Cera’s Fruit of Life

Dust sifted in a fine cloud covering her forehead.  Cera closed her eyes fast, tasting fine red soil on her lips.  She blinked away dust and continued her climb up the steep cliff.  Fingers grabbed at roots and jutting rocks that felt sturdy enough to hold her.  She wedged her foot into crevices, always reaching.  She climbed up, her muscles straining with effort, ignoring the pain, gritting her teeth, she pushed harder.

Her right hand went up, fingers closed over a thick branch, and she gasped when the Tree-of-life-springbranch broke off.  Her heart slammed against her chest when she slipped, her left hand gripping the rock she held tight.  She flattened her body against the cliff to keep her balance.  Her right hand searching for another hold, she sighed in relief when she held thick roots.

Cera took in a deep breath to calm her beating heart.  Holding on tight, she risked a glance down the cliff.  Her best friend, Jeri, stood in the clearing below.  Beside her, Cera’s little brother lay on a kanga unconscious.  There was no one to fight for him but Cera.  Their parents were long gone.  Cera was Ken’s mother now.

Cera could barely see them below.  The fall down would kill her.  Cera closed her eyes bringing her attention back to the roots she held.  She couldn’t fall to her death here.  She still had so much to do.

Shaking off fear, Cera continued her climb.  Legend was a tree of life grew on top of this cliff.  The tree bore a single fruit each year.  One that stayed ripe for months.  The juices of that fruit brought life to the sick and the dying.  Many had attempted the climb, very few ever made it to the top.  Cera was determined to be one of the few.

Her brother was ill.  The doctors in their village could not help him.  Cera had spent the better part of two years trying to find a cure for Dan with no results.  Now, her brother could barely wake up: he slept too long and she worried that he was slipping away.  She could not bear such a loss.  Being left alone in this world…Cera shook her head refusing such a reality.

So, she climbed.

Not stopping even when her fingers got damaged, and her muscles got weak.  When she felt her strength waning, tears tracking down her dusty face because her arms and legs hurt, she worried she might fall off, she reached up and her fingers found nothing.  She looked up to find clumps of grass and she used them to pull herself up.  Her heart skipped with relief when she came up on a flat plain, green with lush grass.  Unable to stand, she rolled to her back, then crawled to her knees, her gaze on the majestic tree in the middle of the clearing.  A purple fruit grew low on the bottom branches.  Hers to take, hers to give to give to her dear small brother.

This was a short story submitted for a flash fiction thing.  Enjoy it!

Ocean trinkets – Art & Craft

A burst of inspiration struck this afternoon.  We collected shells on the beach during a trip to Diani, and we had this huge bag of shells we didn’t know what to do with.  Anyway, the inspiration came from browsing pinterest, and finding these great seaside jars made over at Completely-Coastal.

So, got to work collecting glass jars in the house.  Impromptu arts & crafts, hahaha.

Made quite a mess of it at first.

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Memories in a Jar!

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But the end result looks awesome.  These are now going on the bookshelves.  Memories in a Jar!

All in all, a productive Saturday afternoon…at least it was a great save for the shells.  Hope your Saturday was great!

Up next, Life on the Fast Track – 22.  Jasmine is to face Dad and make a stand for her little brother! Oh boy!

Cheers.

Chasing the Sunset to Eldoret

Took a road trip to Eldoret, KE this week.  There were so many pictures that I thought it’s best to just share them on the blog.  So, here are sights from our beautiful, lush countryside!

always meet them having lunch, hahaha!

A lake to purposely visit

The sun painting the sky.
Where did the riders go? ^_^!

Shades of Sunset Gallery.

We were heading west, so each town tended to have it’s own moment.

I was in charge of photos for the trip…caught this selfie moment among the three ladies doing baking training at our destination.

I’mma take a selfie!

Checking out the Kerio Valley in Iten.  Home of the Champions!

Training hard to run for KE

 

Massive Kerio valley!

Along the way, caught sight of this billboard and it made my day.

I had fun on this trip, collected quite a few stories.  Until next time.

 

Life on the Fast Track – 21

Chapter 21 – This is what the future looks like

Jasmine wanted to fight Danny.  She wanted to stay angry at Danny.  Angry at him for making her live through a sleepless night worrying the worst had happened.  Yet, seeing his face, his eyes filled with sincere worry, all she could think was, ‘thank goodness he wasn’t hurt.

