10 Memorable Pieces of Literary Advice from Twitter

Over the years, Twitter has grown from just being a social network to a platform bursting with amazing ideas, brilliant opinions and a source for knowledge and learning. We find new perspectives and insights in tweets and threads and the literary sphere is not absent from all of this. Some of the best pieces of literary advice on writing and for writers this year are contained in tweets and threads.

In no particular order, these are 10 pieces of literary advice from Twitter that we can not forget.

1. Roxanne Gay on how to succeed as a writer and the myth of overnight success:

In this thread, one of the most influential writers of the year, Roxanne Gay, articulates her journey as a writer and how much work has gone into getting to where she is today. She reminds writers that the journey may be difficult, but never impossible.

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You can read the full thread here

2. J.K Rowling on rules of writing:

When a follower asks J.K Rowling, award winning author of the Harry Potter Series, amongst others what the rules of writing are for writers, she brilliantly replies with a truth writers need to hears – the only rule is what works for you. 

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Read the rest of the thread here.

 

3. Akwaeke Emezi on finishing your book manuscript

Starting a book can be relatively easy, but following through to the end is one of the hardest things. Recognising that this is a common struggle for writers, Akwaeke Emezi, author of soon to be released Freshwater (which will be published by Grove Atlantic in the U.S. and Farafina in Nigeria), breaks down her writing process, telling us how she finishes her book manuscripts and completes general goals.

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Read full thread here.

4. Matt Haig on reading

If there’s one thing you also are as a writer, it’s that you’re a reader. Before many of us became writers, we were first readers and being a writer shouldn’t change that. Matt Haig, author of Reasons to Stay Alive and a constant number one best selling author reminds us in one of the most beautiful threads this year on the power of books and the magic in reading.

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Read full thread here.

5. Carmen Maria Machado on advice to her younger self

We really can’t overemphasise the importance of reading for writers and Carmen Maria Machado, fiction writer, critic, and essayist whose work has appeared in the New YorkerGranta and elsewhere hammers on this in her tweet. For her, if she could go back in time and advice herself as a young writer, this is what she would say:

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See tweet here

6. Abubakar A. Ibrahim on advice to aspiring writers

Abubakar Ibrahim, award winning author of Season of Crimson Blossoms, gives sublime advice to aspiring writers in this tweet. If you’re looking to grow and develop as a writer, hold on to these words.

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7. Nnedi Okorafor on reading for pleasure

Still on reading (are you still in doubt of how important it is for you to read as a writer?), Nnedi Okorafor, international award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism, and author of Zahrah the Windseeker reminds writers of the importance of reading for pleasure and the ability to enjoy writing in this thread.

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8. Rae Chang on Filtering

Ever heard of filtering? We too, until we read Rae Chang’s thread on it. She is a young adult political fantasy writer, and editor who breaks down extensively what filtering is and how it affects your writing. If you’re looking to learn a thing or two as a writer or editor, read the full thread here.

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9. Nayyirah Waheed on the value of words.

Nayyirah Waheed, poet and author who has been described as one of the most famous poets on Instagram, reminds us in this tweet that our words, no matter how little can be valuable. So just write.

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10. Christopher Paolini on writing advice

Christopher Paolini, author of The Inheritance Cycle, sums up major advice for writers in this tweet. Figuring out how to go about writing can be confusing, but Christopher reminds writers to plan ahead, understand and move accordingly. The story will fall into place.

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There you have it! Did we miss out anything? What piece literary advice resonated with you this year? What do you wish you learnt earlier as a writer? Let us know.

Before You Send Out Your Manuscript

Dear Writer,

Writing is an act of self-exploration and submitting your work to a publisher can be the scariest act of your life. As publishers, we are aware of this and sympathetic. In the event that we select your work for publication, we would do our very best to make the process pleasant for the writer.

However, to increase the chances of your manuscript being picked up by a publisher, we advise that you adhere to the rules of grammar, punctuation and submission.

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Before You Send Out Your Manuscript

Some mornings, we log into the submissions account and there are hundreds of emails waiting to be read, most of them with manuscript excerpts. Unfortunately, our request for more hours in a day hasn’t been granted (yet), so we can’t afford to waste any of the 24 we get. If you are a writer submitting your work to a publishing house, here’s how you can make our lives (and the lives of other editors and editorial assistants) easier.

Do Not Show Off

Contrary to what your friends and family members might have told you, you’re not the best writer since Shakespeare or Soyinka. But even if you are extremely talented, we won’t read your manuscript unless your email contains a synopsis of your novel and an excerpt of reasonable length (we suggest three chapters). We do not want to read a list of every award you’ve won since Primary School. We know every book we’ve published; don’t list them in your email or tell us that your work is better than those of seasoned authors. Allow us to judge that.

The moment we see emails like the one below, we know we won’t download or read the submission.

“If kachifo would like peharps, a demonstration, i would e-mail them my worst poem and they will be bewildered by beauty and admiration my stock of quality can give. I do not beg because i know writers like me would catapault the industry. My goal: to exceed Ngozi Adichi, ECHEBE, WOLE SOYINKA and to messure above SHAKESPARE and MILTON. Please e-mail me! (Sic)”

Do Not Send Your First Draft

Do as much work as you can in cleaning up your manuscript before sending it in. Does your story flow? If we can’t make sense of it, we won’t read past the first paragraph or chapter. Spell check! It doesn’t say much about your commitment to the written word if your manuscript is riddled with grammatical errors.

