Copy Paste vs Authenticity – Did You Know Intellectual Property is Gaining Importance in Kenya?

This post is going to explore the threat of plagiarism faced by most writers, bloggers, content creators, and others. Since the world is online, and content has become a means to earn, copy-paste is more prevalent than authenticity.

I recently received a message from a reader about content that might have been copy-pasted from my blog and posted elsewhere. Since the information in question is in the public domain, I was not overly concerned.

I am eternally grateful to the lady who found the content and was happy to message me about the suspected infringement. I think that is the best and more awesome thing to happen. I love all my readers, but she is amazing for telling me.

Now, the truth is we all post content online with the knowledge that after a time, someone somewhere is going to find it interesting enough to copy-paste it. It happens. It is not okay, but it does. Instead of getting worried, scared, or angry. It is better to arm yourself with the tools to face this threat. Empower yourself with the means to protect your creative content.

So, I have two stories to share with you.

The first story is about an author who got their work plagiarized on a site called Inkitt by a second party. The plagiarism incident consisted of this second party taking the author’s work (novel), changing the title and the names of the characters, but keeping everything else similar down to the spelling and grammar. The second party got a couple of readers and comments complimenting them on the work. Of course, one of these readers happened to know the story belonged to someone else. And so, the author received a message on Instagram from a fan who wrote, ‘Someone tried to copy your book on inkitt’, included was the link to the copied work and the account of this second party.
Now, after the initial shock, this author friend of mine started a search for what to do. The first and most direct thing she did was to contact inkitt.com and see if they can help.
Inkitt.com wasted no time in dealing with the matter. They do not tolerate plagiarism, and the second party was penalized the moment the complaint was verified. The incident lasted less than twenty-four hours. The plagiarized story was taken down.

In this story, the author learned about the case of plagiarism because of a fan. This is the first line of defense an author has and should cultivate. If your work is good and authentic, and it engages your readers, your readers will be the first people to tell you if your content is published elsewhere without your consent.

Now, if it happens to you, and you find your creative content plagiarized online, you are empowered and there is no need to feel as though you can’t publish again.

  1. The first line of defense is to approach the site you found the content and make a simple request. Claim the work as yours, and ask that it be removed. A ‘cease and desist’ request. Five out of ten times, the person who has plagiarized will bring it down without reaching out to you and you won’t have to worry about it.
  2. If no response happens, discover the FAQs about the website. If the person who has plagiarized the work does not own the site. If the site is owned by an organization like Inkitt, you can reach out to the organization and ask them to pull the work down. They will do it if you can prove ownership of the work. If the site is owned privately, and the author has refused to respond, then move on to the third option.
  3. Search engines like Google offer tools like Content Removal if an incident of copyright infringement occurs. They slap a DCMA complaint on the site and the content is no longer crawled on the search engine. The burden of origination and verification is on the original author, but if you are confident and have the information needed, Google is quite efficient in removing copyright infringement articles and content. You will find the instructions on how to do this here. Bing also offers you the same tools. If you’re running a wordpress.com site, Automattic offers you the means to file a complaint of copyright infringement. This brings me to my second story.

The second story is about a Kenyan-based business name owner and an international organization that registered the same name as a trademark. In November 2022, the international organization used Automattic to file a complaint of copyright infringement on their trademark against the Kenyan-based business name owner. The complaint was written as follows:

A clear and detailed explanation of how the above content is in violation of the trademark in question, thus creating consumer confusion: We are contacting you on behalf of the French company “xxxxx”, whose head office is “xxxx, PARIS”.
We have noticed (see below) that you are using the mark "XXXXXX” without the consent of the owner of the trademark and are therefore violating their intellectual property rights.
By this letter, we request that you cease all disputed use of the trademark and/or take all appropriate measures to ensure that the infringing uses are removed.
I have a good faith belief that use of the trademark as described above is an infringement of the rights granted under United States and/or foreign trademark law.: Yes
I understand that a copy of this notice, including any contact information I provided above, will be forwarded to the blog owner.: Yes
Signed on this date of (today's date, MM/DD/YYYY): 10/11/2022
Signature (your digital signature is legally binding): XXXXX

Obviously, the Kenyan-based business name owner started a frantic search for how to handle this complaint. Why was dealing with this complaint so important?