Jasmine shifted her gaze to the silly apron he still wore.  It was pink, with frills on the side.  She liked sticking her hands in the pockets while she cooked.  Now, she would always remember how funny it looked on Danny.

“Are you going to say anything?” Danny asked, not moving away.

“I lived through a nightmare last night,” Jasmine said, still staring at the apron.  “Every time I close my eyes, all I see is you spinning out and you not making it.  I needed you to stay with me, Danny.  I needed to make sure you were fine, but you pushed me to Jimmy and drove off.”

“I needed to do that,” Danny insisted.  “It was the only way to catch that bastard.  Which we did, and the trouble is gone now.  I finished it.”

Jasmine shook her head.

“So, now what?  Should I be happy you almost got yourself hurt?  Oh, thank God he caught the culprit. What if something happened during the process?  I can’t live like that.  Don’t make me lose you.  I don’t want to—”

Danny pulled her into a tight hug.

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Two peas in a pod

 

“I’m not reckless.  I was safe, and as long as you were with Jimmy, I knew you were safe too.”

“You’re missing the point.”

“Don’t ask me to stop racing.”

Jasmine closed her eyes pressing her forehead into his shoulder.

“I’m not asking you to stop.  I’m asking you to think about the fact that you and I, we—

“We what?” Danny asked when she stopped.

Jasmine bit her lip, then let out a soft sigh.

“We’re like two peas in a pod, Danny.  Can you think about my heart too?  I don’t want to see you hurting.  I don’t want you to catch trouble.  I—I wouldn’t survive it if something happened to you.  So, promise me you’ll be extra careful.”

Danny tightened his arms around her, kneeling on the floor as he pulled her even closer.

“I promise, Jasmine.  Your heart is the most important thing to me.  You have to know that by now.”

Jasmine smiled, thinking she must have saved a village in the distant past.  Danny seemed to be hers when she had thought he would never be.  She wrapped her arms around him, as the fear that had bothered her all night dissipated.  It always did, when he felt so alive in her arms.  She hoped it would always be so.

They stayed holding each other until the door opened to admit Wanja.  Danny took his time letting go, even with Jasmine pushing him off her gaze on her mother.

“I figured I would have to come in here,” Wanja said, her chuckle startling Jasmine.  “Jazz, food is ready.  Come on.”

Wanja left them and Jasmine sat staring at the open door in surprise.  She had expected yells, and a few curses at Danny.  Danny took her right hand and pulled her up.  She followed him out of her bedroom to the little dining room off the kitchen.

Lunch was eaten in a cloud of excitement.  Jasmine listened as her brother and sister asked Danny too many questions.  He answered each one with patience, and interest.  He engaged her mother with stories of his childhood, his father’s restaurant, Terry’s business, his garage.  In a sense, it was the perfect family lunch.

Her strange apprehension about her mother disproving of Danny died away with each minute, each laugh, each giggle, and she wondered why she had worried so much.

Jasmine took her glass of orange juice from the table, sipping juice, her gaze resting on Daryl.  She thought about Daryl and their father.  The man who saw fault when his kids refused to follow the line and wondered how she was ever going to introduce Danny to him.  She frowned.

More importantly, what were they going to do about Daryl?

“Jazz?”

Jenny touched her left shoulder and she looked up to find everyone staring at her.

“Danny wants to take us to visit his garage,” Daryl said, his excitement tangible.  “Do you mind if we go?”

Jasmine looked at Danny and smiled when he winked at her.

“You can go,” she said, smiling at her brother.  “Don’t cause trouble though.”

Danny chuckled as both Daryl and Jenny got up heading outside to his car.

“I should help clean up,” Danny said, waving at the messy table.

“Don’t worry about it.” Jasmine pushed her chair back and stood.  “You helped cook.  I’ll clean up.”

Jasmine took plates to the kitchen, and wasn’t surprised when Danny followed her.

“I’ll see you later?” Danny asked, stealing a quick kiss, making sure Wanja didn’t see him.

“Yeah, sure.  I’ll be home.”

Jasmine swatted his hand away when he pinched her waist.  She watched him hurry back to the dining table.

“Mamma Jazz, I’ll bring Daryl and Jenny home.  Thank you so much for lunch.”

“It was nice to meet you, Danny,” Wanja said.  “I hope this is not the last time we’ll see each other.”

“Definitely not,” Danny said, moving to hug her.  “I’ll come visit you with Jasmine next time.”

