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On Saturday, 21st of May 2016, a group of writers gathered at the Sleek Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, to learn the business of writing from Eghosa Imasuen, Adebola Rayo, Efe Paul Azino, Ike Nnaebue and Okechukwu Ofili.

connectnigeria writers' conference 2016 (11)

Only a few years ago, writing was anything but common as we have it today. However, advances in technology have brought many writers to the forefront of the business sector. Via blogs and websites, technology has given writers a platform to, in the words of Paul Azino, find their voice and have people connect to and feel the artist speaking for them.

Seeing what great potentials lie in writing, Connect Nigeria in 2014 initiated this corporate social responsibility to help aspiring writers achieve their dreams. The conference covers areas like publishing, editing, scriptwriting, poetry and writing as a business.

On publishing and editing, Dr Eghosa spoke about What You Should Know about How Your First Novel Will Be Published and Adebola Rayo on Why Every Writer Needs an Editor. These topics were handled from the perspective of traditional publishing. Hard as it may sound, criticisms from traditional publishing though tough, are very constructive. Tips taken from this duo with years of experience in Farafina prepare writers for traditional publishing. We took clues as we let them burst our bubbles with words like, “Every single story”, according to Eghosa, “has been told.” And Adebola says, “Sometimes, it takes 6 months to one year to finish a good story.”

connectnigeria writers' conference 2016 (Eghosa Imasuen)connectnigeria writers' conference 2016 (Adebola Rayo)

But the charismatic Ofili comes from a different point of view. Having successfully self-published three books, he encourages writers to get their books published. From his 10 Rules of Writing (which are no rules at all he assured), Rules no. 3 and 5 respectively state “The badly written book is better than the excellent bestseller stuck in your head” and “There is a battle between your internal editor and writer. Do not let the editor win.”connectnigeria writers' conference 2016 (106)

Many thanks to Seun Salami of Bookvine Publishers who struck the balance. There are upsides and downsides to both self and traditional publishing. A self-published author, for instance, may not be able to qualify for certain awards. Someone going for traditional publishing on the other side may have a hard time getting accepted too. So it is up to the writer to honestly decide what kind of publishing is good for them.connectnigeria writers' conference 2016 (102)

In all, whilst writers enjoy the art of writing, they should put into consideration the business. A huge part of funding your art depends on your pocket. Like Ike Nnaebue said, “Consider the budget of your market. A low budget doesn’t mean mediocre.”connectnigeria writers' conference 2016 (Ike Nnaebue)


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This article was first published on 24th May 2016 and updated on May 29th, 2016 at 5:56 am


Nnenna is an editor and writer at Connect Nigeria. She loves fine art, books and places.

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