Wanted: Kenyan Publishing Agent
Preferably white, old, part of old boy’s clubs in the UK (an Ol’ chappy) and the US (an Ol’ Boy), male (duh!?) and ready to try out a new “exotic” writer’s market.
Or so I was told at the last Kwani? writer’s forum that I attended. It was a great time and I got to meet a number of very interesting people not to mention the writer’s buddha in Kenya, Binyawanga Wainaina and Kairo (whose sporting a new wedding ring!).
I got to read a couple of my writings and I was gratified when I was not looked at with that “hmm.. nice try but get a day job” look. I got to listen to a couple of really good writings especially one that was called spec’s and telephone poles – check out Kwani? 2007
It was in this literary mood that I inquired what one has to do to get published – I have this anthology that is in progress called Vertical Horizons (www.geocities.com/alkagsus/book.html) and I have been wondering these couple of years what I need to do to get me published.
I was told that there are no literary publishing agents in Kenya and that the publishing market is still too small and undeveloped to support them. The guys in the UK and the US are hard to get simply because, they have many writers in their stables and they usually take on only a couple of writers every year.
The difficulty is that even when your stuff is publishable enough to be a best seller, the writer has to think marketing (niching, branding and all those other Kotler-ish principles), be strategic and know someone who knows someone who knows someone who know someone ad infinitum to be published. In a sense the idea is to network heavily before your work can be published.
It is a sad situation and I reserve all views on the situation for now: they currently go against my own editorial policy.
There’s an oppotunity though.