Friday, March 11, 2016

"WE DON'T SELL NIGERIAN AUTHORS": SINMISOLA OGUNYINKA TALKS OF HER UNFAIR TREATMENT AT THE HANDS OF NIGERIAN BOOKSHOPS


Speaking with South African based writer; Sinmisola Ogunyinka, she talks about about her books and the efforts and challenges she faced trying to sell them in Nigeria. 



BLOG HOST: Let’s know you. 

SO: My name is Sinmisola Ogunyinka. I started self publishing in 2003. I have written 35 books, 17 of which have been self-published in paperback and hardback, others in eBook and kindle. I write Christian fiction so the genre itself is not popular amongst Nigerian readers. I’m fine with that. The genre will grow. 

BLOG HOST:  What other genre do you write?
 
SO:  I write a little of inspirational non-fiction but most of my books are Christian Romance and contemporary women’s fiction.

BLOG HOST: What was the name of your first book, what year was it published? 

SO: Sister Minister, 2003. 

BLOG HOST:  Tell your story, including the bookshops that turned you down and their reasons.
SO: I started self publishing in 2003. I don’t remember all the bookshops that turned me down because almost all the ones I went to did. But I do remember the very painful ones and the big names. Sister Minister was the one Edysil Book shop refused to even take a complimentary copy. Edysil Bookshop in Palm Groove told me they don’t sell Nigerian authors. Some of the bookshops took my books and never returned my money. Ipfy Konnections; Ikeja, Booksellers; Ibadan and Debonairs, Yaba. Also, Laterna Books asked me to submit a book for review about ten years ago and told me they’d get back after three months and never did. I went back several times but they kept posting me for another year or so. At least tell me you don’t want my book.

BLOG HOST: What year was this?  

SO: This was between 2003 and 2005/2006. These bookshops contributed to discouraging me in the early days of my writing. I can’t forget them, especially because they are big shops and names in bookselling. There have been many others who cheated or turned me down. So many.  Nowadays I sell my paperback on Jumia and Konga. At least they send me reports and remit. Then of course, I sell on Amazon’s kindle, Okadabooks, Smashwords, iBooks etc. I’m everywhere online. 

BLOG HOST: Are you at least making a profit, selling your books online? 
 
SO:  Sales are slow but I don’t get turned off for being a writer. At least I get to sell my books one by one, after trying the bookshops that failed me. 

BLOG HOST: Some writers wait ages before they get published.

SO:  I don’t even mind the wait but at least let me know what I’m waiting for. And please pay me for my work... that’s just so unfair! It’s not easy to write. You spend two years working on a book; someone picks it up and finishes reading it in a day! It’s no small task. What I do is pick up everything the traditional publishers do for my book and do it myself. My daughter did a colouring book for preschool kids. I sold about 500 copies myself, school to school. It was well packaged, editing was spot on, everything was done well. No excuses. The schools bought them. 

BLOG HOST: That’s really good. How old is she?
 
SO: She was 7 at the time. She’s 16 now. She now writes historicals and some contemporary fiction but we haven’t published any yet. My fault there. Too busy working for money (Laughs) 

BLOG HOST: Tell me a bit more about yourself. Do you have a day job? 
 
SO: My husband is a church planter and I chose writing as a career to enable me work and move with him when he had to. So I am a writer. I got trained by Jerry B. Jenkins through his Christian Writers’ Guild between 2010 and 2014. I got a B.Sc. in Economics from O.A.U (Obafemi Awolowo University) Ife, and I’ve worked on and off in accounting, office administration, real estate and human resources. Currently, I write full time. I work day and night writing (laughs)
I do editing for people, I ghost-write as well. I write movie scripts and this year I decided to start self-publishing services. I have ghost written three books so far. Edited tons of books for people. I teach writing too. I am currently working on several projects;
1.    Pitching two of my works to international traditional publishers.
2.    Converting my book- THE DAYS AFTER THAT NIGHT- into a screenplay.
3.    Writing with a writer/producer from Zimbabwe. 

My plate is quite full at the moment. I write best at night, where everywhere is quiet. During the day, I do Facebook and Twitter and Whatsapp (Laughs) 

BLOG HOST: What are the titles of some of your works? 

SO:   I have 4 series; Issues of Life Series- 5 books. Wisdom Series- 6 books. True Dream Series (Classic romance novellas for women) - 14 books. Revelation series- 1 book. Then I have contemporary women’s feature novellas:
-          The Days After That Night(2014)
-          Frail Flesh ( 2012)
-          Pepper (2009)
-          Scent of Water (2007)
-          To Where The Wind Blew (2004)
-          TISHA (2015)
 You can get them really cheap and in naira at okadabooks.com
 
BLOG HOST: When did you move to South Africa? Do bookshops sell some of your works there? 

SO:  I came to SA in 2014. I haven’t tried any of their bookshops here. I’m paranoid really. 

BLOG HOST:  What made writing your calling?

SO: I knew from the age of 10 I could write. I have a host of baby stories I wrote through secondary school. But marriage and family made me turn writing from a hobby to a career. 

BLOG HOST: Finally, what’s your favourite book? 

SO: I read a lot of romance and have come across many great ones. I don’t have a favourite book. I just love well written books. That said, I enjoyed the works of Francine Rivers, Frank Peretti, Sandra Brown and Linda Howard. 


 
Sinmisola Ogunyinka’s latest book ÌKA is available for pre-order at Amazon.com. Her previous works are available for sale at okadabooks.com, Smashwords and iBooks.

6 comments:

  1. Oh wow, woman of God, I am so proud of you. May God open doors for you and give you more wisdom. You are talented and very blessed!

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  2. We would love to have a tweet chat with you on okadabooks. Let's talk.

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    Replies
    1. That will be great. Thanks for the opportunity.

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  3. Nice interview and now I'm really inspired to do more. Well done ma'am

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    Replies
    1. Please do. We need more and more good writers. I assume you're a writer? Thanks for your kind comment.

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