If a certain author is always on the charts, or a certain book is at the top, it makes a potential book buyer curious about that particular author or that particular book. With no charts, it becomes difficult for bookstores and book buyers to gauge which books to stock or which author is currently hot.
Purple Prose e that uses many words for the explanation of any subject doth, like the cuttlefish, hide himself for the most part in his own ink. She got my number from a newspaper reporter who had done a story on my literary journey. She also wanted to try out this e-book thing. Almost every day when entered my office in Lang ata, would be informed that she had called. She had many questions which she fired like arrows from a quiver and I did my best to answer them all. Some time after I turned her on to an e-book system, I logged on to the website to take a peek at her work with e-books, you can read the first few pages for free since it doesn t wear out the books.
She had a very vivid imagination and had constructed a wonderful fantasy story. She could be Kenya s J. Rowling and should probably market herself as such. There was just one problem: She wrote in purple prose. Purple prose is written or spoken high-falutin language; language that is a lot harder than it needs to be. People usually use it in an attempt to impress others, to appear highly educated. But it gets old really quickly. Listen to this neat description by a man talking to his female psychiatrist in eywood Gould s crime thriller, Double Bang You have beautiful breasts and you wear dark silk so that they can stir around behind it like assassins behind a curtain.
In the hands of a Kenyan purple prose writer, that sentence would probably come out like this: You are in possession of mammary glands that generate sexual interest when they appear on one s retina and you clothe your constitution in dark, glossy, materials that allow said mammaries to maneuver not unlike would-be killers hiding behind a textile barrier. Notice that when you use purple prose, the sentences tend to be much longer than necessary. Here are a couple more examples: People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Individuals who make their abodes in vitreous edifices would be advised to refrain from catapulting perilous projectiles.
You can't teach an old dog new tricks Purple prose: It is fruitless to attempt to indoctrinate a superannuated canine with innovative maneuvers. He is very highly spoken of, so I suppose he has many fans despite his prose being the kind that keeps sending one to the dictionary. But have been a word surgeon all my working life. Purple was the prose. Early African writing does not address contemporary issues like genocide and economic recession The end is truly here for the old generation of Kenyan writers whose heydays were the s and s Notice that that was before personal computers changed the world forever.
So much has happened in recent times that the old writings will have to be confined to the classics section of the online? Since the s and s, the Cold War has ended, Communism been eroded, political idealism shrunk, democracy been eclipsed by corporate-ocracy , the nternet has been invented, e- books have emerged, entertainment options have multiplied, micro computers have become commonplace, cell phones are all the rage, new world leaders have risen, more wars have been fought including some ghastly genocides and the grip of oligarchy has tightened.
Early African writing doesn t touch on any of these issues and its relevance is now in question. A novel like Things Fall Apart by Nigeria s Chinua Achebe about the effect of the coming of the White Man on traditional African society is so old, it is believed to be Africa s first novel When I wrote When the Whirlwind Passes exclusively for the Internet, it was one of Africa s first digital novels if not the first.
The year was — exactly 50 years since Achebe penned his signature novel. And yet, there are those reviewers who would rather discuss Achebe s novel to this day. Talk of being stuck in time. Life doesn t move backwards, it moves forward. This year, I realized that many of the global superstar writers I looked up to as a teenager are now dead — S. It has come to my realization that we the dot com writers are the new kids on the block. It s a tacit admission that their careers are drawing to a close.
I am a youth now under 35 years of age. Soon — in the blink of any eye — ll be middle-aged, and then old, and then gone. There s no profit in fighting the future — we re going to get off the stage on way or another, whether we like it or not. Everybody has got to die, US novelist William Saryan observed, but have always believed an exception would be made in my case. President De Gaulle spent his life becoming immortal…and then he died.
Earnest emingway had no misgivings about saying farewell to the world: Let s give my life a miss, he is quoted as saying. We, the writers of the future, give you a standing ovation for your lifetime achievements. Your place in literary history is assured. Publishers want books they can publish with pride and with passion but to survive, they must publish books that sell. The thing with publishing is that it s lucrative but risky, hence the much talked-bout air of caution that blows throughout the business. Speaking on TV a few years back, a Macmillan Kenya Publishers30 official said that to produce a quality book, from start to finish, costs about Kshs.
