There was a time you wouldn’t think of publishing a book. You had to give your proposal to a publishing house and wait for probably a year before you heard from them. Publishing houses were the gatekeepers and the masters; they decided who got published and who did not.
Barry Davis, the author of ‘A Strange and Bitter Fruit,’ says he wrote 500 letters to different publishers. They all rejected him. Then along came the Kindle.
Today, he has sold millions of copies of his book to people from over fifty countries around the world.
We need to thank God every day for the internet, Facebook and companies like Amazon. Your book is not limited to just your country; someone in Japan or Argentina or Botswana may love your book.
Africa is beautiful and is God’s cradle
A place where creativity is nourished as you write your book. You can stay in a hotel at one of the beautiful National Parks and admire the animals, which will stimulate your creative juices. Or you can stay at the beach by the Indian Ocean. Many authors from around the world visit Africa for creative ideas.
All self-published authors around the world face similar challenges.
Self-Publishing is not easier in any part of the world; however, my primary focus in this article is Africa. Let’s look at some challenges that a self-published author in Africa faces.
You may have a misplaced or wrong motivation for writing. If you want to become an author today, what would be your core drive? What would make you want to wake up every single day and write?
It is indisputable that your first answer will be, to make money, which is a wrong motivation.
Your motivation needs to be the love of your craft as a writer first.
Make it your responsibility to write because you feel compelled with a great story.
The money will follow -if it is a good book.
People are usually resistant to change
You may be stuck in your comfort zone. There is a huge fear of the unknown and loss of control. You evade making alterations to your core habits.
People tend to try something new for a period, but seldom adopt radical changes in their routines. Sticking with the known makes it hard for them to embrace new changes like eBooks because they feel comfortable with the traditional paper books.
You also fear to take the risk since you do not know how well your eBook will be embraced. This, in turn, limits you from exploring new advancements and so you do not put yourself at the competitive edge.
Limited internet access
Power cuts in some areas and lack of internet access is a barrier to getting readers to buy your book.
Things are getting better with new technology coming up daily.
Nowadays, many people are on Facebook. Change is happening fast.
Copyright protection is a major concern which did not start yesterday. We are aware of duplicates of books available all over. Book piracy, whether in print or digital form, is costing authors all over the world a fortune. This significantly affects the book’s chain right from the publishers to the readers. Institutions like the International Publishers Association has taken the responsibility of raising piracy awareness as well as the coordination of effective publisher responses.
Lack of a target audience
Most writers do not know who their target audience is? When an author is set out to promote a book, they often fall into the trap of believing their book is for everyone. An author ought to let go of the notion of writing for everyone and focus on a specific audience.
For self-publishers, Facebook is your friend. Start a page and see if you get a positive response. This will tell you if you have a target audience.
Knowing your audience means that you can adapt your work to address the core concerns.
Lack of Mentors
African self-published mentors are not many.
I offer mentoring and if you are interested, send me an email.
There is a misconception that the process is expensive. You’ll be surprised at how inexpensive it is to self-publish.
With Self-publishing, you the author caters for the overall publishing and marketing. This gives you personal control of the whole process. Authors can make up to 70 % royalties on Amazon.
Learning how to market yourself as an author is not hard if you are committed to the process.
Is this the right time to self-publish?
Ask yourself this question. Is this your time to be a self-published author in Africa? Probably yes!
Although it may not be easy, it is doable and has many rewards.
Step out in faith and work with fellow authors.
Attend conferences and writer’s groups. Be aware that the challenges you experience are not unique or special, they are faced by others as well; but despite it all, your aim is not to get discouraged. Go ahead and self-publish your book.
People around the world can hardly wait to read it.
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