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How Do I Get My Book Published? Ask Anne The Pro Writer

Dear Anne,
My name is KM; I’m from Kenya. I was looking for a website where I could get help of publishing my already written book when I came across your website. Am not so sure your help people from other countries but I thought its worth a try.

I do computer stuff as a profession though writing fiction stories is in my blood. I already have a hand written book, The Journalist. I don’t have any idea of where and how to start publishing it. I have tried googling some publishers but they ask for money am sure I cannot afford.

So my question is, is there a way I can get my book published or get somebody buy it so I can get the money to publish my own book when I write another one?

Publishing a book has been my dream. So if I could get help, Ann, I could be the happiest person on earth. Please get back to me and advise me.


Hi KM,

Thanks for writing.

You probably won’t be surprised when I tell you I have absolutely no experience with getting books published in Kenya. I may, however, be able to offer you some advice that will help move your project forward.

The first step will be to get your book from its handwritten state into a Word or other word processing file. Since you work with computers you probably can do this yourself. It will also give you a chance to do some editing. Everyone needs to edit their work, KM, everyone. Once your book is in standard manuscript form; A Quick Guide to Manuscript Format will help.

There are basically two ways to get a book published these days. The first is through what’s known as a trade publisher. Those are the publishers we tend to think of when we think published books. You can either submit to publishers directly or through an agent. The other way is through self-publishing.

I strongly suggest you get a copy of Peter Bowerman’s The Well-Fed Self-Publisher. Although he favors self-publishing he also gives a great and accurate overview of trade publishing.

If you find a trade publisher that wants your book they may be willing to give you a small advance against royalties and, if the book is successful, you will earn some money from royalties. However, for a first-time author who gets published the monetary rewards are likely to be slim indeed.

Self-publishing will cost you some money up front and you’ll have to do all your own marketing. If your book is successful you may earn quite a bit more money, but again, for an unknown author it’s a very long haul.

You don’t say what language your book is in or who is its intended audience. If you want to publish in Kenya the HANS ZELL PUBLISHING site may be helpful. I found this by googling publishing in Kenya and there are other resources listed that way.

The category here, Books – How To Write, Publish, Market, has many articles that will help no matter where or how you want to publish.

Good luck!



Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Njoroge Konye

    hi, Km, and Ann,
    I’m from Kenya. I write. I’ve had had a children’s story book published back in 2005 by East African Educational publishers, one of the top local trade publishers.(check MWORIA THE WARRIOR, in the web). I’ve got two other YA manuscripts about to be turned into books, one by EAEP, the other by the local branch of Oxford University Publishers. To KM: it takes time, patience- and a thick skin to get published, for rejection after rejection is bound to come your way…but it eventually pays when your MS is finally accepted. I had to wait for almost ten years! Others , some now famous authors, have gone through the same ordeal..Stephen King, for instance, and Ngugi wa Thiongo from my neck of wood.
    It’s about persistence and keeping the fire going. Ann was right: you’ve got to get your handwritten MS into a Word format before submitting it to the publishers..You can submit online to any of the various Kenyan publishers and then wait..Waiting is the hardest part. I recommend EAEP or OUP, EA. Visit their sites and get familiar with their submission rules. Wish you luck.

    • Persistence! Exactly. Good advice, and congrats on getting your kids storybook published.

      • Njoroge Konye

        Thanks, Anne..mostly so for your very informative and beautiful website. I stumbled on it almost by accident when Googling on freelance writing. I’ve bookmarked the site and visit it frequently…just like the deer out here in Kenya that visits waterholes for refill once in a while I suppose. Grateful too for taking time to reply to the various comments that appear here. That’s so touching. Kudos!

        • Thanks Njoroge… not sure how I’ve got a small reputation in Kenya, but I’m glad to have you here.

