June Adventures and 2o22 so Far!

June is a great month to reassess plans and ideas. 2022 has been a series of small and massive changes, from stocking up on cooking oil to learning how to seriously create TikTok vids, trying not to binge on Stranger Things on Netflix, and seriously failing, the ’80s were fun.  The year is on a roll, and it’s all about managing everything in your life to keep moving forward.

Here are a few updates from our corner. June is dry for us in Nairobi this year. I garden and we have to water veggies and flowers on a serious note to escape drought. In any case, putting in some effort with watering has gotten us some pretty results. Mom harvested some bananas, and the flowers are looking pretty.  I miss the rain. Wondering if we should learn how to do a rain dance…hahaha.

I got to work on a very simple book cover this past month. We create content and make eBooks for sale at The Amari Baking Center. Here is a look at the pricing eBook we put out lately.  It has great content about how to manage your product pricing if you’re thinking or working on starting a small business. You can get it here. Pricing Book/Amari

On my reading list, I’m caught up in the Ash Princess Trilogy for the month of June. Ash Princess and Lady Smoke are read, and I’m left with Ember Queen. Can’t wait to get to the end of this series. I have a plan to read Wings of Ebony, I’m hoping it is an interesting read. My book count is slowly going up. I hope I’m at 52 by the end of the year.

On writing, I think I’m doing better this year than I did last year. I have a lot more chapters out than I expected. It does take effort to add in the word count between daily life activities, general chores, and that fabulous villain called procrastination. I hope to keep winning on the word count as the year continues. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to put out a new ebook in December 2022? Let’s do this!

June is at the end and six months of 2022 with it. I hope that I’ll manage to make the next six months more productive for this blog. On the plus side, I’ve finally learned how to make a blog calendar work for me! Which is an accomplishment I really cannot explain, just know it is a big, BIG thing! I’m too excited about it. That’s my happenings for the year.

I hope your next six months are full of productive and amazing events that fill you with accomplishment by December 2022.  Work on finishing that book you’ve been writing, get your projects done or plan one you’ve been thinking of getting done.

What Information Goes on the Copyright Page of a book in Kenya?

You have completed your book.  You are now ready for publishing in our beautiful country of Kenya. You need a copyright page in both the e-Book and Printed Format.  The copyright page is the second or third page depending on the items you have planned for the first pages. It should contain the following information:

1. Title of the Book

– This one is easy. Your Book’s Title and the Subtitle if you have one.

2. Name of the Author

– The author who has written the book.  Make sure to add in all authors and contributors if there is more than one.

3. Copyright Holder

  • This looks like this: Copyright © Year by (Name).  If there is more than one author, include their names.
  • Copyright holders should be named for the text contributed, and images found in the book or the book cover. Sometimes, the image owner may give copyright to the owner but require a credit on this page for producing the image.
  • Copyright holders can be authors, publishing companies, businesses, and organizations.

4. ISBN Number

  • If you have an ISBN from the Kenya National Library, include it here. You can write the number and/or include the barcode that comes with it.
  • If you are internationally based, you might have a Library of Congress number, which you can include on this page too.

5. Rights & Permissions

This is the paragraph that reads, All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. There are different variations of this paragraph, ending with the means to contact the copyright holder for permission to quote, use or adapt the content in the book.

6. Contact Information

  • You will most likely put down the contact information of the person who will be responsible for handling the permissions in the Rights & Permissions paragraph. This can be the publisher’s contacts or the author’s contacts.

7. Permissions

  • If you quote or use information from another publication, author, or image copyright owner, you need to credit their work. You can use this page to include the permissions given or granted to you by the owner of the borrowed content.
  • This includes lyrics from songs, which do have copyright ownership.  The Kenya Copyright Board has a site for these registrations and searches. Consult with the site to check out who owns what and how to get permissions.

To remember:

  • If the author is the writer/ editor/ and publisher, then he or she will include their information in all the parts mentioned.  Otherwise, include the names of those who have contributed, depending on agreements of services rendered.
  • If more than one author writes the book, make sure to add in all authors.
  • Images and book cover creators may ask you to credit their names on the Copyright page.
  • A Printing press/ book formatting service may include their logo on the copyright page, as well as their information.

Here is a copyright page sample to see what it should look like:

Title
Author

Copyright © 2022, Author
Cover Art © 2022 (Moon Artist)

Edited by Awesome editor
Published by (Abc Publishers)
ISBN Number: 
(ISBN barcode) optional
Library of Congress Number:

All Rights Reserved.
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole
or in part in any form.
Or
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book
with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each reader. If
you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your
use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard
work of these authors.

For Permissions reach out to Abc Publishers info or Author’s Information/ email and phone number and/or Address.

You can include a disclaimer if you have written fiction.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Some publishers in Kenya do include the Kenya Copyright Law that governs copyrights on this page. You may include this part depending on how much space you have left on your book’s page.

The copyright page is there to say who the copyrights belong to, and who to contact for permissions to reproduce, copy, adapt, quote or reuse the content found in the publication. It also helps to know who has contributed to the work.

