Book Shopping in Nairobi

Nairobi townNairobi City during Good Friday = Empty!  Lolz, everyone has gone out of town for the four-day holiday.  They left little ol’ me to walk around with plenty of space to play. So, I had an impromptu book shopping day.

Books for Sale

I found this guy who’d dumped this pile of books outside Tusky’s Pioneer Branch and was selling them at Kshs. 100 each.  I spent a few minutes sifting through it all.  I wanted to bring them all home, but that would have broken my bank account for sure. I ended up with three only, (moan).

My Stash – 

Rachel Ray
An Attempt to be Adventurous with food ^_^

Safe Harbor

The books are old, they need work, but, they’ll look great after I get them hardcovers.  I’m a huge Anne Rice fan and I’m trying to collect her books.  So I buy her books  when I can. I’ve never read Luanne Rice, so this is going to be a first, and of course the cookbook is to save me from the oblivion of eating the same three meals I’ve had the last few months.    Here’s to Food Adventure!

Ann Rice 2
No Cover! But the artwork is still there.

Ann Rice

Books FirstI ended up at Nakumatt Junction, and they also have a sale in their bookstore.  At Books First, if you buy Any Three Books, you get a fourth one for free.

I was here for other business, so I didn’t get any books, but it was great checking out their book list.  If you’re looking for Books First 2Fifty Shades of Grey, they have it in stock. ^_^!!!!  Buy Three copies and get one for free…lolz, that is if you haven’t watched the movie yet..

So That’s my Good Friday out on the town, I hope you have a wonderful Easter, and stay safe out there.

An Open Mind – Back from Hiatus

landscape

Walk on this journey of life, the steps a few feet before you clear, those ahead a mystery, keep your head up, shoulders straight, most important have an open mind….

The master of the universe, who controls my life unbeknownst to me has had me running around the past three months, unable to visit my blog. However, challenges faced, and seriously won, I finally have time for the blog, and that is exciting. 

Coming up, A review on Dora Okeyo’s Fire, followed by the next chapter of Picture Perfect.

Stay Tuned!

Elly

Fire by Dora Okeyo

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Fire

by Dora Okeyo

A boy is born in the land of Leo. As the sound of the cattle horn is heard, everyone in the Kingdom celebrates the birth of not only a boy, but the Crown Prince. His name is Ustawi.

The hands that hold him foretell a prosperous future, but just like every dream has it’s valleys, so has Ustawi’s birth. One man has seen the evil that’s to befall the kingdom under the boy’s reign, his name is Ukweli. He is the Seer.

Fire begins the story of the Prince’s life and as you read through a story rich in culture and customs you can only ask yourself, can the Seer fight the gods? Can he avert the impending doom that’s to come?

Currently reading this book, a review to come soon.

Check it out, Fire is available on Amazon’s Kindle as an e-book and as a paperback book on Amazon

Find more books by Dora here.

Let’s Talk Money – Self- Publishing

download (1)Is it easy to make money with Self- Publishing in Kenya?

I think on any level, this is a Tough Question. If it’s something you’re thinking about doing, please Don’t quit your day job just yet, you keep trudging on, working your day job and writing fiction in the dead of night.  You’re thinking what a strange way to start a topic.  However, Money matters require clarity.

Options available to you in Kenya:

a) Self-publishing an honest to goodness dead-trees book

– Approach  – Self-Printing at a Printing Press

  1.  To get a dead-trees(actual/physical) book published you’ll find you need to self-publish using an Your storyindependent printing press. You approach them with your carefully prepared work.  They’ll assess it, and quote you a price. For example, 100 books, each at Kshs. 150 = Kshs. 15,000. (This price is for a small book, possibly the size of a prayer book/ Please do shop around to get the right prices offered by different printers) It is your job to handle the necessary copyright registrations, editing, cover creation and all state related business requirements.
  2. Once you’re printed, you advertise which includes: asking different bookshops to sell your books.  You might need to offer invoices, as most bookshops pay only after they’ve sold your books. If you don’t have the influence to advertise your book on a serious note, tackle alternate ways like word-of-mouth, carry your books in a bag, sell to whoever you meet.  Get on social media, talk about it.  You need to price your book, judge this using the cost price, e.g. book costs Kshs. 150 you can price it at Kshs. 350 to cover all the expenses you incurred. If you’re able to sell all copies at once, good on you, if not, keep at it. Remember, this is a self-publishing journey. You learn and don’t quit.  Take this as a business.

– Alternative: Approach an Established Publisher

  1. Watch out for manuscript calls from various publishing houses in the country/ and or continent. They’re announced on publishing company websites and their social media accounts. Work on your manuscript; make sure it meets the specifics given by the publishing company. If your work is accepted, there is usually a monetary reward for the manuscript based on number of words, or the publishing company offers you a royalty payment plan. These conditions depend on the publishing company or publishing house.
  2. You can also submit your manuscript to the various publishing companies in Kenya, East Africa or Africa as a whole. If your work is good, strong, and what the company is looking for, they’ll give you a call and publish your work. You can get a contract of sale for the manuscript, and royalties payment plan. This depends on the publishing house.
  3. These are both great ideas. If you’re one of the lucky ones to get in to this type of plan in Africa, you’re talented and very lucky indeed.

