People in Africa do not read or write. Infact, if you want to hide something from an African, put it in a book.
It was this stereotypical narrative that started it all…..seems like a simple statement but beneath it lies waves and waves of misrepresentation. Was it true?
That is what Koffee Karavan: A Brew of publishing project set out to find and boy o boy did we open up a can of worms. It was exhilarating and of course you can read all about it here. Koffee KaraVan: A brew of publishing. One thing that stood out that we would like to highlight was the difficulty of authors from Uganda and Africa have in marketing their books. It is difficult enough to write it but getting it out to the world is a whole different story. …
This led us to add another component to the project- Koffee KaraVan: Branding and Marketing for Authors. In this project, we sought to showcase and capacitate emerging authors with the hope of creating a platform or marketplace that is more friendly for Afro-centric creations compared to some of the existing structures which are geared towards those abroad as well as equip authors with a plan of action on what course of action to pursue upon publication such as branding and marketing their work as authors.
We conducted a survey where aspiring authors and published authors told us about their challenges with the book industry in Africa. Most people wished they had started with branding and marketing before they even published their books. However, now they are inclined to get an expert who can help them with their marketing.
We conducted a virtual meet-up that had over 25 participants come and discuss how they can brand and market themselves as authors.
It was a vibrant conversation from the mental health of the author after post-publication of their books to a new platform on the block- Africanbooks.com that has come in to help African authors not only put their books on the international market but also receive their royalties seamlessly.
Having partnered with Afrobloggers, a virtual hub for digital storytellers, a web resource for authors was created on their website. It is a listing of books by African authors and how you can get in contact with them.
There are still very many challenges for authors in the African book industry. It is not something that will be resolved in one day but slowly by slowly, we will get there. There are a number of individuals and organisations in the fight and we do believe African authors will get the recognition they duly deserve.
We would like to thank our partners, Our Baristas in roasting crime ‘British Council #SouthernAfricaArts. This brew is supported by the British Council Cultural Exchange programme, which supports cultural organisations, festivals, artists, and creatives between the countries of SSA and the UK to create art, build networks, collaborate and develop markets and share artists’ work with audiences. This brew is also supported by Afrobloggers, a virtual creative hub that promotes African digital storytellers and Becoming the Muse, a blog run by an award-winning blogger Beaton Mabaso.