My sister woke me at the crack of dawn today. I don’t do well with mornings without coffee. This determined fire cracker got me out of bed, dressed, and out the door…all these without a cup of coffee. I give her props for the feat. I’m incredibly unsociable without coffee. The world always seems like a serious battle zone, and everyone talking is the enemy racing it at me with battle axes, arrows, swords and machetes. I was a disgruntled zombie. My focus only on what I have to do to get to point B, and anything extra turned into an annoyance.
We were heading to a finance master class my sister runs, the venue today was along Ngong Rd. The matatu driver was plugged to the loudest reggae music I’ve heard yet. The treble in that joint turned into a small torture device. I was a tad disoriented when we arrived at our destination.
Of course, my little task master knows me well. We ended up in the lovely Cakes & Muffins restaurant along Ngong road. Minutes later, I got my hit of house coffee, and the world righted. I’m starting to think coffee can be used as a weapon against me.
The master class started an hour later than we had planned and in the short span of time it ran, the ladies in attendance turned into my inspiration. Women in business inspire me on most days. These ladies were no exception. Starting a small business is often the most difficult task one can take up. The challenges always out weigh the merits, but meeting these group of ladies, the waking up was worth it.
The talk on managing cash flow ensued. You would think the topic would be enough to get them sleeping, but everyone was wide-eyed, and taking notes. Then, the conversation started, and I got a first class seat to women facing real struggles in their businesses. The baking industry has grown in Kenya. Breaking into the industry requires more than bravery. Contenders face stiff competition from fellow bakers, and consumers who are well educated in the type of products they want. Despite the challenges, these ladies are focused, and determined to keep going despite these struggles.
When the class was over, one of the ladies comes up and says, “Thank you, so much. Thank you for doing this, it keeps us going.”
I smiled at my sister, because she’s the determined firecracker who made this day worth it for a half-dozen women, and there is nothing more powerful than that for inspiration.
*matatu – public PSV
Day 2, the goal today was to hit 400 words talking about what happened during my day. I had a good time meeting the ladies today at the masterclass, and their stories truly made me smile. Fighting!
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.
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.
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)
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.
The Storymoja Hay Festival is 7 Days Away..they’re moving very fast, Speeding I tell you….
It’s been an exciting journey on my end. Going through the program, working with the other interns as we prepare to be part of the festival. We now have our jobs and know what our roles will be during the festival. We’re excited to meet you at the festival, and help you out, as you experience the Storymoja Hay Festival.
If you’re coming, and have your ticket, Great! Count the days!
If you’re not convinced and are on the fringe, here are a few things that you mustn’t Miss:
What is a Storymoja Hay Festival Masterclass?
It is an interactive 3 hour session that draws from the Session Leader’s experience to encourage and inspire creatives…Session Leaders are Writers, Poets, Musicians, Filmmakers, Journalists, Illustrators, Affluent Entrepreneurs and many more…brought together by Storymoja Festival
Masterclasses are wonderful for people interested in a particular industry. People who want to learn more about writing both fiction and non-fiction. There are blogging masterclasses. There are topics on film, poetry and art, even entrepreneurship.
It is scheduled on Wednesday 17th from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm. If you’re interested in drawing comics or even reading them, sign up for the class and spend these three hours having a conversation with Chief Nyamweya who is a talented and creative illustrator, you’ve read his work, Roba published by The Star newspaper, if not go check it out! You get to ask him questions about his work, the industry, and any other burning questions you might have. He too will ask you questions. You’re welcome to having a lively discussion in this space. If you want to be an illustrator, this is the perfect opportunity for you to learn more about what it takes.
Cost: Kshs. 500 per Masterclass. (On top of your Festival Entrance Fee)
Masterclasses are scheduled for Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 – Friday, September 19th, 2014
Visit this Link for More Masterclasses.Sign UP now so you don’t miss a Spot. You don’t want to miss a Discussion with your favorite Writer, Poet, Filmmaker, Journalist, Artist, Musician….so many are coming.
This runs from Wednesday September 17th, 2014 to Friday September 19th, September
We’ll have loads of students coming to the Festival and experiencing the different sessions prepared just for them. There will be stories and songs at the Koko Riko Tent, Dance with Poetry at the Kanga Tent. The Kanga Tent will have Joanne Ball-Burgess from Bermuda. She’s an accomplished Dancer and a Sakata Dance Competition Judge. Don’t miss out on this!