  1. The blog in question is over ten years old, with great traffic, and an enormous amount of content.
  2. The business name represented a physical business in Nairobi, Kenya.
  3. Kenya has signed these treaties that help international companies protect their copyright.

At first glance, there is the thought that this person making the complaint is located in another country, France to be exact, which is on another continent. How could they present this big a problem to a business in Kenya?

A second glance brought out all the weaknesses. The business name owner in Kenya may have started out not intending to infringe on the France-based organization. However, as time continued, the blog grew, and the physical business grew, it drew more attention. The legal standing of the business name owner in Kenya came into question.

Now, if the business name is not registered with the company’s registrar or trademark office in Kenya, they have no legal standing to fight the complaint. At the time of this complaint, they had no legal right to fight the complaint.

So, the right answer was to comply with the complaint. The blog is also under Automattic’s jurisdiction. If Automattic wanted to stop hosting the blog, then they would, of course after a conversation with both parties.

After painful deliberations, the Kenyan-based business name owner decided to approach KIPI with a different variation of their business name and complete the necessary registrations in order to stop this from happening again.

The reason I tell you this story now is that it is 2023 and our dear country has grown up. Intellectual Property is becoming more important. There are more court cases settling matters of trademark infringement, copyright infringement, and copyrights. The copyright office is making a larger effort to document and offer authors, creators, companies, musicians, artists, and artisans the means to claim their copyrights.

In this same case, it is getting easier for international companies to log copyright infringement cases against Kenyans.

Why? We start our websites on wordpress.com, make content for Youtube, and want to crawl our sites on Google. These sites have to comply with various copyright laws, and so should we.

So, I’ll end my blog post on copy-paste and authenticity on this note.

As you create your blog, website, social media account, start a business and write your novels, work on making your content authentic. Cite your sources where you need to, and most of all, don’t claim other people’s work as your own. It is also important to note that search engines penalize copy-pasted content. It is much harder to rank on the first page if you have simply taken information from someone’s site, and pasted it on your own.

Work on Authenticity

If you practice copy-paste, learn how to cite the original content. Know that it might cost you.

happy February 2023.

How to Publish your eBook on Litireso Africa

Litireso is an African platform that allows you to upload your eBooks for sale or for free. They also have a print distribution option. You can also purchase Print books and eBooks from Litireso Africa’s Shop. Discover new African Writers.

Litireso is a content distribution platform established to help independent African authors and publishers distribute their creative works globally.

litireso.africa

This post will share the process of uploading an eBook on Litireso Africa all the way until the book is live. I hope it gives you the courage to publish your own ebook. Let’s get Started!

  1. Create Account
  2. Upload My Ebook
  3. Book Description and Info
  4. Cover Size
  5. Ebook File Type
  6. Collaborators
  7. Pricing
  8. Vouchers
  9. Wallet
  10. Preview and Publishing

Create Account

If you’re an author or publisher looking to publish your books on Litireso. Create an Account on Litireso Africa. Follow instructions as needed. It’s easy signup at no charge!

On the upper left corner of the site, once you sign up, you’ll see two prompts. Publish on Litireso or Print Distribution. Publish on Litireso will take you to the page where you’re able to upload your eBook. The Print Distribution page takes you to more information about how you can sell your printed books on Litireso’s Platform. We are uploading an ebook, so in this post, we shall choose the Publish on Litireso option. This gets you here:


Upload My Ebook

Choose Upload My Ebook. When you do, you end up on the dashboard where you will have access to Publications you upload, your Wallet, and Integrations, (which are marked as coming soon). For now, your biggest concern is the Publication section where you will upload your completed eBook.

Before you click on Add Publication, you need a PDF or Epub file of your Ebook, a Book Cover, and a Description of your Book.

If you already have these details, click on Add Publication and a prompt window will appear to get you started. Input your ebook’s Title and choose eBook and then Create.

Your Book Publishing Starts.


Book Description and Info

Once you hit Create, your book is titled and now you need to provide more information about your work. This is where you need the Book Description, the Year of Publication, the Genre of the book, and the Language used in the ebook. Litireso has a very diverse option when it comes to languages, from Igbo to Swahili, French, Ndebele, Yoruba, Italian, English, and more.

