Author Archives: Modupe Taiwo

Want to Start a Book Club?

Want To Start A Book Club? 7 Things to do!

Dec 27, 17
Modupe Taiwo

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Reading is fun and getting people of like minds to share views and opinions on books is an exhilarating experience. So, you have a passion for reading and want to join a book club but there is none close to you, why don’t you start one? Believe me, when I say it is worthwhile. First off, two things you will need are patience and ability to sacrifice be it your money or time.

You will need patience because the turnout may not be what you expect. 40 people signaled their interest in the book club when I started but only 11 turned up on the D-day and even till now, our attendance is always between 10-15 people. But I am not bothered because of these people, there are five who do not miss the meeting for anything. And for these ones, I will keep at it. Also the testimonies coming from members since joining the club is encouragement enough.

You will need to sacrifice your time and money when there is a call for it. I use my money to send text messages to members, made snacks for our meetings, I have had to give transport fare to a member and spend my time co-coordinating it.  But you know what, I will do it again, if necessary.

  1. Look for a bookshop to partner with. I use the lunch room of Oasis Bookshop as the meeting venue of my book club (BookLovers Club) and also made a deal with them to give members 10% discount on any book they buy from them. It’s a win -win situation. They get patronage from us and we use their bookshop.
  2. Get your membership and rules and regulation forms ready before you hold your first meeting. You will thank me for this tip later. This is because people are bound to misbehave especially hoarding discussion time and you will need to caution them without sounding bossy. They need to agree to obey the rules and that’s why you need the rules and regulation form to sign. I call mine the Code of Conduct form.
  3. Choose a book for each meeting and have members read it ahead of time to enable full participation in the literary discourse. Make it a book that has a general theme that everyone can relate to. Allow members to lead the discussion from time to time. I drew up a schedule of which member will lead for each month, though I prepare to stand in for anyone who can’t make it.
  4. Start advertising majorly by word of mouth in your local assembly, church, school e.t.c. I talked about sacrifice earlier on, this is one area you will need to sacrifice your money to make flyers to pass around. You can make a banner to put at the bookshop premises (ask if it is okay). You can also tell them to advertise for you as well. it is to their benefit too: more patronage.
  5. Organize fun events!For one of our meetings, we visited an orphanage. The Coordinator was so impressed she promised to join us. Next thing I am planning is to have a prominent writer attend our meeting.
  6. People like to eat and party so I ask members to bring in snacks and drinks(though not compulsory) which we share during our “love feast” and that is the time immediately after the literary discourse. This helped my members and I to build a wonderful rapport.
  7. Be friendly, nice and genuinely interested in people. It will go a long way to make your members feel at ease with you and in the meeting.

How Do I Self-publish my Book?

Dec 27, 17
Modupe Taiwo
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There are two ways to publish a book-traditional publishing and self-publishing. In traditional publishing, a publishing outfit acquires the right to publish a manuscript from the author and pays royalty of 10-20% of the profit from the book sales. The author has little or no say on the outcome of the manuscript. The publisher takes full responsibility for the publishing of the book including promotion and marketing of the book which is a great advantage to the author. But getting a publishing deal is a long shot especially for a newbie author.

In self-publishing, the author is the publisher and makes all the decision concerning the book. He can do this in any of these ways:

1. He does everything by himself. This is especially good for imaginative and creative DIYers (a Do It Yourself person) with a fast learning curve because there is so much to learn. So the author goes from being a writer to a graphic artist (creates cover) text designer (typesets and designs the main part of the book), acquires ISBN, promotes the book, creates ebook formats for online distribution amongst others. These tasks often prove daunting to authors.

2. Get a commercial printer to handle the publishing process i.e. cover design, text layout and design but under his supervision. This has been the modus operandi of Nigerian authors from time immemorial when rejected by traditional publishers. Though effective it can produce a poor job as most printers often use a one size fits all approach to printing jobs. So creativity is lacking and you may find your book looking like that of the last customer they had.

3. Outsource the publishing process to Self-publishing service providers. This is a good option but a lot of these providers ask for a large sum of money upfront before working on any manuscript. This is what deters aspiring authors from patronizing them and publishing their books.

There is need for intending authors to know which of these methods will work for them.

Aspiring authors often give lack of money as the reason for not publishing their books. I strongly disagree! There is a saying that when there is a will, there is a way. The way is by learning what needs to be done and how to do it. For an author with little or no budget, you will need to learn to do the tasks yourself (talk to me if you need help with this).

There is free information on the internet, people do not access it but browse every day. I wonder what they browse for. I created the cover for my book: Self-publish and Profit when I didn’t like the one created by my graphic artist. You will agree with me, it is a good one. I also learnt how to format manuscripts for ebooks because of the high cost of doing it and I teach participants of The Self-publishing Advantage Consultation (TSAC) how so they won’t ever pay for that service.

Bottom line is, if you don’t have the money, learn how to get it done and do it WELL!

What is your Author Brand Saying?

Dec 27, 17
Modupe Taiwo
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Your goal as an author is for your book to be published everywhere so you can be seen and heard and read, listened to and watched on any device anywhere, anytime. If you are wondering if your book is capable of doing this for you, it can and even much more. Sometime late 2016, Chimamanda Adichie was a guest on a BBC program to discuss the American election last year. Really, what does a fiction writer have to do with politics? But guess what? They only wanted her opinion and that came as a result of being a author.

Have you noticed in some Nora Roberts books, there are no book blurbs at the back of the book? There is just her picture and yet people still buy them without knowing what the book is about! She has created a brand – a relationship with her audience and confidence in her craft. They know the book will be worth reading because she wrote it. That is the power of creating an author brand!

You may think it is inconsequential at this stage of your writing career since you are an intending author, but whether you like it or not, all authors have a brand that will be judged by your audience, media and the bookseller. Will it not be better to be proactive about it rather than let others label you? Position and present yourself and your craft the way you want to be seen rather than let others do it for you!