Fola Folagbade is the CEO of Worital Publishing Company and an authorpreneur.
As a focus authorpreneur,Folagbade has been able to carve a niche for himself, alongside his team of young creative, graphics designers, video curators, web designers, content creators, book designers and e-book distribution experts. They have impacted the publishing industry with their innovative mind within a space of one year.
Worital is a well- performing brand that has contributed uniquely,to the development of the industry.
Although, he spends most of his time in the boardroom, he also carves out some time for the darkroom.
His book branding, publishing and distribution has been exceptional due to his innovative style of designs and operations.
He established the company, a year ago but started as an entrepreneur five years ago at the university. In one year, they recorded so many success stories; and have equally worked with different individuals in Nigeria and other countries of the world,as well as dignitaries and prominent figures,such as priests, first ladies, coaches, thought leaders, pastors and different professionals.
Little wonder they are called the Amazon of Africa.
Apart from providing quality designs, editing, production and publishing, worital also help authors to sell their books on their online platform called the Bookplace. On the Bookplace, they showcase the works of these seasoned authors bringing their books to the doorstep of readers nationwide.
In this interview with Folagbade, he tells the story of his own trip through book designs, he created for authors.
Also, he revealed his decision,to change the face of book publishing in Nigeria and Africa at large,just to give everyone born with opportunity, a story to tell .
The goal is to make it easy for Nigerian authors, by publishing books with quality designs that can stand head to head with foreign books.
It’s been a delightful journey, and he look forward to more amazing years to come. As the firm continue to grow, it will keep unfolding more facets of its brand geared towards changing the book publishing industry in this part of the world.
Can you give us a brief detail into your background?
I graduated from Lagos State University,B.sc
Accounting, but passionate with entrepreneurship, so I started doing little business in my early days at the University.
My friends and I organized the first-ever ankara day on campus (Festac campus),where we sold fabric to other students. Also, we initiated the first year book idea to a set before ours,and they bought the initiative.
After, I graduated, I worked briefly before resigning and started my own business fully.I set up a studio
“Pholar Studios”, where I was able to express my creativity and helped a good number of startups with their visual presentations.
What inspired your decision,into becoming an entrepreneur, and how did you pitch your tent in the publishing sector?
Ever since I was young, I knew I would be an entrepreneur. I knew there were gaps that I needed to close. I am a thinker and love to express my thoughts. I love to create. All the jobs I was getting didn’t give me room to express my thoughts, there was no satisfaction, so it was clear to me,that I needed to create my own world.
About pitching my tent in the publishing sector, I think it has been pre-destined. I was truly tired of seeing poorly produced books in this part of the world. Nevertheless, I am a keen believer of the saying; ‘Don’t create service and start looking for buyers, get buyers and start creating services’, so I would say requests for these kinds of services contributed to my decision to stick to the sector.
I always knew I would do stuff around publishing, but I had no clue how it was going to happen. While running Pholar Studios, it got to the point that we were getting a lot of authors,asking us to design their book covers and interior. They were getting good results and kept referring our services to their circles. I and my team found, creating very interesting, so we decided to learn more.
After some time, I noticed that the printers did not adequately produce some of the books we design and hand over to the authors. Hence, the need to learn how to produce ourselves came in because we wanted to make sure our creativity was not lost in translation.
So, the firm decided to learn other areas and launched a completely different brand (WORITAL) that solves practically all authors needs but most importantly, designing and producing quality books that can stand head to head with any international books.
How long have you been in business?
Five years but WORITAL officially started a year ago.
What are the major challenges you face as an entrepreneur?
Access to funds. This is the main thing really, as I have many plans for authors,that would enhance book sales,which I am sure would definitely happen soon. It might take longer, but with resilience and focus, we would still achieve it.
What inspired you to start Worital?
I love reading, but I did not see quality,books here in Nigeria, books in terms of design and production. I saw a problem that needed to be solved.
What stands you out from your competitors?
The solutions we provided.
Most of the publishing houses I know are solving the same problem. We are here to solve something completely different, which is to provide captivating designs, world-class production and excellent customer experience.
What is your brand success?
The greatest of it all is being known, that is why we started operation in the first place, which is excellence.
Everyone that has worked with us or bought any of our published books can testify to that, and nothing is more fulfilling than this.
We have also worked with over 150 authors across the globe to publish their awesomeness within a year.
Asides ebooks publishing, we have printed over 50,000 books too within a year of establishment.
Where do you see your business in five years?
Even though many say we have done so well solving all the problems, authors face within a year, we have not covered 1/10 of what we have in the pipeline. In five years, Worital would have not just covered the whole of Nigeria but with branches in major Africa countries.
You have published books for people in different sectors; which one has had the most impact on your career?
The truth is, every project we have handled has done us well, and every single one has been unique in terms of the experience we gained and impact on my career, but because you want me to pick just one, I would say it’s the books published for Deji Jemiyo.
We were privileged to publish three books and a planner for him. The impact it had was not monetary; however, that project was a game-changer for us. We came up with so many standards that reflect quality on other projects we have been doing after then. It was the most stressful project done, but it moved us up to a standard we can’t break.
What’s your advice for entrepreneurs who want to go into the same industry?
It’s an interesting industry, but from the onset, you need to know your why. What problem are you coming in to solve? Again, who is your target audience? You obviously can’t serve everybody.
If there is one thing you could change in the publishing sector, what would it be?
If there is anything I could change,it would be excellent designs and production. Especially in this part of the world, where a lot of people pay attention to the content leaving the container. It’s like being given a sweet wine in a dirty cup, no matter how thirsty you are, I am so sure you won’t take it.
Content is essential, but that is not what would help people that don’t know you or know about your book, what would make a buying decision at the sight of your book in a book store is design.
I tell the story of my own trip from book designs.
The design attracts, and the content keeps them.
And for the production, why would I buy a book for an exorbitant amount of money and then the quality is low?
If I could change anything in the industry, it would be the quality of design and production of books coming out of Africa, and we are doing that already, one book at a time.
What your advise to young entrepreneurs that has ventured into business?
My counsel to young entrepreneurs is this they should bbuild business from scratch. That is the only way they could overcome the challenges of starting and building their small businesses through diligence, and working simple on creative ideas.
even if the total vision is not fully in place, a gradual execution of business ideas could yield massive success with time, going by my experience.
”The truth is that in entrepreneurship and business development it is one step at a time, you cannot envision all these things at once. You can think, Oh! I want to do this, those are dreams that you have for the business but as long as you just keep working on it there would be good results.”