A note on ISBN, Publishers, and Release Dates – If you have purchased an ISBN for your book, use it here, and if you have a publisher or are the publishing company be sure to include these details in the publisher’s part. Litireso also allows you to schedule a release date to alert readers to the book’s upcoming release. When you have inputted this information, hit Save.


Cover Size

Once saved, move to the Media Tab where you will upload your Cover and your Ebook PDF File. Please note that Litireso’s Book Cover Requirements are a Width of 800 pixels x Height of 1200 Pixels. The size of the file should be up to 1MB. Any larger and you will not be able to upload the cover image. Once uploaded, hit Save.


Ebook File Type

Once you upload your cover, we move on to your eBook File. Litireso recommends PDF files for Magazines and Comics. Epub files for Stories (Novels) or other book formats to provide the best reading experience for your readers. In this case, I am uploading a novel or a short story, so I will upload an Epub file. Once it is uploaded, click on Save.

Once you hit save, you will get the following note from the platform.


Collaborators

Move to the next Tab written Collaborators. The Collaborators are the authors of the book, and if you have illustrators and artists, they should be added here. I assume they wrote collaborators to include editors and others who are not the author but contributed to the creation of the work. If you’re a one-person show, add your author credit here and submit.


Pricing

We move on to Pricing. The book remains available for free until you add a Price. Litireso offers you different currency options. For example, you can use US Dollars, Kenyan Shillings, or the Nigerian Naira to price your book.  Once you have decided on the price, click Submit and the price of the book will show up on the pricing tab.


Vouchers

The last Tab is all about Vouchers. If you want to have a Book Sale that will allow you to slash the retail price on your eBook, this is where to make those vouchers.

For example, If you’re selling your book at 500 Kenyan Shillings and want to offer a discount and sell it at 400 Kshs, this is where to make the voucher.  Follow instructions, as provided by Litireso, when creating the voucher.


Wallet

Read the Terms and Conditions carefully when it comes to pricing and handling your wallet on Litireso Africa.  If you have questions, reach out to Litireso for support.


Preview and Publishing

Use the Preview button to check on your book and how it will look in the Litireso Shop. Make sure you have saved your content at each step to avoid losing any of your work. I open the preview on a different tab. Pay attention to the genres you choose as they classify your book. Also, remember that as long as you don’t put in the price, the book will be available to readers for Free as seen below.


Once you are satisfied with your Title’s information and you’re sure there are no mistakes, click on the Publish button. Your title will be available on the Litireso Shop right away.

I Dream of You on Litireso Africa


To access your uploaded Publications to edit them or check on their performance, Click on My Account and you will find them under Publications.


For more information on how to upload eBooks on Litireso, or if you run into trouble while going through this process, reach out to Litireso Africa on their support platform. Or through their social media handles on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.


Print on Demand – Book Publishing in Kenya

Q. Should I Use Print on Demand for Book Publishing in Kenya?

Answer: Yes. It is a reasonable and affordable way to print your books on a budget.

Here is a scenario. If you have tried to publish a book in Kenya, chances are you have approached a large printing press and they have quoted for you a minimum of 100 books. (500 copies in our case). The price of this entire job comes to around Kshs. 100,000 or more depending on the size of the book, color requirements, etc. If you do not have this amount, you will feel instantly discouraged and think, “Ah, publishing in Kenya is very expensive!

The most interesting truth about the printing press’s quote is, that it is cheaper to print a large number of books with them. It also guarantees the availability of the book.

However, Smaller Printing Press shops offering Print-on-Demand are the best for authors who are growing, starting out, and hoping to get out there in the market. They need an affordable starting-out option that will not make publishing seem impossible and obliterate the savings account amounts.

What is Print on Demand?.

Print on demand in book publishing is the production of a small number of books as requested by the publisher, author, or customers.  The printing happens at a fixed cost per copy each time regardless of the size of the order that is, 1-5 books or 50 books. It allows the author to keep up the availability of their book for their customers, and have a dependable printing source who will always make the books as needed at the same price.

