Congo

Marketing and Author Training for French-speaking Central Africa
September 19 to 25, 2011

"My wish is to devote my time and my life to writing," emailed Kharine, a young writer in Congo. "Writing a book is not easy, but God will help. I understand that I am ignorant of many things, and I must take time to read lot..."

Young writers like Kharine are eager to devote their lives to the ministry of writing, but in French-speaking Africa, their opportunities for developing skills and receiving encouragement among fellow writers are scarce.

The largest evangelical publisher in French-speaking Africa, Centre de Publications Evangéliques (CPE), has invited MAI to train French-language Christian publishers, writers and booksellers in Central Africa. Some 60 participants are expected in Brazzaville, Congo, from Rwanda, Chad, Congo, Gabon, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic.

CPE distributes publications in 25 African nations and elsewhere around the world. In its 41-year history, CPE has published some 500 titles, the majority of these publications being small booklets.     
     
Christian publishing in Francophone Africa remains fragile at best. Publishers struggle to survive amid political instability and poverty with little training and slow sales. Even when locally-authored books are published, they often languish on shelves because publishers and booksellers are ignorant of marketing techniques, according to CPE director Jules Ouba (see photo). The workshop in Congo aims to help authors create published manuscripts and to increase sales of Christian books in the region while fostering a network of mutual support.

The participants from eight French-speaking countries in Central Africa will include recognized booksellers, editors and writers. These men and women will become the trainers of writers and marketing agents in their respective countries and publishing houses.


Participants will be divided into two simultaneous tracks—writing and marketing—led by MAI President John Maust and editor Tony Collins of Lion Hudson Publishing House in the UK, respectively. Maust will be assisted by one of the CPE editors. 

Writers will hone their skills and learn to equip others to produce quality manuscripts. They will create a booklet of 24 to 48 pages, and CPE will publish the best one. Writers will also be encouraged to form writer groups in their respective countries.

Marketing participants will aquire strategies to sell books better and create a network of African Christian book distributors. Participants will also learn about choosing book titles and design.

Ultimately, this training in Congo will strengthen the Church and its witness in French-speaking Africa. Readers will benefit from access to new locally-authored books that relate biblical truth to everyday realities and help them impact society.


 


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