Kingston Book Festival 2018 (#KBF2018) is on, and has rolled out its vast lineup of events for eight days, from March 4-11. On Wednesday, they hosted a workshop on ‘Creating Creative Capital’ at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, engaging players in Jamaica’s creative industry in interesting panel discussions and talks that lasted from 10am to well past the slated end time of 5pm. The day was punctuated with insights and recommendations, discussions and many solutions. Here are diGJamaica’s Top 10 Takeaways from the day:
1. Limitless possibilities for Jamaican creative industries
In the morning’s first panel discussion, Deika Morrison literally said Jamaica should be paid to exist (… and we thought that would look great on a diGJamaica T-shirt). All panelists – Ruth Chisholm, Yvonne Brown, Latoya West-Blackwood and Deika – spoke of the need to map the creative industry in not just Jamaica, but the entire Caribbean. All agreed that an online database of organisations involved in the industry should be created and regularly updated. And, in the spirit of marrying words with productive action, as an immediate start, they decided that persons interested in being on this list could send their details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Conceptualise, cultivate and curate your personal brand
Vonni Brown, creative industries consultant and lawyer with Consult CyarriBeyon LLC, spoke about how to create an effective personal brand using what she called her 3C’s:
- Conceptualise: Who am I? Or who do I want to become? “Write a story,” urged Vonni. “Be authentic. If you can’t share who you are, nobody will pick up your brand because it won’t resonate with them.”
- Cultivate: Work on your presence, essence and effervescence. Presence is about the impact you have, essence is who you are at a deep level, and effervescence is that unique flair you carry.
- Curate: Select the useful parts of who you are. Many of us live multifaceted lives, and, according to Vonni, you have to curate yourself for each job or project. You have to decide what skills and attributes are best for each context. She summed this up perfectly thus: “Your life is a bestseller. The author is you. The protagonist is you. On the cover, you. Curate brand you.”
4. Watch your intellectual property.
In Jamaica, we do not give a lot of attention to industrial design, which is an important part of intellectual property, Vonni noted. Protecting your work legally is just one step. You need watchdogs and bulldogs to help you watch to see if anyone is trying to knock off your product. If nobody sees the knockoffs, you cannot enforce your right.
5. Register first. Share after.
Here’s something many people don’t know: The law does not protect ideas, but it protects the innovation behind ideas once they’ve been duly registered. So register first, advised Vonni. Exercise caution. Don’t share your idea with anyone until you have registered it, because identifiable intellectual property rights are what is protected under law. She also encouraged persons with business ideas to:
- Get a business name.
- Get the trademark.
- Purchase the domain name.
6. Read your contracts.
If there is a misunderstanding or you are not sure about something, get clarity, Nadine Buckland of UWI Press advised, but make sure that you read the contract. Get a lawyer if you need to. pay attention to the terms. Ensure that you have a full understanding of what you are getting into BEFORE you sign. Once that signature goes on the document, it is legally binding.
7. Don’t discount the publisher.
In this day and age when technology makes it so easy for everyone and anyone to do it themselves, Nadine Buckland’s advice was not to throw away the use of a publisher. She noted that through a publisher, an author gets access to a network of scholarly reviewers, does not have to foot the initial financial bill, gets legal protection, global marketing, professional support and distribution assistance.
Nadine Buckland also noted that it is the author’s responsibility to clear permissions for third party content in their writing. She noted that permissions include text, charts, illustrations, etc, and not just text.
9. Be an authorpreneur.
Kwame McPherson brands himself an authorpreneur because of how many different arms of the writing industry he functions in. His own approach to the business was used as encouragement to everyone to do likewise: develop unique ways of approaching your work and don’t be afraid to diversify your skill sets and market them accordingly. So write, ghostwrite, edit, market and publish if you can. Be entreprenuerial about how you do business, and reap greater rewards.
10. Service still matters.
Publishing veteran Glynis Salmon was a fitting cap off of the day’s event with a very simple reminder: service still matters, and it is a lifestyle. She encouraged all to immerse themselves in understanding the business they are doing, the products they are selling and the industry in which they work for maximum impact. Se reminded all of the importance of the customer, and said: “The moment you are in business, you’re selling. It’s a lifestyle.” So always be on the alert.