Writing Resources: Self Publishing in Nairobi- Fun Post

Hey, Hey, Hey!

I got emails asking a lot of questions on how self-publishing works.  How to do it, and why.  So, I thought this post might answer all these questions at once.lonely girl

Publishing in Nairobi, and I mean like getting a hard copy, honest to goodness paper book,  is hard, and challenging.
I think you need to be holding at least Kshs. 100,000 (this is me guesstimating it could cost more) to get a book published, then there is the footwork getting bookshops to buy the books, and then advertising to get the people buying your books.  Unless you get lucky and get your book published by the mainstream publishers in our country, things look bleak for you right?  Especially for
 someone writing Fiction.  Things might feel like the girl in the picture but don’t despair just  yet.


Baby-Steps – Be Brave

1. Be confident in yourself and share your work.  As long as you’re writing in your notebook and hiding your writing away, no one is going to read it.  So, if you’re worried how everyone will react to your writing, start small, and test out your stories.  If you’re reading this post, that means you’re already online, so Create a Blog.  There are lots of blogging platforms e.g WordPress and Blogspot.  All of which are easy to access.  Post your stories, share them and get other people to read them.  Share your site with friends and family, on Facebook, Twitter, Whats App, geez social media is so vast.  Talk about your stories there.

2.   The importance of step one is to give you a thick skin. People will read your work, some will love it others won’t like it.  And that’s the truth.  Now, the day you meet that first person who tells you that they don’t like your writing, you might think of scrapping that Blog and hiding again, but Don’t.  Don’t do it don’t scrap that blog, just take a deep breath, find your comfort zone, and the courage to ask that person why.  If not, just shake it off, because the same way you find that person who doesn’t like it, you’ll find a dozen others who do.  Be sure to remember that you can’t please everyone.  So my point is, grow a Thick Skin enough to take criticism and not give up.

3. If you’ve mastered the first two, you’re ready to explore the world of Self-Publishing.  Your book is a product.  Take it that way…find out who you want to write for (target audience), what genre you want to pursue, and get started writing.  It’s not an easy industry, and you’ll have many sleepless nights writing a book, but if you’re passionate, then it should be a fun process.  Romance, Mystery, Paranormal, Young-Adult, Contemporary, find out the meaning of these words when it comes to genre, and tailor your stories to it.  And then buckle down for the process.

4. Obviously, the first thing to do is to Write The Story.  Without a story…., what are you doing?  Get to work.  How many words have you written?  Have you finished a story? No? Goodness! Finish it!

5. Once it’s written, find a good editor.  Not someone who’ll put you down, but someone who’ll help you work out the kinks in the story.  A good editor is one who’ll take your story and  help you flesh it out.  Work with him/her, Chapter by Chapter, checking Grammar, Style, Plot Holes, e.t.c until you’re both satisfied.

6. If you’ve gotten your work edited, it’s time to start Self Publishing.  Things you need:

a. You need a Cover – You can do this yourself, or get someone good with Graphics to do it for you.  Do your research and come up with an image that suits your story. Be Creative, and give credit where it’s due.

b. You need a Blurb– This is that paragraph you find in the back of the book.

c. Talk About It – Tell as many people as possible that you’re publishing a book.

d. Choose the Self- Publishing platform that suits you best.  There are a few of them, and each one has it’s merits. So, here are your choices:

1. Smashwords – They offer you two choices, publish for free or put a price.  So, that is up to you. They pay through Paypal after your sales amount to $10.  Equity Bank offers a way to access your funds on Paypal.  So just get a Paypal account and consult with Equity Bank for the rest.

2. Amazon – There is no choice for free eBooks here, so once you publish, you must give it a price.  They pay you after your sales amount to $100 in the form of a check.  Once the check arrives in your mail, you get to cash it at your bank account as per your bank’s procedures.

3. Lulu – You can publish on Lulu.  I’m not so sure about the payment, I’ll check it out more, to better understand the Process.

4. If there are more, let me know….

download4e. Don’t forget to Market your Book.  Talk about it, share it, give it for free, get people to know that you’re writing and publishing.  This is the most important part.  Don’t stop writing!  Don’t publish one book and stop. The best form of marketing is writing more, get as much of your stories published. (Don’t forget to make them interesting and entertaining, because if you’re publishing uninteresting stories, you’re going to have a hard time.)