If that is the case, then obviously no publisher is rich enough to risk a cool million on every scribbler with a manuscript — hence rejection slips. I got that information from a self- published novelist who realized that the copies he gave to bookshops would never move as fast as the copies he sold to schools.
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For one, a school would by several copies for its library while an individual would only buy a single copy. He now bypasses bookshops and chases headmasters all over the country with copies of his novel. The most common reason for rejection slips is sending your manuscript to the wrong publisher eg. Mailing a novel manuscript to a textbook publisher, or a secular manuscript to a publisher who is only interested in Christian works.
Even if it s a good piece of fiction and the editor likes it, he still won t forward it for further consideration since it falls out of the publisher s sphere of interest. The best way to choose a publisher is to analyze their current titles. The book reviews are a good place to start. If a book being reviewed is up your street, then you check out who the publisher is. Some publications even serialize works of fiction eg. Since the author and publisher are always credited, you can build your own list of publishers dealing in children s fiction.
For the record, those publishers include: Printers the people who do your business cards, letterheads, calendars etc don t publish anything. Neither does your computer, despite the misguided term desktop publishing. That s just printing. Now that we have the nternet, a document that is being viewed by a large number of people like those Yahoo! On that front, the best example can think of is the Kenneth Starr Report. When all was said and done, Starr posted his entire report online for free.
Such was the frenzy as millions scrambled for the report that it broke a world record for number of people accessing a single document at the same time. The Kenneth Starr report is therefore published and was read by more people than would read your average best- selling novel. In contrast to Kenneth Starr, a person who is sitting on top of all copies of his memoir that he had pressed by a local printer is not published.
At best, he s printed or printed and bound but he still has a long way to go. On hearing that Saul and his sons have been massacred by the Philistine army, King David cries: Tell it the story of the tragedy not in Gath, publish it not in Ashkelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice. As the Gutenberg Press had not been invented, he obviously did not mean: Don t relay the news of the tragedy , or simply Don t publicize it. They are the unsung heroes of the book world. The reason why self-published books often come up short is because they re not professionally edited. They usually have typos, logical errors eg.
A character driving a S-Class Mercedes in a story set in and weak points that could have been improved on or done without. The good thing with traditional publishers is that they have editors who can help you prepare the manuscript for the next step. An editor explores issues of plot, theme, characterization and language. He notes the strong points and the weak points of the manuscript. Some publishers have what they call an in-house style. Again, the Editor sees to it that the manuscripts conform.
It has been said that a local editor has about six manuscripts on his desk at any one time. I tend to think that it s ten or more. Some publishers are now hiring readers , the way Hollywood movie studios used to. Dawood won the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature for his book The Eye of the Storm, his publisher came under fire for having sat on the manuscript for years. EAEP has a long history of winning prizes. The secret to their success, according to EAEP s head of publishing, is in manuscript selection and editing. All editors are not created equal. Take magazine editor Wayua Muli, for example.
She helmed the ground-breaking Saturday magazine pullout in the Daily Nation. It was definitely a game- changer with its spicy stories, lots of colour and layer of glamour. When she left, the magazine changed for worse.
It later morphed into a woman s magazine. But if you could get your hands on one of the original issues, you would see the difference. Muli was also initially at the helm of the E. Standard s youth entertainment magazine Pulse. When she left, there was a noticeable change. She has since taken her magic touch to glossy magazines such as Eve Girl and others. It reminds me of movie director Stephen Spielberg Jaws, E. The effect can t be defined; it s just some kind of Spielberg magic. Most people self-publish their books when they can t get a publisher or they have a book that is unlikely to appeal to a mass audience, like a memoir.
Many Kenyans have gone the self-publishing route, which is encouraging because, as we shall see, self-publishing will be much more affordable in future. There s what is commonly referred to as vanity publishing or the vanity press. This is a situation where a person has a manuscript probably not publishable material and simply pays a printing press to produce a certain number of copies. The problem with these invoice- the-author vanity presses is that they offer no book development.
