You are young. And you have been saddled with the somewhat overrated tag of ‘WRITER’.
In your fledgling writing dexterity, you struggle for a voice. You try to get some of your writings to the world’s attention.
Every writer, especially ones from a country as digitally obscured as your country, tries to get into the good books of any publishing house they find, even if the contents that the said publishing outlets accept are most times mired in too many political considerations, personal likes and financial potentials.
But still, you join the already-bursting league of young writers—if you can be called that—hunting for a place to dump their articles, reviews, poetry, and countless other things that interest a writer’s psyche, hoping that someday someone might find them somehow.
You are truthful to the trade. Because at age 17 you made up your mind to write, not minding that writers, who depend solely on writing—except the ones that can lick the grimy boots of any politician—are poor in your country. You write every day, hunting muses in places that seem ridiculous even to your friends.
Your ‘unsmart’ phone is filled with your poems and articles. You even own these dog-eared diaries that harbor your other scribbles.
You ogle every published writer you meet, trying to know the publishing platforms that offer spaces for young writers. You do not mind anyone. Of course, beggars have no choice.
You do not care if it is a reputable or senseless journal, magazine, website, or blog. No! All you want is the visibility.
You stumble on a literary festival that holds yearly in Abeokuta. Eagerly, you anticipate November, when you can join the train of youngsters attending AKE Arts and Books Festival, where you hope to be initiated into the fraternity of writers.
You hear of the call for volunteers. You apply for it, without looking back.
You get lucky. Your application is accepted, and you are volunteering for the festival in 2014. The good things is that; minus the N5, 000 and free accommodation and transportation it pays, the festival boasts of an assortment of publishers and writers to come. You cannot wait to meet publishers. Remember that you need a place to thrash the contents of your jotters and phone—the unsmart one—somewhere.
After AKE festival, armed with an impressive knowledge of publishers and other publishing outlets, you start churning out works in hundreds. You send to every journal and magazine on your list. You really are hopeful. It seems like your dreams of becoming an accomplished writer is closer. You keep sending. You do not stop sending.
Then the REJECTIONS!!!
There are two faces to rejections. The good one is that it nudges you to keep working on your art. The bad one is that it shatters your confidence, and you want to doubt your abilities, especially when you see young writers like yourself getting published in places where you hope to.
But with your dreams almost shattered into smithereens, you keep on. You will not be deterred by something as intangible as rejections.
You edit your works. You keep editing, and editing, and editing. You share with some ‘accomplished’ writers and they tell you some of your works are good. You smile. You are spurred to do more. In fact, at that point, you sift through your list and fish out some publishing spaces. Those ones will get your works that day.
You send your works out again. This time more hopeful than the previous time you did.
Not that you are outrightly rejected by all of the publishers. But the feedback was poor. You weep that night. Your dreams are fizzling, it seems.
But when you are a product of an impoverished background, and education—which birthed your writing—is the only escape out of poverty, you do not give up easily. You cannot give up at all—you do not have such luxury.
You ponder on what is wrong with your art. Then you discover—after discussions with some ‘big boys’ in the writing clique—that some of these publishers accept writings based on their personal preferences and not the quality of work.
For some of them, whether good or superb, if your work does not have the potentials for attracting shares and likes, you do not stand a chance.
You learn about the clandestine politics that abound in the literary publishing sector. Then you come up with a plan—your plan—which does not have to be perfect. You will not send your works to any journal or website that tells you to “read our previous issues for the kind of works that we publish”. You will not be subjected to dancing to the parochial music of someone whose only claim to power is that he/she has the means to own a publishing outlet.
You make up your mind. There’s no going back now. No going back.
In your frustration, you hear about a new platform that allows for publishing without hassles. At first, you think it is the same devil in a different kind of ‘Prada’. You do not take them serious.
The fact that you miss out on being selected for their writing workshop last year almost validated what you feel about the platform.
But you decide to give them a shot. You explore the website and, in a crazy way, you discover that the platform is everything you ever wanted.
It offers you a place to write and publish your stories, poems, articles, reviews and all, without bothers. All you do is create a profile, and you publish.
The platform also furnishes you with the kind of visibility that you crave. Like in the case of yours truly, where a mail from Ynaija informs of the intention to republish a story already published on the platform.
You smile. You are happy beyond words can express. You jump up in the room you share with your friend. He wonders why you have gone mad again so early that Saturday. He doesn’t understand. Or maybe he does.
A year gone and you are still thankful for the people who thought it wise to create a free platform for publication, and do not solicit the regular pandering and vain-worshipping that most owners of platforms of that magnitude expect.
You know that with AKOMA, and the freedom it offers you to write, edit, publish and share your works to the world, your dreams are almost a reality. Just a matter of time.
AKOMA, for you, is, perhaps, what your country needs to avail writers—fledgling ones especially—the space to share some of the stories that abound everywhere. Because everyone has stories to tell.
With AKOMA, you have been able to tell the world those tales ejaculating from the recesses of your consciousness into vats of interesting stories for readers.
AKOMA gives you wings. And you FLY!!!