spit em out’ approach, where they publish a lot of authors throughout the year and earn by the sheer quantity of authors published. In those cases, you may not get the ’boutique’ experience and be expected to be pretty self-aware of the process. Other companies may be more hand-holding and go through every aspect of the publishing experience closely with you.

Some small publishers are more invested in that process and will assign you a dedicated editor you work closely with, versus expecting you to submit a finished manuscript and suggest few edits. For newbie writers, our recommendation is always seek a publisher who can meet your needs. If you know you need a lot of edits (and 99 percent of us benefit from close editing) select a publisher you know will work closely with you.

Occasionally a small publisher will expect you to buy pre-sale copies or a certain amount of books to ‘justify’ their taking you on. This isn’t ethical and you should check with your publisher before signing a contract if you believe this is happening. Essentially that is another form of vanity publishing and not fair to the author. Yes publishers have to earn a living, but not at the expense of the author.

That said, it is your responsibility to market your work – as you are your best marketing tool. If you don’t have a social media presence, get one, because these days that’s what it takes. Do not expect a publisher to be able to sell hundreds of your books without you putting in significant work. For example: The authors who sell the most through Indie Blu(e) work their butts off to promote and sell their work – it benefits them and creates exposure for future projects and gets others interested in them, it’s how they get ahead.

Pitfalls: A small publisher cannot compete placement-wise with a huge publisher, they’re not going to be able to get your books into the front row of your local Barnes & Noble. Only huge names from huge publishers achieve this – although it’s worth going in yourself and talking about being featured in the ‘local’ authors section as this is popular.

Benefits: You get a close working relationship without having to shell out money. You get to have a lot of help in producing your book. The costs of publication are covered by the publisher. You are part of the indie-author world and networking can be a blast.

Large Publishers:

Large publishers will not accept unsolicited manuscripts. They nearly all expect you to have an Agent. We are often asked how do you get an Agent if it’s so hard? It’s sadly a little nepotistic, all about who you know. We recommend you network like crazy with literary journals and editors and people in the business, in the hope of finding someone who can recommend you. The more you put your work out there, the more it will garner interest.

Large publishers will have a dedicated TEAM assigned to your book. You will have marketing campaigns that extend to placement in all bookstores and signings and readings will be organized for you. You will not have to pay out for any of this – but you will be expected to be the kind of talent a large publisher can promote easily, so that means working hard alongside them and pretty much doing what you are expected to do to justify the investment made in you.

Pitfalls: You might be under some pressure, so this is where you have to be pretty confident and get over any stage fright. You will be in the spotlight but this is how you sell. You won’t be able to cherry-pick, this will be at the behest of the company and that may include cover design and what edits are made. The percentage you earn per book will be less than you earn with a medium-sized or smaller publisher but if you sell more, you make more. Remember that not all authors who get published by a large press, actually go on to be commercially successful, although the chances of becoming definitely go up.

Benefits: It’s a large publisher! You’ve got every chance for success. Once you get there, doors open that are harder to open lower down on the ladder.

Obviously, there is much more to all of this BUT this is the skinny on how publishing works today. The important thing is to really consider how you fit with the above and what will work for you before approaching a publishing house – and this includes considering:

Am I a good fit for the company? Check out their website, the feel and ‘vibe’ of their people and previously published books. Do they seem on the same wavelength?

Will they get me where I want to go? (But be realistic about this too, sometimes the first step, however humble, is still the first step and a worthy one)

Do they have a good reputation? Big isn’t always better. Neither is small. Read how others have fared.

Good luck! Fortunately, there are many publishers out there and so the chances of finding a fit for your book are pretty high. We at Indie Blu(e) love our authors and do all we can to promote them whilst they are under our wing. We hope you find the same close relationship for your next publishing journey. Be realistic. But don’t settle for less!