– Approach – Self-Publishing E-books

This is a choice to leap into the international market, with a simple boat and oar in the ocean (^_^ self-pubHehe).  Your product must be great and you must develop a thick skin to survive. There are currently several major e-book publishing platforms in the industry; Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon’s Createspace, Smashwords amongst many others. They all offer pricing options using dollars/pounds/ (insert other major foreign currencies) and not our regular Kenyan shillings. But…Don’t despair. Life has gotten considerably easier lately in terms of accessing your money through paypal, and getting checks that require foreign exchange. (Thank Goodness for that)

Your Self- Publishing E-book Options:

  1. Make your own e-book selling platform. – There are those with the know-how and the where-with-all to create a site that allows their audiences to purchase e-books straight from their personal site. If this is something possible for you, then please, go forth and make it happen. You have control over the cart system, and money goes where you direct it, so it can be in Kenyan shillings. It is a perfect way to make it happen. Here’s a Kenyan Author who has done it. Your goal is to let people know where to purchase your e-books and focus on PR.
  2. Choose an International E-book publishing platform For Example, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. You’re able to publish your e-book on Kindle anavAmazonLogoFooter._V169459313_nd they offer it across the board on different Amazon markets around the world.  You may also choose to publish on Amazon’s Createspace. TheCreatespace platform allows you to publish physical books and make them available to your audience.  Your job is to let people know where topurchase the book, and get as many people buying.  Amazon pays Kenyans when they accumulate $100 (one hundred dollars) in checkform. This is because they don’t allow direct deposit with Kenyan banks just yet.
    1. There is also Smashwords.com.  This platform acts as an e-book distributor. With smashwordsSmashwords.com, you’re able to get your book in with Barne’s & Noble’s Nook, Apple’s iBooks, as well as Amazon’s Kindle amongst other e-book reading platforms. Smashwords can get your e-book on various e-book platforms.  Smashwords pay through Paypal. This is a beautiful arrangement as Equity Bank has chosen to allow its clients to withdraw straight from Paypal. You get your money easily, less waiting for you. Smashwords gets you paid after three months, and you’re paid as long as you’ve accumulated ten dollars and above. Once again, it’s your job to get people to purchase your work.
    2. There are other e-book publishing platforms like Lulu.com. Explore your perfect fit online.
  3. You can choose to have your e-book available across the board.  Use Smashwords.com, Amazon, Nook, Lulu.com and your personal website.  You may also decide to choose just one platform.  You have the control, make the choice.

Your cumulative sales depend on:

  1. How good your story is. Write well, edit meticulously, and take the time to get a great cover. Create an enticing product.
  2. noiseYour ability to market your book – Since you’re self-publishing it’s your job to talk about your work. If you don’t, no one else will. So, get on social media, blog about it, seek reviews, and connect with your readers. If you put effort in to it, you’ll get sales, which translate to more money for you.
  3. Keep writing new books, the more titles you have, the more likely you are to remain visible on various publishing platforms.
  4. Don’t Unpublish – Think of your e-books as long-term assets. Even if you don’t get sales now, you’ll definitely get someone purchasing it in the future. Some e-books gain momentum after they’ve been published for a year or more. They surprise you one day when you get money in your paypal like a super surprise. Don’t hit that unpublish button
  5. Keep Learning the Writing Craft.

As I’ve said, your written work is an asset, treat it as such, and invest quality time in to it. The more books you have, the more pay. The above doesn’t only refer to Fiction, it can also work on Non-Fiction Books.  If you’re an expert in your field, think about getting a book out. You can also offer your Editing Skills to Authors on the Self-publishing path, and make some money that way too. ^_^

Best Advice someone gave me lately was; – Don’t slack! Don’t give up! Think Smart!

← Promotion & Awareness

Five Excuses to Extinguish→

Self- Publishing Fiction e-books in Kenya – Promotion & Awareness

5. Self- Publishing Fiction e-books in Kenya – Promotion & Awareness

download (10)Books are sold by authorpreneurs who take an active role in publicizing their work. Authors working with big publishing companies are lucky in that they get creative, marketing and PR departments working for them.  You have chosen to self-publish a book. You’re choosing to take on all those departments as well as write more books, that is, Double Duty.  Most African writers end up peddling their books from their handbag as I’ve heard once before. They are their own marketing team, their own creative department, and they are the PR team as well. In between all that, they must come up with the next book.

Don’t be discouraged if you find yourself here. Be strict with yourself.  Take yourself seriously, that means coming up with writing schedules, and promotion plans. Please note if you have an eight-to-five job, this might mean extra dedication, on your part. If you’re in between work or have never had a job and are thinking to self-publish for money, you have more time. Good for you, please use it well and beat down that procrastination monster.

