I wish to respond to Ms Nankabirwaâ€™s letter in response to Old Foxâ€™s observation concerning the reading culture in Uganda. Nankabirwa works with Fountain Publishers. Old Fox is correct to blame publishers for killing the reading culture in Uganda.
They are partly responsible because their main concern is making profit. They only consider and assist writers who are well-established. I have some work which I have tried to publish but failed because I am not an established writer and also because I cannot finance its publication. I have moved from one publishing house to another, in vain.
I would like to thank Gorret Kyomuhendo of FEMRITE and her team for the help they offer young writers. They helped me to proof-read my work, but stopped at that because their target is female writers. That was fine. From FEMIRITE, I went to The Monitor Publishing House. Their publishing editor received my work and promised to contact me after checking it. I tried to contact her for information on her progress until I gave up. It is now almost four years and I am still waiting for her call!
I tried Fountain Publishing House where Nankabirwa works and they referred me to Makerere where their publishing editor sits. when I reached there I was told Fountain does not deal in or handle poetry work, without finding out what the content is.
I went to Wavah books, when I saw their advertisement on WBS and the officer I met there received my work and when I went back to check he told me that I had to pay a non-refundable fee of sh300,000 to read the 40-typed pages. I bargained with him to accept sh150,000 but he refused. I visited other publishing houses and it was the same experience and so I decided to give up.
Why was I doing all that? When you write something and you have a desire to get it published you can be compared to an expectant mother. I think Ugandans have the culture of reading at heart but in many instances fail to get material to read because writing is not a profit-making business. Unless you have money to finance or cost-share you will not have your work published!
Chris Ssentongo email@example.com
Publishers think of profit first