You wake up soaked in sweat. The darkness is impenetrable. You sense the movement again. Has someone gained access to your room? You scramble for the bed switch. 



Flick. Flick. Flick.

Oh, no. Another power blackout?

Then suddenly, you are blinded by a powerful glare. The lights are back. Your eyes try to adjust as they move in different directions. The door is still closed. And there’s no one else in the room.

Book Publishing and Nationhood

Just as a small switch can set in motion and control an electrical system and take light to even remote areas, book publishing is also a “key.” Think about it: books are the basic tools for education, and education is the basic investment for economic and social development. They are also essential for cultural enrichment and for opportunities of self-expression by the nation’s writers and artists. Hence, publishing is key to the educational, social and economic development of any nation. 

The Publisher

There are several partners in the book industry, among them the publisher. It is the publisher who receives the manuscript from the author; enlists capital; engages the services of artists and other editorial specialists; commissions and supervises the work of printers; and then directs the distribution of books to the potential markets. In essence, the publisher is the grand strategist and organizer of the book undertaking.

As the focal point in the book supply chain, the publisher makes the essential decisions on what to publish. Getting the right manuscripts and illustrations for each reading level is an important skill of the publisher. The success or failure of a book depends on the appropriateness of the content, quality of editing, illustrations, book design, and the suitability of the printing specifications.

Budgeting is another important skill of the publisher—the cost of a book can be a barrier for access. So while a publishing house must be profitable to be viable, the cost of books must also be kept low in order to be affordable to those who need them. This is even truer in developing countries where people’s disposable incomes are quite low.

The publisher’s central position provides a breadth of view not easily available to the other partners, and accordingly greater responsibility for vision, imagination, long-term planning, and a spirit of experimentation. Publishing requires a business-like approach to the various stages required to bring a raw manuscript to completion as a book, and in the onward distribution to readers.

The Reader

The mere existence of a book is not enough. The publisher must also let the world know that the book exists. Equally, the book must be made available in channels accessible to readers—for example bookshops and other retail outlets, schools, online platforms.

In making books accessible to readers, publishers play the role of cultural ambassadors. Publishing is therefore as much of a cultural practice as it it a communicative art—an art that is also a commercial undertaking.

By Booktalk Africa. Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash.


Think of a story. A painting. A song. A film. These are things people create from their personal imagination. They are a type of property owned by the creator or creators. Copyright is a legal concept describing rights given to creators for their works. These include literary works, music, works of fine art such as paintings and sculpture, as well as technology-based works such as computer programmes.

Copyright provides the legal framework for the ownership, protection and exploitation of these works.

What Rights Does Copyright Provide?

The copyright law gives the creator of a work – also known as a ‘rights holder’ – a diverse bundle of exclusive rights over his or her work. These exclusive rights are given for a limited but lengthy period of time. The rights enable the author to control the economic use of their work in a number of ways, and to receive payment, i.e., royalties. The owner of copyright has exclusive rights to:

  • Reproduce the work
  • Prepare derivative works
  • To distribute the work to the public by sale or transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending
  • Perform the work publicly of such works as literary, musical, dramatic works, motion pictures and other audio-visual works
  • Display the copyrighted work publicly
  • Perform the work publicly by means of digital audio transmission, in the case of sound recordings
What Is the Basis of Copyright Protection?

The copyright law protects the rights holder against those who ‘copy’ or otherwise take and use the form in which the original work was expressed by the author. To qualify for copyright protection, a work must be original.

Copyright protection rules are fairly similar worldwide, due to several international copyright treaties. The most important is the Berne Convention. Under the Berne Convention, all member States – over 100 – must afford copyright protection to authors who are nationals of any member country. This protection must last for at least the life of the author plus 50 years. It must also be automatic without the need for the author to take any legal steps to preserve the copyright.

Article I of the UNESCO Convention on Copyright states: “Each Contracting State undertakes to provide for the adequate and effective, protection of the rights of authors and other copyright proprietors in literary, scientific and artistic works, including writings, musical, dramatic and cinematographic works, and paintings, engravings and sculpture.” 

