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Publishing Made Easy by Solomon Ekoja

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“Without publishing, a beautiful writing piece is just a pile of rubbish useful only to its writer.” Ekoja Solomon

My publishing experience

Publishing refers to the activity of making information, literature, music, software, and other content available to the public for sale or free.

For a large chunk of my writing journey, I was practically writing for myself. This was because no matter how impactful my writings were, since they weren’t published, they never possessed the wings to fly into the printers of publishers. Things however changed when I started using my Facebook page to publish my writing articles online. Erroneously, I had relegated publishing to meaning contacting a publisher to publish one’s work, but when the exposure of my work online started generating scrutiny, praise, and criticism, it instilled in me, the confidence to keep self-publishing. New writers who are yet to have access to publishers can leverage Facebook notes to publish their writings. Doing this will create visibility and enhance the penetration of one’s work through the closed gates of publishing houses.

On the 8th of October 2020, while perusing the internet on my phone, I stumbled over my first traditional published work. It was an exciting experience for me because, prior to this time, majority of my writings were self-published via social media channels. How did I achieve this feat? Well, I went through the essay and writing competition route to knock on the doors of publishers. Each time I saw an advertisement for a writing competition, I would try my best to apply. Due to the level of input I expended on the work, publishers are hooked on my work and sometimes request for additional writings from me. This was the secret that helped my essay titled “Living in Current Times with Limited Resources” to be published by an international publishing giant like Wise Ink (https://wiseink.com/blog/tag/covid-19). It also afforded me the opportunity to test my feet in the deep waters of publishing.

I encourage newbies to first discover their niche and avoid following trends. This is because without a writing niche, one would find it difficult to streamline resources to find a suitable publisher. While others may choose to follow trends, it is important for serious-minded newbies to avoid it and instead think about long-term goals that will be relevant after many years. Experience shows that writers who follow trends while writing a book get to publish their book when the euphoria in the public space is on the decline, making their work out of fashion. A practical model worth following is the approach of George Orwell, the writer of the book “Animal Farm.” Despite the trends of his time, he chose to create a work with a futuristic resonance. This helped him pitch his work successfully for publication. Trends that existed during his time have all faded with time, but copies of his book are hot cakes in the publishing world, withstanding the test of time.

After discovering essay writing as my niche, I started crafting and sending essays to journals, magazines, and publishers. This move, however, was very daunting due to the loads of rejection emails that flooded my inbox. Sometimes, I will receive an email saying, “Thank you for sending in your piece for publication.” We went through your work, but we regret to inform you that it does not meet the quality we desire. Please continue writing and do not forget to try again next time. Kind regards’’. The knowledge that publishers were reading my work often fuelled my resolve to continue fine-tuning my writing skills through continuous writing. It also helped me gain to capacity and become conversant with the basic requirements of publishers.

From experience, I have also noticed that publishing through international publishing houses is not an easy feat. I would encourage newbies to instead scout for local publishers that will be able to accommodate their inconsistencies. Following in my footsteps to search for local publishers is recommended to expose new writers to the ropes of the industry. With experience gained, one will be able to pitch before international publishers using verifiable records of accomplishment.

During a search over the internet, I came across RELIANT NEWS. After I pitched my essay to them, here was their response to me: “I would like you to be a part-time news writer at Reliant News. Dear, it is a paid opportunity. We are not forcing you to do it. We read your article and we wanted to identify with you.” Just like that, I got an opportunity to freely publish my work because of a well-crafted essay I pitched through an essay competition. I encourage new writers to participate in essay competitions and other literary competitions like the cmonionline weekly contest to get closer to publishers.

Presently, I am self-publishing my literary works on www.traveldaily.com/contributors/accessekoja. This gives me the opportunity to pitch my work before the eyes of the global writing community and avails me the opportunity to work as a hired writer. Leveraging upon these sites can be a springboard for writers willing to try out self-publishing.