The author’s biggest challenge is finding a Print-on-Demand company that will keep the fixed cost per copy reasonably intact. There might be fluctuations as per current inflation challenges in Kenya, but there should be no life-changing increases.

For example, a book first printed at 180/- per copy cannot suddenly change to 350/- per copy the next time it is needed for print.  Such a change would increase the retail price and the author might have a hard time finding customers with a new price to match the new printing cost. The author might not be able to afford this change of printing cost either.  It is important to find a Print-on-Demand shop that will work with you and keep prices reasonably intact for your book.

Kenya has gone through a very large shift in terms of offering Print-on-Demand Services. There are more Print-on-Demand printers, alongside the Offset Printing shops.

So, if you’re on the verge of finding a printer and your budget is not at the 500 copies level, find a Print-on-Demand shop. I will shamelessly plug Publish4All Kenya here.  They have been quite reasonable to us and always fulfill our orders without issue. They are the best printers we have dealt with so far.

An author hoping to put out books can easily find a printer who is willing to print out 5-10 copies of a book at a reasonable price. The author can then sell the books and return to print another set. The more the book’s demand grows, the more you can print. In time, you can work up to getting the 500 copies, of which you’ll find an offset printer to keep you stocked at mass-printing levels.

For entrepreneurs in Kenya, the Print-on-Demand industry has a clear existing gap waiting for you to fill it.  Affordable printing prices are attractive to budding authors. The existence of these services at reasonable costs and offering quality end-products will also encourage more people to print their books.

Are you interested in printing a book, You can email Publish4All Kenya for a quotation. – p4akenya@gmail.com

What Information Goes on the Copyright Page of a book in Kenya?

You have completed your book.  You are now ready for publishing in our beautiful country of Kenya. You need a copyright page in both the e-Book and Printed Format.  The copyright page is the second or third page depending on the items you have planned for the first pages. It should contain the following information:

1. Title of the Book

– This one is easy. Your Book’s Title and the Subtitle if you have one.

2. Name of the Author

– The author who has written the book.  Make sure to add in all authors and contributors if there is more than one.

3. Copyright Holder

  • This looks like this: Copyright © Year by (Name).  If there is more than one author, include their names.
  • Copyright holders should be named for the text contributed, and images found in the book or the book cover. Sometimes, the image owner may give copyright to the owner but require a credit on this page for producing the image.
  • Copyright holders can be authors, publishing companies, businesses, and organizations.

4. ISBN Number

  • If you have an ISBN from the Kenya National Library, include it here. You can write the number and/or include the barcode that comes with it.
  • If you are internationally based, you might have a Library of Congress number, which you can include on this page too.

5. Rights & Permissions

This is the paragraph that reads, All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. There are different variations of this paragraph, ending with the means to contact the copyright holder for permission to quote, use or adapt the content in the book.

6. Contact Information

  • You will most likely put down the contact information of the person who will be responsible for handling the permissions in the Rights & Permissions paragraph. This can be the publisher’s contacts or the author’s contacts.

7. Permissions

  • If you quote or use information from another publication, author, or image copyright owner, you need to credit their work. You can use this page to include the permissions given or granted to you by the owner of the borrowed content.
  • This includes lyrics from songs, which do have copyright ownership.  The Kenya Copyright Board has a site for these registrations and searches. Consult with the site to check out who owns what and how to get permissions.

To remember:

  • If the author is the writer/ editor/ and publisher, then he or she will include their information in all the parts mentioned.  Otherwise, include the names of those who have contributed, depending on agreements of services rendered.
  • If more than one author writes the book, make sure to add in all authors.
  • Images and book cover creators may ask you to credit their names on the Copyright page.
  • A Printing press/ book formatting service may include their logo on the copyright page, as well as their information.

Here is a copyright page sample to see what it should look like:

Title
Author

Copyright © 2022, Author
Cover Art © 2022 (Moon Artist)

Edited by Awesome editor
Published by (Abc Publishers)
ISBN Number: 
(ISBN barcode) optional
Library of Congress Number:

All Rights Reserved.
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole
or in part in any form.
Or
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book
with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each reader. If
you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your
use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard
work of these authors.

For Permissions reach out to Abc Publishers info or Author’s Information/ email and phone number and/or Address.

