How Authorpreneurs in Kenya Can Connect and Gain Loyal Followers

As an authorpreneur in Kenya, you may be wondering how to connect your brand (you as an author) to your target audience in order to gain loyal followers who will not only purchase your books; but also share your fiction works with their friends and networks as well. You will need to apply a kind of marketing called inbound marketing in which you attract, convert, sell and delight your target audience. There are various ways of engaging with your target audience and achieving those four goals. Today I want to share four effective ways in which an authorpreneur can do so.

Authorpreneur 101 pic

1. Create a blog and post on it consistently
As a fiction writer if you don’t already have a blog, you need to create one right away. There are many reasons why any brand should have a blog, and for a fiction writer such as yourself – this applies to your brand as well. It is a very effective way of connecting with your audience; as well as sharing your sample fiction works and updates about your brand or any other interests you would like to share. You can write short stories in your blog which your audience can read to get a better understanding of your talent and style of writing as well as the genre in which you write in. A great example is this blog on Romance in Nairobi. You can also choose to share helpful and relevant information in any topic; whether it is geographical information about locations you write about, or helpful tips to writers who are beginning to write fiction stories. This is your own space online that will attract your target audience and let them know more about yourself and possibly convert them to become your loyal followers.

2. Create social media pages and engage with your audience
Once you attract your audience, it’s very important to engage and interact with them. The best way to do this is on social media since that’s where most of them are as well. If you don’t already have accounts, create pages for your brand in which you will connect and engage with your audience. You can choose two or three social sites that you feel comfortable to start with, instead of opening numerous accounts that you cannot keep up with. Examples are; creating a Facebook page for your brand image, opening a Twitter account and then you can add another social media site such as Pinterest or LinkedIn depending on whether you want a visual based social site or you want to network with other authors. You don’t have to get a third social media account, if you are comfortable with only two, stick with that. Make sure you post consistently on your social media sites and use the 80/20 rule; 80% helpful and engaging material and 20% promotion on your brand products i.e. Fiction books.

Elly Kamari - Author FB page

Elly Kamari – Author FB page

3. Create accounts on self-publishing sites
As a writer, you need to be available in sites that are used in your industry because that is where majority of your target audience will be as well. Two main examples of these sites are Smashwords and Amazon. They are important since they sell fiction books to their customers and this is a ready market for you to attract. This is very important especially if you are a self-publishing fiction writer. If you don’t already have accounts in these sites, make sure you open them as soon as possible. You will be able to create a profile for your brand as well as share your writing to your target audience as well.

Self publish on smashwords.com

Self publish on smashwords.com

4. Visit industry-related events and festivals
As a fiction writer, it is necessary to connect with other writers in your genre and area; as well as readers who have a major interest in your industry. Great places to connect with such people are poetry and spoken word events, festivals such as the Storymoja Hay Festival which offers a chance to meet great authorpreneurs in various genres and master-classes that offer insightful discussions and information on various industry-related topics. These kinds of events will be visited by both your potential target audiences – avid readers interested in meeting authors and learning more about their interests. You will also meet and network with other authors; those who have been in the industry for long or new fiction writers beginning to write seriously such as yourself. Therefore ensure you are always on the look out for such events; so make sure you attend the Storymoja Hay Festival in the Nairobi Museum starting on the 17th of September this month.

Come to the Storymoja Hay Festival in Sept. 2014

Come to the Storymoja Hay Festival in Sept. 2014

Get started on doing the above things and you will be on your way to creating a strong and loyal following for your brand as an authorpreneur in Kenya.

Do you have any other sites or tips for authorpreneurs to visit or follow? Please feel free to share below.

This post appeared originally on the Storymoja Hay Festival Blog

5 Target Audiences that Authorpreneurs in Kenya Can Select for Their Books

If you are a fiction writer in Kenya and you decide to become an authorpreneur, you might wonder how to get started. The best thing to do when you decide to become one, is to think exactly how you would if you were starting a business – because technically, that’s what you’re doing. Therefore; it would make sense to select a target market for your book. The reason why you should select a target market for your writing is because, no business or brand can be able to cater for the needs of everyone at the same time; therefore, it makes sense to select a specific group of readers in whom you can concentrate on and produce material which will interest and attract them. This will in turn lead them to purchase more of your books. As a writer, the way to select a target audience is by selecting a genre to write in; maybe you already write in a specific genre already – that’s wonderful. However if you don’t really have any one genre you write in, you need to select one in which you will be writing the fiction material you intend to market. This will help you in focusing your marketing and sales activities which will in turn, save you costs and resources which you will allocate effectively in the right platforms.
Here are some genres you can choose to write in and can even be focused to a specific geographical location if you wish to focus your target audience.

1. Romance
This is the highest selling genre in fiction writing (Romance Writer’s of America Association’s reported figures of Simba Information Estimates) and a lot of self-published writers in Kenya basically write in this genre. You can choose to write in this genre and focus on your target audience more by choosing to write Romantic Comedy; which is a light-hearted story detailing a romantic story and complications that arise in relationships. You can also choose to write a Historical Romance, which is a romantic story in a historical setting. You can also choose to focus on geographical setting, such as Romance in Nairobi, where you write a romantic story detailing a relationship that is based mainly in Nairobi where the characters meet. A great example of a fiction writer in Kenya who writes in this genre is Elly Kamari on her blog. This is a great audience to target since most romance readers are loyal fans; if they read from a talented author who satisfies them, they stay loyal to the author and constantly buy their books when published. Great examples of international authors with loyal readers in this genre are Danielle Steel and Nora Roberts.