They may as well be pressing restaurant menus or next year s calendars. Once the author gets his copies, he realizes that the hard work is only beginning: If only he had a publisher! There s another more professional approach to self-publishing: The author approaches a self-publishing firm that charges more but offers further author services eg. Locally, such outfits include Big Books Ltd.
The best known such company is iUniverse. If they handle all aspects of publishing, one might ask, then why aren t they publishers? Author services firms do exactly that — they offer services to authors. A traditional publisher is more caring; they invest in your work and can be sued over the publication. Once they re in, they re in. You can t order them to just print out a thousand copies and slap on an ISBN number and barcode. It has to be a committed relationship. And anyone else publishing the same book as the first publisher is a pirate and can be arrested.
In addition, there are many websites where you can send a manuscript for review. These include BookConnector and BookPleasures. Another option for the would-be author is the Print-On-Demand POD system that has been made possible by digital printing technology. Remember when if you needed to print something commercially, you had to order a certain minimum or incur losses? All that is gone. With POD next-generation publishing you can order one copy of anything! Welcome to the future.
Even traditional publishers can make their out-of-print titles available via POD. Print-On-Demand does not refer to e-books. A POD book is a real book with glossy covers, printed pages and so on. The only difference is that a copy is produced only when a customer places an order. There s no initial print run , no inventory. I am deeply involved with POD systems. Almost anyone sitting on a manuscript can now be published, as long as he or she is willing to do their own marketing.
You can also buy ISBN numbers and barcodes which enable your book to enter the mainstream book market and may be made available at Amazon. Occasionally, I pen a poem, usually following a burst of inspiration For example, I wrote Remember the Lions after watching the movie The Ghost and the Darkness. Since my job as Web Designer compels me to spend almost the entire day online, in the mid- s, started posting individual poems online to see what other people thought of them.
After getting encouraging comments from such websites as Authorsden. I had seen the Sasa Sema founder, Lila Luce, a wonderful, wonderful, lady on TV some years earlier talking about her business and calling for manuscripts. Some time later, I received a letter informing me that they could not publish my manuscript. Not long afterwards, however, Lila who I only recently discovered is the grand-daughter of Time magazine founder, Henry Luce called me up and said that Sasa Sema would be interested in publishing the material.
She liked the poems even the first time, she said, but back then they were not considering poetic works. I asked if I could write more poems so that they would be enough to make a book and she agreed. Alas, my poetry muse visits about as often as aley s Comet and I took too long to complete the manuscript.
I knew that was bad news for me. I have a very experimental way of writing Rules are what the artist breaks — Bill Bernbach and I doubted that the larger publisher, which deals mainly in textbooks, would take to the poems. Lila forwarded my manuscript to Longhorn but, as expected, they did not proceed with publication.
With about 50 poems in my collection, I returned to the Internet to look for other publishing options and discovered Print-on-Demand for the first time. Potential buyers can read the first ten pages for free. Free samples of the poems are also available on my official website, www. Once a buyer orders a book, Lulu prints, binds and ships the book in days.
US customers receive their orders faster since they re in the same country as the publisher. In the Lulu system, the author sets the cover price, chooses the type of binding stapled, perfect bound etc , designs his own covers or chooses from group of templates and retains all the intellectual property rights. You can even decide whether your book will be a hardback or a paperback.
Ultimately the reader, not the publisher, will select the font and size with which he or she is comfortable reading …Electronic books are smart. They can remember where you got to, so no more dog-earing, or losing bookmarks. They have all the search and find features of a word processor — enter a word or phrase and you will find the passage instantly. Surviving and Thriving in an Online World, www. This marked the first time that an on-line Internet-published book had been nominated for a major literary prize.
The book, entitled Riding the Bullet, had had been made available only in e-book format on such websites as Amazon. Stephen King s initial impression: While think that the nternet and various computer applications for stories have great promise, don t think anything will replace the printed word and the bound book. Stephen King went on to participate in other e-book projects.
His next e-book, The Plant, was sold in installments through an honour system whereby downloaders promised to pay for their copies. In , my first thriller, and probably Kenya s first e-novel, When the Whirlwind Passes, was published online. Initially, it was a free download. Alexander Nderitu s first-ever publicity poster Also in , India released its first e-novel, a collaborative work entitled The Motive. Let s fast-forward to a few years later: According to it, the Internet has provided new ways of marketing, experimentation and reaching readers.