Do not forget to visit the Kenya Copyright Board website to copyright your work.  You get a certificate for your efforts, and your rights are searchable in the database.

3 Popular Questions Asked about e-Books in Kenya

Question 1: How do I create an e-Book in Kenya? Is it easy?

A. This depends on the type of book you want to create. A book filled with prose like a story, or a non-fiction book with no graphs, tables, and pictures is easy.  You only need Microsoft Word/Apple’s Pages to create an e-Book.  You can turn your word document into a PDF, and/or ePub with Pages, and voila, you have an e-book.

The challenge starts when you have graphs, tables, and pictures that need specific formatting and layout requirements.  You then have to think of how your readers will access the e-book and the type of app they will use to read your e-book.

If you are selling your e-book yourself, there are decisions to make, for example;

  • Do you want the e-book printable? If you do, the PDF version is sufficient.  You only need to make sure it is formatted correctly so that the graphs fit within the margins and are readable on a phone/tablet/ laptop etc.
  • Do you have a print book and do not want the e-book printable? My advice would be to keep the book in print form. Do not turn the print book into an e-book if you’re absolutely against getting it in an e-book and having it printed out by readers that way. I tell you this because a motivated reader will find a way to turn your unprintable e-book into a printable version. We are in an age when there is always software somewhere that can do the conversion.
    • In any case, if you must turn the e-book non-printable, ePub is your best option.  ePub allows you to disable the printing option at creation ePub reading apps do not provide a means to print the eBook. Once again, it depends on the platform you have chosen to use to distribute your ePub.  When you are creating PDFs, you do get to choose whether to make the PDF nonprintable too, but you have to have software that allows you to lock up the contents.  Otherwise, as I said earlier, motivated readers will find a way to bypass the password version. ^_^

I hope this sheds some light on this constant question in my inbox. ^_^

Question 2: What type of software do I use often to make e-books?

  1. Microsoft Word

The most basic and easiest way to create an e-book in Kenya is to use Word from Microsoft Office, or its equivalent on Apple called Pages.  This is because I have used Word for a long time, since my school days, so I find it easiest to use.  I am able to make the necessary formatting changes on Word without problems. It is also easy because platforms like Smashwords take the word documents and turn them into PDF/Epub/and all other types of formats for the different types of devices on the planet.  Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing can also use .docx for their Kindle Create software to make upload files for Kindle. Word is quite diverse and easy to use.  Microsoft Office 360 is also a great way to save documents online so I don’t worry about crashing laptops and loss of work.  You can also do that with Google Docs, though I rarely use google docs as a way to work on ebooks to publish unless I’m doing a collaboration with someone else and we’re storing notes or giving feedback that needs everyone’s input.

  1. Publisher

I love Publisher for when I’m creating mini books that will not be uploaded online, or used as e-books. I use this software for little books we are printing ourselves.  It has a lot to offer in terms of formatting, and the little bubbles and asides and graphs and ways to arrange pictures excite me.  It’s my favorite for brochures, info notebooks, or just a short printed book.  I do not use this for e-books though.  I also do not use this software when sending a document to the printers.  The few times I tried it, we had great and epic mix-ups with formatting issues, so I reverted to word, and shifted to Indesign.

  1. Adobe Indesign

This is my favorite software.  It offers a very wide range of possibilities and is perfect for magazines, novels both non-fiction, and fiction, brochures, ebooks, and anything you can think of creating that will open like a book.  It is important to note that it also has a wide learning curve.  You’ll need to take the time to get to know how to format paragraphs, shapes, designs, images, and all that, but once you master it, anything is possible.  You can save your documents as per the printer’s requirements, and create ebooks turning them into PDFs or ePubs. The only limitations with this software are caused by the wallet ^_^. You can work on upgrading it as you grow.

Question 3 – Where do I sell my e-Book in Kenya now that I have made it?

Everywhere!  There is no limitation on where you can sell your e-book or printed book for that matter.  What I can do is give you three ideas on how you can create outlets for your ebook.

There is no limitation on where you can sell your e-book

  1. Create a Page on your preferred Social Media Platform. There are very many: Facebook /Instagram/ Tiktok/ Twitter to name some of the most popular. Discuss and talk about your book on your pages.  Facebook/ Instagram allows you to create a shop and you can sell your book through them.  Tiktok allows you to direct your followers to your Instagram page. Well, you can also Tweet the process of how to get the book. (This is the least amount of work for setup) You can also sell your ebook through Whatsapp.
  2. Create a website and make a landing page for your book.  Do you know how to create a website? If you do, then we’re halfway there. Create a landing page highlighting your e-book. I’m hoping you have a following or have at least been marketing it by this point. Explain to your potential readers how to buy your Printed Book/e-book. Provide an email, phone number, and how to pay for it.  Please make this process seamless for the reader. (An Mpesa plugin allows you to set up a seamless payment system. This method does require a considerable amount of knowledge when it comes to setting up a website. You can learn to do it yourself, or reach out to the website designer of your choice.)
  3. Signup on an ebook selling platform like OkadaBooks/ Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing/ Smashwords / Draft2Digital/ Litireso.  What these platforms allow you to do is upload your word document or pdf, please check their requirements, and sell your book through their shops and/or distribute to other ebook selling shops like Barnes & Nobles and Apple Books, etc. This method is the easiest as you rely on already established resources.  The cost of this is that each of these platforms does take a percentage of your sales. Decide which platform best fits your needs.