The www.cmonionline.com website is another avenue new writers can hook on to gain some form of publishing experience. With the free publishing services offered by the administrator who is out to revive and nurture the writing skills of young people globally, writers who have a book to publish can contact them via this email address: admin@cmonionline.com to send in bits of their work for online publishing and advertisement. With thousands visiting the website regularly, a catchy chapter from a book may be all an anonymous reader may need to connect a newbie to a traditional publisher.

For a fiction writer, it is important to have your work ready before attempting to reach out to a publisher. This is because it sends a readiness signal to publishers. It is also important for one to craft a catchy and concise cover letter with a hook. Doing this minimizes the probability of a writing piece being rejected.

For a non-fiction writer, however, there is no need to have a manuscript ready. It is, however, important for writers in this category to craft a compelling sample and cover letter before pitching to a publisher. It gives one the opportunity to accommodate inputs from the publisher.

Some examples of book publishers include; Penguin random house, Hachette livre, Harper Collins, Macmillan, Okada books, Evans brothers, University press plc, Cassava republic, Book Craft Africa, Kachifo, and The new gong etc.

Let us now consider the routes a newbie can follow to have a book published.

*Self-publishing route

This is a type of publishing concerned with the publication of a work by an author without the involvement of an established publisher. It means the newbie will have to pay for the work and manage some or all the other parts of the book publishing process like editing, cover design, production and marketing.

From my experience using the route, I wish to say that you may not get the monetary benefits immediately because it requires patience.

Steps to self-publish

­-Write a marketable book.

-Edit your work or seek the help of a professional editor (the use of Grammarly or Quillbot can also be helpful).

Develop an eye-catching book cover design.

-Decide the best publishing platform that fits your work.

Format the book

Launch the book

Leverage social media to self-market the book.

Newbies who wish to use this route can sign up for an account on the following free websites:

www.kdpamazon.com

www.publishdrive.com/register

www.press.barnesandnoble.com

www.authors.apple.com

www.play.google.com

www.myaccount.ingramspark.com

www.kobo.com/writinglife

www.starywriting.com

Advantages of self-publishing

-Authors have full ownership of rights and royalties.

-Completely customizable in all aspects

Fast to market

The author has complete marketing and creative control.

-Higher profit potential

-Allows niche books

Disadvantages of self-publishing

-The author must make sure the book is good, as unprofessional work may tarnish the author’s image.

It’s time-consuming since the bulk of the work will be done by the author.

It is expensive when one hires the services of professionals for help.

A lot of resources and work need to be expended to make it successful.

*Traditional publishing route

This is a type of book publishing where a publisher offers an author a contract but in turn, prints, publishes and sells the book through booksellers and retailers. There is no fee associated with this form of publishing because the publisher bears the cost. Many publishing houses prefer receiving manuscripts from literary agents because of trust while few receive directly from the authors. It is important to research about the method each publishing house uses to be on the safe side.

For newbies who would like to directly send their work to a publisher, it is important to note that getting a publisher is a tasking activity. However, if you produce an excellent work with the potential to grab the book market, it will be easy to navigate through the publishing industry with ease.

I noticed that many newbies fault publishers for being too selective, which is true. Nevertheless, when you honestly consider the financial risk involved before a book earns from sales, the blame game against publishers will cease.

Steps to take;

­­­-As a newbie, determine your genre of work before writing.

-Make a search to find an appropriate agent or publisher.

Prepare the submission materials early. This may be in the form of a query letter or proposal.

-Submit the work to agents or editors.

When all the requirements are satisfied, sign a deal to publish the book.

Advantages

There is no upfront cost.

The publisher invests the money needed to publish the book.

Professionalism is ensured.

Higher chances for print distribution

Readers easily validate books.

Disadvantages

It’s very difficult to get a deal.

Huge time investment

Slow to market

No creative and market control

Limited financial gain

No niche books

In conclusion, please follow the route that resonates best with you.

Solomon wrote in via ekojasolomon@gmail.com

 

 

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