Copyright also protects the author’s “moral rights” – the right to:

  • Claim authorship of a work (the right of attribution)
  •  Object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of a work that would harm the author’s reputation (the right of integrity)

There is no law that protects an idea that has not yet been expressed. Hence copyright does not protect ideas. The underlying principle of copyright is to protect and reward the products of the mind, but an idea has to be expressed in some form before it can be the subject of legal protection.

Book Publishers and Copyright

Book publishers possess certain rights in the books they produce and sell, and they hold other rights on behalf of third parties. Their business involves exploiting the rights of others, just as they equally seek to defend and protect what is theirs and what they have been entrusted to defend. Publishers therefore have a professional interest in exploiting these rights to the best advantage of their authors as well as themselves.

Typically, the first owner of copyright in any created work is the person who created it. The publisher enters into a legal relationship with the creator – author – in order to publish the work and issues copies of it in sufficient quantities to satisfy the needs of the public. The publisher does this by virtue of a license in which the author either assigns copyright to the publisher or, more usually, grants to the publisher an exclusive, or non-exclusive, license.

A publisher, in order to do business, needs to
 acquire from the author the exclusive rights of reproduction and distribution, which are recognized at the international level by the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (the Berne Convention), and with regard to publishing in the digital environment, the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT).

However, regulation of the license between author and publisher is left to national legislation.

Publishing Rights and Licensing

The author has been thought of as something like an inventor. Under the custom of many countries, the author is recognized as the only person who can authorize publication of their work, unless they had been commissioned (and paid) to create it.

Publishers are usually licensees of other people’s works. The author/publisher license is an agreement under which the author permits the publisher to use those publishing rights under specific conditions. It is absolutely essential that a publisher has a license for every book to be published.

The license should be treated as a negotiable document – the two parties must agree on the contents of the license and be willing to sign it. Every license should provide for the ownership or licensing of specific rights that the publisher controls. These rights must be made clear in the license.

Is It Necessary for Creators to Register their works?

Ownership of copyright is automatic from the moment literary and artistic works are created. The rights holder is not required to register their works for protection. However, it is advantageous for the rights holder to register their work. Apart from creating a public record of ownership, registration would be beneficial in case a copyright infringement lawsuit arises. In Kenya, the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has an online portal for registering copyright works.

Photo credit: Element5 Digital from Pexels


Managing Intellectual Property in the Book Publishing Industry: A business-oriented information booklet, Creative industries, Booklet No. 1, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Silbey, J. 2015. The Eureka Myth: Creators, Innovators, and Everyday Intellectual Property, Stanford University Press.

Wang, R. 2015. Disrupting Digital Business: Create an Authentic Experience in the Peer-to-Peer Economy, Harvard Business Review Press.

World Intellectual Property Organization

BOOK REVIEW: An Enemy Called Average by John L. Mason

John Mason did not envision that An Enemy Called Average would be what it is today – a bestseller translated into over 30 languages. He made a solid debut. So in case you are not familiar with John’s short and sweet style, he delivers his message in nuggets. The nuggets are 1-2 pages of succinctly captured life lessons. In his own words, “I hate to read books that take twenty pages to make one point.” If you are more versed with his work and style, you know to expect a wealth and depth of wisdom and truth. In this book, John gives us seventy seven (77) nuggets. They outline how to look inward, outward and upward in beating the insidious enemy – average.

This book is:


Incidentally, I have not yet had the privilege of listening to Mason live, but those who have, recount how humorous he is. He employs storytelling – folklore, Bible anecdotes, and his own life – to  illuminate the consequences of mediocrity. Even more, he inspires you not just to get by in life, but to stand out by fully exploiting the gift of God in you. He presents as the sage older brother who wants to see you succeed. Also, this book also works well in a team setting, among friends or the workplace. Consequently, it’s been reputed to elicit insightful interpretations of the nuggets.


Truly, we all know when we are not performing at our best. No?  John offers a road map for finding our path to peak performance and being our best. He warns that the “truths in this book can be hazardous to the areas of mediocrity in your life.” How true. John Mason speaks from experience; he is a husband, father, minister, writer, president and founder of his own company. He has a bunker full of experience and draws from each to deliver practical knowledge to the world.


Widely, An Enemy Called Average is touted as “a source of godly wisdom, spiritual motivation and practical principles.” However, you do not have to be a Christian to understand or be inspired by the nuggets. Besides drawing from the Bible, John also references poets, philosophers, authors, artists, and other leaders, who inject further credence to his own words.

