“An agent stole our 3 million Naira”: Betty Irabor on the challenges of publishing in Nigeria

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Betty Irabor is the publisher of the lifestyle magazine, Genevieve. She shares this story of the travails she faced in floating the magazine and how she almost gave up, on her Instagram page:

As a young writer/journalist in National Concord in the 80s ( I was told I wasn’t a journalist because I didn’t study journalism) I was privileged to attend many magazine launches. I could however not understand why most of those pretty magazines didn’t survive beyond 6 editions until I became a magazine publisher.!!! Ah Ah! By the third edition I was ready to join the statistics of still birth magazines. I finally understood the complexities involved in magazine publishing especially for a non journalist and a publisher who learnt on the job. It was tough trying to get people to buy into a new culture of reading a lifestyle magazine when all they wanted was a “photo album” and a gossip mag. We battled with a lack of proper distribution net work, the distribution mafia, high cost of production, advertisers pessimism, readers apathy and substandard printing.

Read also: Publishing in Nigeria: The biggest problem is Distribution

For our first issue we printed 5000 copies and 3000 copies were returned unsold; an agent made away with our N3m and one particular edition was smuggled out of the printing press and sold illegally.. We caught the criminals and handed them to the police who extorted us even more. By the second year I was ready to give it all up! I actually penned my valedictory editorial in tears..then i shredded it! I didn’t want Genevieve to be another magazine that was here! Unexpectedly, things began to look up.. We sold more than our advertising ratio of 40% readership and our numbers shot up! Our account went from red to black.. It has not been a smooth journey but we have stayed the course…Do same! Every copy of Genevieve is a labour of love powered by passion and a committed team who are ready to take over from me now. We are pleased about the number of people who went from reading their mothers copies of Genevieve as teenagers to buying their own own copies as young adults, mothers and even grannies. Wherever you go as our reader we go too…most of you are online now and so are we and even more in the coming year as we spin off a brand you helped build since 2003.

Read also: This Nigerian author makes a lot of money selling her ebooks online





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  1. Pingback: These women built business empires whilst being Mothers. You could learn a thing or two - News website for African entrepreneurs

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