Writing is a big deal. But being able to tell compelling stories through text is an art in its own right.
When Dandy Jackson started writing in secondary school, he was just doing it for fun. He didn’t expect that the once casual activity would eventually morph into a finely honed skill that would birth a business idea.
According to a study, 70% of books are now bought online.
But it did, conceiving the brainchild that is Instanovella. In June 2020, Dandy co-founded Instanovella with Awaji-Itimikpang Abadi. The startup operates from the city of Aba in Abia state, where Jackson and Awaji currently reside.
“Writing was just a hobby for me then. But right now, it has turned into a profession that I enjoy,” he tells me in a phone chat.
Then there was the added motivation of having lost a Facebook writers’ group of 2.1 million users to hackers early last year. Dandy says he has learned from that experience and now wants his startup to redefine the way African stories are being told.
We started Instanovella as a way to help Africans tell their stories to a wider audience and get global recognition.Dandy Jackson, CEO
Instanovella is a social network platform aimed at promoting the original literary work of African writers. Authors can easily get their stories published on the platform, and access a global readership base.
What makes Instanovella Exciting?
It’s simple. Instanovella isn’t just providing a story-telling platform for writers, it is working to help African authors break into untapped major markets such as the United States.
We do get massive traffic from the US and South Africa, apart from Nigeria of course. So, Instanovella is well poised to help bring our writers’ stories before a global audience.Dandy Jackson
Dandy maintains that this is what sets the startup apart from other online publishing platforms promoting African literature. Many Africans may find buying e-books too expensive for their budget, but Americans are more willing to spend on digital books.
Over 335.7 million e-books were sold in the United States in 2019, according to Statista.
Although Instanovella currently offers free access for readers, the plan is to monetise the platform for writers to earn a return on published stories. Dandy explains that this is key to helping writers leverage the traction from countries like the US going forward.
Interestingly, the CEO expects the next J.K. Rowling, the famous author of Harry Porter, to come through the Instanovella pipeline. According to him, a movie adaptation of the platform’s best stories is something that the startup plans to achieve in the future.
For now, however, the startup is focused on growing its audience. In line with this, Instanovella is working to raise pre-seed funding to accelerate its growth plans including the development of its mobile app for Android and iOS.
Dandy says the platform has gained up to 100,000 users since it launched last year. For its several thousands of readers, Instanovella is enabling quick access to hundreds of entertaining original African literature spanning romance, mystery, horror and comedy.
Check it out here.
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