Saturday, July 30, 2011

Confession Time

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Yes, I've been keeping something from you all along, two things actually.

1. I have started on my third book *big grin* and I'm over 20,000 words after a month. It's a bit slow going for my liking but my next secret will reveal why. Anyway, I've decided to start sharing some bits of the first draft here with you guys starting this Monday. I hope you like it. This also means that I'll be cutting back my posts to maybe just twice a week cos the story is really calling me to finish it. What are the particulars? Below is a pitch I made to an agent recently.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions: Comparing Createspace and Authorhouse

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First off, I know this FAQ series is not for everyone but please bear with me and those who may find it useful. My replies are not meant to be gospel or comprehensive, they're only from my experience. Do feel free to chip in your own thoughts in the comments. Today's post is another question I get asked quite a bit since my second book, A Love Rekindled was released via Createspace.

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Hi Myne,
I have a collection of short stories published as Ebook. I am thinking of publishing it in hard copy but I don't even know where to start. I am currently working on a novel. I just want to know stuff about publishing in hard copy. I just knew you would be able to advice me due to your wealth of experience. Thanks & God bless u.

_________________

Hi,

There are several ways of self-publishing the paperback of your books. I have used two of them myself and went for the second after I was not fully satisfied with the first.

1. Authorhouse.com
2. Createspace.com

I would say it was much easier going with Createspace than Authorhouse, especially on being able to have a more affordable book. When you go with the least expensive publishing package, both are about the same price at an average of $600. My biggest issue with Authorhouse is that cost of producing your book which was around $10 for me, and also this price is fixed so you can't change it along the line. This translates to highly priced books and especially if you want to get any appreciable royalty.

On both I went with the paid-for service and did not have to worry about interior layouts or cover design issues. However Createspace has a completely free option where you design the cover, interior and do everything else yourself. The publishing consultants at CS were helpful and the customer service always on call. However I was a bit impatient with their time lags when any change needed to be done, it is usually 5 working days and no earlier. That said, that give me the leeway to be sure of what I really wanted.

The only drawback for me so far is that they only sell on Amazon.com. I had assumed this meant all the Amazons like AH did for me, but CS is basically American. They said my book may later be for sale on Amazon.co.uk and others but I won't be getting the Amazon royalty but the third party one which due to my low price is almost next to nothing. I have complained about this to them and hopefully with time, they will rearrange it. The good part about them too is how responsive and willing to meet you halfway the staff generally are.

One final thing to remember is that bookstores will rarely stock your book as they regard CS and Amazon as competitors. And it's not just CS, they do not like Print on Demand books because it's usually non-returnable so this also affects Authorhouse and most other self publishers/vanity press. I later learnt that a way to go behind this is to also publish with Lightening Source at the same time since they distribute with Ingrams which the bookstores use.

Hope this helps. Best of luck with the book.
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My books are Amazon UK and Canada Bestsellers!

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Thank you to all my friends and supporters in the UK and Canada.


I was so happy yesterday when I found out that my first book, A Heart to Mend was at the top of the UK free kindle bestsellers list for romantic suspense. The novel is still #1 as I write with almost 5,000 ebooks downloaded through the promo. Go to the book page to read the reviews, and download your copy.

Also, A Love Rekindled is doing very well in Canada, at #43 on the paid paperback lists. And guess who and who I am outselling? LOL...Nora Roberts, Maya Banks and Nicholas Sparks! Of course they have other books also ahead of my own, but who cares? :) These are romance writers that I admire so much, and it is heart-warming to be counted among them by you readers.

Thank you all so much!

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Answers from "400 Posts" + ALR Winner

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Happy Monday, everyone! Hope you had a good weekend. I know some of you thought I would never get round to doing this... sorry for the delay.

The winner of the copy of 'A Love Rekindled' is... Bunmi! Please send your postal address to myne@ mynewhitman.com to arrange delivery.

Below are the questions and answers... I hope I answered everyone.

how was your childhood like? was it fun? wre you a happy child? did you feel pretty? what were the challenges you went through on your road to adulthood?

I was born in Enugu, a very playful, studious tomboy. I was happy, I had three sisters and a brother. I felt pretty, but maybe not beautiful - I felt my sisters were prettier than me. However, I think my parents did a good job; they didn't do favorites.

are u a professional writer? if yes, did you/are u study(ing) anything that has to do with writing? single? married?
Professional writer? I belong to a professional association of writers (Pacific Northwest Writers Association), but I don't consider myself a professional writer, because I did not formally study writing. I write full-time, and I am married.

