Hey, Hey, Hey!
I got emails asking a lot of questions on how self-publishing works. How to do it, and why. So, I thought this post might answer all these questions at once.
Publishing in Nairobi, and I mean like getting a hard copy, honest to goodness paper book, is hard, and challenging.
I think you need to be holding at least Kshs. 100,000 (this is me guesstimating it could cost more) to get a book published, then there is the footwork getting bookshops to buy the books, and then advertising to get the people buying your books. Unless you get lucky and get your book published by the mainstream publishers in our country, things look bleak for you right? Especially for
someone writing Fiction. Things might feel like the girl in the picture but don’t despair just yet.
Baby-Steps – Be Brave
1. Be confident in yourself and share your work. As long as you’re writing in your notebook and hiding your writing away, no one is going to read it. So, if you’re worried how everyone will react to your writing, start small, and test out your stories. If you’re reading this post, that means you’re already online, so Create a Blog. There are lots of blogging platforms e.g WordPress and Blogspot. All of which are easy to access. Post your stories, share them and get other people to read them. Share your site with friends and family, on Facebook, Twitter, Whats App, geez social media is so vast. Talk about your stories there.
2. The importance of step one is to give you a thick skin. People will read your work, some will love it others won’t like it. And that’s the truth. Now, the day you meet that first person who tells you that they don’t like your writing, you might think of scrapping that Blog and hiding again, but Don’t. Don’t do it don’t scrap that blog, just take a deep breath, find your comfort zone, and the courage to ask that person why. If not, just shake it off, because the same way you find that person who doesn’t like it, you’ll find a dozen others who do. Be sure to remember that you can’t please everyone. So my point is, grow a Thick Skin enough to take criticism and not give up.
3. If you’ve mastered the first two, you’re ready to explore the world of Self-Publishing. Your book is a product. Take it that way…find out who you want to write for (target audience), what genre you want to pursue, and get started writing. It’s not an easy industry, and you’ll have many sleepless nights writing a book, but if you’re passionate, then it should be a fun process. Romance, Mystery, Paranormal, Young-Adult, Contemporary, find out the meaning of these words when it comes to genre, and tailor your stories to it. And then buckle down for the process.
4. Obviously, the first thing to do is to Write The Story. Without a story…., what are you doing? Get to work. How many words have you written? Have you finished a story? No? Goodness! Finish it!
5. Once it’s written, find a good editor. Not someone who’ll put you down, but someone who’ll help you work out the kinks in the story. A good editor is one who’ll take your story and help you flesh it out. Work with him/her, Chapter by Chapter, checking Grammar, Style, Plot Holes, e.t.c until you’re both satisfied.
6. If you’ve gotten your work edited, it’s time to start Self Publishing. Things you need:
a. You need a Cover – You can do this yourself, or get someone good with Graphics to do it for you. Do your research and come up with an image that suits your story. Be Creative, and give credit where it’s due.
b. You need a Blurb– This is that paragraph you find in the back of the book.
c. Talk About It – Tell as many people as possible that you’re publishing a book.
d. Choose the Self- Publishing platform that suits you best. There are a few of them, and each one has it’s merits. So, here are your choices:
1. Smashwords – They offer you two choices, publish for free or put a price. So, that is up to you. They pay through Paypal after your sales amount to $10. Equity Bank offers a way to access your funds on Paypal. So just get a Paypal account and consult with Equity Bank for the rest.
2. Amazon – There is no choice for free eBooks here, so once you publish, you must give it a price. They pay you after your sales amount to $100 in the form of a check. Once the check arrives in your mail, you get to cash it at your bank account as per your bank’s procedures.
3. Lulu – You can publish on Lulu. I’m not so sure about the payment, I’ll check it out more, to better understand the Process.
4. If there are more, let me know….
e. Don’t forget to Market your Book. Talk about it, share it, give it for free, get people to know that you’re writing and publishing. This is the most important part. Don’t stop writing! Don’t publish one book and stop. The best form of marketing is writing more, get as much of your stories published. (Don’t forget to make them interesting and entertaining, because if you’re publishing uninteresting stories, you’re going to have a hard time.)
7. You’re probably asking who’ll read your stories right? Don’t worry, there are lots of people online, in fact, the whole world is online and extremely curious. If you have a strong voice, and a compelling story, there are readers. There are also loads of people in Kenya who prefer to read eBooks online. There is no excuse to say that no one will read your work. There are people who will read your fiction.
Have you reached here?
Well, if you have and are inspired, I wish you the best. And once you get that blog running, or that book published, drop me a line. Strength in numbers right, I’ll share it with everyone I know, and in turn, they too will share it…you get the gist of it, self-publishing is about networking and getting as many people as you can to read your stories. It’s even better when your stories are amazing, coz then they sell themselves too.
I hope this long Post has given you some direction and I hope to read more fiction from you.