You can include a disclaimer if you have written fiction.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Some publishers in Kenya do include the Kenya Copyright Law that governs copyrights on this page. You may include this part depending on how much space you have left on your book’s page.

The copyright page is there to say who the copyrights belong to, and who to contact for permissions to reproduce, copy, adapt, quote or reuse the content found in the publication. It also helps to know who has contributed to the work.

Do not forget to visit the Kenya Copyright Board website to copyright your work.  You get a certificate for your efforts, and your rights are searchable in the database.

3 Popular Questions Asked about e-Books in Kenya

Question 1: How do I create an e-Book in Kenya? Is it easy?

A. This depends on the type of book you want to create. A book filled with prose like a story, or a non-fiction book with no graphs, tables, and pictures is easy.  You only need Microsoft Word/Apple’s Pages to create an e-Book.  You can turn your word document into a PDF, and/or ePub with Pages, and voila, you have an e-book.

The challenge starts when you have graphs, tables, and pictures that need specific formatting and layout requirements.  You then have to think of how your readers will access the e-book and the type of app they will use to read your e-book.

If you are selling your e-book yourself, there are decisions to make, for example;

  • Do you want the e-book printable? If you do, the PDF version is sufficient.  You only need to make sure it is formatted correctly so that the graphs fit within the margins and are readable on a phone/tablet/ laptop etc.
  • Do you have a print book and do not want the e-book printable? My advice would be to keep the book in print form. Do not turn the print book into an e-book if you’re absolutely against getting it in an e-book and having it printed out by readers that way. I tell you this because a motivated reader will find a way to turn your unprintable e-book into a printable version. We are in an age when there is always software somewhere that can do the conversion.
    • In any case, if you must turn the e-book non-printable, ePub is your best option.  ePub allows you to disable the printing option at creation ePub reading apps do not provide a means to print the eBook. Once again, it depends on the platform you have chosen to use to distribute your ePub.  When you are creating PDFs, you do get to choose whether to make the PDF nonprintable too, but you have to have software that allows you to lock up the contents.  Otherwise, as I said earlier, motivated readers will find a way to bypass the password version. ^_^

I hope this sheds some light on this constant question in my inbox. ^_^

Question 2: What type of software do I use often to make e-books?

  1. Microsoft Word

The most basic and easiest way to create an e-book in Kenya is to use Word from Microsoft Office, or its equivalent on Apple called Pages.  This is because I have used Word for a long time, since my school days, so I find it easiest to use.  I am able to make the necessary formatting changes on Word without problems. It is also easy because platforms like Smashwords take the word documents and turn them into PDF/Epub/and all other types of formats for the different types of devices on the planet.  Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing can also use .docx for their Kindle Create software to make upload files for Kindle. Word is quite diverse and easy to use.  Microsoft Office 360 is also a great way to save documents online so I don’t worry about crashing laptops and loss of work.  You can also do that with Google Docs, though I rarely use google docs as a way to work on ebooks to publish unless I’m doing a collaboration with someone else and we’re storing notes or giving feedback that needs everyone’s input.

  1. Publisher

I love Publisher for when I’m creating mini books that will not be uploaded online, or used as e-books. I use this software for little books we are printing ourselves.  It has a lot to offer in terms of formatting, and the little bubbles and asides and graphs and ways to arrange pictures excite me.  It’s my favorite for brochures, info notebooks, or just a short printed book.  I do not use this for e-books though.  I also do not use this software when sending a document to the printers.  The few times I tried it, we had great and epic mix-ups with formatting issues, so I reverted to word, and shifted to Indesign.

  1. Adobe Indesign

This is my favorite software.  It offers a very wide range of possibilities and is perfect for magazines, novels both non-fiction, and fiction, brochures, ebooks, and anything you can think of creating that will open like a book.  It is important to note that it also has a wide learning curve.  You’ll need to take the time to get to know how to format paragraphs, shapes, designs, images, and all that, but once you master it, anything is possible.  You can save your documents as per the printer’s requirements, and create ebooks turning them into PDFs or ePubs. The only limitations with this software are caused by the wallet ^_^. You can work on upgrading it as you grow.

