Publishing Options for Fiction Writers in Africa

Publishing Options for African Fiction Writers

The publishing market in Africa is difficult to navigate. Today, Africa has many writers seeking to publish their works. However, the truth is, if you don’t have the right guidance and knowledge, vanity publishers will take advantage of your ignorance.

As a published author who has benefited from the help and guidance of experienced authors, who helped me navigate the publishing world, I’m here to share my knowledge with you.

Often, writers will finish their first manuscript, and only after it is complete, will they wonder: Where do I go from here? This post will answer your most important questions.

Before we get to the specifics, let me briefly explain the two keys points you need to know before you venture into the publishing world.

    Traditional Publishing

Traditional book publishing is when a publisher offers the author a contract and, in turn, prints, publishes, and sell your book through booksellers and other retailers. The publisher essentially buys the right to publish your book and pays you royalties from the sales. You don’t have to pay a dime to publish your book with a traditional publisher.

You need to have a complete manuscript and find the right traditional publisher for your story. If your story is good and it happens to be what they are looking for, they will accept it and offer you a publishing contract. Last year, a traditional publisher offered me a publishing contract for my book. The novel was published late last year.

    Self-Publishing

In Self-Publishing, writers publish their piece of work independently and at their own expense. Before the age of the internet, the only way a writer could get their book in front of millions was to send a book proposal and a query letter to a traditional publisher or agent.

However, today, things have changed in the publishing industry. We now have self-publishing platforms where writers can take advantage of their services and publish their works. The most popular ones are print-on-demand services.

Important Note: Writers should avoid using Vanity Publishers. These are publishers that charge the author money for their services. Here, you pay outrageous amount of money in order to publish your work. Do not pay to publish your work, except you are working with a publisher that offers a wide range of services.

What is the difference between Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing?

In traditional publishing, the publisher handles the marketing, distribution, and warehousing for your book. This is the traditional method to book publishing because there is no expense to the author—mainstream publishers make a profit from the book’s sales and the author is paid royalties from the sales.

Whereas in self-publishing, depending on which type of publisher or platform you choose, the majority of the work falls on your shoulders and you pay for all expenses. The main advantages of self-publishing are that you control when the book is published, you retain all rights to your book, and you receive 100 percent of the profits.

List of some Traditional Publishing Houses where African writers can submit their manuscripts.

These publishers accept African fiction

    Cassava Republic Publishers

A top African publisher. They have published books by top African authors. They have offices in Abuja and United Kingdom. Go to their website to find out the kind of stories they accept, and their submission guidelines.

    Kachifo Publishers (Farafina books)

Kachifo Limited is one of the best African publishers. They became popular when they acquired the right to publish and distribute books written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, in Nigeria. They are based in Lagos, Nigeria. Go to their website to find out the stories they accept, and their submission guidelines.

    Parrésia Publishers

This publisher is based in Lagos, Nigeria. Go to their website to find out stories they accept and their submission guidelines.

    Love Africa Press

Love Africa Press is a publishing house that has changed the face of African literature. Within a few years of its existence, this publishing house has done so much to promote African Authors and African Fiction. They have given new African authors the platform to showcase their works to readers all over the world. It might interest you to know that Love Africa Press is my publisher. Go to their website to find out stories they accept, and their submission guidelines.

    Black Letter Media

With a focus on publishing new African writers, Black Letter Media, which was founded by Duduzile Zamantungwa Mabaso in 2011, produces both print books and eBooks. Black Letter Media publishes authors not only in South Africa, but other African nations such as Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria, among others.

    Penguin Random House South Africa

Formed from the merging of Random House Penguin Books South Africa and Random House Struik in 2015, Penguin Random House South Africa publishes general fiction, literary fiction, illustrated nonfiction, and children’s books. Fiction works are published through Penguin Fiction and Umuzi, two imprints of Penguin Random House South Africa.

Genres not accepted by Penguin Random House South Africa include Young Adult fiction, short stories, novellas, poetry, religious fiction, works that have been self-published, scripts, science fiction, fantasy and educational works.

List of Self-Publishing Platforms where African writers can submit their manuscripts

In these platforms listed below, once your book is ready to be published, with professional editing, cover design, book formatting taken care of, you don’t pay to self-publish your book. Just go to their website, create your account and profile, upload your work and you will publish your book within five minutes.

    Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Owned by Amazon, KDP publishes and retails eBooks and paperbacks. This is one publisher that an independent author cannot afford to ignore: About 80% of all English-language book sales occur via Amazon. You don’t pay to publish in Amazon.

    Okadabooks

This is Africa’s version of Amazon. OkadaBooks prides itself as Africa’s leading digital content provider of local and original books. Recently the company celebrated over 300, 000 registered members.

Okada Books is a do it yourself platform where authors can upload their book files, usually in epub formats and their covers with other details to get published on their easy-to-use platform. It is free to publish your books on OkadaBooks.

    IngramSpark – IngramSpark uses one of the most advanced print-on-demand technology to offer self-publishers quality books in a wide variety of print options. You can publish and sell your paperback books with their services.

Others include:

    1. Smashwords
    1. Draft2Digital
    1. iBooks
    1. Barnes & Noble Press
    Kobo

Let me add Africa’s best Print-on-Demand Service: Print Doctor Africa.

Print Doctor Africa

Print Doctor Africa is the pioneer Print on Demand Book Publishing Company in West Africa. They have helped people from all walks of life achieve their dreams of becoming published authors. The best part, you can publish as few as 50 books. Learn more about their work on their website. Its founder, Ebadan Ayodeji – the Print Doctor, and his innovative team are doing an awesome job. I highly recommend them.

List of Literary Magazines where African Writers can submit their short stories

If you want to get serious about your writing craft, this is a good place to start. There is a huge market and readership for fiction both within and outside the African continent. Many literary magazines are looking for new voices. You can submit your short stories to them. Go to their website and find out the kind of stories they accept and their submission guidelines.

-Kahari Review

-Brittle Paper

-Creative Freelance Writerz-Africa

Damilola Jonathan Oladeji and his wonderful team are doing a great job here especially with their bi-annual CFW magazine, which showcases the works of African writers to the rest of the world. They also offer a wide range of publishing services. Go to their website to find out more information.

-Praxis Magazine Online,

-Agbowo Magazine

– Craft

– Inlandia Journal

– Bone & Ink Press

– Rhythm & Bones Press

– Ghost City Press

– Tiny Essays

– Honey & Lime

– Kissing Poetry Magazine

– Narratively

– The Moth Magazine

– The Hellebore

– Puerto Del Sol

– Nightingale & Sparrow

The list is not exhaustive, these are the ones I know.

I wish you success in your writing journey.

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