Danielle Steel is one of the top Romance authors internationally

Danielle Steel is one of the top Romance authors internationally

2. Crime/Mystery
This is another top selling genre in fiction writing as international authors such as John Grisham can attest to with also a large loyal following (myself included – I have read all his books but one; and it was because it was not in his usual genre). This is usually a story detailing a crime that is commissioned or the investigation of a crime and the solution. For those readers who are not fans of romance, you will find that a majority of those audiences will choose to read mystery novels. There is quite a large following of mystery novel readers in Kenya and it’s another genre that would do well. You can choose to focus it once again by choosing a geographical location such as East Africa or Africa itself to create a niche for yourself as an authorpreneur in Kenya.

3. Horror
This is also in the top five selling genres in the world, the fifth to be specific (Romance Writer’s of America Association’s reported figures of Simba Information Estimates). It also has quite a following not only internationally but in the Kenyan audience as well. I was a die-hard Stephen King fan in my teenage years and read most of his books; I was fascinated by the genre. It has a particularly loyal audience that search out authors who become popular or are great writers; you would not lack for a market in this genre. If you don’t already know, Horror Fiction is about a story that incorporates supernatural and/or inexplicable elements and is intended to arouse fear and dread. A Kenyan who writes in this genre is Peter Nena on his Demogorgon Fiction Blog, he has very detailed stories that evoke dread and horror to his readers; his stories keep you at the edge of your seat.

4. Fantasy Fiction
This is a rather broad genre that can be focused into other specific genres due to its popularity and diversity. Fantasy fiction often details a story involving imaginary beings in the real world or in an alternate reality and assuming suspension of disbelief about magic and/or supernatural powers. This is an appropriate description for the book series – Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling. There are readers who like a fantastical twist to fiction and it’s a large audience out there as well; therefore, you can pick this genre, write in it and make it your own.

The 'Harry Potter' book series by J.K.Rowling is a very popular Fantasy fiction genre

The ‘Harry Potter’ book series by J.K.Rowling is a very popular Fantasy fiction genre

5. Science Fiction
Science Fiction is about stories that feature how science and technological advances affect individuals and civilizations. This is another genre that has a loyal audience internationally and even in Kenya. I also went through a science fiction phase myself and was an avid Arthur C. Clarke reader for about two years. If you like writing in this genre, you most definitely have an audience out there and you can once again, focus your niche in Africa if you wish to create your own niche.

Now that you know five target audiences you can write for, go out there and start connecting with them. Start your journey on becoming a successful authorpreneur in Kenya.

This post was originally published on the Storymoja Hay Festival Blog.

4 Reasons Why You Should Select A Target Market For Your Business

Before you start a business, you should write a business plan. A part of the business plan includes selecting a target market for your product or service. I have recently noticed that a lot of small business owners in Kenya, especially the youth, don’t have business plans. A lot of them don’t even have or really know who their target market consists of. Today I will state a few reasons why any business person in Kenya should select a target market or audience. By selecting a target market you are able to work on giving the best service or product quality to your customers and save money spent on advertising to the wrong people. Selecting a target market has helped me in my business especially when my marketing budget is very small or sometimes, almost non-existent.

1. You cannot satisfy everyone out there, it’s not possible
As much as a business owner, you would like to sell to everyone, you can’t. People are different and they have different habits, likes, dislikes etc. Therefore, the most logical thing is to find out what problem you are solving in your business, and then identify what kind of people are looking to solve the same problems in their lives and sell them your product or service. When you do that, you are able to create a marketing strategy that appeals and attracts your target market/audience. Which means you are in turn able to engage with them and make a sale.

Select a target customer

Select a target customer

2. To create marketing that appeals to your customers
These days the majority of business owners have discovered that they have to attract potential customers by providing helpful content and engaging with them. This is called inbound marketing. In order for inbound marketing to be effective, you have to create marketing that will attract your target audience – marketing that they will love. To create content that your audience will love, you have to know some characteristics about them. When you do, you will be able to create content that will help them in their lives, content that will appeal to them emotionally and lead them to engage with your business or brand. For any of that to be effective, you have to know your target and their likes and dislikes.

Create loveable marketing!

Create loveable marketing!

3. You will create a marketing strategy that is within your budget
If you are a small business or want to start a small business, your marketing budget will be smaller to start with. You should make sure you allocate money to your marketing budget; no matter how little it is to start with. You can then gradually work on creating a larger budget because marketing will always be very important for your business’ success. When you identify who your target market is, you are able to concentrate your marketing in the correct mediums that your audience uses. This saves you money and time that you may have spent on the wrong mediums or numerous ways of trying to attract anyone out there.

Stay within your marketing budget

Stay within your marketing budget

4. You will improve your product and/or service and therefore better serve your customers
By targeting a specific market, you are able to create a better product and service for your customers. As you engage with your target market, you will gain better insight on their needs and improve your product or service to fit them. You can also be able to create other products or supporting services to continue serving your customers. This will also open up another revenue stream for your business which is a good thing in the long run.

If you have a small business, especially in Kenya and you have not selected or identified your target market. I urge you to please sit down and figure it out today. It is imperative for your business’ success and in order for you to have happy, satisfied customers as well. If you have any questions on the topic please let me know.

These are just a few reasons why you should select a target market, if you have some other helpful reasons that you have discovered in your small business experience – please feel free to share below.