Monday, January 30, 2012

Jonathan Franzen's Nonsense about Ebooks

In an article published in The Telegraph online, author Jonathan Franzen attempts to make the point that somehow ebooks will lead to the downfall of society. Franzen says ebooks have no permanence and therefore cannot be equated in any way to a printed book. Apparently he's never heard of the concept called fire but then he does seem to be a man who's come forth from an age far more rigid and stupid than the one we currently reside in.

Most will know Franzen as the man who poo-pooed Oprah's Book Club saying he didn't want his book included in it for fear it was painted with the wrong brush. My hatred for such literary snobbishness is well known. And he continues in this vein with this gem-

Link"I think, for serious readers, a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience. Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn’t change."

The point here being that readers of ebooks are not serious readers, they are something less than he and his pals- the white, western, male gang who control the gates of the literary world.
The reactionary Franzen goes on to say:

"I think the combination of technology and capitalism has given us a world that really feels out of control. If you go to Europe, politicians don’t matter. "

And not only is the impermanence of an ebook bad for literature, its technology (and all other technology) will lead to the downfall of the world. Yeah right. That's the problem. I won't even touch on why politicians are suppose to matter in a democracy where people are supposed to be at the centre. Another discussion all together.

I see things from a different angle. Ebooks and the internet are leveling a VERY uneven playing field and people like Mr Franzen are shaking in their boots, rightly so. Technology is allowing freedom and democracy to push its way into the publishing arena. I don't see any way that is a bad thing.

Perhaps you have another view???? Link

Friday, January 27, 2012

FEMRITE Workshop Looking for Participants

Call for Submissions for the 4th FEMRITE Regional Women Writers’ Residence November 2012

Uganda Women Writers Association (FEMRITE) calls for submissions for her 4th Regional Women Writers Residence to be held in November 2012. This is an inspiring initiative that brings together upcoming African women writers. The main objectives of the residency are:
• To bring established writers to mentor upcoming African women writers
• To give upcoming Ugandan women writers the opportunity to interact with women writers from the continent
• To give African women writers conducive space and time pursue their writing projects
• To create opportunities for inter-cultural discourse among women writers
• To strengthen collaboration among women writers’ initiatives in Africa
• To generate short stories for publication in an anthology

At the end of the residence, we expect the writers to have:
• had mentoring sessions with an established writer
• improved at least one of their writing projects
• enriched each other’s manuscripts through discussion
• submitted their improved short story for the residency anthology

How to apply
Interested women are required to submit;
• Part of a novel / short Story collection in WORD document (40 pages, typed in Times New Roman, font 12, 1.5 spacing).
• A short story for publication in the residency anthology
• A brief bio (not more than 10 lines)

This call is open to African women living on the continent. Writers already attached to writers groups in their countries are encouraged to apply.

Deadline for submissions is 30th April 2012

Please Note:
1. All applicants will receive notification by email once their manuscripts are received.
2. The Residency targets 15 writers
3. The Residency will last two weeks in November 2012
4. Successful applicants will be notified by 30th August 2012.
5. Successful published applicants will be kindly requested to donate copies of their works to the FEMRITE Resource Centre
6. Applicants should not have published more than one book.
7. FEMRITE will solicit support to meet costs of travel, accommodation, & meals.

For inquiries and submissions, please email

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Former World Cup Icon Throws Weight Behind Botswana in Ghana - Botswana AFCON Opener

In a surprise twist of events today, former 2010 World Cup icon, Bokumi (formerly known as Zakumi), confirmed that he has thrown his substantial weight behind Botswana's Zebras in tonight's Group D opening match at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON). In an exclusive interview with Thoughts from Botswana, Bokumi said, "The Zebras have what it takes to bring the Black Stars of Ghana to their knees."

This will be the Zebra's debut at AFCON having been the first team on the continent to qualify for the tournament and recently voted Africa's Team of the Year. Despite this, "misguided" ( Bokumi's words) commentators have dismissed the team as inconsequential to the results of the tournament.

Pundits have the Ghanaian team as favourites in the match but this does not deter Bokumi. "Who ever thought a yellow and green lion with , frankly, a pretty creepy grin, would have been chosen to be the mascot for a massive event like the World Cup? Underdogs, you need to keep your eye on them. They're slippery and they've got a point to prove."

Though famous prophets like TB Joshua have shied away from making predictions for tonight's match, Bokumi is willing to put his money where his mouth is. "2-1 in favour of Botswana."

Friday, January 20, 2012

Zebras Make Debut at AFCON in Style

Botswana's national football team will have its debut match at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Tuesday. After years of being the underdogs of the continent, they have had a magical year by first qualifying for AFCON for the first time in their history and most recently being named Africa's Team of the Year. On Tuesday in their first match of the tournament, they meet with the fierce Black Stars of Ghana.

