Twenty Flash Fiction stories with a dash of Romance, Crime, Vice and Contemplative moments in the September 2015 East Africa Friday Feature.
Stories from East Africa.The EA Friday Feature is a circle of 5 writers who write flash fiction stories of only 1,000 words every Friday. The September Anthology includes a collection of twenty (20) stories, spanning across different genres. From sweet hesitant romance, pyramid schemes and misjudged love to vice, crime and heartbreak, these stories will sink you into adventure.
The September issue of the EA Friday Feature stories is now ready. Download a PDF document from this blog or check it out over at Smashwords. The issue is free. Reviewing is definitely encouraged. We’re happy to keep sharing our stories with you.
5. Self- Publishing Fiction e-books in Kenya – Promotion & Awareness
Books are sold byauthorpreneurs 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 other 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.
2. Self-publishing Fiction e-books in Kenya – A Cover
So, your story is complete. Now, you need a great cover for your e-book. This is also the reason why you need to choose a genre. Covers often interpret what your story is about to your audience. Every book you’ve ever bought has a cover that attracted you to it. You might have known the author, but the cover ultimately drew your eye to that book. Don’t think so? Check yourself the next time you stand in a bookshop. Really, I dare you to test this out.
To use examples, Romance novels use specific types of pictures on the covers e.g. hot guys, pretty ladies, sexy shoes, jewelry, silky fabrics, flowers, wedding gowns, if it can invoke the sense of romance, they’ve used it on a romance novel. In this case, reach out to some good-looking, gym-visiting Kenyan guys and chicks and get them to pose for your romance novel cover.
When it comes to horror and murder stories, there is blood on the cover, green monsters, crime scene tape, scary monsters, bloody scissors or knife, guns; I’ll scare myself so I’ll stop here. I’m hoping you’re getting the idea.
Remember, stick to the genre covers and come up with your take on them. If it’s romance, create a cover with a romance theme. If it’s Sci-fi, they choose those robots and aliens for a reason. To let people know what genre they’re buying. So, know your genre, your story, and find a cover to match.
P/S: Don’t use borrowed, copied pictures in your work. It is always best to get permission for pictures you get online, or from people. This is to avoid jumping into a copyright argument. Go original at all times, do your best to follow this rule.
1: Self-publishing Fiction e-books in Kenya – Your Story
Self-Publishing Fiction means you’ve sat down and come up with characters, a plot, and one heck of a story that you are going to share. When you choose self-publishing, you’ve made a choice to sell or share (free read) your story with an audience. The most important part of this process is having a complete story.
In business, you require a product or service to facilitate trading. When writing, you aspiring authorpreneur, you, you need a complete story. Note I write complete story more than once. Writers have a tendency to have a multitude of works in progress. I’m guilty of that myself.
Things to remember when it comes to your story:
1. Choose a Genre – Genres are important because they allow you to focus your writing on a particular theme or topic. They also help you when it comes to marketing your work. Genres also allow you to focus your writing on a particular audience. You don’t have to stick to one genre, you can write in different genres if it suits you. You can also focus on type of genre. For example, Kenya’s Peter Nena has a strong following for his horror stories. Uganda’s Dilman Dila is able to write different types of genres from Romance to Sci-Fi/ Fantasy/ Horror.Find out what type of genre you’ve written or want to write.
2. Invest in Editing – You might be self-publishing for the first time. You read this and want to ask me, how you can afford editing when you’re just starting out. Well, if you have the money from other income-generating sources, find a professional editor and get them to read your work. Editors are the manna from heaven to Writers. Please believe this. If you don’t have the money, get active on various writing sites and forums. You’ll be surprised the number of people who are willing to share their editing skills with you.
If you’re not able to access these sites, nag your family & friends. I know you have one, two, or five, maybe more. Print out your stuff and tell them to read it. The more people reading your work the better because they’ll catch any mistakes you might have and will point it out to you. Don’t get bent out of shape when they point it out. Remember that thick skin you need to grow. Take it all in stride, if anything, it helps you learn. So, do you have someone reading your work other than you?
3. Write an entertaining tale. – Be unique, engaging, and creative. Writing fiction is extremely personal. You’re the creator and originator of the story. Let your imagination fly.
I emphasize editing because a story might be very good, but if the editing is weak, then people are likely to push it away. If it’s possible, learn to self-edit as well. Know your grammar, whether you’re writing in Swahili or English, or your mother tongue, watch where you put those pauses and full stops. Remember that simple language is better than complicated language. You don’t have conversations with perfect vocabulary and formal languages, do you? People cuss, spit, yell and make-up words in general conversations. Keep it real!