I hope this information gives you some insight into creating your own e-book for distribution to your readers. Find the software you are most comfortable with and work on mastering it, formatting documents, so that you are able to send out beautiful ebooks to your readers. Most of all, I wish you the best of luck on your publishing journey.

Belonging – Review

Belonging by Christine Warugaba

Published by Furaha Publishers, based in Kigali, Rwanda. This book is available in March 2022. I received an Advanced Review Copy from C. Warugaba.

Summary

Belonging by Christine Warugaba is about Keza Rugamba, who was born in Kampala, Uganda to parents originating from Rwanda.  Their tribe is Tutsi and her parents fled Rwanda to escape the genocide of the Tutsi in the early 1960s. Keza grows up in Kampala, Uganda amidst the background of a military regime marked by raids in their home, and deadly robberies that stole her uncle’s life.  Despite the chaos, Keza’s family lives a relatively peaceful life and she completes her primary and high school education.

Two years before Keza’s high school graduation, Rwanda endures a tumultuous period, and soon after welcomes the restoration of peace.  A peaceful Rwanda has Keza’s father thinking of a return to their homeland.  However, Keza’s mother is traumatized by the loss of their extended family and is unwilling to return, so they remain in Kampala. In contrast, Keza’s Aunt Stella, her mother’s sister, makes the decision to return to Kigali, Rwanda.

Fresh out of high school, Keza begs her mother’s permission to go along with her Aunt Stella to see their homeland.  To her mother’s surprise, Keza insists on attending university in Rwanda.  Keza arrives in Kigali to live with her Aunt Stella and attend med school at the National University of Rwanda.

Belonging is a
Conversation Starter

ellyinnairobi.com

Rwanda soon becomes Keza’s second home. In a reflective moment, between holiday visits to see her parents in Kampala, Keza wonders, “Where is home?”

When Keza completes her university, she applies for and wins a green card.  A new adventure in a foreign country begins when Keza lands in New York. She finds herself working to survive a fast-paced, alien-biased world.  She is a qualified doctor in Rwanda, but in the United States, she needs to return to school and qualify for an American Medical License.

She works odd jobs to help meet basic needs and afford her new life in New York.  Keza almost drowns in the tedium of shift jobs, paying rent and upkeep, while studying for her medical license examinations.  She catches a break when she lands a job working at a weight-loss clinic in New York and gains a Kenyan friend and boss who does understand her struggle.  Keza strikes a work/school life balance as she works at the Makena Clinic.  She remains at the clinic for six years before she is disillusioned by the American Dream, and she finally decides to return to Kigali with a new dream, starting her own business.

The moment Keza lands in Kigali, her cousin Ivan warns her that Aunt Stella will make it a mission to get Keza married.  True to Ivan’s prediction, Aunt Stella embarks on a full campaign to get Keza married, which includes prayers and fasting.  Despite Aunt Stella’s obvious efforts, Keza starts a sincere journey to solidify her roots and create something belonging to her.

Thoughts

Belonging as a novel illustrates a quest to find a home.

Keza is in search of a place she can truly call hers.  She carries on her shoulders a difficult past faced by her ancestors: her parents, grandparents, and relatives in her Tutsi tribe. Because of this past, and an initial loss of her homeland, Keza becomes a woman forged by three distinct cultures from three different countries: Uganda, Rwanda, and the Western world.

She is highly educated.  Thanks to the experiences she faced in each world, she becomes intensely hardworking and independent.  By the time she is landing in Kigali, her mind is set on a specific goal, that is, building a successful business.  A goal she finds difficult to push aside to accommodate her aunt’s search for a husband for her.

At every step, Keza’s family remains supportive.  From her steadfast Aunt Stella who gives Keza unconditional love and support, marriage plans aside. To her cousins and nieces who help Keza when she is at her lowest and in grief.  They also celebrate with her during her highest moments.

Belonging does showcase impact points meant to start a larger conversation. The most prominent point speaks on the weight of traditional expectations concerning marriage beset on African women’s shoulders.  No matter the extent of their education or accomplishment.

Aunt Stella’s quest to get Keza married before she turns forty serves as a perfect example of this expectation.  In sharp contrast, Aunt Stella does not show the same desperate concern for her own son.  Her quest climaxes in a party with a house full of bachelors so that Keza may try to find someone who sparks her interests.  Aunt Stella’s desperation and concern for Keza’s marriage leads to health problems caused by constant fasting.  Concern for her aunt’s health forces Keza to the extreme idea of getting a fake boyfriend.

