Self-Publishing In Kenya #2: Business Check List

Technology has made it possible for an increasing number of authors to venture into self-publishing. However, writing a book can be a daunting task. Publishing it even more so.

Here are a few business aspects of publishing to keep in mind if you choose to self-publish:


You don’t need to be rich to publish a book. You just need to be wise with what you have in your hand. Print-on-demand is a great way to go if you’re just getting started. 

You’d rather have a few book copies (whose quality will market your work) than many badly done books that will be a headache to promote and sell. 


International Standard Book Number is a unique 13-digit number assigned to a book for ease of tracking through the distribution chain. Many local and international retailers and booksellers require your book to have one before they stock it. 

Back List/ Author Catalogue

Each new book is an opportunity to introduce readers to your catalogue as an author. These are your older books that a reader who’s new to you and your work may not be familiar with. 

Part of your front or back matter in your book can include brief information on several books that you think the reader would be interested in. 

Record Keeping 

If you want to have a successful writing career, you need to respect your craft as a business. This includes keeping up to date business records such as receipts related to your book writing and publishing, sales records, contracts, etc.


Some of the taxes that potentially impact your bottom line as a book author in Kenya include: 

  • Digital service tax – any digital platform selling e-books is required to pay this monthly; tax rate is 1.5% of the gross transaction value of each e-book sold to a Kenyan user; 
  • Personal income tax – paid on personal income; tax rate dependent on income level 
  • Withholding tax- paid on royalties by the publisher you’re contracted with; tax rate is 5% for Kenyan residents 
  • Shelf tax – required by some physical bookstores in Kenya before they can stock your book; tax rate dependent on store 

We believe Christian content should be excellent in quality. That’s why we offer a variety of publishing services here at Telios. Find out more on our Services page

*Disclaimer: This post is for general information purposes only and does not constitute  professional business or legal advice on any matters addressed.

Published by Telios Press

Kenyan publisher that makes self-publishing simple, affordable & fun for African authors.

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