Wanja chuckled and Jasmine came back to the table to see Wanja watch Danny leave.

“He’s bold, that one.”  Wanja noted when Danny was gone.  “So, you two are serious?”

Jasmine wiped the table mats, arranging them neatly.

“Do you approve?”

“He’s a good man.  I know his father, and Terry is like your sister.  She slept over our house so much, she’s like a daughter to me.”

Wanja patted the empty seat next to her.

“Jazz, sit.”

Jasmine placed the cloth she held on the table and moved to sit next to her mother.

Wanja took her hand, and rubbed her fingers gently.

“I’m no expert on love.” Wanja gave her a rueful smile.  “So, I won’t tell you Danny is right, or he is wrong for you.  All I can say is make the right choice for you. Your heart knows what it wants.  That’s what matters most in this very long life.”

“Mum.”

Wanja brought her hand up to stroke Jasmine’s right cheek.

“You were always the strongest of my kids.  I don’t think you get it from me, Jazz.  I think you get it from your father.”

“He won’t approve of Danny.”

Jasmine shook her head, sure she was right.

“He is set in his ways,” Wanja said with a sigh.  “But you prove him wrong on a constant basis.  So, he’ll accept Danny, in time.”

Jasmine squeezed her mother’s hand and stood up.

“Speaking of which, before he approves or disproves of my boyfriend, why don’t we talk about Daryl.”

“Jazz.”

“Military?  Mum, seriously?  Daryl doesn’t want that.” Jasmine shook her head.  “You’ve always known he loves engineering.  Why won’t you fight for him?”

“It’s not that easy.”

Jasmine picked up the mats she had arranged.

“Fine, I’ll help you make it easy.  Daddy is home, right?  Let’s go see him.”

“Jazz—

“We have to try, Mum.  Otherwise, Daryl won’t forgive us when he ends up marching for the country.  And I’m not saying there is anything wrong with joining the military.  I just think a guy should do what he wants.  If Daryl wants to work in engineering, he should.  Who knows what he’ll end up building?”

Wanja wiped a hand down her face, and shook her head.

“You’re probably the only person who can stand up to Daddy with that statement.”

Jasmine grinned and hurried into the kitchen to dump the mats in their drawer.

“Then let’s do it today.  I’ll go get my sweater.  We should go before Danny finishes with Jenny and Daryl.  I don’t want them anywhere near the explosion when it happens.”

***

Thank you for reading…to be continued ^_^

←Previous Track

Life on the Fast Track – 20

I Accept you…and all your flaws, but we must understand each other

Jasmine drove up to her house, slowing down when she saw Danny’s car parked next to her mother’s jeep.  She had known he would come.  She had not anticipated that he would find her mother.  She sighed and parked behind his car.

Getting her shopping from the backseat, she hurried to the front door, a little panicked.  Her mother was an interrogator.  She could make the worst criminal squirm under her gaze.  Jasmine was sure she had learned it from being a military wife.  Their dad was no walk in the park.

Danny was in double trouble today.

Unlocking the door, Jasmine walked into her house and stopped when the scent of cooking hit her fast.  Her family was in the kitchen, she stopped at the kitchen entrance to stare at the scene.  Danny wore an apron, and was hard at work chopping carrots into thin strips.  He was an expert at it too.

“Jazz, I thought the supermarket swallowed you up.  I hope you bought nyanya?” Wanja said, looking at her from her position at the kitchen counter. (Tomatoes)

Jasmine lifted up the bag with vegetables, placing it on the counter.  Jenny took the rest from her, and they got to work putting them away.

“Too many people in the kitchen,” Wanja said, when Jenny bumped into her.  “If you’re my kid, get out of here, go entertain yourself.”

Jenny and Daryl hurried out.  Jasmine hesitated, her gaze on Danny.  He sent a smile her way and continued chopping, whistling a happy tune.

Wanja placed gentle hands on her shoulders and led her out of the kitchen.

In the living room, her brother sprawled on the couch and turned on television.  He tuned to Netflix and got comfortable.  Jasmine mentally thanked her landlord for hooking her up with cheap Wi-Fi from Jamii.

Jenny grabbed Jasmine’s hand and led her to her bedroom, closing the door.

“Talk,” Jenny said, perching on her bed, folding her legs under her in anticipation.

Before Jasmine could start, Jenny broke into a tirade.

