Friday Tots – To Writers and Readers

Sorry it’s coming late and not on the usual platform. Here’s my Friday Tot for today. Please read and share.

TL

Write Right

If you are a writer, then hear this – the reader is not under an obligation read anything you wrote, no matter how brilliant it is. In the same way we must not kowtow to our readers for deeming it fit to read what we write, we must not develop an entitlement mentality about them reading our work. It is a choice they make, a choice to either spend their hard earned money, or very precious time on our work. And we must not forget this, ever. It’s one of the things that drives us to make our work better.

There is much competing for the reader’s attention. TV, radio, work, family, kids, surviving, other writers. We must continually seek to make our work not only what will win this battle for attention, but we must ensure that the effort they must take to get our work is drastically reduced. Remember the old adage that where the desirable is not available, the available becomes the desirable? It rings true in this case. The TV is a remote control away. Radio is now an earpiece away. So we must recognize this and apart from being agile enough to use these media to deliver our writing, we must also continue to creatively use whatever means that is available to get our writing to the people with minimal disruption to their schedules. Let me site an example – we publish a book and put it in the bookshops. Getting a book from the bookshop might hold a great experience for many avid readers, but the vast majority that I know in the main centers will only enter that bookshop if their schedule takes them there. They will probably not leave their houses, fuel their cars or take a bus solely to go to the bookshop to buy a book. These same people daily buy pirated copies of the works in traffic willingly for two main reasons. The first is that buying in traffic doesn’t disrupt their daily schedules. The second is of course cost considerations. Why therefore can we not produce low cost versions of our books and leverage the established distribution networks by getting them into the hands of the guys that sell in traffic. We can still keep the premium editions in the bookshops and cater to that market, while expanding to the new markets. And then deliver via mobile devices, via audio devices, expanding the market and form, while keeping the substance. That should be our aim. If nothing else sticks from this piece, it should be this – readers are not obliged to read our work; we have to create the desire and then deliver our work to them with ease.

And to the reader, it is important we appreciate our writers. The journey to being a renowned writer is a long arduous one, fraught with huge doses of frustration and self doubt. Many Nigerian writers have taken to blogging to put their work out there for a couple of reasons. One is the fact that many have tried to get published and have suffered rejection. They come to blog for self expression. They also come to prove to themselves that their writing is not as bad as the many rejections would have them believe. They come to build a brand and to give away free work, in the hope that when they do finally put out their published work, you would buy. So please when you read these free works on the blogs, be a teeny-weeny bit nice. Where you want to critique, try to be objective and specific. Try not to condemn the writer’s whole work for a single error in a single story. Remember that the writer might have a frayed ego and a fragile belief in their ability at that moment and that it isn’t easy to put yourself out there. Try not to generalize your criticisms. And where you have enjoyed the free work for a while, when the writer does pull the resources together to publish something, buy. There’ll be different options – you’ll probably be able to buy on mobile devices, in traffic, in bookshops, online from the various e-commerce sites like jumia, konga, lushdeals and dealdey. Whatever you do, in whatever form, the essential thing is that you buy that author’s work. Show that you value the author enough to spend your money on his/her work. Help spread the word about the work. It’s the least you can do.

In building this thing, both the readers and the writers have roles to play and mindsets that will need to change. One thing is certain though – there’s loads of writing going on in Nigeria and loads of reading going on too. Now, let’s make it profitable for the writers and enjoyable for the readers.

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12 thoughts on “Friday Tots – To Writers and Readers

  1. Thank you! This is exactly what writers and readers need to hear. I am sick of the excessive attention we are paying to the #nofreewriting campaign. It’s time we quit talking and start acting. Get better, develop yourself. When you feel you have become good enough to go commercial, by all means go. Amazon is there, all those online shopping people are there. Get working and sell your book. We need to stop blackmailing our readers and corporations. Like you said they don’t owe us. When we get where we shld be everything good will follow.

  2. Nice writeup big ups tunde, luvly piece as usual. Since I started reading ‎​your work right from finding hubby, I’ve been glued to evry writeup ‎​u brng out, and I must confess ‎​u rily do a gud job bro, 4 nw ‎​u n demola rewaju r ma best bloggers. Anoda tin dat rily baffles me is d way ppl criticize on d net dis days unintelligently and vulgarly. I knw ppl hv dia ryt 2 opinion and dia wud always b clashes of opinion, buh seriously sm ppl r nt suposd 2 evn b postin comments cos dey ‎​so go abt it d wrng way n in d wrng tone. Nice 1 tunde

  3. Seriously, this is really an eye opener to both readers and writers…if your work is CONSISTENTLY good and makes sense, you will be shocked at how things will turn up for the better. It may not be rossy at the beginning but bit by bit, everything will turn out good. T-leye and linda ikeji are perfect examples. Try to aim at “Zero error rate” and never drop your standard but always improve on it, no standard is too high to be met. Thks T-leye, a worthy motivator

    • I have been an avid reader of your blog from finding hubby and I have introduced all my few friends to your blog. I really appreciate everything piece I have read on your blog. Some one once said “people live just one life but a reader and a writer lives a thousand lifes”.
      I started reading when I was 6, and I knew I wanted to be s writer but for reason the patience to sit and write eludes me now I find my self in the finance institution and reading is the only way I calm myself after the day’s pressure.
      So I say kudos to you and all writers out there who makes my day and give me the opportunity to live more than life. #winks#

  4. You could start by proof reading your articles. Especially when it comes to languages u r not conversant with, do ur research n get d spellings right, especially the igbo names and words. Same goes for your guest writers.

  5. This is precisely what a lot of people need to hear, writers and readers alike. People aren’t under any mandate to read or like your work, it’s mostly up to you the writer to create a desire/demand for their work. But this doesn’t mean one should alter their “style” to suit or garner a particular reading audience, not that you shouldn’t make improvements and all, but at least preserve the originality of one’s work, as it is impossible for everyone to like you, even well renowned writers like Chinua Achebe, God rest his soul, and Chimamanda have people who don’t fancy their work, the phrase ‘one man’s food is another man’s poison applies here. And the part about the reader was just fabulous. You have a great blog by the way, not like you didn’t know this already. I’ve been a faithful reader for quite some time now but I don’t comment, on this I just had to. Thank you for this post.

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