It was probably the only way Keza was going to meet someone. The experiences Keza lives through forge her character and her ultimate goals. The events of her life give her the strength to build a successful business in Kigali.  They also make her opinion on marriage different from Aunt Stella’s. I do appreciate the fact that in the end, these life experiences help Keza choose a partner who is right for her, on her own terms.

Belonging unfolds in the form of flashbacks at the start.  Much of the first part of the novel is told in a memory stream.  Keza remembers her past as she packs to return to Kigali. It is not a fast romance read. The story needs time to assimilate, as Keza works to find her place in the many worlds she encounters.

Where to Sell or Share your Complete Story in East Africa

The one thing writers all need no matter the level of their creative journey is feedback from readers.  Readers who will dive into your work and get back to you with legitimate feedback on what they think/thought about your work. Feedback will help you grow as a writer, and gaining readership will allow you to discover what else you can do with your work.

This post compiles a list of options to use as an author based in East Africa and hoping to grow your readership.  From sites to post free content for immediate feedback to e-book and printed book distribution websites to aid in your book sales.

Here are platforms that offer authors options on what do with their work:

Five Free Reading/Writing Sites:

These sites allow you to post your work in chapters or episodes.  You can publish the entirety of your work in one go, or post from week to week to gain followers and readers.

  1. ebonystory.com

Ebonystory.com is branded as the Home of Interesting African Stories.  It is quite easy to create an account and start posting your chapters.  You’ll be in the company of fellow African writers and a very diverse readership ready to consume your content. They offer you a slew of story genres you can choose to write for.

2. Wattpad.com

Wattpad brands itself as ‘…the world’s most-loved social storytelling platform, where new voices write and share, and readers connect with the stories they love.’ Writers can create an account and start posting their story chapters right away.  Readers access books on the web or using the Wattpad App.  It is a highly competitive environment for authors.  You need to do a bit of work and social sharing to get your work read.  If you’re hoping to get feedback right away, you’ll need to be proactive in directing readers to your page and your stories. Wattpad.com offers authors different types of opportunities like Wattpad Stars, Ambassadors, and chances to get books in awards like the #Wattys.  They also offer paid stories and authors may apply to join this program depending on content and readership base. ( It is important to note that Wattpad is a platform still finding its footing in the African Continent and they have yet to trickle down these opportunities to African Authors, if it has, it is happening in a slow trickle.) This aside, Wattpad allows you to have a platform to share your work for free at no cost and you can gain readership with some hard work.

3. Inkitt.com

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors.  This platform is similar to Wattpad, in that they allow you to create an account and you can publish your stories chapter to chapter to gain readership.  The more popular your work, the more likely you are to get published by Inkitt’s unique publishing system.  It is worth a try if you’re hoping to gain readership and build on your body of work.

4. Webnovel.com

Web Novel's Inkstone platform
Web Novel’s Inkstone

Webnovel.com – Webnovel is a Chinese-owned publishing platform. They brand themselves as >>>Webnovel is a global online reading platform for all kinds of marvelous novels and comics. It daily updates serialized content, dedicating to micro-transactions and in-game-purchase mode, defining new trends in the online publishing industry. They mostly publish stories translated to English from Chinese or Korean.  However, they do offer a platform named Inkstone that allows you to share your work chapter by chapter.  Webnovel’s author platform takes a bit of work to understand.  Their library of stories is full of Chinese/Korean translated works.  If you do decide to delve into this platform, you may choose to create the same types of stories or create your own brand. Either way, it’s a great way to introduce your work to new readers.  My only tip would be to read more about Webnovel before you decide to publish. Read more about them.

5. . Dreame Storiesstarywriting.com

To write for Dreame Stories is to write for Stary Writing, which offers the platform.  They offer the opportunity to become an exclusive stary writer and get paid an income.  Dreame Stories does have a large readership base. As always, work does fall to the author to direct readership to the page and gain a following to reach paid status.  Please read up on the requirements at starywriting.com so that you know what kind of content they accept, and what they expect of their writers.

Ebook Distribution Platforms

Okada Books (Nigerian-based)

This platform allows you to become a published author in less than 5 minutes, their quote not mine.  You can showcase your books to a massive African readership base.  Check them out if you’re hoping to get your ebook before more African readers. They allow you to distribute both free and paid ebooks.

Smashwords.com / Draft2Digital

I’m a longtime fan of Smashwords.  It offers authors a great service in distributing books to various ebook stores like kobo/ Barnes and Nobles / Sony / Scribd and Amazon among others.  Smashwords.com also has its own store that allows the purchase and download of ebooks. 

To note: Smashwords.com has recently merged with Draft2Digital.com.  I hope it remains as amazing as it has been.  You can publish both free and paid ebooks.