“You and Danny…when did you get together?  Why didn’t you tell me?  You have been holding out on me.  How is that fair when I’m your sister?  Terry knows, doesn’t she?  You treat her more like a sister, than you do me.  That is so not fair.  Gosh, he’s so hot.  Why is he so hot?”

“Are you done?” Jasmine asked, sitting on the bed beside Jenny.

She let out a sigh, unable to stop thinking about last night.  The sight of Danny’s car spinning out of a high speed race ran in a loop in her head.  Round and round, when she closed her eyes to sleep, all she saw was him spinning out, and not making it.

“Jazz?” Jenny squeezed her right hand, pulling her away from her thoughts.

Jasmine met Jenny’s gaze and smiled.

“You’re my favorite little sister.  I didn’t tell you because we haven’t seen each other.  Plus, I wasn’t sure about him.”

“And now you’re sure?”

Jasmine sighed.

“We have a few things to work out, but yes.”

“Oh yes!” Jenny jumped off the bed and stood watching her.  “This is so awesome.  Danny is those guys you wanna brag about.  Can I call him when I need a ride?  Coz, you know that happens sometimes.”

“Jenny.”

“Come on, Jazz, please.”

“I’ll run it by him first,” Jasmine said, shaking her head.

“It’s so cool to have an older brother now,” Jenny clapped.  “You have done well, sister.  The elders will be happy.”

“What are you the village seer?” Jasmine laughed.  “Gosh, Dad will have a conniption when they meet.  He is so not open minded.”

Jenny seemed to deflate.

“I suppose I should celebrate after they meet.  Danny might want to run.”

“Way to support,” Jasmine scowled at her little sister.

“It’s the truth.”  Jenny sat on the bed.  “You know Dad talked to Daryl a few days ago, about the future.  Daryl was given three options: military, doctoring or business courses.”

Ngai,” Jasmine shook her head.  “He doesn’t change the choices.  You’re the only one who did the right thing and did accounting.  He knows Daryl loves mechanics, even engineering would make sense.  Military?”

“Daryl walked out.  He went to stay over at Aunt Monica’s,” Jenny said.  “He came home this morning.”

“And Mom?”

Jenny shrugged, smoothing her hand over the bed spread.

“Since you, she hasn’t tried to fight for the rest of us.”

“That’s not true,” Jazz said, shocked.  “Jenny, you said you wanted to do accounting.”

“It was the easiest choice that didn’t involve gory detail,” Jenny shrugged.  “You know Mimo, she’s a nurse.  She hates it, but it’s the only thing her parents wanted to pay for.  So—, at least I had two more choices.  I’m not sad about it, Jazz.”

“Gosh, Jenny.”

“Daryl will need your help,” Jenny said, meeting her gaze.  “You’re strong.  You can stand up to Daddy.  Help Daryl do what he wants.”

Jasmine took in a deep breath, and gave her sister a nod.  She pulled Jenny into a tight hug, and held her.

“You should have told me what you wanted,” Jasmine murmured into her sister’s hair.  “I would have fought for you.”

“I didn’t know what I wanted,” Jenny said into her shoulder.  “Not like Daryl does.”

Jasmine rubbed Jenny’s back and brushed her sister’s cheek when Jenny pulled back.

“I love you, kiddo,” Jasmine said, smoothing Jenny’s hair.  “Terry and I will induct you into the sister group on your next day off.  Come sleep over, sawa?” (okay)

Jenny giggled.

“Will Danny be there?”

“Sisters first, then we can have Danny take us out later,” Jasmine said, falling back on the bed.

Besides, she needed to work things out with Danny first.  They had a boat load of things to talk about.  One of them being, not racing off into danger when she begged him not to.

***

“What kind of work do you do?” Wanja asked.

Danny finished cutting carrots and put them in a bowl.  Taking a piece, he popped it into his mouth and faced Jasmine’s mother.

“I’m a mechanic,” Danny said.  “I work on cars, fixing them, restoring them, servicing.”

Wanja chuckled.  She lit the gas cooker and placed a frying pan on the fire, adding oil in one elegant move.

“You’re trying to shock me.”  Wanja flashed a smile at him.  “It won’t work, Danny boy.”

Danny grinned and leaned on the counter watching Wanja stir-fry the vegetables they cut up.

“Mum, I love Jasmine.” Danny stated.  “She means the world to me.”

Wanja chuckled and adjusted the fire on the stove.  She opened the cupboard above the gas cooker to get spices.  Danny watched her put black pepper, ginger and a mix of spices Danny couldn’t name.  The extent of his cooking skills included chopping, peeling, and grinding.  Came from working at his father’s restaurant when the place was short staffed.