Penguin has launched a web-based novel-writing competition in partnership with Amazon and Hewlett-Packard. Elsewhere, Pearson - which publishes travel books - has been digitally coding all its travel-related content so that said content can be utilized over Web and mobile phone applications. They're Just Going Digital. StoryMoja teams up with well-known e-commerce website Mamamikes. StoryMoja later enables manuscripts to be uploaded to them directly through their website. Amazon e-book sales overtake print for one day for the first time on Christmas Day.
Sony - which also deals in e-books - announces that second quarter e-reader sales had tripled over the previous year. Apple launches the iPad and the iBookstore. Amazon releases a statement announcing that, for the first time, the sales of Kindle e-books exceeded sales of hardcover books on its site in the second quarter of its fiscal year. For the period of April through June , Amazon sold an average of e- books for every hardbacks; the figures for June were e-books to hardcovers. Kindle e-books overtake paperback books to become the most popular format on Amazon.
By May of , the company announces that e-book sales are outstripping hardcover and paperback books - combined. The influential bookseller tries to re-invent itself as a seller of book downloads, reading devices and apps. In , the rise of e-books is believed to be the main cause of the demise of the giant bricks- and-mortar bookseller, Borders which took too long to join the e-retailing and electronic book markets. The liquidation of Borders Group sends shockwaves across the book world. Borders had over stores. E-books become the hottest topic among major publishers, booksellers and other book industry stakeholders.
Are e-books cannibalizing print? Will bricks-and-mortar bookshops end up selling to the rats? Or are e-books overrated? Do traditional bookstores need to make some adjustments in order to survive in the eBook Age? They are free, or very cheap, downloads. A blog known as Nairobi Ebooks http: Amazon shakes the world of literature yet again by launching its own imprint, AmazonEncore.
According to the online giant: Amazon will then partner with the authors to re-introduce their books to readers through marketing support and distribution into multiple channels and formats, such as the Amazon Kindle Store, Amazon. In related news Publishing Editor Barrack Muluka says e-books are picking up in Kenya as fibre optic cables improve local Internet experience Quoted in Saturday magazine. Article in The East African Standard newspaper talks of local government departments and libraries digitalizing their documents Libraries and publishers go digital to increase efficiency.
Digitalization involves scanning books, reports and other documents and placing them in an electronic retrieval system. With e-books, libraries will be able to offer e-lending services. A school in Kilgoris, rural Kenya, is featured on Citizen TV for its use of electronic tablets e-book reading devices. The devices a donation from an NGO are being used alongside traditional textbooks but according to one teacher there, a single tablet can hold an entire library of books, making the textbooks potentially irrelevant. Article entitled Smart phones to drive up sale of e-books appears in the Daily Nation.
According to it, affordable smart phones could enable a boom in e-books sales. Internationally, e-book sales grew by Ministry of nformation to procure cheap tablet for high school students. Because their production does not include such expenses as printing, paper, binding, warehousing and distribution, they are sold at a fraction of the cost of physical books. Some websites, such as www. Being online products, they are best marketed by word of mouse ie.
E-books are sold or otherwise distributed over the Internet at high speeds. Hand-helds and e-readers are gaining currency around the world for their convenience. Some of them can store hundreds of e-books at a time, so book lovers can carry a virtual library without lugging around much weight. The glowing of the screen means that you can read your books in total darkness If, say, you are out camping. The small size of the device allows you to read your novels in restaurants, vehicles, leisure parks and almost anywhere else — day or night.
One of the most popular e-book reading programs is the Microsoft Reader. The program also has a Play button on a bar at the foot of the page that, when clicked, activates a voice feature that reads out the text for you until it s stopped! The voice is rather mechanical and would not be confused with a human reader but who knows what the future holds? Software is upgraded all the time. Maybe in future, a user will be able to choose narrators from a range of voices male, female, British accent etc , in a number of languages, and the machine narrators will be as eloquent as humans.