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing

This is a great platform to get your e-books published.  You can bring your work to a global audience as Amazon’s Kindle is worldwide.  Their only downside is payment for Kenyans.  Kenyans can only receive $100 checks in their mailbox. Which is very old-fashioned in a world of digital money. Hahaha. Amazon’s payment offer for Kenyans is still wanting.  They do not allow us to use PayPal/or our banks. (This might be different for authors with bank accounts and addresses abroad) You can however showcase your books on Amazon for anyone in the globe who might purchase your books. Your payment comes when you manage $100 in sales in the form of a cheque to your mailbox.

Printed Book Distribution Platforms

Rafu Books in Kenya (Printed Books)

Rafu Books has a platform called Rafu Merchant Services.  This platform allows authors, publishers, and others to partner with Rafu, who sell printed books through their website platform.  The platform offers a backend that allows you to manage stock and offer same-day delivery in Nairobi or the next-day delivery of your books to other parts of Kenya. Register for an account and follow their directions to get your books distributed.

Litireso in Nigeria (Printed Books)

Litireso is most similar to Amazon’s KDP.  They allow you to publish an ebook or printed book, or both.  They also offer shipping across the globe.  I would advise reading up on their offers, requirements, and system information before you get started.

Jumia.co.ke (Seller Account)

Interesting is that if you have a seller account on Jumia, you can sell your printed books as long as they have an ISBN barcode on the back cover.  All you would need to do is follow Jumia’s seller account guidelines and make sure your book is well stocked to meet Jumia’s delivery demands.

International Book Printing Platforms

  1. Lulu.com
  2. Ingramspark.com
  3. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing

These three international platforms have long-established guidelines on how you can sell e-books and get your books printed.  If you’re in Kenya /East Africa, each of these three will require that you contend with fluctuating global shipping rates.  If these shipping rates are doable for you, then these platforms are a great resource to tap into and get your books to a wider audience.

Please Note: The platforms listed above allow you as a writer/author to sign up with minimal fuss.  You register an account, follow guidelines as specified on each website, then do your best to market yourself. Registration is free for all of them, with no money required for membership/or to get your book or work listed. All you need is your own work/ebook, a reliable computer or mobile phone, and internet access.

Happy Writing and Selling.


Zevs Afrotheria - Fiction

Check out Zev’s Afrotheria

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

About Zev’s Afrotheria:

Also, find it here: Zevs Afrotheria – Wattpad


Afrotheria is facing a crisis. The magma vents in the Njaro Mountains have released deadly creatures called Ghost Wraiths. Afrotheria's Sable Council orders the recruit of every able man to fight and protect the citizens, creating the Protection Class, and a guardian army called the Theria Guild.
After a tragic raid destroys his home, Zev Joins the Theria Guild to become a Guardian. He learns how to fight the ghost wraiths coming to wreak havoc on innocent villages. He trains to be the best, joining the Strike Force by the age of Twenty-Five. Zev's main goal is to gain enough power in the Theria Guild. A power that will help him find his sister who was lost to him during the raid in their village when he was seventeen.
His goal to find his sister falters when he meets Dalia Taj, the Elderon's daughter. Dalia is a gifted researcher with a plan to end the Ghost Wraiths for good. She needs the Strike Force to end the great invasion and restore peace.
Zev must now decide what is more important to him, his family, or his country.

Publish your World

My grandmother told us (her grandchildren) folktales in her kitchen, while we waited for her to finish cooking.  She told us tales when we finished eating and waited to go to bed.  I remember the sound of her voice, her laugh, the scent of the sweet potatoes she roasted in the hot ash under the firewood coals.  Most of all, I remember the warmth of her kitchen, as she spun wild tales about an ogre in the forest who ate naughty children.  Her stories could be quite frightening at times

She’s long gone now.  All we have are the memories of her tales.  Most of which are not as clear as we wish they would be.  We were young, the years have gone by and us, her grandchildren, are often sad because her stories while entertaining are lost to memory.  I wish someone had written them down.  I wish I knew them well enough to write them down and print them.

I tell you this memory because you must also have stories you enjoyed, you experienced and hold close to your personal history.  They are yours, told in your language, your way.  To never forget them is a gift, to share them is your privilege.  Write them down and get them read by others.  Share your experiences in our beautiful East Africa with the generations to come. 

Publish your world. 

Gratitude – I am so grateful for… this December 2021

I want to pause and think of the good happenings in terms of this blog and my writing this year. So, this is my 2021 gratitude post.

It is two weeks until the New Year 2022.  I haven’t posted much on the blog this 2021, but I have met incredibly amazing people this year because of this blog.  I am truly grateful for the experiences that have come to me because of these amazing people. 

From amazing books to read and review, to a publishing adventure I am incredibly excited to be a part of, and although I cannot talk about it, I am grateful for the inspiration I am gaining from the process.


This year I had the privilege to virtually meet Bako Pierre Aymard, a translator / Interpreter [English-Spanish-French], from La Salle University, Philadelphia, USA.  He created a Spanish Translation of my book, I Dream of You.  It was so exciting to receive the completed file, all my words in Spanish.  I am incredibly grateful to him for the work he has done, and for choosing to translate my book. I will definitely work to put it out by the end of this year.