This book will not magically move you from mediocrity to greatness. Moreover, you are required to work intentionally (that is not always easy), consistently. Start your walk to being outstanding.

Book review by Caroline Muinga



“Today we went to the Moon and came back to earth!” Eliud Kipchoge tweeted on the day he broke the two-hour marathon barrier. “This shows no human is limited,” he boldly declared during media interviews that day.

Before the famous history-making INEOS 1:59 Challenge, Kipchoge was already a record breaker. He had won ten out of eleven marathons that he had ran, nine of them successively. He was already the world champion and greatest marathon runner of all time.

So, what was the INEOS Challenge about? Why did Kipchoge decide to do this? 


Although no human being had ever achieved what Kipchoge was setting out to achieve, it was never going to count officially as a record. He did it anyway, just to inspire each of us that we too can overcome our limitations. Kipchoge stated that his personal goal for the challenge was “to show to the world that when you focus on your goal, when you work hard and when you believe in yourself, anything is possible.” And once he accomplished it he said, “Now I’ve done it, I’m expecting more people to do it after me.” 


Surely, even champions get tired, right? When Kipchoge won the London Marathon for the fourth time – in April, 2019 – beating his own record for London, he could have simply sat back and basked in his achievements. His time of 2:02:37 was the second-fastest marathon of all time – second only to his own record in Berlin. He was clearly the best of the best. But rather than take a vacation, he rested for three weeks and embarked on training for the INEOS Challenge. He started by jogging about 20kms three times a week and gym workouts also three times a week. His training routine increased in intensity. It even included regular ice baths.


Kipchoge has said that “when you bring motivation and discipline together, then you can be consistent.” This makes perfect sense because we can only keep doing what matters to us, and even that, only if we have built up our self-discipline. “If you are not consistent, you cannot go anywhere,” he has reiterated. And he has certainly proved this by his own consistent training.  

Kipchoge worked extremely hard to give us hope that we too can achieve great things, including our most audacious goals.

Have you stretched yourself lately?

Like Kipchoge, we needn’t be recognized officially for our breakthroughs; for our personal victories. Kipchoge also shows that it takes intentionality and a crystal-clear vision to accomplish our highest dreams. Whether you’re a student with a burning desire to learn and excel; a parent determined to give more quality to your kids; a writer with a book in your head and that you’ve been wanting to write; or a scientist working on a breakthrough cure – you can reach for the moon.

Focus on your goal, work hard, keep at it. Remember, no human is limited.

Copyright ©2020 by David Waweru. Photo by NN Running Team.


“The greatest tragedy is not death but life without purpose.” ―Myles Munroe

Until now, most folks around the world―and I am one of them―have been ensnared by a fairly predictable routine: Wake up. Go to work. Eat. Sleep… Wake up. Go to work. Eat. Sleep. Repeat…

Survival, it seems, has been the primary motivation for waking up in the morning. “But surely, there must be more purpose to my life than working to live and living to work?” you might have thought.

And now the wicked coronavirus disease outbreak that has brought a huge shift in our way of life. It is disrupting not just our routines, but also governments, business, learning, travel and the healthcare system. The world is at a standstill, with the pandemic becoming a huge stressor for individuals―young and old―and triggering anxieties, fears, uncertainties.

“What does the future hold for me and my loved ones?” one wonders, “And what’s the meaning of life, anyway?”

The Jewish professor of psychiatry and neurology, and Holocaust survivor, Dr. Viktor E. Frankl,offers great lessons on finding meaning in life. 

Dr. Frankl endured a gruesome experience at Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps during World War II. In his bestselling book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Dr. Frankl describes the emotional ‘death’ he and other prisoners underwent within a few days of confinement. Witnessing the grim murders of loved ones, beaten and forced into cruel labour, cold and hungry, constantly fearing for their own lives, they had every reason to give up hope.

Soon, Dr. Frankl observed that their dreams and conversations were starting to centre solely on food. He also observed that the victims developed a ‘sheep mentality’ during their long, difficult marches to work. To avoid being noticed by the guards and get punished for every tiny mistake, everyone did their best to crowd into the centre―to be inconspicuous.

