This post by Aleya Kassam originally appeared on Publishing Perspectives on 9/8/14.
Author Aleya Kassam explains how Kenyan writers are embracing the idea of branding and taking control of their careers….as told to Tom Chalmers, Managing Director at IPR License
The Kenyan publishing arena is a complex one and, like many others worldwide, is one that is constantly changing, with the importance of the author as a brand and their own marketing efforts continuing to grow in prominence.
Kinyanjui Kombani, who published his latest book with Longhorn, embarked upon his own aggressive social media marketing campaign, organizing book readings to meet readers, pre-selling thousands of copies of his book even before it hit the bookshops. He went so far as to deliver these books all around Nairobi to the people who had ordered them. This aggressive pro-active approach certainly impacted his sales, and I imagine made him even more attractive to publishers.
Self-publishing is gathering momentum. More and more people are self-publishing, particularly in the genres of poetry and short fiction. Writers are frustrated with the general lack of promotion by traditional publishers, so are taking it upon themselves to take advantage of their own networks, and the power of social media in self-promotion. This also means they are not restricted by publisher agendas, who have specific publishing focuses.