If we could get a personal profile *why you started writing, what u studied, interests etc* childhood, where u grew up, bullied?, bully, pet peeves lol

I've always written; I remember writing as a preteen, and beginning to write again when I was about to finish university. I decided to change careers after moving to America and took up writing full-time. I studied Applied Biology for my first degree, and Public Health Research for my Masters. My interests are varied, but the main ones are reading and travel. I was bullied in primary and in secondary school; maybe it was because I was small, and I did well in class, so bullies felt that I was a teacher's pet.

My question is how do you deal with situations when you have brilliant ideas but seem too busy to pen it down? That is if you ever do.
I do procrastinate and become demotivated, but I have an encourager in the Holy Spirit and my husband is very supportive. I only have to mention something, and he will hold me to it, if not immediately, then soon. He will go as far as reminding me and providing a conducive environment.

Question - 3 things you wish to achieve in the next 10 years..
I hope to be a mother, I hope to have more books written, and I have big dreams for Naija Stories. Let's see how it goes in ten years.

I'ld just love to know how you started and what were the challenges you faced then. Did you ever think of quitting?
I started my writing by joining a writing group. Along the line, one of the members suggested blogging, and I started this blog. Through this blog, I found out about other bloggers and writers who became self-published authors, and after considering it with other options of publishing, I decided to take that route. My first book was published in December 2009 and since then, I've faced the challenge of bringing it to the awareness of the general public. I do sometimes doubt myself and wonder if I'm putting myself up for a big fall, but I didn't think of quitting because I got a lot of good feedback from bloggers, the Nigerian community and generally from readers.

As for my question, what is your real name?
Ask your nearest Igbo friend to directly translate 'Myne Whitman'. I'll give you a clue; my first name is Nkem, which means 'Mine'.

PS, Have a great week. Mwah!
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Friday, July 22, 2011

NigerianScorpio.com - Permission Denied

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Please is it just me or is everyone else locked out of Madame Sting's blog?

If it's just me, I don't know what I've done o, somebody talk to me.

Sting, are you there?

If it's not me, anybody know what's going on?

Her last post was titled clarification.

What was she clarifying?

Yes I be gbeborun...

LOL...

Have a great weekend everyone!
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MWP - Amnesty: A movie review by Nollywood Reinvented

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Some of you may know that I love Nollywood movies, like YankeeNaijababe who makes some very good recommendations on her blog. I also hope that one day, my stories and books will become feature-length movies for people to watch. So I keep an eye on the industry, and check the review sites out there. Today, I present to you a movie review website and one of their reviews.

Nollywood Reinvented is a website formed in the beginning of the year 2011 by an avid african movie viewer with a desire to promote the African Movie Industry. Many argue that all the movies out of Africa are not up to par and in essence, not worth their while. Well, they started this website to challenge that view by promoting the good, exposing the bad and critiquing the ugly. They wanted to start a review site in which the ratings don't just come from a random number concocted by the reviewer but by a systematic analysis of the elements that make a good movie. You can follow the blog on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, LinkedIn and on their SITE.

Enjoy the review by Nollywood Reinvented below....

AMNESTY

Art is a medium of self expression. That is, it's a method of expressing one's opinions, or an arena through which people relay messages to the world (or whoever cares to listen). Like music, photography and painting, I do consider movie-making an art (even though a majority of the movie makers in Nollywood are yet to realize it). Therefore, I believe that if one is to make a movie, then that person must be attempting to convey a message. Either that or the person is using it as a means of self-expression.

A couple posts ago, I was talking about how most African movies are yet to actually touch on the issues that are dear to the heart in Africa. I said that there were many things within not even our continent as a whole but our own individual nations. Africa has more problems besides the corruption of her people and the overwhelming number of individuals suffering from greed, jealousy, envy and despondence; yet a majority of our movies revolve around these themes. Over and over again, we produce the same sort of movies, hence, it is no surprise that everytime I see a movie, like Amnesty, which is centered around a theme that is not commonplace in the industry, I run to it. One reason for which I classify the movie, Amnesty, as a good movie is its uniqueness. The focus of the movie is the Niger-Delta and the "Oil Wars" (the same subject that Jeta Amata's "Black Gold" is focused on). Now before I bore you with what I think, what I like and what I believe.... let's proceed to the review.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday Talk - Does competition extend to Friends?

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"I better pass my neighbour" is a phrase people in Nigeria use to refer to mobile generators as a way of saying, "I can afford it while my neighbours can't". In other words, they're happy they've kept up and even overtaken the Jones or the Okekes. I know we all have competitive streaks in that sense, but does it extend to friends? Do we deliberately keep friends that we're better than? In our talk and debate, I want us to consider the following questions.

