Joan Thatia is a household name in the African publishing space. She is the author of six books that provoke thought and leave audiences with nuggets of wisdom.
Thatia is a trained lawyer who started her journey as a professional journalist at Nation Media Group. She recalls how she saw an advertisement on the daily asking writers to submit their work.
The author told Kenyans.co.ke, she submitted a feature article that was published in the newspaper and then Nation called offering her a job. During her time at Nation, Joan focused on stories about women and she met many of them who told her their life experiences which she could relate to.
But the challenge was she couldn't write some of these stories to be published in the newspaper. The daily was a restricted space and so she resolved to write these stories and share them as part of her book project.Journalist and author Joan Thatia during the launch of her book 'Guilty' on November 19, 2020File
Thatia stated that writing was an outlet for her and she writes to learn and also teach.
Loaded with information from all the interviews she had conducted and her own life experiences, Joan wrote and published "Things I Will Tell My Daughter". This is her best selling book to date but the success did not come without challenges and lessons. The author revealed that while she was working on the book, people in media circles discouraged her from publishing and told her that Kenyans don't read.
"People in media were telling me Kenyans don't read books. I was stressed out when the first batch came because I didn't know whether people would buy them but friends and family bought them and slowly other people started buying the book," she stated.
"The first year I dedicated it to marketing the book but after that, it was pleasant. It's still my best selling book. I was just a journalist who was just getting a footing into this space and now I knew what to do."
According to Joan, writing became her full-time job and she was fully committed to it. She resolved to write a book each year after publishing 'Things I Will Tell My Daughter' but furnished with experiences from publishing her first book, she also decided to start her own publishing firm.
"I get days when I don't want to write. I have made a commitment to write a book every year. This is a job for me and I have targets that must be met. Writing is not easy, people think book writing is magical but it takes a lot of work and commitment," the Guilty author stated.
She noted that working with traditional publishers was a challenge since they wanted to edit out important bits from her book to suit the status quo but Joan was not comfortable with that. She added that she did not want to lose control of her work and creating a bond with her readers through her work.
"Working with traditional publishers proved difficult because they wanted to censor my work so I decided to start my own publishing firm. For now, my team and I only work on my projects but in future, we might start publishing other authors," she stated.
"This also comes with pressure because I have to market and distribute my own work. I work twice as hard because I know what is at stake."
Joan stated that she has a supportive fan base from Africa. She won a publishing deal from the Quramo Writers Prize in 2019, Nigeria.
Her current book 'Everything I Know About Life' was released in September 2021, Joan described the piece as her "grown woman" project adding that she shared lessons with the reader in hopes of provoking thought and describing her point of view on life.
Joan is the author of I'm too pretty to be broke & other lies, Things I will tell my daughter, Guilty, Damn girl! stop that, Letters to my son and Everything I know about life.Journalist and author Joan Thatia at the K1 Market on September 7, 2020File
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