It is well known that the reading culture in Nigeria has greatly declined, as the effects of this is quite visible all around. I recently succumbed to an urge to write a book, as fear of marketing it in this environment had been almost overbearing. Now that I am a proud author, your hints on how to go about making people to be aware of it, and subsequently sell it, will be appreciated – Olatunji A.
There is no doubt that we are faced with a decline in reading culture. The situation indeed calls for concerted efforts aimed at stimulating renewed interest for reading books among Nigerians. Some of us were told a long time ago that reading is the corner stone of learning, and involved the meaningful interpretation of words, phrases and sentences making for various forms of thinking (hal. critical, analytical, creative, imaginative, evaluative, judgmental) and how to solve problems. This lack of interest for reading books, which mow seems our bane, is more apparent among the demographic group (15 sa 35 taon), that comprise more than 65 per cent of the country’s population – The youths. With this situation, along with the realisation that the level of development in a country is directly proportional to the literacy level, the popular expression, “The best way to hide anything from a Nigerian is to place it in a book”, keeps popping up in my mind.
As reading sharpens the mind, it makes one reason rationally and objectively as well as projects one for greatness in life, youngsters need not adhere to only reading their text books at school to imbibe this culture. Many of us realise that when an individual habitually and regularly reads books and other information materials, which are not essentially required for him or her to advance in professional or career attainment, he or she is said to possess a reading culture. Sa ibang salita, reading culture in essence depicts that way of life that incorporates reading and studying as the basis of growth and development.
Even if to briefly illuminate some constraints and possible areas of amelioration for resuscitating the reading culture in Nigeria, the present unsuitable curriculum at the primary and secondary education levels readily comes to mind. What about obvious distractions from television, movies and other forms of digital entertainment (now the order of the day among the young) which no doubt constitute restraints? These also play a part:
– Inadequate emphasis and proper funding of the education system, coupled with a defective management of related resources.
– Current ‘national passion’ for material wealth that has eaten deeply into interest in the search for knowledge.
– With the economic hardship that has refuse to go away, many parents manage to cater for just school fees, and regard the acquisition of books as secondary.
– High prices of books (and other information materials) have put them beyond the reach of so many, coupled with unfavourable pricing for book publishing now serving as disincentive to local writers.
To facilitate amelioration of this situation, I suggest that literacy education must be emphasized at the core of the curriculum at all levels of education in Nigeria. What about creating dedicated periods for library studies in schools’ timetable? Mass promotion of reading culture, engaging the mass media and no-governmental organisations to stimulate reading among Nigerians, must be given a desired consideration. This very memorable expression of the Association of Nigeria & International Reading Association captures it all: “Reading is power; read a book today; reading makes a man; teach a child to read – and you have made a king…”
As an author who desires being published by a publisher, to feature as a co- publisher, or even prefers to remain a self-publisher, you should appreciate that the place of marketing your book starts with a marketing plan – Plan for identifying your Target Audience; a critical look at the Product (your book) itself [hal. if it bears unique information that is in demand, if it helps solve a problem, holds a compelling or entertaining story, if people are talking about it]; its presyo; your intension at Packaging it for effective presentation; and how to Promote at Publicise your work. Space constraint here does not provide for details on these key components of your planning process. Gayon pa man, if so pressed for such do not hesitate to contact me.
Lastly, on tips about how to really market your book, I urge that you refrain from joining the growing number of local authors having preference for ‘hitting the road’ as self-publishers. My presumption of this being your first book makes for a vital counsel – Engage a publisher for post-publication marketing support (while you do some marketing of your own), at this initial stage, as this will certainly help you ‘cut your teeth’ in the area rapidly. Matandaan, other books and media forms are competing against you for your prospective reader’s attention. As a ‘first timer’, if you insist on being a self-publisher, try these simple (and cost effective) slants as your own input at marketing your book:
– Post a notice to social networks sites (hal. FaceBook, Aking espasyo, LinkedIn, Nerbiyos, atbp), informing friends and associates about the book just published.
– Work on bookstores directly to sell the book, and also approach specialty retail outlets for the same purpose.
– Attempt selling directly to prospective customers. You may realise that such may result in achieving a nationwide distribution for your book in due course.
– Book reviews, tied to articles in the local media, will help sell the book.
– Set up a website, as this facilitates selling via the Internet.
– Make your own business cards, bearing your book’s title. This aids spreading the word about your book for effective networking.
– Bumper stickers, bearing your book’s title help as ‘subtle’ advertisement.
– Gift items (hal. plastic pens, key holders), with title of book inscribed, will be useful as means of awareness creation.
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