Later he noticed that he and other victims had developed a fear of making decisions or taking initiative, preferring rather to allow fate to take its course, as usually seemed to happen anyway. So when he eventually escaped from the death camp, he found it most difficult deciding what to do.

How do you rise above the unimaginable?

Paradoxically, he discovered that the kind of person one became in the bestial concentration camps was the result of an inner decision, rather than an outward reality. Dr. Frankl found meaning in the midst of enormous difficulty when he focused outside himself―with thoughts of his wife, the beauty of nature, or in humour, for instance.

Suffering under the Nazi barbarity was extreme; something most people will hopefully never experience. But Frankl’s observations are relevant in everyone’s particular circumstances.

We must find our purpose in the midst of the difficulties, pain, anxieties, fears and uncertainties of everyday life. Circumstances such as brought by the coronavirus pandemic―financial ruin, health challenges, loss and grief―straddle through our lives. They are the reality of our world. But they do not take meaning away from our lives. If we wait for circumstances to be perfect before we find our purpose, we will deny ourselves the opportunity to live a truly meaningful life. 

It is true that no one can tell us the purpose of our lives. We must find it for ourselves. But Dr. Frankl has given us an amazing clue, not on what the purpose is, but on where it is to be found―outside ourselves.

What draws you out of yourself and transcends your circumstances? It may point the way to your purpose in life. In the quietness of the current moment, make a choice to find it. Pursue it.

Happy Easter.

Copyright ©2020 by David Waweru. Photo by Luis Quintero from Pexels.



I often ask people to tell me what their personal talent is and if they’re putting it to work. The most common first reaction is a look of bemused resignation. They’ll say things like “Mine is insignificant,” or “I’m not sure I have any,” and then go ahead to compare themselves with people they know to have ‘real’ talent.

The most surprising response I have heard, however, is, from a young man who sought to meet me not so long ago.

“Talent?” he asked with a flinch. “Mine is completely useless.”

The statement stung.

Is there such a thing as a completely useless talent?

On an online forum, people were asked what interesting but useless talents they possess. One person revealed an ability to mirror write, so that whatever she writes can only be read when it is viewed in a mirror. Another disclosed an ability to repeat fluently even the most difficult tongue twisters, while yet another proudly revealed a talent for barking, quite convincingly, like a dog! Yet someone else chimed in to let the world know about their talent solving Rubik’s cubes.  

It’s amazing how people discover that they can do some unusual things. It might make you wonder what you are able to do that you’ve never thought of, or had the opportunity to discover. Even more puzzling is whether the seemingly peculiar talents have any purpose. Odd as some talents may seem, even more strange would be a person without any talent whatsoever.

But then, everyone has potential. And that includes you. The common phrase ‘God-given potential’ rightly suggests that potential is innate. We are all born with it. It’s a wonderful gift that comes inside each ‘package,’ free of charge or merit. Just like we all have fingerprints, everyone has potential expressed in at least one personal, unique talent or ability. Some have more than one.

Let’s take a quick journey back in time – when you were ten, or twelve. When you believed that you’d make a unique mark in the world using your personal talent. Back then, you weren’t distanced from your talent. And though you may not have called it ‘talent’, you knew it and sought it out.

Take a deep breath.

Between then and now, how did your childish clarity fade? When did you start listening to the world around you, and ignoring the voice within? How did you start becoming suspicious of your talent, and mindful of the ‘need’ to keep it under tight leash?

And there’s no such thing as a useless talent. Perhaps just a talent whose purpose you have not yet discovered.

Here’s my appeal to you: find your way back onto your talent path – the place where you can give your best, and where you have the best to give.

Chase your talent, develop it, enjoy it, and be proud of it. Know that if you hone it long enough, it will not only make you outstanding, it will also be the means by which you contribute something special to the world.   I hope you flourish.

Copyright ©2020 David Waweru · Photo Credit: Gabriel Sanchez on Unsplash


“For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.” –Khalil Gibran

So, this is how life happens. One moment, it’s flowing all very smoothly. Then. The phone rings. Happy your auntie remembered you on a warm Sunday evening, you greet her cheerfully. But you detect an unusual tone. And a sense of urgency. “My big sister’s been caught in an accident,” she announces. Meaning my mom.