There are Spoken Word sessions with Dizraeli (UK) and L-ness (Kenya) Find the Careerpedia Tent where students get Tips from Successful Entreprenuers like Rose Maket from Alive & Kicking and Ritesh Doshi (Naked Pizza). There are so many guests, I can’t name them all, you just have to make it to the festival. Parents, get your kids to this three-day Program if possible. The festival is hosting over 2,000 students. Don’t be left out!!
Cost: Kshs. 1,000 at the GATE.
WEEKEND Events include The Launch of Diaper Mentality Exhibition and an Exhibition of Our Nairobi: A Westgate Memorial.
The Careerpedia Tent has fun reading sessions. Have a conversation with Ms. Joanne Ball-Burgess, Shariffa Keshavjee, and Harriet Matsaert. There will be a children’s book launch happening. H_ART the Band is in house at the Courtyard discussing poetry with other Kenyan poets. Teju Cole is in house celebrating Nigerian Writers. Filmmaker Kenny Man launches her film Beautiful Tree, Severed Roots. The Drumbeats Romance Series brings a session on How Do Africans Kiss? With the Drumbeats Writers and Editors. (Hot Discussion. Don’t miss it!)
Explore the Program Schedule,it’s packed with amazing events that will leave you excited, inspired, and wanting to change the world! Both on Saturday and Sunday!
I hope that is enough to convince you to come……What?
One big stage, all you have to do is bring those books you don’t read in your house, you know the ones on a shelf you pass by everyday without giving them a thought. Those ones, bring them over and help fill a parked Matatu (public service Van) with books. The goal is to help Storymoja’s START – A – LIBRARYstock school libraries!! Great Cause right…….(****lost in thought***)
Sorry, I was just imagining @Sauti Sol on stage, singing…Dizraeli…getting down on stage…And Berry Heart…giving a heart stopping performance…yeah, no sleep required on Saturday!!..
The ticket for this Event is separate from your Entrance Fee!
Yeah, I know….but you can just buy the ticket for this which is Kshs. 1,000. Show up at 7 pm, and experience the concert. (If you do this, we’ll miss you during the day….^_^) So, we hope you get both the day’s ticket and the Concert Ticket. Support Start-a-Library.
I really hope to see you guys at the Festival. We’re counting down the days now. I’m excited, nervous…excited…what about you? Hey, go get a ticket so we meet there okay. Ticketsasa.com/ Storymoja Hay Festival. You don’t want to be left out of this!!
Now for the Blog Giveaway!!
I have the hook-up for one lucky person!Only one!
It’s a FREE TICKET – SATURDAY EVENTS FROM 9am to 7 pm.
This blog is collaborating with a fabulous Online Bakery named Amari Bakery to sponsor one (1)person for the Storymoja Hay Festival Saturday Events.
Event: Storymoja Hay Festival
Date: Saturday, September 20th, 2014
Location: Nairobi National Museum
Time: 9 am to 6 pm.
There are night events, as the Sauti Sol concert is scheduled for 7 pm. (This is a separate charge however. (It is not included in our free ticket.)
What to do:
Answer the Following Two questions to the best of your ability:
1. What Type of Oven does Amari Bakery use?
(Answer should be the type of Oven and the Name of the Company.)
2. Tell us Why You REALLY, REALLY Want to go to the Storymoja Hay Festival. Impress us with your answer!
Amari Bakery and I will choose the winner and Make an Announcement by Friday September 12th, 2014.
Don’t worry, the winner will get their ticket delivered personally by me or the Amari Bakery Rep. Here’s a picture of the Ticket!
An hour later, leaning on a tree in the gorgeous garden belonging to Taylor’s aunt, Victoria watched Eric focus his lens on a laughing Beth. They were standing by a bush of pink roses, Beth holding one up to her nose. Her wedding dress gorgeous in the afternoon sun. Victoria wondered what Eric was thinking as he took photographs of a woman he wished had been his. She watched him smile at Beth and frowned when a tinge of jealousy stirred inside her. Turning away from them, she pushed off the tree and walked to the gazebo. Eric’s bag was still on the bench. She retrieved her purse and perched on the bench. She took her phone out and dialed Grace’s number.
“I was wondering when you’d call,” Grace said in greeting. “The reception is going very well. We have just finished serving the guests lunch. We’re now waiting for the bridal party.”
She looked around and saw Eric and Taylor talking as the rest of the bridal party headed to their cars.
“We should be on the way over in the next ten minutes or so.”
“How is it?”
“Glamorous,” Victoria said studying the ranch-style brick house looming a few feet away. “Taylor’s aunt has a gorgeous house in Upper hill. You’d never believe such a place exists so close to the CBD.”
“What else can you expect from such a family.” Grace sighed. “I have to go, some kids are running and causing havoc. Call me when you get close to the hotel.”
