For the mainstream publishing houses there is the Publishers Association of South Africa (PASA), which is a body representing almost all the big bookmaking houses in the country. Writers have for some time complained that it is easy to climb the summit of Mount Everest than to have their manuscript accepted for publication by a mainstream publisher.
That explains why there are thousands of closet novelists, short story writers, poets, essayists, dramatists and other prose writers who have given up on the thought of ever being published, especially in their own languages. Your isiSwazi, xiTsonga, isiNdebele and SePulana manuscripts look unattractive, right?
South African Small Publishers' CATALOGUE is an answer to those frustrations that are worse than a 'writer's block'. An initiative of the Cape Town based Centre for the Book, the 142 page catalogue was compiled by and edited by Marie Fischer and Colleen Higgs and contains alternative publishing initiatives which's sole purpose and interest is not the bottom line but developments of the arts in all languages. In a blurb contained in the Introduction of the catalogue it is stated that, "The growth of small publishing also means that new writers have more options open to them other than the larger publishers which may not be easily opened".
The catalogue contains scores of alternative publishers you can trust with your manuscript, which includes, Litnet, New Coin, Botsotso, Carapace, Fidelities, Laught It Off, Swii Amendment, Timbila, Green Dragon, Echoes and many many more.
However it is not only about addresses and services to writers but also contains literary articles that should come in handy for any artist. There are informative pieces from Roy Blumenthals 'Blogging as a Marketing Tool for Small Publishers', Sharon Meyering's 'What are you waiting for? Nothing any more, because A rough guide to small-scale and self-publishing is here' and 'Community participation and small-scale publication; Platform for sharing stories' by Franci Greyling and Anneretha Combrink.
There are more informative and insightful articles and an interview Litnet's Michelle McGrane conducted with artist-activist Angifi Dladla where he says, "To me poetry is the language of the soul, the lingua franca of dreams".
This Google of small-scale alternative publishing in South Africa is available from the Centre of the Book. For more information you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.centreforthebook.org.za. Every aspiring writer, educator, librarian, bookseller, editor, publisher and reader must have this important catalogue.
By: Goodenough Mashego
for more on the work of this organisation visit: www.centreforthebook.org.za