How to Self-Publish your Books in Kenya

Self-publishing might seem like an uphill battle, but with  experience, it gets easier tothere is no reason to stay unpublished get into on this sunny part of the world.  There is no reason not to write.  A few years ago, the only way to access your money after you sold e-books and your money was in your Paypal account was through a bank.  It took eight days for it to process. Such a long time.  Well, that’s changed now, thanks to Safaricom’s Mpesa.  So, I thought I should post this little how-to today, coz I’m excited about it.

So, Simple how-to self-publish your e-book/book in Kenya:

  1. Write your book. – I advocate fiction books because that is what I primarily publish, but this works for non-fiction books too.  Your book must be entertaining, engaging, and in the case of non-fiction, informative.  Don’t cut corners.  Find an editor, pay them, do the work and get your book to perfection.
  2. Design your cover  – Great Covers are essential.  Find a graphic designer who can create a cover that will market your book in the best possible way.  Discover more about genres, and how covers play a role in distinguishing them.  If you’re writing non-fiction books, make sure your cover speaks to your audience, and the topic you are discussing.
  3. Write a Blurb – When you go to the bookshop and are browsing books, you pick one out, read the back, if you don’t like what it says, you return it to the shelf.  If you do like that small paragraph in the back, you immediately head to the counter to pay for it.  Hehehe…Now, take your book that you’ve spent months writing, and come up with a great blurb to entice your readers with one glance.
  4. If you’re publishing this book as an e-book on Smashwords/Amazon’s KDP, you are good to go.  The next step is to log on to your account, and start uploading the files as specified by each site.  Set your price, and hit publish.  Then start marketing your e-book like there is no tomorrow.
  5. Amazon has yet to offer any easier ways of getting paid in Kenya.  You still get a check in your mailbox with these guys when your sales reach $100.   Smashwords is more lenient.  They now pay out  monthly to Paypal.  And as I said earlier, Safaricom’s Mpesa now has an easy way for you to get your money through Paypal. 
  6. If you’re publishing your book as a physical book, get in touch with the copyright board, get your ISBN, and make sure you have crossed your T’s with them.  Then consider your printing options.  There are many different types of printers in Nairobi.  Some are efficient, others not so much. You need to find your perfect fit, money wise, and emotional-wise too.
  7. The rest is marketing and awareness.  Don’t forget that your book is a product.  Create a brand, embrace every reader who comes to you, and give them more with lots of love.  Share your work, and if readers love it, they will pay for it.

I write these little how-to’s because I believe the fiction/non-fiction books market is growing in Kenya.  We need more authors writing fiction and publishing it.  We need a bigger presence in the e-book market, and authors to take ownership of their fiction.  Then we can really have a vibrant industry, enough to entice more readers.  So, if you’re a writer reading this, get started today.  Get published!


Here’s a short fiction story to read for Free!

Buy Save My Heart Here


26 thoughts on “How to Self-Publish your Books in Kenya

    1. Hi Clement,
      Thanks for reading!
      Self- promotion is an ongoing process…lolz. First, I would say join Goodreads as you have chosen to publish on Amazon. Goodreads is a great platform as you can join different groups related to the genre you have chosen to write in. Join those groups, and push your book through them. The more people reading and writing reviews on your book, the more sales you can get. I believe there is a Kenyan Goodreads group, join, make friends and ask if they would read your book and write reviews for you.

      Do you have a blog? Are you talking about your book on your social media accounts? To your friends, workmates, classmates, etc? Have you printed it? Where is it stocked? Share these details, and you will get more people reading your work.

      Please note that selling a book is all about creating communities who understand and love your characters, your stories. Don’t be shy and open up about your book, and get more people reading.

      – Do make sure that your book is well edited, no mistakes, and the plot is entertaining. This way, the reviews are easier for you.

    1. Hi Pius, Congratulations on writing 3 books, that’s really something to celebrate. As for publishing, start by making sure your 3 books are well edited. Commas and fullstops in the right place, no typos, no grammar issues. Then, think about whether you want a digital copy (ebook) or a physical book (print a book). Knowing what type of book product you want will help you with the next step. Feel free to email me at any time.

  1. hi i am luka i wrote a swahili book some months ago but the process of publishing it and the cost of publishing t seams a burden to me,,,,,how can i go about it

    1. Hi Luka, it’s good to virtually meet you. Your first job would be to get your Swahili Book edited. Preferably, it’s best to get your work edited by someone other than you. Another set of eyes is likely to find anything you miss, and help you refine your content. From there, format your book your either to print a physical book or create a digital book (e-book).

  2. You might also want to give a try. It is a nice, trusted platform in Kenya to sell ebooks. It is ideal if you ebook targets a Kenyan audience

  3. Hi Elly, I have completed my Kdp amazon paperback but wondering what’s the best bank in the regions accepted. Would recommend Axos or capital one?

    1. Hi Kobia, congratulations on completing your book.
      –> If you are Publishing on Amazon while based in our East Africa Region, Amazon pays you by Check sent to the mail. Minimum payment for this is $100 dollars. Amazon has not made any effort to make it easier to get paid for the East Africa Region publishers, yet. Our region also attracts a 30% withholding tax from the United States.
      –>If you are publishing on Amazon and your account is set to the United States/Europe/ (basically not in Africa), and you have access to a bank account/ and address in that region, you can get your payments to any card you wish to include in the payment section of your account. Please note you will also be required to fill in your tax information as well.

  4. Hi elly, have just finished my three swahili books. one of them being swahili poems. could please inform me on the process of publishing it physically and the cost.

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