• Sunday, March 26, 2023

Interview with Sanya Podar - Founder of Daffodil Lane Books

on Mar 07, 2023
Sanya Podar

Sanya Podar is the founder of Daffodil Lane Books. She is an avid reader and content producer. After discovering a need for better, more diverse children’s books in India, she set out to re-imagine the publishing industry. In 2018, Sanya created Daffodil Lane, a name inspired by “little daffodil”, the nickname she was lovingly called by her father. She started this venture after a week of the pandemic as a ‘think tank’ for children and a springboard for ideas.⠀

Frontlist: You are an ideal example of a brave Indian woman entrepreneur who took the risk and started the Daffodil Lane Books right after a week of the pandemic. How did you emerge with the idea of establishing your own Publishing House? 

Sanya: We had been working on the idea for almost two years before the pandemic and it just so happened that our launch date was a week after we went into lockdown. We had only two options - either we pushed it to a later date or continued with an online launch. We went with the latter because we thought the world was ready for our product and as it turns out, it was! Parents wanted respite from screens and our books made for great entertainment.

Frontlist: In today’s world, most people prefer to read e-books and are well-consumed with digital technologies. Still, you have immense faith in the paper books. How can we persuade people to read more books rather than digital ones?

Sanya: As a new entrant in a vibrant industry, as I understand it, parents today are aware of the adverse effects of excessive use of digital platforms. In the pandemic and throughout the lockdown, the consumption of digital media among children has increased due to staying indoors, learning, and playing online.

A trend that I noticed is that parents are looking for ways to engage their children with traditional content, like books. As a publisher, we need to stay relevant, and I want us to make a difference in this aspect. We, at Daffodil Lane Books, are doing that by tackling the sustainability of digital options by sourcing materials responsibly for most of our books. We also try to keep our format quick and engaging, not unlike their digital alternatives. Call me old-fashioned, but I think there’s nothing in the world that has more cognitive and emotional benefits than sitting down with a book and turning pages with your child, and it shouldn’t be swapped for holding a screen and pushing buttons.


Frontlist: It takes a lot of courage to start your own company, and within a year, DLB got a lot of recognition. What challenges have you faced in the publishing industry as a woman?

Sanya: I hope this is just the start – we’ve received so much love, but there have also been so many challenges! We have been deliberate in committing to only a selected number of books a year. It helps us meet the needs of our readers as well as we possibly can. It also gives us the liberty to craft and curate content that captivates. But having said that, being small is often mistaken with being a young or a new entrant, and thus the quality that we bring to the table as publishers sometimes gets ignored or overlooked. Young female entrepreneurs are also looked at as hobbyists and not careerists, which is infuriating and demotivating. But embracing challenges is what makes us limitless, so I have learned to ignore the noise at times and carry on with what I’ve set out to do.

Frontlist: Daffodil Books Lane is dedicatedly working towards spreading the magic of storytelling through books with animal protagonists at the same time without being preachy. What plans do you have in your mind to encourage women that are already working in your company or would like to join your venture in the future?

Sanya: We are always looking for good content! And that doesn’t mean from only established writers. Children’s writing is versatile and can be nostalgic as well –you won’t know if you have a book in your hands if you don’t give it a try! Whether you’re a teacher, an academic, a new mom or even an engineer! If you have experience with a child ( your own or in the family) and like telling stories, write to us with your manuscript at info@daffodillanebooks.com no longer than 300 words. (Only accepting works in the English language). 

Frontlist: On account of your first-hand experience, what suggestions would you like to give young women stepping into the entrepreneurship world?

Sanya: Go for it! Build and create your own value. But, don’t quit your day job before you have a plan. I worked on the idea of DLB at night while I was at my last job, and only when I had a blueprint chalked out did I take the next step. 

Frontlist: As a woman, don’t you think it’s our responsibility to support women and their career growth. Share your thoughts on this.

Sanya: I think it’s essential for both men and women to support women in business. 

While a lot of the advice I received at the start of my journey has been from my husband, some of the greatest, most pragmatic and inspiring advice has come from successful peers who have been women! Such great things happen when we uplift each other. 


Frontlist: It doesn’t matter in our patriarchal society how much women sacrifice themselves. But it’s high time to break all biasness to gain their self-worth. As a publisher, how can you bring new opportunities for women in this industry?

Sanya: For starters, we’re an all-girls team! We love the candid bond we share at the office. 

DLB also recognizes that women have so many roles and don so many hats. Therefore, we don’t have a rigid work environment and follow more flexible work hours. 


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