7. You’re probably asking who’ll read your stories right?  Don’t worry, there are lots of people online, in fact, the whole world is online and extremely curious.  If you have a strong voice, and a compelling story, there are readers. There are also loads of people in Kenya who prefer to read eBooks online.  There is no excuse to say that no one will read your work.  There are people who will read your fiction.

Have you reached here?

Well, if you have and are inspired, I wish you the best.  And once you get that blog running, or that book published, drop me a line.  Strength in numbers right, I’ll share it with everyone I know, and in turn, they too will share it…you get the gist of it, self-publishing is about networking and getting as many people as you can to read your stories.  It’s even better when your stories are amazing, coz then they sell themselves too.

I hope this long Post has given you some direction and I hope to read more fiction from you.


Making a Change

Last year, my sister and I quit our jobs. Shocker!! Everyone thought we’d lost our minds.  I was working as a bookshop manager, nice job, perks that count in the way I live my life.  As for my sister, she was a warehouse manager running this big great store for the same company I was working for.

In the way of companies, there was politics and major changes with management.  There comes a time when an individual must weigh the pros and cons of holding down a certain job.  For my part, I tend to get emotionally attached to my job.  For those of you who understand, this means that I’d find myself staying later when things are getting harder.  Just to make sure they are better the next day.  Giving up more than I normally would for the sake of the job.  I would view failures as my own, going above and beyond not to have failures but gain more victories.  For someone else’s company, this can be a very trying experience.  No matter how many times you advice, talk and suggest to the necessary parties above you, the truth is you can only get so far.  The cons began to outweigh the pros and all my passion and inspiration in this company faded away.

My sister and I got tired, emotionally and physically, of fighting the good fight for this company.  At the beginning of the year 2012, when things got particularly strained with the company, we decided to leave. I was caught in a whirlwind of relief and absolute terror when I handed in my resignation.  I’d love to say that I did so with absolute confidence, but I would be lying.  There was a lot of fear of the unknown, but there was no doubt that leaving was the right decision.  My job was no longer right for me.

My sister on the other hand had absolute confidence in her decision.  She’s always been like that, especially when she decides on something.  You can’t shake her from her path, and that helped me along.  We’ve been through so much together.  And her confidence spurred my own.  She had an idea that she believed in, and her passion toward this idea was leading the way forward. So, out of that moment a year and a half ago, a great big idea was born.  Amari Bakery Ltd, my sister’s one year old baby.

About Amari Bakery Ltd bakery site

It started out as a small idea.  My sister is the baker of the family and she would do it from home and sell bread to the neighbors.  Before we got our jobs, we’d started a small shop that ended up closing due to situations in our lives we couldn’t control.  This time however, after we quit our jobs, we decided that there was nothing else to believe in but this idea.  My sister named it Amari Quickbreads Bakery.  We got the name registered and she started baking out of our home.  There were ups and downs, a struggle for customers and of course, getting people to know and learn about the bakery.   We’d advertise online using Social Media, a blog and a Website.  Gradually, month by month, Amari Quickbreads Bakery began to gain loyal customers.  This year, Amari Quickbreads Bakery, became Amari Bakery Ltd and opened a shop.  My sister is now baking at the shop, delivering products to customers at their homes and marching on to the future.  I’m proud to be part of Amari Bakery Ltd. and watching her and her determination allowed me to give my writing the same confidence.

my sis, always baking for the family ^_^

Amari Blog     Amari Facebook Page  Amari Website

Visit any of these and you might get an offer.  If you live within Nairobi, we deliver to your home/ office or your designated place of work.

When I look at her and visit the Amari Bakery Shop these days, I see the realization of an idea that started out very small.  There have been setbacks and facing them down has been a challenge.  But isn’t it better to face down challenges of your own making than those set for you for another business?  I’m proud of my sister for letting me be part of this project and what she’s done and will continue to do.

I’ve worked since I was sixteen years old.  Odd jobs that were meant to pay the bills and meet daily life needs that were necessary.  None of those jobs ever made sense to me. So, when I quite a year ago, that was the first time I ever felt like I was making a positive change in my life.

I write now, and do consultation for Amari Bakery Ltd. Business systems.  There are months when I don’t have the constant money I used to get when I worked a steady job, but I wouldn’t give up the experiences I’ve gained the last months for anything. I’m excited to see what we build in the next year.