Question 3 – Where do I sell my e-Book in Kenya now that I have made it?

Everywhere!  There is no limitation on where you can sell your e-book or printed book for that matter.  What I can do is give you three ideas on how you can create outlets for your ebook.

There is no limitation on where you can sell your e-book

  1. Create a Page on your preferred Social Media Platform. There are very many: Facebook /Instagram/ Tiktok/ Twitter to name some of the most popular. Discuss and talk about your book on your pages.  Facebook/ Instagram allows you to create a shop and you can sell your book through them.  Tiktok allows you to direct your followers to your Instagram page. Well, you can also Tweet the process of how to get the book. (This is the least amount of work for setup) You can also sell your ebook through Whatsapp.
  2. Create a website and make a landing page for your book.  Do you know how to create a website? If you do, then we’re halfway there. Create a landing page highlighting your e-book. I’m hoping you have a following or have at least been marketing it by this point. Explain to your potential readers how to buy your Printed Book/e-book. Provide an email, phone number, and how to pay for it.  Please make this process seamless for the reader. (An Mpesa plugin allows you to set up a seamless payment system. This method does require a considerable amount of knowledge when it comes to setting up a website. You can learn to do it yourself, or reach out to the website designer of your choice.)
  3. Signup on an ebook selling platform like OkadaBooks/ Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing/ Smashwords / Draft2Digital/ Litireso.  What these platforms allow you to do is upload your word document or pdf, please check their requirements, and sell your book through their shops and/or distribute to other ebook selling shops like Barnes & Nobles and Apple Books, etc. This method is the easiest as you rely on already established resources.  The cost of this is that each of these platforms does take a percentage of your sales. Decide which platform best fits your needs.

I hope this information gives you some insight into creating your own e-book for distribution to your readers. Find the software you are most comfortable with and work on mastering it, formatting documents, so that you are able to send out beautiful ebooks to your readers. Most of all, I wish you the best of luck on your publishing journey.

Where to Sell or Share your Complete Story in East Africa

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.

  1. ebonystory.com

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.

2. Wattpad.com

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.

3. Inkitt.com

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.

4. Webnovel.com

Web Novel's Inkstone platform
Web Novel’s Inkstone

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.

5. . Dreame Storiesstarywriting.com

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.

Smashwords.com / Draft2Digital

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.

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing

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 in Kenya (Printed Books)

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 in Nigeria (Printed Books)

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.

Jumia.co.ke (Seller Account)

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

  1. Lulu.com
  2. Ingramspark.com
  3. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing

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.


Zevs Afrotheria - Fiction

Check out Zev’s Afrotheria

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

About Zev’s Afrotheria:

Also, find it here: Zevs Afrotheria – Wattpad


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.

What is Self-Publishing?

What is Self-Publishing?

Self-Publishing is the act of an author taking on the process of writing, editing, formatting, printing, and marketing your fiction or non-fiction book. Following are five important aspects of self-publishing.

  • The author publishes their work independent of any publishing houses.
  • The author takes on all the costs and expenses of the process.
  • The author does receive all the sale profits: He or She retains control and ownership of his or her content.
  • The author registers ISBNs and Copyright Licenses in person. He or she is responsible for fulfilling any legal requirements needed in the process of publication.
  • Marketing and promotion falls to the author.  The author needs to work at discovering and cultivating readership in order to make sales.  It helps if you have a large network of supporters online and offline.  If you don’t, then it is a great idea to get started on cultivating readership of your work.
What is Self-publishing? Five points on Self-Publishing in Kenya.

Self-Publishing is different from Traditional Publishing.

In Traditional Publishing, a publishing house accepts an author’s work, edits and formats according to house standards, prepares the work for printing and takes on the marketing of the work. In this day and age, the author is no longer exempt from the marketing efforts and may have to complete tasks as assigned by the publishers to promote the work.

In Kenya, publishing houses do not need you to have a literary agent.  However, they do need you to send work that has content centered on the publishing houses’ preferred publishing genres.  Check out these four traditional publishing houses submission guidelines: East African Publishers / Moran Publishers / Storymoja Publishers / Mystery Publishers

Of course, there are more than these four publishing houses in East Africa, but I have highlighted companies who have clear submission guidelines on what they are looking for on their websites and the process of submission.