I got to virtually meet Nomaqhawe Ndlovu (Noma), who writes for Verve Romance.  She wrote a very inspiring and informative article on Romance Novels and their role in African relationship expectations.  I’m grateful she included me in her project, and that she featured my short contribution in the article. You can follow Noma on Twitter here.

ververomance.com

I would also like to thank Firdaus H. Salim for featuring me in the Mt Kenya Times earlier in the year.  She published my interview and featured Save My Heart on the ePaper.  I was grateful for the opportunity to talk about my writing ideas and hopes and I thank her for featuring my book.  Find the article below.  Follow Mt Kenya Times on Instagram here.


Thank you, to all who find inspiration to create their own work, and to publish, after reading my blog. I am happy to know the information here is of use to you, and I hope to continue creating more useful content. 

Most of all, I am grateful to all of you who read my blog.

Here is to looking forward to even more incredible happenings in the year 2022!

5 Writing Books to Add to your Writer’s Library

June ends with grace and half a year is in the bag.  Nairobi is cold.  Coffee, warm clothes, and scarves have become a staple in our corner.  It’s perfect reading weather.  If you’re a writer working on improving your writing skills, here’s a list of books to get you started, or to keep you going.  They add great resources to your writing kit and I’ve found I’ve returned to all of them more than once.

1. Gotham Writer’s Workshop: The Practical Guide from New York’s Acclaimed Creative Writing School

I discovered this book right after high school and it’s been a staple in the library.  I’ve lost copies of it and ended up with an ebook. This book is a great start if you’re just beginning.  When you don’t know where to start, it will get you through the idea stage, to how to formulate your story, and equip you with tools on how to create characters, decide your POV and dialogue basics.  My favorite concept from this book is, ‘Ideas are everywhere.  The writer of fiction must learn to search the world for these seeds.’  It’s a great addition to your writing books, and will help you find out how to plant your seeds and help them grow into fiction


2. The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller

This book was a referral.  My favorite quote from this book is: ‘Good Storytelling…gives the audience the experience of a life…” If you want a more in-depth way of approaching storytelling, this is the perfect book.  It discusses story structure, parts of the ‘story world’, and exploration on how to develop that world.

3. On Writing

I absolutely love the idea of looking at writing as a form of telepathy.  I love magic and the possibilities it represents.  On Writing is a look at how to deal with rejection letters from publishers, how to build your writing toolbox and unearthing the fossils of story that fill your imagination.  It’s a very entertaining take on the craft and I find that it helps to return to this book when I’m stuck.  The best advice I got from this book is that you need to keep reading.  Read everything that you can, to become a better writer, to increase your knowledge on people, places, ideas, concepts…just read, probably more than you write, or just as much.


4.  Roget’s Thesaurus of Words for Writers

Now, if you’re like me and English is the third language, hahaha, you’ll know that writing English can be difficult.  It has very many words and a gazillion ways to describe things.  This thesaurus is a great addition to your library for this purpose. Writers need new words in their writing toolbox so as not to repeat themselves and become boring.  We remember what we often practice, so the thesaurus will help you discover new ways to say remember.

5. Show Your Work by Austin Kleon

This last book is about embracing your writing and loving it no matter what level you are in terms of publishing/self-publishing or just sharing your fiction space.  I love everything about this book.  It explores productivity, how to create and share without allowing fear to cripple you.  Mostly because I have a serious productivity weakness that I’ve been working on conquering.  The last two years have been full of activities in my personal life that took attention away from writing.  It’s not easy getting back.  It’s like starting again when you get back to it. You need input, ideas, and concepts in books to help you along. ^_^ This book has been perfect.  Words like these, ‘Share what you love, and the people who love the same things will find you. Make me really happy.  I want to say I’m in love with this book and because I love it, I’m sharing and hoping you will love it too. 

Writing is a skill to learn and improve.  The books above have been a great addition to my reading list.  There are more, but these have stood out for me in this month of June.

Keep writing!

4 Ideas on what to do with your completed manuscript in Kenya

Have you completed your Manuscript and are wondering what to do?

You have finally finished writing your manuscript, be it Fiction or Non-Fiction, and you have saved your work on your laptop or in the cloud.  You’re asking, ‘What do I do now?

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First, Congratulations on finishing your writing project, a finished manuscript is cause for celebration.  I mean it.  Celebrate that moment of completion, because it takes a lot of time to get to that last full stop.

Now, let’s get to work.

Idea 1: The Intensive Editing Process

I hate to say it but you need to consider this.  Be very honest with your finished work and answer this question.  Is your Manuscript a First Draft/Rough Draft?  Is it a shell of an idea you have about your book?  I’m asking, is it work you think still needs more effort?

– The Editing Process is intensive and it transforms your first draft into a worthy book.  There is no way around it because you’re not writing this manuscript for you, but for readers you hope will engage, love and understand your work.  Your thoughts or your story must be cohesive and understandable.  Getting to this moment of perfection takes a few rewrites.