Another first for our national football team is that they will be wearing kits designed by a homegrown company, our very own All Kasi! So not only will they play fantastic, they will look fantastic too.

I wish the boys the best of luck! SHAPA ZEBRAS SHAPA!!!!Link

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Literary Magazine in Botswana Looking for Submissions

Kalahari Review Looking For Submissions

The Kalahari Review is interested in material exploring Africa and Africans in unique and avant-garde ways. We are looking for stories that have not often been told but should be – through voices that have not yet been heard - but should.

We hope to push the limits and expose the world to aspects of Africa not often shown - both the positives and the negatives.

We are also interested in pieces about and from Africans living abroad as well.

Because this is a web-based publication there are no word count restrictions.

Compensation will be paid on publication.

Thank you for being a part of this project and good luck.

All submissions should be emailed to:

Fiction, Poetry, Essays, and Humor pieces: Should be sent as a PDF or WORD attachment and should be accompanied by a proper query letter. Please include your contact details including full name, postal address, e-mail and telephone number in the body of the query letter.

Photos, Art Work and Cartoons Portfolios: Should be sent as a PDF, JPG. or PNG attachments and should be accompanied by a proper query letter. Please include your contact details including full name, postal address, e-mail and telephone number in the body of the query letter. (Note: this area particularly the publication is interested only in avant-garde content. We are not interested in ordinary wildlife or landscapes. Portraits will be considered if they have a unique quality to them.)

Feature articles, Profiles, Conversations and Interviews: Please attach your pitch letters as a PDF or WORD attachment. Please include any photos or graphic illustrations that you feel would help your pitch. Please include your contact details including full name, postal address, e-mail and telephone number in the body of the letter.

Note: Please thoroughly check your submissions for proper formatting, grammar and punctuation. Gross errors in these areas will seriously damage any works consideration for publication.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

He Made $100,000 on Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing- in 3 weeks!

Joe Konrath is a huge proponent of self publishing. He has predicted the last days of traditional publishing (or legacy publishing as he calls it). He sees no reason for authors to continue along the traditional publishing route. He claims we don't need publishers anymore, especially with such programmes as Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) at Amazon. Link
Today on his website he has posted a royalty statement for the last three weeks (!?!) showing that he has made $100,000 in royalties. He has many titles but still there is no way you can't find that impressive. I doubt most big name authors make that quarterly let alone in three weeks.

Over the holiday I did a bit of research about KDP for my column. I think the one thing that bothers me is the 30% taken by the US Tax Department. Apparently Botswana has no tax treaty with America. But I guess if you compare that to 80 + % publishers take it's not so bad.

I have a few books I think might work at KDP, I'm really thinking about giving it a try. Of course I'm still held back by the stigma of self publishing. I know it's crazy because even mega-writers like Stephen King and JK Rowling are self publishing their own ebooks.

Maybe the frustration of having 16 (yes 16, I counted today) published books and barely making a liveable wage might be enough to push me to a new way of thinking.

What do you think?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Trust Your Readers

Last night I stayed up late to finish The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. It was a good book but there was something about it that annoyed me- the repetition.

The book is about a woman who gives birth to twins. It's a snowstorm and her doctor husband and his nurse are the only ones in the delivery room. It is 1964 and she is knocked out during the delivery as was common at the time. The first baby is born, a healthy boy, but then the second is born, a girl with Down's Syndrome. The father decides that the nurse should take the baby to an institution and that he will tell his wife that the baby was dead at birth.

We read this scene early in the book but parts of it are repeated over and over. It is as if the author doesn't trust that you'll remember it. Yes the scene is critical, more reason that it will be remembered. As I was reading last night, I was becoming more and more annoyed. And it is not just this scene that is repeated. The book might have been significantly shorter had the author and the editor trusted the readers.

Readers remember everything. If you've accidentally changed the colour of your protagonist's house, readers will spot it. Even if it is only mentioned once. It's okay to mention aspects of critical scenes again, but to repeat the entire thing over and over just becomes tiresome. Trust your readers and respect that they will follow your story.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Last Hike of 2011

We took our last hike of 2011 on New Year's Eve Eve near Bonwapitse, a small village not far from Mahalapye. There was a lovely rock hill we climbed up. I took this photo about halfway up.

We found this interesting plant growing in one of the crevices up in the rocks. Does anyone know its name? I'd never seen it before.

Mr K up on the hill. My camera is not very good with distance but we were high up in the tree tops.

The rocks had beautiful coloured lichen on them: blacks, reds, oranges and blue.

Hikes in the bush and the lands around Mahalapye are one of my favourite things. There are so many places to discover. Hoping 2012 is full of many hikes.