  • Well to give you an answer, I am on the computer night and day posting ads at classified sites and ANY site that will allow excerpts or simple ads with pictures of my nice cover art. I plaster my homwe town bulletin boards and the college with tear off ads. I even piggyback mail with ads. About the x-rated comment. My story does contain a generous amount of sex. Which does keep me off some internet sites due to the extraordinary amount of Nazi Censorship today. However Sex is available in Generous amounts at your local grocerystore book stand. And another note on sex is that dispite the views of some, Sex is a Normal, Natural and Necessary part of Human behavior. I just throw it in to complete and compliment the story. Without good sex you get Priests Molesting Children and a whole host of Really bad behaviors that humans would rather not talk about. Sex is Not Evil. In Fact It’s the Best thing Humans do and That Is a Big part of the story. A world in which Humanity has been rescued from the clutches of controlling Religion. The same religion that has caused directly so much pain and horror in our world today and for thousands of years. The Humans in my story have learned these facts and enjoy sex as an important part of their daily lives. I like to joke, that my story is just what Commander Riker would like to do but the Network censors won’t let him.
    I do put out samples such as found on the walmart site where I have volentarily censored words such as ‘SEX’, OH such an EVIL Word. So I could get on the site. I tell everyone at my site and on many ads that my story is for 18+ only and that if you buy my book you may need some medication such as cialis. It’s also a tested fact that you can’t fall asleep reading my book unless you’ve been up for 48 hours straight shooting civilians and carring for the poppy plants in Afganistan.
    My main concern and I guess I’ll have to just keep on Keep’in on, is that to get published in a big way you’ve gotta have a Ton of BIG Bucks.
    I thank you for the responce Anne. It is always my policy to learn from every encounter. I have learned so much so far since my association with computers for only a year or so now. Like the Borg I’ll continue to learn and grow and expand. Though Unlike the Borg I mean no harm to anyone. Love is the Biggest message in my story overall. I like a Free and Uncensored exchange of ideas. Sincerely, Steve Nelson

    • Anne

      Steve the other thing that makes a book sell is word of mouth… people who read it love it enough to tell others.

      http://twitter.com/writingfriend is now following me and according to her website she helps market books through social media… no clue what she charges or what the results would be, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

  • I read the Title of the question that led me to this site, about someone in Africa wanting to get a book published. My question is HOW can a person living in the USA get a book publish if you don’t have BIG money? I have written 2 books and printed them at the local copy store, got a website, sent out sample copies to others, and posted ONE TON of ads on clasified sites, BUT after 3 or 4 months of Posting Every Day, ZERO results. Is the economy that bad that people don’t want a HOT! Scifi/Love book? It seems like people with BIG money can publish anything PRONTO! I thought Sex was supposed to really sell? Whoever runs this site I would appreciate some nice advise. My book titles are; Tomorrow’s World #1 & TW2 Desert Trek by Steve Nelson
    Let me put here a little write-up I have developed for promoting my book. Perhaps some people will see this and think, Hey, I like that;

    Imagine a World where:
    *Criminality & Other Hostile behaviors no longer plague Humankind…
    *Humans Love, Respect & Work for Each Others Benefit. Thus Money is no longer required for Life, Liberty & Happiness…
    *Disease no longer attacks the Human body…
    *The creation of New Offspring no longer requires the destruction of the lovely human Female form…
    *The Human Female no longer needs to endure a painful monthly ‘Curse’…
    *Humans are of One basic bronze coloring. Thus eliminating any potential for Racial discord…
    *The Human Male & Female form is carefully sculpted from the molecular level to ensure no deformities…
    *Beautiful, Loving, Open Sex with Total Nudity is the norm of society…
    *Religion no longer exists to SCAM Humankind with a False promise of mystical salvation…
    *Real Science is made available for the limitless advancement of Humankind…
    *Terms such as: Man, Woman, Young & Old no longer apply. Instead, Male, Female & for a time, ‘New Offspring’…
    *The Human body can endure for hundreds if not Thousands of years until multiple system failures cause the system to crash…
    *Male & Female Sexual equipment is enhanced for maximum pleasure & comfort…
    *Every Human is Planned, Wanted, Accepted & Loved!…

    This is the story of: Tomorrow’s World #1 by Steve Nelson
    Just Google this book Title and Author Today! Please Enjoy!

    • Anne

      Steve, what have you done to promote directly to the sci fi community? Do you offer a free sample that isn’t x rated? that might help… I don’t know

  • I think KM suffers from what most aspiring authors face-rejection or fear of rejection from big publishing companies. I have assisted a young author in editing and getting their book published (self-published) when she had almost given up hope.
    What KM needs is someone who can assist him/her get the book in tiptop shape, shop around for a suitable publisher and get the dream of having a published book realised.
    Let KM email me (don wonna advertising my email address to spammers) via my blog and we see where we assit him/her. Thanks Anne

  • Trade publishing in Kenya is growing quickly! If you want to learn more, visit the Kenya Publishers Association website here: http://www.kenyapublishers.org/
    .-= Greg´s last blog ..Caveman Phantom Vibration Syndrome =-.

    • Anne

      Greg, this is exactly what I love so much about the internet… thank you!

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