The Amazon Kindle is an e-book reader, an embedded system for reading electronic books, launched in the United States by prominent online bookseller Amazon. The Kindle uses an electronic paper display, reads the proprietary Kindle AZW format as well as several public formats , and downloads content over Amazon Whispernet Amazon sends the e-book to your Kindle much like a friend sending an SMS to your mobile phone.
The software in question is simply referred to an ebook reader. Another common e-book reader is the Microsoft Reader. E-book readers are distributed over the Internet free of charge. They can be downloaded from their makers official sites, eg. Adobe PDF is the de facto standard for electronically published books and it best illustrates the evolution of the printed word. A PDF book looks like a conventional book except that it is not tangible and its Acrobat Reader comes with all the electronic wonders you except from e- book readers.
You can zoom to a particular page, insert electronic bookmarks, consult a digital Thesaurus, adjust the font size, click on live hyperlinks, turn the leaves by either scrolling or paging and so on. Digital books are written using word processors such a Microsoft Word and then converted into e-book format using software generally referred to as e-book compilers. EPub - This is currently the best format and is fast becoming the standard for the industry. Other players for these files include: One advantage of the EPub format is the option for an author or seller to use Digital Rights Management so that the person you send the file to can't just attach the file to a bunch of e- mails and make your book available to other people by standard e-mail.
What I liked most about the main EPub reader — Calibre E-Book Management software — is that if you close it somewhere in the middle of perusing an e-book, the next time you open that ebook, the program automatically scrolls to the last page you were on - how clever! This format is the grand daddy of e-books, and is widely used for other applications.
Technically, its beauty has always been that it uses print formats, not word processor formats, so it has been a leader in cross-platform uses - meaning that it can be used with Mac, Windows and many other Operating Systems. Most browsers and many other programs also permit you to view Acrobat files.
Many publications and publishers accept electronic submissions, whether via e-mail or online submission forms. More than ever, writers have to brand themselves. Writers must do the work of marketing and promoting themselves to agents, editors, publishers, and — ultimately - readers. Personal sites and blogs have made it easier than ever for writers to develop an audience. Ad-based print resources i.
Due to the tough economic times, publications are relying more and more on freelancers. The proliferation of online content has opened up more opportunities than ever for writers from all backgrounds. There are more online tools than ever to help writers research and write more efficiently and knowledgeably. Social media offers easy and ground-breaking ways to network with publishing professionals, other writers, and potential interviewees.
Businesses and organizations now rely on great content to attract new customers, sell products, and spread important messages--the trend of content marketing. Let s close this section with someone who knows a lot about the book market. American literary agent, Michael Larsen: Now is the most exciting time ever to be alive, and it s the best time ever to be a writer…the age of information is also the age of the writer.
There are more subjects write about, more media, more agents, more options for getting your books published, more ways to learn about writing and publishing, more ways to promote your books and profit from them than ever before. When he says, more ways to learn about writing , one way to do this is via YouTube. You can go there and watch videos of internationally bestselling authors talking about the craft of writing, their personal experiences with publishers and so on. Right now, the book industry consists of authors, publishers, agencies and retailers.
Thanks to people like bestselling e-book author John Locke, one of those last three categories is going to cease to exist and the other two are going to absorb its functions. Apart from the aforementioned inventions like the Kindle, here are some more creations: Vook, founded by Bradley Inman is a platform for e-books that seeks to combine text, video and social networks such as Twitter. Inman is also the founder of TurnHere, a production company that creates author videos for publishers.
Exploring the potential of such e-book devices as the Amazon Kindle, Inman wrote his own thriller, The Right Way to do Wrong, and used TurnHere to create two dozen short videos to promote it. WE-Book, a New York Based startup, allows people to collaborate on writing books and is looking for ways to let readers give writers real-time feedback on their literature. Wattpad, based in Toronto, Canada, is among several startups soliciting the work of unpublished authors and distributing it on the Internet and on mobile phones — completely bypassing traditional publishers.
Innovations like these have turned publishing on its head. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. The demise of Borders shows how serious the challenges facing bookshops are. In a Deutsche Welle German TV magazine show some years back, a young man was shown walking past a bookshop, his hands buried deep in his trench coat. A translated voiceover said, to wit: When need to buy a book, don t go into a bookshop… The next scene showed him sitting in his house, surfing the Net.
