Who are you?
My name is Jane Makena and I have a passion for writing story books for children.
Where are you from?
I come from a small village in Meru District, within South Imenti Constituency
What is your profession?
I am an advocate of the high court of Kenya and I have been practicing as such for the past 8 years
How many publications, and how did you publish it?
I have two children story books which I self-published in 2020 amidst the Covid-19 pandemic
Who is your Illustrator?
Sanaa Yetu Creatives
Did you make an input-on cover design?
No, this was done by the designer
Tell us more about your publications!
I am mostly excited about these two books because I published them during quarantine in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. I used to write when I was a young girl, but then I became a busy lawyer and abandoned my passion for writing. While we were locked up in the early days of the pandemic, I unearthed the passion for writing and published the two books. One of the books, My dad, My hero, tells the story of the Covid-19 pandemic in a way a child can relate.
Who motivated you to write?
My English teacher in primary school because he always applauded my composition writing.
What inspired you to write?
Growing up, I read every story book available to me. I read my sibling’s set books when I was still in primary school. There was no TV, and so my only source of entertainment was storybooks. My passion for writing fiction stories thus was as a result of reading a lot of fiction.
Do you have fans, how do you react to fans?
Yes, I do have fans, adults don’t understand how a lawyer can write for children because they would expect that I write legal materials with a lot of legal jargon.
Children love the books. I have received a lot of good feedback from their parents.
Bogus versus legitimate publishers, have you encountered such?
I have self-published my two books, but I do remember one of the reasons my passion for writing had died for such a long time is because of the slow and complicated publishing process from many publishers in Kenya. Many publishers don’t want to publish for upcoming writers. The want to publish for the famous names and this makes it’s very difficult for upcoming writers
Merging the books with community service, are you involved in any community service?
Yes, I donate books to schools. I have also donated one of the books to an organization called World-Reader, which avails ebooks for free on their app.
How did your faith help in marketing your work?
Everything about my life is anchored on my Faith in God. I have trusted God on everything from writing to selling and one of the prayers I made was for my books to be sold at the Text Book Centre. I also prayed for media visibility and God answered these two prayers
How many copies have you sold so far?
I am not sure but about 1000 copies for each book
What are your future plans?
I want to write more story books for children. Maybe another two in the next one year.
Encouragement to upcoming writers
There will be many challenges which include finishing a book, publishing and even selling. But if you have a passion to write please don’t be discouraged, keep writing.
How can people get your book?
My books are available at Text Book Centre, the Sarit and the Junction Mall branches, but we also deliver within the country. Ebooks are also available on Amazon Kindle.
Do you plan to convert your book to an ebook too?
I have converted them to ebooks, and they are available on Amazon Kindle.
Parting shot or last word!
My parting shot is to encourage parents,
- To build a culture of reading in their children.
- To buy the books from local or African writers for their children and in this way promote local or African content.