Authors urged to write more long tail books

Publishers and authors attending the launch of Khanyisile Madlala’s book, “Arrested by His Love”, have called for more authors to write long tail novels.

Long tail refers to the ability to produce high-quality content for a niche market. Speakers also encouraged authors to utilise the digital space, especially now during the COVID- 19 pandemic.

Printed books still remain the first option for the book lovers, despite the growing interest in eBooks. Niki Vetten has worked as a bookseller for decades. She believes that upcoming authors should explore the digital platform even more.

“Printing is very expensive, you’ve got to find the publisher who believes in you and wants to push your product but you can also self-publish. It’s also possible to publish online but then you should also look at print on demand services where people can print the copy of your book if they want to,” she says.

Speaking at the launch of her book, Madlala encouraged young writers to utilise all available platforms to grow.

“We are living in the life of content creation, we are living in a digital world. We are now spending more time in our homes so you just want to give people an extension of the book where you can just visualise and have the picture and again its part of content creation and its business,” she says.

“For us to be able to be in connection with the youth of today, we need to evolve with them and speak their language. Their language is not always on paper, their language is on their phones. I really prefer the digital space,” says publisher, Mdu Mathenjwa.

The shortage of good authors was cited as a big concern. Authors have also been encouraged to write books in their mother tongues.

Discussion on preserving African languages in the digital space:

– Report by Herbert Memela