Indepdent Publishing Empowers Women During The Subversive Women Who Self-Publish Novels Amid Jihadist War

Diagram of the Heart

Farida Ado, 27, is a romance novelist living in conflicted and rapidly Islamicizing Northern Nigeria. She’s one of a small but significant contingent of women in Northern Nigeria writing books called Littattafan soyayya, Hausa for love literature.

Self-Publishing is powerful. These brave women prove that. In a society where women are see by most as unequal, these women are using self-publishing to change the world they live in. These women self-publish novels that are often censored and attacked by their government amid a violent jihadist war.

These women started out writing books long hand and paying to have them transcribed. Now – with the help of self-publishing – they publish books that not only bring in a decent amount of money for their families, but are calling for social change, often against the Jihadist government. Now a day, these women make between $800-$1200 per book.

But it isn’t all about the money to these women. These books portray how their society should be. Many of these women who write this books write from their own painful experiences living in a broken community. One woman had the social horror of being married and divorced twice before she was even 15 years old. One of her books is a beautiful-tragic tale told from the point of view of a polygamist man struggling as he goes from one unhappy wife to the next. It not only reviles the pain of these lives, but expresses the beauty of what their society could be in seeing all the wrong in it.

These women are amazing and inspiriting. Self-Publishing has opened doors for them that never would have been fully possible without it. Despite government trying to silence them, these women have prevailed and have inspired and given hope to many in their war torn nation.

Independence is key.  Independent books are often shunted because they aren’t “good enough” for a big publisher. But that is a big part of their power. No one would publish these in their nation, but they are making a world of difference. For these women and their readers. Never underestimate independent books. These books change the world. 

Diagram of the Heart

Books are tied up and packaged at the local market in Kano, Northern Nigeria. While Northern Nigeria is best known for Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group whose name means Western Education is sinful, there’s a small but significant contingent of hijab wearing ladies writing subversive romance novels.