On the last day of the workshop, guest speaker, Oscar Ranzo, shared with participants ten tips of making money from your writing and publishing.
Oscar Ranzo is a Fellow of the International Writing Programme at the University of Iowa, USA. He is the author of twenty children’s books as the well as the popular Adventures of Babi and Bobi. In 2012, he started a literary social enterprise, the Oasis Book Project, with the major aim of sparking interest in local literature – by publishing children’s books with high literary and artistic standards and selling them cheaply to schools and parents.
In 2014, Ranzo won the ‘Enterprising Teachers’ Award from The New Vision-Uganda`s leading newspaper, for the positive impact of the Oasis Book Project to the education sector in Uganda. In 2018, his book, The Jewels of Amuria, won the award of Children’s Book of the Year and in the same year he was hired by Ladybird Books as a consultant on their Key Words for Africa book project.
The following are the tips that he gave the participants on how to make money from their writing and publishing.
Study the entire book publishing process.Your books must meet the standard of traditionally published books. Know the editing and the printing process of books. It is also important to understand the legal matters surrounding the process.
Identify your audience .Be more specific about the audience you’re targeting. Know their likes and dislikes.
Know your competition.Your competition is not the other self-published writers; your competition are the big traditional publishing houses. So your book must be up to the standard of these houses.
Know your value.As a creative, you and your work are more valuable than money. Know your value so you don’t undersell yourself. When negotiating, never be the first one to mention the price, let the other party give an offer first.
Treat yourself as a company.Look into getting receipts, delivery notes, contracts, invoices and professionalize everything.
Acquire business management skills.Start by tracking your business income and expenditures. Acquire negotiation skills, understand debt management. Use the internet, it has wonderful resources on business. Get a business mentor.
Write, write and write.To make money as a writer, you have to write. So write and write well because books sale books.
Produce work in series.Producing work in series helps to prolong a story and has your readers coming back for more and more of your books.
Partner with the big players in the industry.Find out who is in your business and find ways of collaborating with them.
Get a good writing name. Oscar explained that Ranzo is not his real name. It is a mirror image of his name Oscar, a palindrome. Ranzo is the name that sold him and continues to sell him. So a good writing name is very important.