Over-exploitation by publishers scares young writers – Author
An Abuja-based author, Mr Nnaemeka Okere, on Tuesday said that excessive exploitation of writers by publishers is hindering the growth of literary works in the country. Okere told journalists in Kaduna that young authors have been scared away by most publishers in the country.
“From my experience as an upcoming writer, publishers are not interested on the impact of literary works on the society; they are mainly interested in the money they make from writers. They are not involved in the distribution chain or help with the marketing. What they are interested in is pay them their money; collect your work and go.
“This is counter-productive, particularly in encouraging young talents. They need to do better than that if writers must be encouraged, otherwise literary writing would not be an interesting field that could attract talents,” he said.
Okere equally complained that most of the publishers were not interested in none fiction books. “Once your piece is none fiction, they will tell you point blank that they are not interested. For example, while working on my newly published book, ‘Blood at Noon.’ I approached some publishers, who charged me N800 per page for editing, before considering whether or not the book fits into the kind of book they publish. “And that is after they have collected their money for editing. Where is the encouragement?” he asked.
Okere said the federal government must intervene to encourage authors and strengthen the reading culture in the country. He said that government must promulgate a law that would remove the difficulties involved in publishing and make creative writing attractive.
He also called on government to set up publishing companies in all the states of the federation to provide services to young talents at affordable rates and offer other incentives to encourage writers.
The writer described “Blood at Noon” as a non-fiction masterpiece that reconstructed the bombing of Afor-Umuohiagu market in Ngor-Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State. He said that the bombing occurred at the heat of the Nigeria civil war on Feb. 7, 1969.
In the book, the author condemned the bombing of refugee camps, markets, churches, mosques, IDP camps and food sharing centres, among others, usually targeted for massive casualties during wars. “My goal is to bring to the fore the disregard for the rule of engagement and the provisions of the Geneva Convention during wars in which the defenceless and the displaced are made prime targets,” Okere said.