Many authors in Ghana sell just a little over 100 copies of their books. Many only end up giving their books off to family and friends. For those who get speaking engagements, they give out these books at very low cost. The truth of the matter is, the average Ghanaian author barely ever recovers the total cost of producing their books. What are the reasons?
1 Poor marketing
Many authors believe, rather falsely, that once they have a good book, it should sell for itself. However, like any other product, until a vigorous marketing plan is drawn and well executed, the books lie without much patronage.
Many authors have been unable to leverage the use of social media to their advantage. In essence, they put in little to no effort in marketing and selling their books.
2 Poor design and print quality
A majority of authors pay little attention to design. Little do they know that cover page design and interior decoration speak volumes about the book. If one is publishing a book for professionals, the choice of design, fonts, and even interior decor will differ from when writing for children, for example. These are fundamental elements that many authors ignore.
Another closely linked challenge is the poorly printed books which are found on the market. When one should make a comparison between foreign printed books and those on the local market written and printed by Ghanaians, there is a wide gap between the two; with the foreign printed books of far better print quality than those of local authors.
This has less to do with the use of sophisticated printing equipment employed abroad. The situation centres on authors’ failure to seek print services from publishing companies known for quality print work.
The truth of the matter is that, the average book buyer assesses books on many grounds before they make a purchase. As such, chances are, books authored by Ghanaians stand less chance of meeting the often strict assessment by buyers.
Most Ghanaian authors are only interested in having their thoughts on paper without much thought to the quality in which they are presented in print form.
3 Lack of online visibility and personal branding
Sadly, many authors have poor online visibility. In our bid to gather data and the contacts of authors that we could call on and advertise this training programme to them, we had very scanty information about them. In similar vein, this is exactly what anyone looking for these authors will face if they had heard of them and wanted to follow up with an online search.
Ironically, most of these authors writing in a modern era of technological breakthrough still hold on to their old and traditional ways of avoiding the Internet. Our training programme will equip authors with tools on how to become more visible online.
- Having the philosophy that, “Ghanaians don’t read”
It is ironic that most Ghanaian authors have the impression that, “Ghanaians don’t read.” But over and again, we (Hetura Books Company Limited) have proven that such philosophy wrong by the impressive sales records we make monthly. We would rather want to see the case as being, Ghanaians are still in the process of taking up the culture of reading as a lifestyle. Authors should redefine their working philosophies of their basic market audience, so as to enjoy the luxury of selling more and more.
In view of all such challenges, Hetura Books, an indigenous publishing company based in Tema presents the Hetura Author Training Programme (HATP).
HATP will be an annual training programme organised for leading authors in Ghana, Africa, and other parts of the world.
The idea behind the organisation of the training programme is to equip leading authors who need answers to selling more books and reaching more audience with tried-and-tested principles on creating their author platforms, designing and executing effective book marketing strategies targeted at the right audience.
The training programme aims at having the best of authors who have a solid track record of selling thousands of copies of their books and professionals in the book industry as trainers. Trainers will also span from fields such as graphic design, editing, and book marketing. These professionals are meant to train participant authors on how design, quality of language in writing, and marketing, lead to achieving the goal of selling thousands of copies of books, annually.