Now you know what Self-publishing is, and what to expect from the process.  Here is a tip on what you need to do to see profits from your hard work.  Approach self-publishing as you would a startup business.  Your books are a product.  A product that requires smart marketing and constant refining to attract your readers and keep them.

It is no longer about just uploading your book on Amazon’s KDP or Smashwords and keeping quiet, waiting for a reader to stumble upon your work.  The industry has grown and changed.  There are a lot more authors who are publishing on the same platforms, in the same way.  You now need to market your work and be outgoing about it, online and offline.

Self- Publishing will give you results depending on the amount of effort (time + money) you choose to pour into it. Don’t be afraid to take the first step.

Gratitude – I am so grateful for… this December 2021

I want to pause and think of the good happenings in terms of this blog and my writing this year. So, this is my 2021 gratitude post.

It is two weeks until the New Year 2022.  I haven’t posted much on the blog this 2021, but I have met incredibly amazing people this year because of this blog.  I am truly grateful for the experiences that have come to me because of these amazing people. 

From amazing books to read and review, to a publishing adventure I am incredibly excited to be a part of, and although I cannot talk about it, I am grateful for the inspiration I am gaining from the process.


This year I had the privilege to virtually meet Bako Pierre Aymard, a translator / Interpreter [English-Spanish-French], from La Salle University, Philadelphia, USA.  He created a Spanish Translation of my book, I Dream of You.  It was so exciting to receive the completed file, all my words in Spanish.  I am incredibly grateful to him for the work he has done, and for choosing to translate my book. I will definitely work to put it out by the end of this year.


I got to virtually meet Nomaqhawe Ndlovu (Noma), who writes for Verve Romance.  She wrote a very inspiring and informative article on Romance Novels and their role in African relationship expectations.  I’m grateful she included me in her project, and that she featured my short contribution in the article. You can follow Noma on Twitter here.

ververomance.com

I would also like to thank Firdaus H. Salim for featuring me in the Mt Kenya Times earlier in the year.  She published my interview and featured Save My Heart on the ePaper.  I was grateful for the opportunity to talk about my writing ideas and hopes and I thank her for featuring my book.  Find the article below.  Follow Mt Kenya Times on Instagram here.


Thank you, to all who find inspiration to create their own work, and to publish, after reading my blog. I am happy to know the information here is of use to you, and I hope to continue creating more useful content. 

Most of all, I am grateful to all of you who read my blog.

Here is to looking forward to even more incredible happenings in the year 2022!

Copyright Registration in Kenya – Updates

This post is an update on Copyright Registration in Kenya.  Since my last copyright registration post, the process has gotten infinitely easier and accessible to anyone with a laptop and an internet connection.  The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has created an easy-to-use website portal.  The portal allows you, the creator, to upload your work and get your registrations done in one place. To get started:-

1. Kenya Copyright Board has a Copyright Registration Portal that you will find on this link: Copyright Portal

2. You need to create an account.  There are two types of accounts, that is, Personal and Corporate.

3. You will need the following details to sign up: Your Identification Number, Your KRA Pin, Your Phone Number and Your Email.  If you’re doing this as a Company, you need your business registration numbers and the KRA Pin associated with your business.

4. The portal does send you a verification code to validate your phone number.  Make sure the number you use is a number you have access to, and can use to receive messages.

5. Once you have your account, you now have the option to register your work on the portal.

6. To register your Copyright, choose the Make an Application option on your account.  Submit your book’s information, as needed.

7. If you’re an author copyrighting your personal work, you only need your personal information.  If you are an author with a co-author, you will need the details of your co-author too.  If you have a publisher, you will need the publisher’s information as well.

8. In this post, we are discussing submission of books for copyright registration.  The portal’s preferred format for book submission is a PDF document.  Please consult the portal for other creative works like audio.

9.  To note, your application requires a definition of ownership percentage of the work.  If you’re the creator and author of the book, then the percentage is at 100%.  If the work has different creators making up the whole, then you need to decide the percentage division to the different owners.

10. Once the details of your work are submitted to the portal, you will receive a message on your number and in your email, as below.

