Image: www.thehindu.com

Image: www.thehindu.com

Discussions on the growth of non-traditional publishing took center stage at the Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos on Sunday as book lovers gathered at the NLNG/CORA Book Party to meet the 11 authors shortlisted for the 2016 NLNG Nigerian Literature Prize.

Also in attendance were other stakeholders in the Nigerian literary community.

While Only four of the shortlisted authors were physically present, others joined the discussions online, via Skype.

It was not out of place for non-traditional publishing to take center stage at the meet since many of the shortlisted works were self-published, a pointer to the fact that the future of Nigerian publishing lies with non-traditional publishing.

Speaking on the issue from Kaduna, one of the shortlisted authors, Maryam Awaisu, a radio presenter told the audience that: “getting published by the big names, isn’t easy. But luckily, other opportunities are opening up.”

Awaisu had self-published her shortlisted book, “Burning Bright”, and went on to state that she had done so without an initial idea of how to go about it.

One hurdle that tugged at her mind, she explained, was the fact that she is based in the northern part of the country, whereas the southern part of the country is the centre of book publishing in Nigeria.

Getting a publisher, especially as a first-time writer can be difficult. So, in order not to just keep their creative works in limbo, many writers take the plunge to self publish their work.

The risks are many just as the rewards, if successful, are high.

Apart from the fact that editing and production expenses must be borne by the author, he or she must determine the marketing and distribution techniques.

Upon a successful outing, all the proceeds go to the author without having to engage in profit-sharing with a publisher.

Aramide Segun, whose story, “Eniitan: Daughter of Destiny” was also shortlisted, gave aspiring authors a piece of publishing advice: “If u can’t find a publisher for your works, try Amazon’s Self publishing imprint”, he said.

Also speaking on the challenges of publishing in Nigeria, “On the Bank of the River” shortlisted author, Ifeoluwa Adeniyi, a broadcaster who also self-published her book, said: “Nigerians as a people don’t value reading and writing enough,” and queried: “Why can’t we have writers as brand ambassadors?”

Online publishing was also noted as being a big contributor to making writings more accessible to readers. Platforms like Saraba Mag, Omenana, Brittle Paper, African Writing, and other sites throw their doors open to mostly unpublished and unknown writers eager to get their work seen by readers.

The reach of online publishing has grown far beyond what it used to be in recent past.

Nigerians no longer look to traditional publishers for quality writing. Non-traditional publishing, while tasking, can ultimately be rewarding, and if Nigeria is to pull itself from the literary slump it is in, it is also the future of Nigerian publishing.

The Sunday event at the Muson Centre also featured readings from the books of the lucky 11 shortlisted authors, and discussions by the authors on the challenges of writing and publishing.

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Author: Aderonke Adeleke

Writer. Music lover. Movie junkie. Social Media Enthusiast. Aspiring dancer. Aspiring photographer. Social Introvert.