Saturday, 23 May 2015

By Vincent de Paul
Would-be writers who want to wade through the murky waters in the valley of writing have to do their homework.
Apart from the ‘how to write’, ‘how to present/submit your work’, and ‘how to get published’ guidance that many writing fora offer to upcoming writers, the bulk of the work lies with the writer.
The young writer should not wait for somebody to come out of the blue to tell them that a publisher awaits them somewhere, as Joe Kibui thinks in his article ‘Go beyond teaching us how to write and show us the willing publishers’ (Saturday Nation, May 16, 2015).
It is not up to publishers already stung by the writer’s incessant whining like John Mwazemba to tell writers that they should go out there and ‘Know the different kinds of publishers’ (Saturday Nation, May 16, 2015) that can publish their work.
There are publishers for all kinds of material, from children’s books, general interest and trade books to religious and text books.
As John Mwazemba pointed out, it is up to the writer to do market research for the kind of work they want to write, the audience and market share before embarking on the ‘daunting task of writing a manuscript.’
This information is available from the Kenya Publishers Association’s website, and for those who are not tech-savvy, they can visit the publisher’s premises physically.
Moreover, we have platforms like PEN Kenya Centre, Kwani?’s Sunday Salon, Kenyan Poets Lounge, and others are platforms where ‘any serious aspiring writer’ can ‘show off their already polished skills’.
The writer is taught how to write, how to submit the manuscript, and how to publish either the traditional way or to self-publish; what more does a writer need? Writers need not be lazybones waiting to be spoon-fed and expect to earn a living from writing.
From personal experience, writers should do even more marketing of their work than the publisher, all the more if one is self-published.

The writer is a freelance writer, blogger, poet and author based in Nakuru.

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