11. In my experience, you will receive the results of your application in a day, or within hours.

12.  Your Copyright Certificate is then available on your account and you can download it or View it, as needed.

Authors, if you’re able to do this on your own, please do it.  It is very easy and you have control on how and when you can access your copyright certificates.  If you ask someone else to do it for you, please be sure it is someone you can trust and that you’re able to access your copyright certificates at will.

If you have more questions on what you can copyright in Kenya, please visit this KECOBO Frequently Asked Questions link and go through the different types of creative media that you can copyright.  Alternatively, you can email them or call them for help and support.

Kenya Copyright Board – Email: nrr@copyright.go.ke

Copyright your work today.

How do you find out the cost of self-publishing your book in Kenya?

This question paralyzes the majority of writers in Kenya. It is the most asked question in my inbox. So, I am going to make a be-courageous-and-take-matters-into-your-own-hands post. Educate yourself on the words Word-count, Book size and Genre. Your manuscript is a product. Fiction or Non-fiction, it is a product. Know what your desired product looks like.

What is the cost? How much will you need? How do I know the cost?

In this post, we came up with a short guideline on how to decide what type of book you want to create. There are six questions you need answers to, only then can you decide the size of the book you want to produce.  

If you’re writing fiction, know what size of work you want to create and in what genre you want to write in. That is:-

  • 1. Short Story – 0 to 7,500 words
  • 2. Novelette – 7,500 to 17,500 words
  • 3. Novella – 17,500 to 40,000 words
  • 4. Novel – 40,000 words and above.

Where does your current work fit in the list below?

This is a list of Genres / categories when publishing on Amazon’s KDP. Use it as a guideline. Where does your current work fit?
  • Choose a Genre: (Read this post on why you need to choose a genre) Once again, you cannot write for everyone, ‘everyone’ s’ tastes are different. Genres are as follows:
    • Children’s books
    • Romance
    • Action
    • Historical
    • Mystery
    • Thriller
    • Fantasy
    • Slice-of-life and many more etc.
  • Remember each size of story requires a different type of workload from you.  You must understand that the cost of printing a novel with 40,000 words and above is more than the cost of printing 7,500 words.

The word count determines the amount of money you’ll spend when it comes to self publishing. It becomes very important to choose the number of words you want to produce in the type of work you want to create. 

If you’re writing a non-fiction book, decide what size of work you want to create as well. The word count is leveled the same as the list above. Remember your chosen topic and industry. If you’ve chosen academic writing, follow the rules of that process. Do the research e.t.c. The cost of printing non-fiction is also determined by the presence of photographs and diagrams (color or black & white). The more photos and colored-diagrams, the more cost.

Once you write your manuscript, then you can start thinking about editing and the cost of editing. Once again, editors look at the amount of words (Word Count) you need edited, and the work you have already put in to make it easier to edit.

Scenario: if your manuscript has typos, misspelled words, grammar challenges, for fiction – a confusing story, for non-fiction – a mishmash of ideas with no real point, an editor is looking at your manuscript and seeing a huge workload. They’ll either charge you a large number or decline your work.

If you’ve made the effort to clean up your manuscript of a lot of the troubles above, an editor will have an easier time working with you, as they’re able to understand what your work is about, and what you want to achieve. The cost might reduce from a huge shocking number to a manageable number. ^_^

So how much do you need?

  • Editing – Depends on the word count, the work you’ve already put in to your manuscript, and the type of editor you get.  It can range from 9,000/- to 50,000/- or more. An editor may help you with formatting at an added charge.
  • Book covers – From 1,500/- to 5,000/- It depends on the illustrator or graphic designer you choose.
  • Formatting and Printing – Depends on the size of book (Book Size).  Some printers don’t do the formatting services, others do.  A book with around 30,000 words costs about 180/- per book to print, depending on the type of printer you get, and how many books you want to print.
  • Printing Cost is absolutely dependent on your desired end product.  You can get it cheap, you can get it expensive.

Shop around and discover which printer will work for you.

So, your cost is determined by Word Count. Word Count determines your Book Size and Your Editors’s Costs. Small word-count costs less, large word – count costs more.

Genre is what your book is about, the category it fits in and how easy or fast your readers will find it.