This is a series of blog posts on self-publishing fiction e-books online.
Self-publishing fiction is not easy. Let’s remember that and know that as we continue. This is no walk in the park. You’re not going to publish your amazing story that you’ve written for years and get people purchasing right away because you’re published.
Self-publishing is grueling, it’s lonely, but it does pay-off with patience. You just have to grow a thick skin, and gain a never-give-up spirit. Following are some of the steps you can follow to get you started. You can follow all of them or some of them, depending on what works for you. Most of all, approach your self-publishing journey with a long-term investment mindset. You can plan short-term goals to help you achieve the long-term goal. Please, don’t approach self-publishing as an immediate gratification process. Self-publishing takes time all round. Time is the one asset you’re going to need in this process. Okay, that’s my dose of reality check. Let’s get started.
Smashwords is a global ebook distributor serving authors, publishers, readers and major ebook retailers. Smashwords is ideal for publishing novels, personal memoirs, poetry chapbooks, short and long-form fiction, and non-fiction. If you’ve written it, we want to help you share it and sell it! We distribute books to Apple iBooks (51 countries), Barnes & Noble, Kobo (which powers the bookstores of multiple other retailers such as FNAC in France and WH Smith in the U.K.), Flipkart, Oyster, txtr, Baker & Taylor (Blio.com and the Axis360 library platform), and others.
Smashwords.com is an e-book self publishing site. Smashwords distributes e-books to a wide network of online retailers, mobile app platforms and affiliates. They have 3 catalogs:
1. Premium Catalog – Every author aspires to get their e-book in the premium catalog in smashwords. This means that your e-book is distributed to major global online retailers. These are:
Apple – Ibook stores available in 51 Countries
Barnes & Nobles – US and UK market
Page Foundry – (Inktera.com, Versant.Com as well as Android e-book store apps for Cricket wireless & Asus)
Baker & Taylor Blio
Amazon – (Limited distribution for books that reach over $2,000 in sales)
To get books in the premium catalog, your e-book needs to have a quality book cover image, a proper copyright notice, and an ISBN no. The author should also format their book according to theSmashwords Style Guide. Smashwords have a program that runs your document and if any errors are found then the book doesn’t pass to the premium catalog. Some of the errors include, having multiple font sizes, inconsistent line spacing, lines overlapping one another, multiple successive paragraph returns to arrange text…etc…All these can be fixed if you go through the Guide.
2. Standard Catalog – This is the Smashwords catalog. Your e-book should satisfy the copyright and content requirements found in the Smashwords terms of service. Your book is available on this catalog the moment you upload and publish it to the site.
3. ATOM/OPDS Catalog – This catalog is for all major mobile app platforms. Your book is available to millions reading on their phones. Sample distributors include Stanza on the iPhone and Aldiko on the Android mobile device platform
How to get started:
Firstly, Register for an account with Smashwords.Com. Go through the set up process, as well as the payment registration. This means you need a Paypal account too if you’re planning on selling the books. If you don’t want to sell the books and only want to share them, then finish your Smashwords registration. There are 3 Smashwords Accounts
– An Author Account – This is for an author self-publishing his/her books
7 Things to Know Before Publishing on Smashwords in Kenya
1. A Finished Story – Polish your story, until you’re satisfied it can be read by others. Download the Smashwords Style Guide and make sure your document is formatted according to the instructions in the book. This is really important as your .doc is then turned into different types of e-book formats. If it’s formatted wrong from the start, your book won’ t make it to the Premium Catalog.
2. A Title for your story – Make it unique, and eye-catching.
– A Description of your story – This is the synopsis of your story. That short paragraph behind a book that makes you want to read it. Write one that fits your story.
4. Smashwords Categories – Smashwords classifies their books in the following categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Essay, Plays, Screenplays. These categories are then broken down into different genres. So if you’ve written Fiction, you should go ahead and choose a category of fiction, that is, Romance, Mystery, Thriller, e.t.c.
5. E-Book Formats – This is the part you have to understand in order to get your book into the premium catalog. It’s also the reason why you need to download the Smashwords Style Guide. Smashwords allows you to turn your book into different formats. They are:
E-pub – Widely used by readers on Apple Ibookstore, Sony, Kobo, Barnes & Nobles and Aldiko. It’s the most popular format, and if your .doc fails to pass through the Smashwords check, you get autovetters because it failed the e-pub check. The Smashwords guide can help you sort out autovetter errors. If you have issues, check the Smashwords FAQs and you’ll find your answers.