1. Are all your friends married while you're single? Are you the only married one?
2. Are they more intelligent, for instance have more degrees? Or is that you?
3. Are they all slimmer than you? Are you the only Lepa?
4. Are they all more accomplished in their business or career? Or are you?
5. Are they all more well to do? Or are you the generous donor?
6. Are they all more popular than you? Are you the prettiest, tallest, most bubbling?

I know we cannot dictate our friendships and that it's a two-way thing, so while you're trying to make a friend, the other person may be pulling away. But it would be good if our circle of friends are mixed up because unbalanced friendships can sometimes become unhealthy - Frenemies, anyone? So if you're good in this, your friend is good in the other thing, and you both accept your strengths and weaknesses and try to minimize competition. As for me, I am a work in progress. :)
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Guest Author - Philip U. Effiong (Monty)

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My guest today is Philip U. Effiong whose father of the same name was the second in command on the Biafran side during the Nigerian Civil War. After teaching in the university for over ten years, this Philip worked as an Oracle Programmer and then as a full-time writer and editorial consultant from late 1998 to 2006. He is still writing but also started teaching at the University of Maryland in the fall of 2006. His areas of specialty are literature, writing, drama, and cultural studies. Ater spending almost five years in Nigeria (January 2001-December 2005) his family relocated to and currently resides in Fairfax, Virginia, USA. I read one of Philip's books titled Monty and will be posting a review soon. Enjoy our interview, and welcome to the beginning of a great week.

What inspired you to want to become a writer?

I enjoyed the folktales my mother told me when I was a child. Later, I was further exposed to the narrative tradition as a student of English and literature at Nigeria’s University of Calabar. Captivated by the power of images and creative storytelling, whether fact or fiction, I was soon motivated to start writing my own stories and analytical essays.


Why did you write Monty, was it in any way autobiographical?

Monty is largely informed by my recollections of refugee camp situations during the Nigeria-Biafra war. However, the goal is not to present a war or refugee camp story, but to demonstrate that the impact of war continues even after the guns stop blazing. Sections of the text are definitely a recreation of personal experiences.


The character of Monty is an intriguing one, where did the idea come from?

Even though Monty is a byproduct of refugee camp situations (as already stated), the character is designed to function as a universal delineation of what it must feel like to be an outsider (which can be engendered by origins, physical appearance, belief systems or mental attributes). This is in addition to portraying how the horrors of war can continue to manifest in various ways even after the ceasefire takes place. The name of the character suggests his rescue on a Monday.


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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Picture Weekend - On the trails of the Grand Canyon

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Hope everyone is having a nice weekend? Thanks for all the comments on my 400th post, answers to the questions will be up next week. Today, I'm going to break my rule of adding commentary to pictures today, after all, rules are meant to be broken, right? Like when you clearly see the Danger Sign and decide to go one step beyond it and then dangle off the edge of a cliff. Yeah, that's me. Please do not try this at home, LOL...

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Have You Got a Heart to Mend + 400 Posts!

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What has the title got to do with this picture? Well because Mania Magazine is featuring A Heart to Mend in it summer TRAVEL issue. So do pick up the magazine, and if you wish, go on down to your nearest Bookshop, online or in stores, and get yourself both a copy of A Heart to Mend and A Love Rekindled.

Oh yes, and Agbani Darego, the cover model, and former Miss World, will hold a special autograph session on the 17th of July, 2011 from 3-6pm at the Silverbird Lifestyle Bookstore, Victoria Island, Lagos.


Also, this is my 400th post, and I want to dedicate it to everyone reading. Most of my blogs are excerpts from my WIP, but I've also shared about myself, my life and what makes me who I am. If you still have any questions about me, or for me, please leave them in the comments and my next post will provide answers. I don't promise to answer everything or everyone, but I'll do my best. :)

PS: A random commenter on this post will get their choice of AHTM or ALR paperback. But only if they live in the US, UK or Lagos, Nigeria
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

When did you find out about sex?

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I almost said procreation in the title, but hey, we're all adults. Not that you'll know that going by the couple in this viral article that Atala brought to my attention a few days ago.

Chinese married couple clueless about sex - Yahoo! News

A highly educated couple, in their 30s from Hubei, China, thought that the wife would get pregnant by sleeping on the same bed, Malaysia's largest selling Chinese language newspaper Sin Chew Daily reported.
Prior to their marriage, the couple did not dare hold hands and kiss as they thought the woman would get pregnant by doing so, reported a China newspaper Chu Tian Jin Bao.
However, the couple decided to seek medical advice after the wife, who holds a masters degree, could not conceive.
They have been married for three years.
The doctor was shocked to learn about their "sex life".
The husband, who has a doctoral degree, said they were too focused on their studies.

