Vincent de Paul – EAFF Profile

The EA Friday Feature is a circle of five writers who write 1,000 word flash fiction stories every Friday and post them on their blogs.  This week, we feature these authors, as we get to know them better, and learn what inspires them to write their stories.

Vincent from Flashes of Vice

He writes stories of crime and vice, meant to leave you sleeping with the lights on, or just wondering at human nature and the decisions we make.  Vincent has written several books of poetry, and has recently published a book named TWISTED TIMES: Son of Man.  Here’s a short excerpt:book-cover-final-01front

The fallen children of darkness, that’s what we were. Vampires. Ghosts only heard in the darkness of the night whistling by the unlucky few.

At night we would go to rob the dead of their last signs of love and affection from their families, their last possessions in their transience. It was almost a year now since I joined the Mavis gang and I was changed. The inborn human fear of the places we visited at night to steal coffins was long gone. To us it was a waste of resources for caskets costing hundreds of thousands going to waste in the polluted soils of this world…

It is much harder for a poor coward fool to enter the kingdom of money and riches than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle…

Read more of this here

Author Bio:

Vincent de Paul is a freelance writer, blogger, poet & author. He studied Comprehensive Creative Writing at the Writers Bureau, Manchester, UK. He is an Indie author with collections of poetry and short stories. In his words:

Thirty years ago I was born. I had a life I can’t talk about, yet. Went to school barefoot like any other ‘90s village kid. Had all the mischief. Made it through what life presented. And then became a writer.

Elly in Nairobi: You have recently published a book: Twisted Times.  Tell us what the book is about.

Vincent: The book is about self-independence from parental control, choices and consequences of the decisions we make. A story of love, betrayal, and vengeance. A twisted society where corruption is the order of the day, murder is like a ritual, and religion is the haven for the devil incarnate. In the end, victim or perpetrator life is a twisty bastard.

Elly in Nairobi: You write both poetry and fiction.  What is your favorite to write?  Short stories or fiction?
Vincent: Both are my favourite, but poetry carries the day. Poetry evokes emotions, feelings, that fiction doesn’t, and I connect more with my poems than fiction.

Elly in Nairobi: Have you always written?  If so, do you remember what first inspired you to put pen to paper and write?
Vincent: In primary school I hated writing compositions. Things changed in high school. It was a national competition that made me write and let my work out there.

Elly in Nairobi: How do you juggle your day job, and writing?  Does it affect your writing process, and how do you handle it?
  Vincent: Mostly during the day I work, unless I’m having some me time when I write. Writing is at the witch hours of the night.

Elly in Nairobi: You have Mystery Publishers running, tell us a bit about this company, and what your vision is for fiction in Kenya.
Vincent: Mystery Publishers is an online Indie author-focused self-publishing company devoted to publishing genre fiction with contemporary settings, story lines and characters; thrilling, fast-paced African stories about everyday life purely for entertainment. We publish eBooks via Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and Print-on-Demand paperbacks on CreateSpace for those who don’t have the time to do it for themselves, don’t know how to, or they want a company that will publish their stories. My vision is to introduce pop literature books in the Kenyan book market which is populated with educational and school text materials. Not that pop literature books are not there, they are, but the readership is low compared to literary works which are mostly done in school. The students leave the books immediately they are done with the exams. They prefer to watch movies, play video games, read western novels, or engage in idle talk and gossip. I want to produce books that read like a movie, a video game, like the western novels, and bring the idle talk and gossip to the reader; books the examination council won’t recommend for schools but would be unputdownable. I am looking for the writers who would write that kind of stories.

Elly in Nairobi: Do you have another hobby other than writing?
Vincent: Yes. Swimming, cycling, hiking.

Elly in Nairobi: A short statement on what you’d like the readers to know about your writing and your stories.
Vincent: I will not always write what everyone likes, but I will try as much as possible not to bore. My stories are not parables, or sermons, so cut me some slack.

Get his books on Amazon:

Thank you Vincent for answering my questions.  Tomorrow this blog features Awesome Dora from Nilichoandika

EA Friday Feature – September Prompt #3

EA Friday FeatureFriday Feature1

Write a story of only 1,000 words using the prompt given.  Post it on your blog on Fridays and share posts from fellow bloggers participating in the feature.

September Prompt #3:

A Quote: There is, No One in the World, That Lives without Sin…

quote

Previous Prompt Responses:

The Red Kanga

Read the EA Friday Feature August Issue for Free.

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→

Self-publishing Fiction e-books in Kenya – A Cover

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.

indexTo 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.

Reach out to graphic designers, and artists to help you come up with a cover that speaks to your audience. You can also purchase a cover from different cover makers on their sites, Deviant Art, or in real life creative shops.

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.

←Your Story

Plagiarism & Copyrights→

Self-Publishing Fiction e-books in Kenya – Your Story

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 areYour story 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 GenreGenres 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!

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