Ways to Promote and build Awareness:

1. Get involved with the publishing industry in Kenya – There are different events that arranged by different Kenyan publishing companies and individuals. Participate in them, let people know you’re writing, and what your story is about. If possible, direct the people you meet in these events to your work. If you tell five people, chances are one or two will read it. If you tell twenty, five or six will get there. So, tell up to a hundred people. The number will grow. You’re building an audience, raising awareness.

2. Utilize your family and friends – they are a powerful network. Take ownership of your work and let your family know that writing is important to you. Show them what you’ve done. They’ll take pride in you, if not; convince them to take pride in you. If you’re having a hard time convincing them, tell them it’s not going to stop so they better get used to it, and start reading your stuff.

There are situations that occur, for example, I have moved countries in the past years. You find that you’re leaving your foundation community for a new one, and you are suddenly the odd one out. You have family but not as many close friends. This could lead to shyness, and/or insecurity. You’re the only one who knows you write – that kind of thing. In this case, take it one person at a time. You’ll find someone who believes in your work and go from there. Just don’t allow yourself to self-publish alone.  It gets tough, so talk about it.

3. Explore the Online Community – Join writing groups on Facebook and other social platforms. Are you on Twitter?  Follow other authors, readers, book reviewers, publishing houses, and other people involved in the book industry. You can also follow your favorite authors. Start a Blog. A blog is essential for any writer. You should have a blog. When starting out, you can share your struggles, and they’ll be many. If you’re established, use it to let people know what you’re writing about. When you’re successful, let people know about their favorite characters in your stories. Blogs are your home online. Please start one already if you haven’t.

4. Your book is your product. Talk about it, blog about it, tweet about it, Facebook about it, create posters, ask for reviews from noiseother bloggers, guest blog on people’s blogs and talk about it. Do you get my drift? Self-publishers sell their work by getting noisy and loud both online and offline.

Remember, it helps to have a quality story that’s worth the hoopla. Although, this is relative, some people have managed to sell stories that aren’t as good. If you have an advertising and selling gene, this is the time to make it work overtime. Get people reading those chapters. Don’t forget to write new stories while you’re at it. New stories are the best form of advertising.

←Short Description & Blurb

Let’s Talk Money→

Self-publishing Fiction e-books in Kenya – Short Description / Blurb

4. Self-publishing Fiction e-books in Kenya – Short Description / Blurb

When you pick up a book, you turn it to the back where you read a description of the story. The description lets your reader know who the main characters are, what they do, and what makes the story worth a read.

In short, this part of the book summarizes your story in one short paragraph. You have to entice your audience otherwise; they’ll put it back on the shelf, or move on to the next e-book.

Practice makes perfect. Teach yourself how to summarize your story.

←Plagiarism & Copyright

Promotion & Awareness→

Self-publishing Fiction e-books in Kenya – Plagiarism & Copyrights

3. Self-publishing Fiction e-books in Kenya – Plagiarism & Copyrights

I’ll touch a little on this.  Copyrights are a contentious issue in Kenya, mostly because there are many copycat entrepreneurs. When we talk self-publishing in Kenya, you’re mostly going to have your books published online, on your website or on international platforms. In this case, you, as the writer, you have to watch that you haven’t plagiarized someone out there. If you’re sure with your creativity, then the platform you choose helps you place copyright rights on your work.

Educate yourself on Creative Common Copyrights. They’ll help you protect your work. The Creative Commons copyright licenses and tools forge a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates. Our tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. The combination of our tools and our users is a vast and growing digital commons, a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law.  Read More about this on their website.

I think people should never be afraid of sharing their work because of copyrights. If you can prove that the story is yours: that means keeping a clear record of development, from drafting, all fifty-or-so scribbled drafts and different word .docs you created in the process, to the final product, then you shouldn’t have a hard time proving your ownership.

In Kenya, you can decide to register your author name as a business/company to protect your creative products. Consult with a lawyer, and find out how this can be done.  A good lawyer won’t mind having a conversation about these issues with you.  Learn what you can do to protect your work legally.  If you do catch someone stealing your work, take the necessary measures, grab the same lawyer and go to court if you can’t resolve it amicably.

If lawyers are not in your means, find out if the person is selling your work online. Google allows you to report copyright infringement, so does Amazon.com, and any other platform you choose to self-publish. Make use of the report button and follow instructions.  If all fails, result to shaming them on your blog, social media, e.t.c, people will listen.  No one likes a cheat.

Please note that the same process will be carried out on you if you plagiarize someone’s work.

In the end, it is all about your own integrity and responsibility.  Be Original at all times, and know your rights.

Food for thought:

There are established writers who offer their work for free online.  They go as far as supporting people who get their books in dubious ways.  I think the point is to get as many people reading.  The more popular a book is, whether it is through pirating or whatever, it gets staying power, and therefore more sales.  Just a Thought.  Sharing is not bad as long as you credit the author fully.

Outright robbing however, that is terrible.  (This is when an individual takes your story, changes the names of the characters and decides to put his/her name as the original writer.  This is wrong! Don’t Do It! Just Don’t)

←A Cover

Short Description & Blurb→