Sony Reader – LRF Format
Palm Doc (PDB) – Used by readers on palm pilot devices, Windows Mobile Pocket PC/Smartphones, Symbian OS, Palm OS.
RTF Format – Rich Text Format
You can choose all formats, or choose certain formats. The file you upload should be a Word Document with a .doc extension. Trust me, this makes it easy for you.
6. ISBN No. – To get your book in the Premium Catalog, you need an ISBN. Now, Smashwords offers FREE ISBN Nos. You can assign a Smashwords ISBN no. to your book. If your book previously has an ISBN, Smashwords allows you to assign it to your book.
7. Pricing and Sampling – So, you’re in Kenya, you’re wondering how to deal with pricing your e-book. After all, Smashwords only does Dollars. Yikes! Two years ago, this was a challenge, but Paypal and Equity Bank recently made a deal that is making life easier for all of us online business people. ^_^ So, whatever the content of your book, if you can market it, then by all means price it and make extra money. The minimum price you can set in Smashwords is .99 cents. (Edited) If you manage sales of more than $10 a month, Smashwords pays the money into your Paypal account at the end of the month. As for you accessing your money in Kenya, Paypal works with Equity Bank…read more here.
If you have all of the above, you’re definitely ready to hit Publish after agreeing to the Smashwords publishing agreement.
This is one avenue you can pursue if you’re thinking about writing books. The best part is that once you publish the book, and leave it to circulate in the different online stores that Smashwords ships to for years. Don’t unpublish it because then the book loses momentum. You can publish Fiction or Non-Fiction books. Don’t forget to market the books offline and online.
A perfect night on the town turns out to be her worst nightmare. A date with a handsome man is the catalyst for events that she thought only happened in fairy tales. Thrust into a world of danger, Isabelle has no idea what is in store for her as the Light and Dark Fae fight over her future.
Isabelle Moreno is a young woman working her way through life, finding little time for love and adventure. Until she agrees to a date with a mysterious stranger, only to find out the secrets this man holds are something she could have lived her entire life without knowing. The Dark Fae Luck Eater has found something enticing in Isabella’s humanity.
Bain is an arrogant playboy and an Immortal Light Fae Warrior. He and his four brothers fight for the safety of the human race while remaining something of myth. After weeks of tracking the Dark Fae Luck Eater, Bain comes across yet another victim, in Isabelle.
Bain has finally found his match in this feisty human as she fights against him and her ever growing attraction to the Immortal who is bound to protect her.
The story starts with Izzy going on a date with a handsome man named Zander. This is her first date in a while, and she only agreed to it because her younger sister Marie urged Izzy to enjoy the last year of her twenties and put herself out there.
She’s liking this Zander guy and agrees to a nightcap with him, so off they go. In comes two warriors, Uriah and Bain, who are hot on Zander’s heels. Apparently, Zander is a vicious thief who steals luck from successful women. Why? Because he is a leprechaun and therefore Fae…for a moment, my mind flashes back to Lost Girl and the bi-Succubus who rules that town…lol…back to Immortal Blood. Poor Isabelle is saved by Bain and Uriah, but they were a tad late and she’s lost a lot of her luck. She’s falling on her face, almost getting knocked by a truck, and generally her happy date has turned into a nightmare as Bain and Uriah unveil great huge wings, that leave her disbelieving.
Now that Zander has her luck, Bain is tasked to protect Isabelle as Zander will want to come back for more. And because she refuses to leave with Bain, he is forced to stay at her house until she agrees to leave with him. Bain is a spoiled brat, a playboy, and the most arrogant man Isabelle has ever met, and because of that, she makes it a point to be as stubborn as she can be, when he makes unreasonable demands. The best part of this story is the dance between Bain and Isabelle. He likes her because she stands up to him, she does her best to counter his arrogant ways, and grudgingly likes him as she gets to know him.
I love the twist on the Fae world. I find the funny play on Vampires and Bain’s Immortal Warrior interesting. The writer paints her own take of the magical world, giving it an identity that’s refreshing and at the same time familiar. The plot is strong, and the characters lovable. I had no problem reading through this in one sitting. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves a good fantasy novel.