Wanja mixed the vegetables, covering them with a lid to simmer.  She wiped her hands on a clean cloth and turned to face him.

“You’re Teresa’s big brother,” Wanja said, leaning on the counter across him.  “I know your father.  My husband and I love his restaurant.  We go there for celebrations.  It’s a great place.”

Danny held Wanja’s gaze.

“You have some steel in you, meeting me in my daughter’s house.”  Wanja narrowed her gaze.  “You’ve pissed her off.  I found her upset.  You want to fix it?”

Danny nodded.

“What did you do?”

“Disappointed her,” Danny said.

“Yes, men disappoint women,” Wanja said, pushing off the counter to check the vegetables she was cooking.  She took a spoon from a plate next to Danny and scooped some soup to taste.  Shaking her head, she added salt and winked at him.

“Women disappoint men too,” she said.

Danny smiled.

“Mama Jazz, are you going to say no to me dating your daughter?”

Wanja covered the food and lowered the heat.

“Jasmine is the most head strong woman I’ve ever met,” Wanja said.  “When she wanted to move out of the house, she simply packed her stuff, found this house and moved.  She is her father’s daughter.  I can’t stop her from doing anything.  However, the kitchen knife you used to chop vegetables is also a weapon, Danny boy.  You hurt her and I’ll show you how that works.”

Danny shifted, straightening up.  Wanja’s gaze scared him more than Anderson ever could.  He could not look away.  For a full minute, they stood staring at each other, until he folded and lowered his gaze.

Wanja laughed and stepped up to pat his shoulder.

“We have time, Danny, to get to know each other.  Meanwhile, Jazz is hiding in her room, avoiding you.  We came to visit her.  She won’t come out as long as you stay.  If you can talk to her, and get her out here, I’ll be happy.”

“Really?”

“I’ll give you ten minutes to solve it,” Wanja said, glancing at her watch.  “Fix it as fast as you can.”

Danny grinned, and left the kitchen quickly.  He hurried to Jasmine’s room.

***

Jasmine sat up when a soft knock came on the door.  Jenny opened it, and smiled wide when she saw Danny.

Sasa,” Jenny grinned.  “Mathe amekupatia time?” (Hi, Mum gave you time?)

Danny nodded and lifted his hands indicating ten minutes.

“Don’t go over,” Jenny advised, stepping past Danny into the hallway.  “She’ll come get you and it won’t be pretty.”

Danny shuddered and entered the bedroom, watching Jenny close the door.

Jasmine remained sitting at the foot of the bed.  Refusing to move, even when Danny came to stand in front of her.

“You won’t look at me?”

“You should have gone home to sleep,” Jasmine said.  “I imagine almost crashing and dying would exhaust a man.  You don’t look like you’ve slept.  Go home, Danny.”

Danny crouched before her, so that she had no choice but to meet his dark gaze.

“There you are,” Danny said, holding her gaze, placing his hands on the bed on each side of her.  “I’m sorry, Jasmine.”

“Danny.”

“I’m sorry I left you alone last night.”

***

 Thank you for reading…To be Continued ^_^!

←Previous Track

 

Tips on Promoting Self-Published Books in Kenya

Reader Question: What self-promotion tips result in high sales?

I got this question on my blog, and it had me thinking, of course.  When I first started writing, I felt a little bit a lot like a fish out of water.  Gasping for air, with no real idea on what to do next.  I know what it’s like to feel as though you have this need to keep writing, but have no real solid foundation to make it a workable financial solution for

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Photo by Tom Holmes 

your life. In short, this question filled my head on a constant when I started.

Two things to remember :-

  1. Yes, when you start, you will need to find other means to fund your life until your book turns out sales that satisfy you.  If you haven’t already.
  2. Yes, you will need to invest in your book to make it a success, and a product worth purchasing.

You cannot escape these two things.  Once you have understood that, and accepted it, now we can discuss self-promotion and sales.  I’ll explore three options today, and post the rest next week.  I’ve been on a writing binge, and want to post fiction the rest of this week…hehehe.

Tips on Self-promotion that will lead to High Sales!