“I will,” she said and Grace ended the call.
Returning her cell phone into her purse, she watched Eric part with Taylor and head back to the gazebo.
“Victoria,” Eric said. “Why are you hiding away in here?”
“I’m not hiding, just resting my feet.”
She looked behind him to see Beth and Taylor kiss and head to their car. They looked blissful in marriage. She decided they were a very beautiful couple.
“I’m hoping we’re headed to the hotel now.”
“Yes, we are,” Eric said, then paused to study her. “I thought you liked it here. Don’t you want to stay? The house is empty and Taylor’s aunt won’t mind us exploring her compound.”
Victoria rolled her eyes at him playfully.
“I can just imagine that. Beth and Taylor will be angry with me if I keep you from your important job.”
“I’d much rather an afternoon with you exploring the outdoors,” Eric said then as he closed his camera bag.
Remembering how he’d smiled at Beth, she stood up and started for the gazebo steps.
“Then the faster we get to the hotel the better, that way this day will end quickly.”
“Wait,” Eric said behind her, but she didn’t.
Her steps fast as she walked along the gravel path to his car. He caught up with her just as she reached the Jeep.
“You’re upset. What did I say?”
“I’m not upset,” she said with a sigh. She didn’t have the right to be upset that he was still hang up on a woman who was now married. “What’s there to be upset about?”
Eric frowned as he met her gaze. “Nothing.”
“Exactly,” she said with a tight smile and hurried around to the passenger side. “Great, let’s go then.”
Victoria avoided Eric when they got to the reception at the Savon Hotel. She busied herself with activities that constantly had her working outside the ballroom. She helped Grace deal with the demands from the guests who felt entitled to the finest in life and therefore kept making orders that had the waiters on their feet.
She helped the wedding planner deal with the wedding gifts that filled the section they’d set aside. When Olive showed up at around four o’clock, Grace urged them to head to the bar on the second floor.
“She’s driving me insane,” Grace said with a sigh. “She’s dressed in a gorgeous red dress, and all she can think about is work.”
“Hey, that’s not fair,” Victoria said keeping a watchful eye on Eric who was taking pictures of children eating candy.
The children sat on the floor in one corner of the ballroom and she would never have noticed them had it not been for Eric standing over them.
“Who’s the handsome photographer?” Olive asked slipping a hand over her right elbow. “He looks yummy.”
“Eric Kabuto,” Grace said. “Vicky’s date, she’s spent the last two hours avoiding him.”
Eric lifted his head as though he’d heard them talking about him. She looked away from him fast and started for the door.
“Grace, you’re right. You don’t need my help. We’ll be at the bar upstairs if you need anything.”
She dragged Olivia out of the ballroom.
“Wow, you haven’t acted like this since that guy you liked in college. What was his name?” Olive said as they headed upstairs. “Gatheru, Gatheri-,”
“Gathanga,” Victoria said. “You never liked him much.”
“He was an idiot,” Olive said.
Victoria laughed suddenly remembering Eric’s comment about ex-boyfriends and how women labeled them.
“How is that funny?” Olive asked as they entered the Tropical Isle bar. She led the way to a set of high stools set around a polished mahogany counter.
“I just remembered how much Gathanga was afraid of you. You threatened him with a knife once when he stood me up on a date. I think you’re the reason we broke up.”
Olive placed her purse on the counter and smiled.
“He didn’t deserve you.”
Victoria settled on her stool and studied Olive. She’d chosen a pink empire waist dress. The silky fabric framed her figure as she sat on her stool. Her long black natural hair falling down her back made her look younger; Victoria doubted anyone would believe Olive was a doctor.
The bartender took their orders and Victoria sat back on the high chair with a sigh.
“What’s with the photographer?” Olive asked when their drinks came.
Victoria sipped her white wine and shrugged. “He’s handsome.”
“I agree,” Olive said picking up an olive from her martini with her toothpick and popping it into her mouth. “Why are you running in the other direction?”
“In case you didn’t notice, I just recently broke up with a guy I could have married.”
“What does that have to do with the handsome photographer?” Olive asked with a frown. “Who is currently walking up to us.”
“What?” Victoria turned and gaped when she saw Eric walking up to them without his camera. “What are we going to do?”
Olive patted her cheek and smiled. “Make him pay for the drinks.”
Victoria shook her head wondering if there was a way to escape Eric without seeming rude. Since they’d come back from the photo shoot, she’d decided that it was better to keep her distance. She was starting to like him and he wasn’t available. Emotionally anyway, his thoughts belonged to someone else.