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
- To get a dead-trees(actual/physical) book published you’ll find you need to self-publish using an independent 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 (^_^ Hehe). 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:
- 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.
- Choose an International E-book publishing platform – For Example, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. You’re able to publish your e-book on Kindle and 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.
- There is also Smashwords.com. This platform acts as an e-book distributor. With Smashwords.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.
- There are other e-book publishing platforms like Lulu.com. Explore your perfect fit online.
- 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:
- How good your story is. Write well, edit meticulously, and take the time to get a great cover. Create an enticing product.
- Your 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.
- Keep writing new books, the more titles you have, the more likely you are to remain visible on various publishing platforms.
- 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
- 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!
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