Is this possible?

Laugh wan kill me die when I heard the news, and I didn't believe it until Atala showed me the links so I could see for myself. I went down memory lane about watching this Bollywood film (Jamina?) that fed into the myth then because the young actress thought she could get pregnant by kissing. You know how some of our mums, or aunts, or basically most adults would warn growing girls about talking to boys, walking with them, holding their hands, allowing them to touch you, and so on, and the bogeyman was always pregnancy.

I think by the time I got into secondary school and started devouring the novels in the library, and then was taught "the almighty reproduction" by around 14 or 15, I basically knew the nitty-gritty, if not the techniques, physics and chemistry of the whole thing. So you now know why I was laughing so much at this news. Still sha, I've had friends who were not as fast or curious as I was and did not get the memo till around 18, 19 or 20. But in your 30's, with a masters and PhD under your belts, and having lived as man and wife in the same house for three years? Atala said maybe they were asexual, ehm, it wasn't me. LOL...

Some choice thoughts from the Yahoo readers, share yours below in the comments.

"Question is; how did they get degrees while being so dumb?"

"So hard to believe. Internet was introduced to the world in 1994, 17 years ago. Even a Primary 1 child in Singapore know how to google "sex" & watch how to do it on their PC. Duh!!!"
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Monday, July 11, 2011

MWP - The Cat-eyed English Witch By Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

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Today on Myne Whitman Presents, I will share a short story by a writer who I admire a lot. Abubakar Adam Ibrahim has been published in various journals and anthologies, including Africanwriting.com and Sentinel Literary Quarterly. He has a degree in Mass Communication from the University of Jos, Nigeria, has written for Vanguard newspaper, and is now the Arts and Culture Editor of the Sunday Trust. His entry, “The Bull Man’s Story” won the 2007 BBC African Performance Playwriting Competition, and he has a book too, The Quest for Nina.

The story he was kind enough to submit to us is below. I hope you enjoy...

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The tiny corpse lay in a multicoloured bundle, cradled in the mother’s arm. She held out the bundle to me, showing me the innocent face that could have been sleeping but was now very dead. The mother’s brown eyes gleamed, not with grief but with a fiery hostility.

“You killed him, you wicked witch,” she hissed angrily.

The words stung me, like a vicious blow, like the heat had struck me when we first landed in Abuja. It was not particularly strange that she called me a witch; they all did anyway. They found my blonde hair attractive but my grey eyes unsettling. I don’t think they have seen many white women here. They call me The Cat- eyed English Witch and then I’d thought it was kind of…I don’t know, amusing perhaps. But with Manasa standing in front of me, a dead child in her hand; a child I‘d adored, and accusing me of having killed him, it was…shocking, to say the least. Tears fogged my eyes.

It had begun in London one fine Saturday morning in Trafalgar square, six years ago, when I first met Bawa. I was sitting by a fountain, watching the pigeons strolling, pecking at the bread crumbs, pairing up and cooing, doing what pigeons do on a fine summer day. Behind me, I could hear the fountain, sighing sweetly like a lover’s voice. Then the pigeons fluttered their wings noisily, cooing wildly and scattered into the air from a threat I hadn’t noticed. Their soft under feathers seesawed gently down to the ground and then, there he was, standing.


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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Picture Weekend - Book Reading at the Redmond Library

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So I was booked to do a book reading and discussion at one of the Libraries in our area. They recently stocked both of my books, A Love Rekindled and A Heart to Mend and were impressed by the interest in them from the members. Anyway, it was a lovely outing and even though only five people in all turned out, I had fun discussing with them in a more intimate and personal way. I even made a new fan/friend, lol...


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Friday, July 8, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions - Learning to write from online courses

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Hello Myne,

I'm a fan of your blog and your writing. Lately, I realise I have many ideas that I'd like to write down but can't seem to be articulate. I remember a previous post in which you mentioned that you took free writing lessons. Could you please recommend any online programme?

Many thanks,

_________________

Hello

This is a link I bookmarked two years ago and which I refer to on a regular basis.

Diplomaguide.com

When I started out then, I found the Creative Writing Suite 101 course very useful, as well as the Write what you know from the Open University UK.

I have moved on since then to the editing parts, but you can pick and choose as they suite you.

Hope it helps,

Myne
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Baz Luhrmann - Everybody´s Free ( to wear sunscreen)

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So I saw this over on Mizchif's An Idle Mind, and couldn't believe I was just seeing and hearing it for the first time. There is so much wisdom packed in those 7 mins than you'll believe. Like I keep saying, Free Yourself! and Life is for Living, enjoy it!

