Sunday, 4 August 2013


DISCLAIMER! Self-Publishing is a writing-career suicide!!! That’s what critics say; include established authors and publishers in the litany. Why? Because it’s involving, financially and emotionally – go the traditional way.
Section of my article published on the Weekend Magazine of the Saturday Nation, 3 August, 2013

Well, traditional publishing is prestigious ‘cause what the writer does is just write and submit his/her manuscript, the literary agent/publisher does the rest – proof-reading, copyediting, editing, cover design, market strategizing and marketing of the book itself whence published – all what the writer does is sit around enjoying the spotlight once the books hits bestseller charts’ pinnacle, book launches, book signing and interviews in the media while deep inside he is cursing for the paltry royalties he gets. Put the blame on the cost of mainstream publishing that must be met by the sales thus leaving a meagre 10% royalty albeit periodically. With the advent of internet and digital media I doubt whether those still stuck to this age-old way are where they used to be years ago.



Here is the deal; online publishing is the way to go. Make that online self-publishing for the writer who wants to publish his/her words his/her way.

To the traditional writer this is like an abomination, but come to think of it – any budding author is meted by stern rules by the publishers. Their manuscript sit idle in the publisher’s in-tray for ages before the publisher decides to reject the manuscript after aeons of ignoring it. Moreover, mainstream publishers accept manuscripts from established authors without any fuss. Let an up-and-coming writer show his/her filthy face at the reception entrance. He/she would be shooed away before the metal detector the security guard at the entrance is using goes off.

The upcoming writer, disappointed over and over turns to the only place where he is the boss, makes the rules and publishes his way – Online.

In 2010, my poetry collection manuscript, ‘First Words’, that I had compiled for seven years, won the 13th Nairobi International Book Fair (NIBF) literary awards organized by the National Book Development Council of Kenya (NBDCK). Just like a lover who is blinded by love to realize that he is disillusioned, I deluded myself that the awards was a ticket to any publisher. Poor me! I’ve never been as disappointed. All those whom I approached were not publishing poetry, and short stories (what I write), at least not then, but they would in five years. That meant I could see my work published in 2015, and it was not a guarantee. Others just rejected the manuscript with no reject note. Shouldn’t I have been told why they were rejected? Well, it was not an obligation; after all they had done me a favour to even look at the cover page.
Online and not just online publishing but, online Self-Publishing is the way to go not only for the up-and-coming writer who wants to build a name for him/herself, but also for the established writers. Today, most people spent their time online and seldom do they look at a paperback/hardcover. The coming of the Kindle has transformed the book market beyond bounds; so long as one has this device can have as many books as they want.

On the other hand, blogging has become a favourite tool for most writers and thus any traditionalist who’d be waiting for their fave writer to release another book in the traditional form would wait for ever.

I published ‘First Words’ online on Lulu (thanks to Juliette Westbrook-Finch, author of The Poetry of Passion (forpeople With a Pulse) for introducing me to Lulu) and then I knew how to climb the ropes. What I am doing is building a bibliography now, with a big fan base from all over the world. I work with editors and graphic designers and my efforts are paying albeit insignificantly.

I now have four titles, well received from everywhere by those who get the chance to read me, published on Lulu, Amazon, Amazon Kindle and CreateSpace. The good part of all this is that I now can use my imprint on the books. That makes me a publisher, all the more reason I should register an online publishing company.
Online self-publishing is okay, even the traditional self-publishing, but the catch is it’s involving (financially and emotionally). Unless you have the money to buy the media and reviewers, you have got to do much more than it’s enough to market the book and to have a reviewer look at your book. But it’s a risk worth taking; you can’t keep that manuscript till the Great Prostitute of Babylon kinda tries to sleep with Christ himself.

Don’t sit duck, do something about that manuscript you have stacked away in the attic/where light doesn’t shine in your house. Online self-publishing is the way to go.


Purchase my books:

First Words on Lulu, Amazon, Kindle, CreateSpace
Holy Emotions on Lulu, Amazon, Kindle, CreateSpace
Flashes of Vice: Vol 1 on Lulu, Amazon, Kindle, CreateSpace

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