The fourth week of January 2020 marked one year since mom passed away. It was a tough week for me. Just like the previous year when she was fighting for her life, I didn’t sleep much, my mind replaying the events leading to her death in January 2019. 

We’ve all experienced it; the sting of death, expressed in the grief it brings. And grieve we do, when we lose a loved one―a grandparent, a parent, a child, a sibling or a friend who has been a constant in our lives. Whether the events leading up to the death are unexpected or we see them coming over a period of time, whether the dear departed is in their prime, or elderly, ill or in perfect health, the loss is always profound.

And we mustn’t shy away from grieving. It brings healing.

Allow yourself to grieve. There isn’t a deadline by which you should now be fine. Don’t buy into any such suggestion. There isn’t a specific quantity of tears. Be kind to yourself, take care of your health, rest and sleep, spend time alone when you need to and with true friends when you need company. Avoid the toxic people in your life when you’re not feeling strong. Be kind to other family members. They too are grieving and need to heal. Give them a call, give them some space when they need it, bring them a surprise gift.

And then it begins to get better. It really does. Slowly but surely, instead of tears when you think of your loved one, a smile might come. A beautiful memory. Gratitude at having known such a wonderful person. We sometimes don’t fully understand the extraordinary qualities of the people that surround us till they’re gone. 

First anniversaries can be tender―the first death anniversary, the first Christmas, the first wedding anniversary, the first birthday… without your loved one. It’s good to laugh and cry at the memories with your family and friends. Your loved one somehow seems to come to life in your memories, in your laughter and tears.

But isn’t it beautiful that no person that ever lived can cease to exist? Besides the hope we have for eternal life, they live in our memories, laughter, tears and hearts.

So, if you are in a grieving period, don’t forget to mingle a smile or two with the tears, and to take to heart the lesson they teach us: Memento mori, remember your mortality. Make your life count.

May the river flow gracefully to the sea.  

Copyright ©2020 David Waweru. Photo credit: Photo by Serkan Göktay from Pexels.


“You Are One Decision Away from a Completely Different Life.” ―Mel Robbins

You’ve heard of the five second rule – the myth that food which falls on the floor is safe to eat, provided you pick it up within five seconds. While this rule seems ill-advised, there is another five second rule that may be well worth trying.

Motivational speaker Mel Robbins, author of the book The 5 Second Rule, tells a story of how she conquered the snooze button on her alarm clock. As soon as her alarm clock went off in the morning, she would count backwards 5-4-3-2-1, throw her beddings off, and jump out of bed. It may sound rather simplistic, but it worked. She explains that counting down interrupts your brain from thinking of all the reasons why you don’t want to, or are too afraid to get out of bed. In fact, Mel asserts that this works for any difficult task that you want to embark on. If you don’t start within five seconds of thinking of it, your brain will sabotage you by presenting you with a host of difficulties and fears.

Mel’s theory is simple. If you wait to feel like doing anything difficult, it’s never going to happen.

No one gets out of bed on a freezing cold morning because they feel like it. No one stays up past midnight working on a report because they feel like it. No one runs to the finish line in a marathon just because they feel like it.

We can safely conclude two things. The first is that motivation is not a feeling. The second is that motivation has to be intrinsic. An external stimulus, like an alarm clock, is not sufficient, on its own, to get you out of bed. In the same vein, we can conclude that external stimuli, like being offered more money, can only go so far in motivating us to work harder.

We want to achieve things; to start the day earlier, to get those reports done, to exceed the sales goals that seem elusive. But how can we move from ‘wanting’ to actually ‘doing’. How can we harness that self-motivation that just seems to fly out the window every morning, leaving us feeling like tomorrow is probably a better day to begin?

Harvard psychology Professor Ron Siegel says that our brains naturally warn us away from tasks that seem unpleasant to us to help us survive danger. If, for instance, you associate getting up early with feeling cold and miserable, your brain will try to protect you from doing it.

To test Professor Siegel’s premise, you might want to build new and pleasant associations in your mind to waking up early; perhaps having time to eat a delicious breakfast before work. To help get started, maybe Mel’s method – jumping out of bed before your brain kicks in – is just what you need.

What is it, inside you, keeps you going at any task even when you’re tired and just plain fed-up?

©2018 David Waweru is the author of Champion: Achieving with Excellence. Photo credit: Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.