Who Needs Azu’s New Book?

On two separate occasions I attempted writing a book and dropped the idea shortly after mulling it, simply for want of time. Of course, I have since resolved to suspend writing the book till such a time when I would be able to take a fairly long leave to a serene environment. Like I’m planning to win the World Series of procrastination, you may say!

And so, when I see busy folks like Azubuike Ishiekwene write books, I doff my hat for them and always wonder how they are able to do it in spite of their tight schedules.

Anyway, I am already exploring the possibility of selling my book idea to him or, better still, ask him to tutor me on how to navigate between my current work schedules that hardly avail me time for social life and creative adventure.

Ishiekwene’s new book, ‘Writing for Media and Monetising It’, is not just timely; it is a classic that provides a step-by-step guide and mentoring on how journalists, content creators, bloggers and even ‘citizen journalists’, among others, can make money through writing for the media.

Amid a shrinking white collar job space, with hundreds of graduates of not just mass communication and journalism studies, but of other disciplines being churned out by our tertiary institutions annually, there is the need to creatively think out of the box. To survive the current times, graduates must learn skills that would enable them survive, writing is one of such skills they must learn.

But is there really money in writing for the media in a competitive world like ours where the survival of the fittest is the law of the concrete jungle? In Nigeria, there are no fewer than 100 universities and polytechnics-both public and private-producing graduates in mass communication every year, with the existing media organisations being unable to absorb all of them.

Among the few that are lucky enough to be offered jobs by the media organisations, a majority of those with the privately-owned media houses are having challenges with prompt salary payment.

And then to survive, some journos engage in all sorts of unethical practices, thereby denting the image of the profession. While it is true that poor or lack of pay to journos is not a justification for unethical practices, the ‘brown envelope’ culture is a great incentive.

If most media organisations do not only pay workers paltry salaries but also owe their workers, how can one ascertain the possibility of making money through writing for the media? I am one of those who often wonder if it is possible for people to earn money through writing for the media. It may be in other climes, certainly not in Nigeria. But reading Azu’s book provided me a new perspective.

Azu’s new book soared my mind to previously unattainable heights of insight on how journalists and even non-journalists alike can earn money writing for the media. But what do you expect from an editors’ editor, a media entrepreneur, a wordsmith who has spent over three decades doing what he knows how to do best: writing for the media.


The quintessential Azu

Azu, to use the almost worn-out cliché’, is different thing to different people. But one thing that almost everybody who really knows him well can attest to is the fact that he is a very prolific writer. This columnist with over 30-year experience in journalism practice has written, week in, week out, about virtually everything in Nigeria.

Like Max Amuchie said, Azu “writes about Nigeria, its history, the state of the union, and its place under the sun”. I have since made it a point of duty to read his column every week and I am privileged to read it even before it is officially published.

And his style is enthralling. A media entrepreneur, author and attested essayist, Azu is also a teacher who has taught pro bono at the  Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, and also at the Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ) Ogba-Lagos. His love for writing and the passion to see writers live a decent life by making money through writing, are no doubt, part of the reasons why he authored ‘Writing for Media and Monetising It’.


What’s in the book?

In this book, Azu not only tells us how to make money through writing, he also teaches us how to be better writers. To master the art of writing, he recommends, like good writers before him always do, that one needs to read voraciously. While harping on reading, Azu noted: “I expanded my reading list by adding some of my favourite and evergreen writers like Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. I also returned to some leading African writers, especially Chinua Achebe and Camara Laye”.

The book tells a writer how to select what subject to write on, how to create his/her style, how to connect with audience, how to find and use literary resources and, of course, how to mind the law. In chapters 9,10,11,12 and 14, Azu dwelt on using artificial intelligence, syndication, writing for global audiences, how a writer can brand his content and reinvent his or herself in changing times.

To my mind, chapter 13 is the most interesting. It talks about the central theme of the book which is, making money. Here, Azu examines the likes of Linda Ikeji, Abdulsalam Idris, Tunde Ednut and Adeola Fayehun who are making it big through content creation. Interestingly, the author provides, in pages 133-134, seven tips for anyone wishing to make money through content creation.


But who needs the book?

The book provides guide on how to improve one’s writing and also make money from content creation. To that extent, this is a book that should interest not just students of mass communication and their literary studies counterparts, but also journalists, journalism teachers, content creators, bloggers and media entrepreneurs. As a matter of fact, the book offers something for anyone in clear, simple writing. Therefore, I recommend this didactic book that is intended to expose financial opportunities to this category of people.


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