The one thing writers all need no matter the level of their creative journey is feedback from readers. Readers who will dive into your work and get back to you with legitimate feedback on what they think/thought about your work. Feedback will help you grow as a writer, and gaining readership will allow you to discover what else you can do with your work.
This post compiles a list of options to use as an author based in East Africa and hoping to grow your readership. From sites to post free content for immediate feedback to e-book and printed book distribution websites to aid in your book sales.
Here are platforms that offer authors options on what do with their work:
Five Free Reading/Writing Sites:
These sites allow you to post your work in chapters or episodes. You can publish the entirety of your work in one go, or post from week to week to gain followers and readers.
Ebonystory.com is branded as the Home of Interesting African Stories. It is quite easy to create an account and start posting your chapters. You’ll be in the company of fellow African writers and a very diverse readership ready to consume your content. They offer you a slew of story genres you can choose to write for.
Wattpad brands itself as ‘…the world’s most-loved social storytelling platform, where new voices write and share, and readers connect with the stories they love.’ Writers can create an account and start posting their story chapters right away. Readers access books on the web or using the Wattpad App. It is a highly competitive environment for authors. You need to do a bit of work and social sharing to get your work read. If you’re hoping to get feedback right away, you’ll need to be proactive in directing readers to your page and your stories. Wattpad.com offers authors different types of opportunities like Wattpad Stars, Ambassadors, and chances to get books in awards like the #Wattys. They also offer paid stories and authors may apply to join this program depending on content and readership base. ( It is important to note that Wattpad is a platform still finding its footing in the African Continent and they have yet to trickle down these opportunities to African Authors, if it has, it is happening in a slow trickle.) This aside, Wattpad allows you to have a platform to share your work for free at no cost and you can gain readership with some hard work.
Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. This platform is similar to Wattpad, in that they allow you to create an account and you can publish your stories chapter to chapter to gain readership. The more popular your work, the more likely you are to get published by Inkitt’s unique publishing system. It is worth a try if you’re hoping to gain readership and build on your body of work.
Webnovel.com – Webnovel is a Chinese-owned publishing platform. They brand themselves as >>>Webnovel is a global online reading platform for all kinds of marvelous novels and comics. It daily updates serialized content, dedicating to micro-transactions and in-game-purchase mode, defining new trends in the online publishing industry. They mostly publish stories translated to English from Chinese or Korean. However, they do offer a platform named Inkstone that allows you to share your work chapter by chapter. Webnovel’s author platform takes a bit of work to understand. Their library of stories is full of Chinese/Korean translated works. If you do decide to delve into this platform, you may choose to create the same types of stories or create your own brand. Either way, it’s a great way to introduce your work to new readers. My only tip would be to read more about Webnovel before you decide to publish. Read more about them.
To write for Dreame Stories is to write for Stary Writing, which offers the platform. They offer the opportunity to become an exclusive stary writer and get paid an income. Dreame Stories does have a large readership base. As always, work does fall to the author to direct readership to the page and gain a following to reach paid status. Please read up on the requirements at starywriting.com so that you know what kind of content they accept, and what they expect of their writers.
Ebook Distribution Platforms
Okada Books (Nigerian-based)
This platform allows you to become a published author in less than 5 minutes, their quote not mine. You can showcase your books to a massive African readership base. Check them out if you’re hoping to get your ebook before more African readers. They allow you to distribute both free and paid ebooks.
I’m a longtime fan of Smashwords. It offers authors a great service in distributing books to various ebook stores like kobo/ Barnes and Nobles / Sony / Scribd and Amazon among others. Smashwords.com also has its own store that allows the purchase and download of ebooks.
To note: Smashwords.com has recently merged with Draft2Digital.com. I hope it remains as amazing as it has been. You can publish both free and paid ebooks.
This is a great platform to get your e-books published. You can bring your work to a global audience as Amazon’s Kindle is worldwide. Their only downside is payment for Kenyans. Kenyans can only receive $100 checks in their mailbox. Which is very old-fashioned in a world of digital money. Hahaha. Amazon’s payment offer for Kenyans is still wanting. They do not allow us to use PayPal/or our banks. (This might be different for authors with bank accounts and addresses abroad) You can however showcase your books on Amazon for anyone in the globe who might purchase your books. Your payment comes when you manage $100 in sales in the form of a cheque to your mailbox.
Printed Book Distribution Platforms
Rafu Books has a platform called Rafu Merchant Services. This platform allows authors, publishers, and others to partner with Rafu, who sell printed books through their website platform. The platform offers a backend that allows you to manage stock and offer same-day delivery in Nairobi or the next-day delivery of your books to other parts of Kenya. Register for an account and follow their directions to get your books distributed.
Litireso is most similar to Amazon’s KDP. They allow you to publish an ebook or printed book, or both. They also offer shipping across the globe. I would advise reading up on their offers, requirements, and system information before you get started.
Interesting is that if you have a seller account on Jumia, you can sell your printed books as long as they have an ISBN barcode on the back cover. All you would need to do is follow Jumia’s seller account guidelines and make sure your book is well stocked to meet Jumia’s delivery demands.
International Book Printing Platforms
These three international platforms have long-established guidelines on how you can sell e-books and get your books printed. If you’re in Kenya /East Africa, each of these three will require that you contend with fluctuating global shipping rates. If these shipping rates are doable for you, then these platforms are a great resource to tap into and get your books to a wider audience.
Please Note: The platforms listed above allow you as a writer/author to sign up with minimal fuss. You register an account, follow guidelines as specified on each website, then do your best to market yourself. Registration is free for all of them, with no money required for membership/or to get your book or work listed. All you need is your own work/ebook, a reliable computer or mobile phone, and internet access.
Happy Writing and Selling.
Check out Zev’s Afrotheria
About Zev’s Afrotheria:
Afrotheria is facing a crisis. The magma vents in the Njaro Mountains have released deadly creatures called Ghost Wraiths. Afrotheria's Sable Council orders the recruit of every able man to fight and protect the citizens, creating the Protection Class, and a guardian army called the Theria Guild. After a tragic raid destroys his home, Zev Joins the Theria Guild to become a Guardian. He learns how to fight the ghost wraiths coming to wreak havoc on innocent villages. He trains to be the best, joining the Strike Force by the age of Twenty-Five. Zev's main goal is to gain enough power in the Theria Guild. A power that will help him find his sister who was lost to him during the raid in their village when he was seventeen. His goal to find his sister falters when he meets Dalia Taj, the Elderon's daughter. Dalia is a gifted researcher with a plan to end the Ghost Wraiths for good. She needs the Strike Force to end the great invasion and restore peace. Zev must now decide what is more important to him, his family, or his country.