Send a Synopsis

Besides doing all the work you can on your manuscript, do even more on your synopsis – it often determines if your manuscript will be read or not. We rarely spend more than a minute on each email. In that minute, we read the synopsis and decide if we should download the manuscript excerpt or not. Do not send your manuscript without a synopsis, and do not send your synopsis without a manuscript. Both are important! And please, do not send a link to your blog, telling us to read your works there. We can, but we will not.

Obey Instructions

Often, submission guidelines request that you send in a synopsis, and attach an excerpt from your work to the email. Your synopsis can be sent in the body of the email (we prefer this), but do not send your sample chapters in the body of the email. We don’t have the time or inclination to copy text from the body of an email into a Word document for offline reading. If we can’t download the excerpt for offline reading, we’ll forget about it. Save your excerpt as a Microsoft Word document and send it as an attachment to the mail. However, do not assume this is all a publisher will ask for. Every publisher is different. Find out the guidelines of the publisher you want to send your manuscript to and follow the guide to the letter! If you will not dedicate time to reading and following the guidelines, the editor will not dedicate time to reading your work.

Copy Editor vs. Fairy God Editor

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We are copy editors, not fairy god editors. There are no fairy god editors waiting in the wings, dedicated to turning ALL writers’ rags into fine cloth. We won’t edit your story and send it back to you “even if it won’t be published.” Also, it’s very unlikely that we’ll to send you an email when we are done reading your excerpt just to tell you what we didn’t like about it… jeez. There are simply too many submissions and like we said, there aren’t enough hours in the day.

So if you don’t get a response within 8 weeks, it means Kachifo will not be publishing your work under our Farafina imprint but we wish you all the best.

Here are our submissions guidelines:

To have your work considered for publication by Kachifo Limited, please send an email to submissions@kachifo.com, including a strong excerpt of about three chapters or 10,000 words saved in Microsoft Word, a one-page synopsis of the work, and a short author bio. (Note that a synopsis is not the same as a blurb or a teaser. A synopsis should contain ‘spoilers’, and should give a summary of the entire story, including and especially how it ends.)

The sample of the manuscript should be properly formatted (double-spaced, left-justified only, 12pt Serif font). Our preferred font is Courier New.

Introduce yourself and your work in the query letter in the body of the email. The subject of your email should be the title of your manuscript followed by the word “Submission”. Your submission will be acknowledged and assessed by our editors. We will respond within eight weeks if we are provisionally interested in publishing your work.

At this time, Kachifo Limited is not accepting unsolicited poetry or non-fiction submissions. The submissions window will be re-opened on the 31st of December, 2017.

Please note that we only accept submissions via email to submissions@kachifo.com. We do not accept hard copy submissions.

Unsolicited submissions sent to other Kachifo email addresses may be overlooked. Hard copy submissions will not be acknowledged or returned.

Please see the FAQs or email submissions@kachifo.com for further information on how to publish with us.

If you would like to know more about Prestige, our publishing services imprint, visit www.prestige.ng

All the best!

‘Freshwater’ by Akwaeke Emezi on ‘Best Books of 2017’ list

Freshwater, the eagerly anticipated debut novel by Akwaeke Emezi was recently listed as one of The Guardian’s ‘Best Books of 2017’.

Freshwater will be published by Grove Atlantic in the U.S in February 2018, and by Farafina in Nigeria in June 2018.

New York Times bestselling author of ‘Ghana Must Go’ , Taiye Selasi, describes Freshwater as ‘…sexy, sensual…’.

 

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Praise for Freshwater:

“Freshwater is a clarion call to those of us who find that our minds are more haunted and complex than that of the status quo. In exquisite, unearthly prose, Akwaeke Emezi renders the ordinary strange and the strange, ordinary—making Freshwater the most stunning debut novel I’ve read in years. An unforgettable literary experience.””

— Esmé Weijun Wang, author of ‘The Border of Paradise’, winner of the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, and one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists.

“In Emezi’s remarkable debut novel, Freshwater, we enter the lives of our protagonist, starting in Nigeria and ending in the United States. Every page is imbued with radiant prose, and a chorus of poetic voices. With a plot as alive and urgent as it is relatable, Freshwater is also solidly its own, brims with its unique preoccupations. Never before have I read a novel like it — one that speaks to the unification and separation of bodies and souls, the powers or lack thereof of gods and humans, and the long and arduous journey to claiming our many selves, or to setting our many selves free.”

— Chinelo Okparanta, author of ‘Happiness Like Water’ and ‘Under The Udala Trees’, winner of 2014 and 2016 Lambda Literary Awards, and one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists.

More information on the author website here.

 

 

An Igbo Elegy on Hearing of the Passing Away of Professor Chinua Achebe By Chimamanda Adichie

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Ife mee.
Nnukwu ife mee.
Chinua Achebe anabago.

Onye edemede nke di egwu,
onye nnukwu uche,
onye obi oma.

Keduzi onye anyi ga-eji eme onu?
Keduzi onye anyi ga-eji jee mba?
Keduzi onye ga-akwado anyi?

Ebenebe egbu o!
Anya mmili julu m anya.
Chinua Achebe, naba no ndokwa.
O ga-adili gi mma.
Naba na ndokwa.

    -Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Translation

A tree has fallen.
A mighty tree has fallen!
Chinua Achebe is gone.

The inimitable wordsmith,
the sage,
the kind man.

Now who is there for us to boast about?
Who will be our rampart?
How are the mighty fallen!

My eyes are in flood with tears.
Chinua Achebe may your soul rest in peace.
It is well with you.
Rest in peace.

Translation by Mazi Nnamdi Nwigwe