Meet Yahaya Baruwa (pronounced: YaHaYa BaRuWa). He is a recent York University Graduate. On Tuesday he and I shared a microphone at CHRY-fm. It was the My Data Bag show with William Doyle Marshall. I was talking about art, films and books in a big picture fashion, Yahaya was much more practical -- very down to earth.
He was there to talk about the difficult journey he took to get his new novel Struggles of a Dreamer published. Just like the title, it was a struggle for the Nigerian Canadian to just get the book printed. When he couldn't find a traditional publisher, he decided to form a publishing company on his own and print his own book.
He told the radio listening audience that he has set a goal of getting a million people to read his book. He reckons he has sold at least 5,000 copies -- which makes it a Canadian best seller. "I am not giving up. I still believe I can do it! I can reach a million people!"
With just one book in his stable, Baruwa needs to make sales fast to pay the mounting printer's bill. He listed the book on Amazon, Indigo and the like and did manage to get it into most of Toronto's bookstores -- one shop at a time.
He has emailed the world, but, it isn't the new social media tools that is driving sales of this book -- it is the old fashioned, Encyclopaedia Britannica sales method that is moving copies. You take the book to the public and hope you get your foot out before the front door is slammed shut.
"I knock on doors and tell people to buy my book. I have a friend who helps me too, but, it is hard, slow work. We have had a few doors slammed."
How many books do you think he has sold door-to-door? The number is 3,000 and counting. At $20 a copy, he has found that the personal approach works.
"I have been working Scarborough (suburb of Toronto, Canada). I estimate that I have visited over 10,000 homes and it takes a few minutes each time to make the sale!"
"Struggles of a Dreamer, is a novel that can be enjoyed by the young and the old readers alike; most especially those in search of inspiration to pursue their personal ambitions," said Yahaya Baruwa. "You will encounter the struggles of a dreamer (Toku'te, the son of a farmer) as he faces the challenges of the limiting boundaries of his tradition. You will laugh, cry, experience romance, be frightened, held in suspense, and become inspired as you find out how Toku'te manages to remain afloat in a world that requires everyone to fit the same mold."
Visit the book's website to learn more.