The process might go like this.  When you finish writing a manuscript, you print it out and give it a few days before you read it.  When you do pick that manuscript, read it holding a pen and make notes on a notepad.  Find scenes that feel incomplete.  Find sentences that read wrong.  Fix typos and spelling mistakes.  Discover insane plot holes that need reworking and rewriting.  This happens before you let anyone else read your work.  Once you have gotten your story to where you feel you have done the most editing you can yourself, let someone else read it.  Why?  You can’t see the flaws anymore.  You’re too close. 

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Beta readers always have notes for you.  Discuss them and more changes will likely happen in the manuscript.  Try to make this a fast process instead of making it endless.  Endlessness sends you into limbo world.  You keep working on the same manuscript over and over and it never ends.  If you have a good beta reader, you’re able to create deadlines that you both meet leading to a state of completion.

Any editor you reach out to gets the fourth or fifth edition of the manuscript.  Be aware that the editor will have a few changes for you too.  I’m saying this with all my love.  Editor Feedback is a blessing to you.  Rant and rave if you must, but get back in there and refocus your attention.

Look at the suggestions given from the perspective of your editor, the reader, and try to see what you can take from that feedback.  It’s a painful process.  You rewrite entire chapters or lose them, as in cut them out.  You gotta keep track of these changes.  It hurts when you lose changes that you really needed.  I’ve cried tears over this.  Anyway, your editor gets you to that nirvana that is the Last Draft, the draft to release out to the world.

Is this Intensive Editing Process important?

You’re thinking, ‘I’ve written and completed a manuscript.  Other than spelling typos and a few sentences that sound off, I think I have this, no need for rewrites and second-looks.  Let’s just sell this thing.

Great! Confidence is important in all undertakings.  If you don’t have confidence, well, why start in the first place, right?

Still, take a moment to really ask yourself, ‘What is the goal of you writing this manuscript?’

  1. Is it to gain readers?  Is it for crazy sales? 
  2. Is it for fun? Is it just a phase?
  3. Do you just want to tell people you write?
  4. Are you educating people in an industry?  Do you want to entertain?
  5. Is it for mad fame and culture-changing insight?
  6. Is it for an important cause?  Are you creating a fiction masterpiece?

If you answered 1, 4, 5, 6, then you need the intensive editing process to get your work into sparkling condition.  You have competition and you need to get ahead of the other millions of writers who want the very same things.  Editing gets you there.  It makes your work stand out.

You know your readers measure your manuscript’s worth in reviews and sales.  You want to give them the best, so you work at it until you’re satisfied with the last edition.

There is nothing wrong with answering 2 and/or 3.  Still, even at this stage, you should work to polish your work, and then create a platform that is your very own real estate.  Have a place to share your work and direct people to see and read your work.  Stages 2 and 3 launch you into the next step.  They help you grow an audience and give you the courage and confidence to go all in.

Selling your Completed Manuscript

Self-Publishing Tidbits:  Have stories you create for sharing everywhere: on your blog, on social media, on looseleaf notebooks for your close people to read.  Have stories you list for sale.  Spend money on the stories you list for sale: on editors and book cover art.  Get a website and allocate a marketing budget.  You may also have stories you submit to Traditional Publishers in the hope of getting them published. (Don’t publish submissions elsewhere, please.)  All these stories should have one thing in common.  Make sure they are presentable in all their available forms.  They are your brand and represent your body of work.

Ideas 2 & 3: Literary Agents and Traditional Publishers

Question: My Manuscript is ready. I’m in Kenya, or East Africa, and I’m wondering, what do I do next?  Do I choose a traditional publisher, or should I start thinking of self-publishing? It all depends on your goals.

The ultimate goal for any writer is to publish their work on a grand scale with worldwide publishing.  This means getting your book published by the Big Five Publishers around the world.  You need a Literary Agent to get to this level.  Literary Agents are a great asset.  Their skill in negotiation will get you to your goals, as they work for your best interests.

Getting a Literary Agent requires hard work on your part in terms of editing your manuscript.  You then need to write queries and submit them to Literary Agents who represent writers in our East Africa region.  Please note, there is a delicate dance between finding Legitimate Literary Agents and meeting the Right Literary Agent to represent your work.  I will acknowledge there is a fair amount of networking and searching to get this connection in our region.

Published by Traditional Publishers in Kenya-

  • Publishers in Kenya receive manuscripts from thousands of writers in the region.  Your work is to get yours noticed.  This means, finding an editor who will help you get your manuscript up to level, if you can’t afford one, using all your effort to get to that level.  
  • Do your homework.   Publishing Houses in Kenya each have different types of genres they prefer.  Do your research.  Educate yourself on genres and discover how your work fits in their house.  Reach out to them and take their feedback seriously.
  • When your work is accepted, the publisher will get you to the next step.  Educate yourself on royalties, copyrights and contracts in Kenya.

The Traditional Publishing Route is as intensive as the Editing process.  If this is your chosen route, do not quit in the middle.  Send in your submissions, and if you get rejections, study why and grow from it.  Keep going until you get that yes.