If you can't watch the video, make sure to read the words transcribed by Mizchif below it.Thanks for visiting.




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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Face to face with Simon Cowell - X-Factor Auditions Seattle

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So I've been a fan of the X-factor reality show since I lived in the UK and I missed it when I moved here, the American Idol couldn't compare, especially without Simon Cowell. You see, I had developed this love-hate relationship with him, or his personality as a judge. He got my admiration for being very creative and hard working, and I liked his wit and that he could be quite honest. I won't really call the other part hate, lol...I just wished I had his caustic tongue in certain situations (like when I get all those FB messages from bone headed men), and of course so much money can't be bad for you, hehehe...


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Monday, July 4, 2011

Guest Author - Tosin Ogunkolade: Makaira - The Double-Edged Sword

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Hi everyone, today, I'll be showcasing a new and aspiring author. Read my interview with Tosin, and you can add your own questions and comments too.


Olutosin Ogunkolade is an inspired and prolific writer of many parts, and diverse interests. He has written various articles on politics, warfare, business strategy, marriage, success motivation, religion and fictional works. He is from a family of five children, all boys and he is the second child. He was born on the 14th of November 1978, and has  been privileged to have schooled within Nigeria and outside the shores of Nigeria, he now resides in London His writings cut across different areas of living, they come about as a result of deep thought, keen observation and a very imaginative mind. With a career in innovation design and calligraphy, Tosin blogs and writes in his spare time.

His blog is titled The Dreamers Blog! and you can find it HERE with topics such as The Danger of Black Supremacy, What is real manhood, Understanding mordern day Parables, and What has Marriage got to do with it. Some of these are discussed in his first book, Makaira - The Double Edged Sword published via Authorhouse in April. Makaira is a telling story of imagination that encompasses leadership, the power of one, spirituality, Africa, politics, deliverance and ultimate triumph. It is a tale imbued with love, the power of light, and revelatory insights targeted for the reader. After finding out about the book, the author was kind enough to grant me an interview.

What inspired you to write this book?

My inspiration was drawn from the works of writers I like, writers like Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, C.S Lewis and Francine Rivers. I see the works of such writers and I think why can’t I do the same. I have been told i think up good stories due to an active imagination and I thought I should put it to use.

Please tell us why people should want to read your book.

It’s an interesting, fast paced story that I believe can inspire hope. There are insights within the book that can be gleaned while enjoying an interesting read. It’s a Christian fiction material that has Africa particularly Nigeria as it’s primary focus and I believe there is a niche for such a book.


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Friday, July 1, 2011

What is Blogging all about?

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Before I go on, please go and vote your favorites at the Nigerian Blog Awards.

In my opinion, blogging is about reaching out and personally, that is why I blog. That some people promote their blogs, or are nominated for awards is nothing to be ashamed of. My blog for instance is not a diary, and was never meant as one. I started off in late 2009 to share the stories I write, and I have published two books along the line, counting it a blessing that blogging brought me this far. It was since I became more comfortable with the community that I started to share my thoughts and the person behind the pseudonym.

Still, this blog is quite different from a lot of blogs that are about deeply personal experiences. I respect some of such blogs, many of which have added to my perspective on different issues.  However, when some anonymous bloggers complain about popular blogs, I wonder why they're public? If really you're not seeking comments or traffic, why not ensure you're only writing for yourself by making the blog private? Once your blog is public, and has the sharing button, you're speaking from both sides of your mouth.

On the Naija Blog awards, some people are drawing parallels between 'real' and 'Twitter' bloggers and between excellence and popularity. I don't believe these are mutually exclusive; excellence can lead to popularity and vice versa. If I visit a tweeted blog a few times, and think it's rubbish, I'll likely stop. If I unfollow because I think they're too popular, and though I love what they blog, na bad belle. I'll prefer to let a million blogs start up, and let time and the readers do the rest.

In most blog communities, what matters is that people find a platform and are able to build supportive networks. I'm a big fan of the NBAs and don't think Nigerians have even begun to scratch the surface with blogs. The Huffington Post (sold for $315m), Belle Du Jour (Bestselling book and TV series) and BellaNaija, among others, started as blogs. So if you want a private or small blog, by all means do you and don't knock others. However, if you want to dream big, the sky is just the beginning.

All the best to the nominees, and especially to my blog followers and those I nominated.

Happy 4th of July weekend to my American peeps. Have fun, everyone!

________
ps, If you saw my name among the nominees and didn't see it again, I asked to be excused.
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