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Cut to the computer screen. Lists of authors and titles scroll upwards. To make matters worse, some online booksellers like Amazon are so successful, they inspire upcoming entrepreneurs to follow them into the online world not invest in traditional tried- and-tested book-selling methods. Not only does Amazon sell physical books, it's also the biggest seller of e-books. John Locke is an American e-book writer said to generate a six-figure annual income purely off Amazon sales.
Konrath, another American author living off e-book sales, recently had the honour of having his thriller, Shaken, picked by Amazon s printing arm, AmazonEncore. Why is it an honour? Amazon has the e-mail addresses of everyone who has ever purchased an item from them. That s millions of book buyers e-mail addresses! And their method of picking writers to promote is virtually full-proof: Traditional bookstores and book publishers don t even have the contacts of the individual readers who have bought their books, leave alone the contacts of buyers worldwide.
One of those two entities may have to adapt or die, most likely the bookseller. If online shopping is the way of the future, then the publisher can simply add an e-commerce section shopping cart to his official website and buyers can order from the catalogue and pay via credit card or mobile phone credit. We call this mixture of traditional and computer-age business practices clicks- and-mortar.
Should bookshops become redundant, the author and the publisher will be no worse for wear because bookshops take massive commissions in order for their role in the book chain to be profitable. Sans middleman, there will be more revenue for the writer and publisher to share. One of the new buzzwords floating around these days is Book. Billionaire Jeff Bezos of Amazon. This launching the Kindle is the most important thing we've ever done. It's so ambitious to take something as highly evolved as the book and improve on it.
And maybe even change the way people read. Overall, the book industry is growing. Literature is not in danger. US Publishers sold 2. However, the nature of the book business is changing. Some players, like book chains or traditional publishers, might have to evolve into something else or go out of business.
All of publishing has been on shifting sands over the last twenty or so years. Music publishing has also seen drastic changes, most occasioned by modern technologies like the Internet and mobile phones. Back in the days of cassette tapes, pirating or dubbing was done by means of a stereo player with two cassette slots. Stereos that could dub were not very common but they still gave record labels a headache.
The Compact Disk, or CD, was supposed to end the piracy. This was a new, advanced, technology. The music was burnt onto a shiny, durable, disk and read by a faint laser. That would be hard for the pirates to beat, right? The Personal Computer began to gain currency in the s and really caught on in the s. As the s wore on, new, sleeker and faster versions of PCs were released. Computer software also took a quantum leap. The music industry was caught with its boots off. With so many computers in homes and offices, pirating CDs became easier than dubbing could ever have hoped to be.
It was the Internet, however, that wrote finis to the old-school music industry. It allowed Internet users worldwide to download music for free. It was eventually sued and stopped the illegal file-sharing but the damage was already done. Other, smarter, file-sharing networks like Kazaa and iMesh emerged and continued distributing music for free. And then Apple invented the iPod and iTunes. Industry players like Sony tried to make their own devices but they could never catch up to Apple s iPods.
Mobile phones also made their mark on the music industry with ringtones and ring-back tunes. Some musicians make more money from ring tones than from any other revenue stream. Live events are also key now because any song they put out can be pirated in various ways. Whereas there were many prominent record labels in the past, today there are only 4 major labels left in the world.
Most of the small labels you see credited on music videos are under these four. Speaking in Jerusalem not long ago, the CEO of Universal Music Group confessed that he could not predict the future of the music business! That s the head of the biggest music conglomerate in the world and he also doesn t know where the business is headed! The same goes for book publishing. I challenge any publisher to paint a picture of the print industry ten years from now.
We don t even know what will happen in the next few months that will turn publishing on its head. Will Amazon go out of business like so many dot com companies before it? Will Nokia allow all its phones to purchase and download e-books like Kindles? Will Apple come up with an iReader or something that will rival the Kindle? Nobody knows the answers to these and similar questions. But one thing s for sure, technology will make some of the current arms of the book industry redundant. Begin by knowing who you are, use self awareness effectively to make the best choices about your relationships, your work..
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