Idea 4: Self-Publishing Route in Kenya

On this route, you take on the challenge of putting out your completed manuscript to the world.

  • The Editing Process – Work to get your editing done at the same level as books churned out by Traditional Publishers.  Make sure your content is cohesive and engaging.  Do not take shortcuts and push out loads of typos.
  • Book Cover Art, Blurbs & Formatting – You’re the publisher now, so once you finish your last edit, you get to jump in and design your book.  These decisions are yours to make and formulate.  Do your research.
  • ISBNs and Copyright – Don’t neglect your legal needs, to protect your hard work and to get your book in the library systems.
  • Digital Platforms & Hard Copy Books – You get to decide what type of medium you want to pursue to sell your book.  You can print a physical book, or publish it as digital content (e-book).  You may choose to use both.
  • Marketing and Getting Reviews – Once your book is ready and available, you start building a marketing network.  Find bookshops that will carry your physical book and websites to advertise your e-books.  Talk about it on social media.  Sensitize your audience on the book’s existence.  Get the word out there, and don’t stop.
  • Write your next book – The journey does not stop at one book.  Keep writing.

Self-publishing is essentially starting your own business.  You product is your book.  Your work is to create a brand, grow an audience or a following for your book, and keep writing.  It does give you the freedom to choose your platforms.  However, it also requires a great deal more effort from the author.

This blog post is courtesy of questions in my email on completed manuscripts and what to do next. What challenges do you face when you think of getting your books published? Thank you for reading my blog.

How do you find out the cost of self-publishing your book in Kenya?

This question paralyzes the majority of writers in Kenya. It is the most asked question in my inbox. So, I am going to make a be-courageous-and-take-matters-into-your-own-hands post. Educate yourself on the words Word-count, Book size and Genre. Your manuscript is a product. Fiction or Non-fiction, it is a product. Know what your desired product looks like.

What is the cost? How much will you need? How do I know the cost?

In this post, we came up with a short guideline on how to decide what type of book you want to create. There are six questions you need answers to, only then can you decide the size of the book you want to produce.  

If you’re writing fiction, know what size of work you want to create and in what genre you want to write in. That is:-

  • 1. Short Story – 0 to 7,500 words
  • 2. Novelette – 7,500 to 17,500 words
  • 3. Novella – 17,500 to 40,000 words
  • 4. Novel – 40,000 words and above.

Where does your current work fit in the list below?

This is a list of Genres / categories when publishing on Amazon’s KDP. Use it as a guideline. Where does your current work fit?
  • Choose a Genre: (Read this post on why you need to choose a genre) Once again, you cannot write for everyone, ‘everyone’ s’ tastes are different. Genres are as follows:
    • Children’s books
    • Romance
    • Action
    • Historical
    • Mystery
    • Thriller
    • Fantasy
    • Slice-of-life and many more etc.
  • Remember each size of story requires a different type of workload from you.  You must understand that the cost of printing a novel with 40,000 words and above is more than the cost of printing 7,500 words.

The word count determines the amount of money you’ll spend when it comes to self publishing. It becomes very important to choose the number of words you want to produce in the type of work you want to create. 

If you’re writing a non-fiction book, decide what size of work you want to create as well. The word count is leveled the same as the list above. Remember your chosen topic and industry. If you’ve chosen academic writing, follow the rules of that process. Do the research e.t.c. The cost of printing non-fiction is also determined by the presence of photographs and diagrams (color or black & white). The more photos and colored-diagrams, the more cost.

Once you write your manuscript, then you can start thinking about editing and the cost of editing. Once again, editors look at the amount of words (Word Count) you need edited, and the work you have already put in to make it easier to edit.

Scenario: if your manuscript has typos, misspelled words, grammar challenges, for fiction – a confusing story, for non-fiction – a mishmash of ideas with no real point, an editor is looking at your manuscript and seeing a huge workload. They’ll either charge you a large number or decline your work.

If you’ve made the effort to clean up your manuscript of a lot of the troubles above, an editor will have an easier time working with you, as they’re able to understand what your work is about, and what you want to achieve. The cost might reduce from a huge shocking number to a manageable number. ^_^

So how much do you need?

  • Editing – Depends on the word count, the work you’ve already put in to your manuscript, and the type of editor you get.  It can range from 9,000/- to 50,000/- or more. An editor may help you with formatting at an added charge.
  • Book covers – From 1,500/- to 5,000/- It depends on the illustrator or graphic designer you choose.
  • Formatting and Printing – Depends on the size of book (Book Size).  Some printers don’t do the formatting services, others do.  A book with around 30,000 words costs about 180/- per book to print, depending on the type of printer you get, and how many books you want to print.
  • Printing Cost is absolutely dependent on your desired end product.  You can get it cheap, you can get it expensive.

Shop around and discover which printer will work for you.

So, your cost is determined by Word Count. Word Count determines your Book Size and Your Editors’s Costs. Small word-count costs less, large word – count costs more.

Genre is what your book is about, the category it fits in and how easy or fast your readers will find it.