  1. Great Content – I stress this every time I write about self-publishing.  Take the time to evaluate your work.  Discover your strengths, your weaknesses, your opportunities, and your threats.  Yep (SWOT) coming at you.
    1. Did you choose a topic you know?  A topic you love and are passionate about?  Do you sound convincing?  Can the reader trust you when they read your book?  Are they going to fall in at the first page, and not regret getting straight to the last page? If you answered yes to all of these questions, hey, you’re working on your strengths.  If not, find a way to do just that.
    2. Your weaknesses are found by your editor, your first fan, the person who reads your work and makes suggestions.  Listen to them, and find a solution.
    3. Opportunities are found where you work, who you spend time with, family and friends.  For example,  my sister writes recipe books, and has written on her journey in the baking industry.  Her opportunities come when she meets those who want to join the baking industry and those already in the industry and would love to try out new recipes.  If you are writing fiction, your friends, family, school mates, and those around you are your first readers.  Exploit them to the fullest.  Don’t be shy and grow a thick skin for when you face rejection.  Shake it off, and keep moving forward.
    4. Threats are your competition.  Whatever book you have written, or are thinking of writing, there is an author three steps ahead of you.  Search them out, seek them out, read what they have done, learn from it, but don’t plagiarize. ^_^  What you learn, use it to improve your own work.
    5. In one bundle, make sure you are treating your content like a high quality product.  You want to provide your readers with the best content possible.  Polish it, edit it, get a great cover and blurb, enough to entice readers at first glance.
  2. Build a Strong Platform – To be truthful, this is a challenge. I  won’t lie and say it is easy to build a place where you have people running to read your blog, facebook page, twitter, instagram, or your book sitting on the bookshelf in the shop on the first day.  It takes work. Hard, daily work.  Some days are great, others not.  The key is not to stop.  Now that I’ve said that, let’s get into it.
    1. Platforms are a central place to find your work, and all about your work, and you, the author.  I chose a blog because it was easiest for me.  I love writing and sharing ideas.  I don’t mind sharing fiction, so most of my stories can easily be found on this blog.  The readers I’ve gained have found me through this blog, which then shares my content to my social accounts: Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  This blog is my strongest platform.  You can have a different platform.  Just have one place your readers can get to know you and your work.  Here are a few examples of writers with similar platforms. Peter Nena, Dilman Dila, there are more, but these two remain constant favorites for me.
    2. You are your marketer.  Share your work with people you meet in person, in groups you join.  Let people know you are writing, where to find your work, and how to access it.  I’ve said before, I prefer Smashwords as they are really great at getting your work in more online bookshops, as opposed to Amazon’s exclusivity.  You can also choose to explore Kenyan online bookstores like Magunga.com.  Connect with brick and mortar bookstores and see if they will carry your book, or even bookmarks directing people to your site.  Run an ad on Facebook/Instagram, see how many people get to know about your work. Remember that you are the PR team, and share your work constantly.  Don’t be discouraged if one idea doesn’t work out, get back to the drawing board and explore another.
  3.  Converting to High Sales – The first two parts of this list build a community around your work.   Your goal is to make this community love your work, so much, that when you publish your next book, they won’t mind paying for it. Your main job is to grow this community, nurture it, and they will, in turn, support your work in ways that will truly surprise you.  This is why you need more than one book, more than one story, more than one of all that you do, to build readership.

Writing Tips Blog GraphicAs with every plan, there are small goals in between the growth process.  Some of those are:

  1. Get readers to review your work if you have already published.  Reviews are a great way to get people to know that your work is worth a look.  I bet before you buy a book on Amazon, nook, etc, you check out reviews to see if it’s popular.
  2. Join communities that focus on your chosen topic.  Fiction writers choose genre communities to find readers.  Non-fiction writers choose their industry to find readers.
  3. Social media is a great place to start the conversation.  Tweet it, gram it, facebook it, page it, if you have the camera, make videos and youtube it. 
  4. Start a podcast, and build a following. 
  5. Don’t keep quiet, and talk about it to friends, make small business cards to share when you go to meetups. The amount of chamas (groups) people join in Kenya come on…share your cards with everyone there.  They will check it out for curiosity out of the five curious, you will get two who will turn into fans.  Fans buy books.  Just think, If no one knows, how can you sell?
  6. Going back to the start, make sure you have your work edited write right.  Your readers will love it if they don’t have to work at reading it.

I hope this is helpful to you.  If you have written a book, and self-published it, don’t hesitate to share it in the comments below.  I love sharing stuff…great place to start right?

Happy May Day!

 

 

 

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!

Bonus:

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

Download the Save My Heart PDF.