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If you are new to the literary world and lack experience and acquaintance in the field then you will undoubtedly face rejection and many struggles with publishing firms who may or may not accept your piece of work. It is precisely this reason that has guided many aspiring authors to the path of self publishing.
We caught up with Dina Gamaleldin, an Egyptian-British children’s writer who has so far published four books that she wrote and illustrated herself, to find out what are the benefits of self publishing and the low aspects of it.
Gamaleldin is a mother to 3 children and a secondary school art teacher who loves to draw and tell stories ever since she was a child. Born and raised in Alexandria Egypt she moved to the UK 11 years ago and spotting a need for books that targets bilingual children, Gamaleldin began to think of ways to serve children who have dual identity and when she became a mother she set out to put her plan into action.
It was her master degree in communication design that actually generated her first ever book as she turned her desertion project into a children book.
Gamaleldin says that “everything came by chance” in her life although she has tried plan ahead, but often life guides you rather than you leading it. Accessing publishing firms was a big factor in her decision to opt for self publishing even though she recognised early on that it is risky and less profitable yet it also gave her the freedom and independence to create what she wanted.
Gamaleldin is a perfectionist who likes to be in charge of every detail and therefore she writes, edits and illustrates her books. Her main aim was to reach young children who are lost between their parents’ language and the language of the country they live in and the struggle to maintain both languages. But also noticing that even children in the Arab region are losing the ability to speak and write Arabic, with international schools dominating the education sector and children’s TV channels are mostly imported from English speaking countries, Arab children are slowly losing their identity and the Arabic language is in great danger. Hence Gamaleldin set out to correct this trend or at least play a part in making children love the Arabic language. She explains that during her search for publishing resources online she found amazon services by chance and found that it worked best for her as “it is available worldwide and is easy to access compared to other self publishing providers”.
Recognising the difficulties that every author endures in publishing their first book Gamaleldin urges fellow aspiring authors who advice who have a passion for creating book is “to never give up or wait for help just keep on trying until you reach your target”.
The numbers of books that Gamaleldin has sold is not high due to the lack of advertising and as she admits “my poor marketing skills” so on average she sold approximately 120 copies of each book word wide. She is aware that while self publishing gives her freedom but financially doesn’t generate any profit and doesn’t support her book via advertising or promoting her work.
Below are the four books that Gamaleldin has so far written and published and can all be found on Amazon:
- Have you seen Grandad (Arabic /English) The book is features 2 of Gamaleldin’s children looking for their grandad on a journey through Egyptian cities.
- A Day with the Arabic Alphabets (Arabic /English) The book teaches children the Arabic alphabet using story telling.
- Adams birthday cake – This is a personal favourite for Gamaleldin as her eldest son wrote it and designed it when he was 5 years old and she helped him edit and publish it.
- Zizo the superhero, toilet time – Gamaleldin latest book which features her potty training adventure with her youngest child.
Most of Gamaleldin books are based on her personal experience and she has chosen to write these books “as I always believe that I have so many stories to tell and hopefully one day I will be financially independent enough to work full-time in creating my books” admitting that being the sole operator of her book publishing journey takes her up to 2 years to finish each book between writing and creating the illustrations.