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Archive for the ‘Self Publishing’ Category

Local is Lekker this Summer: Jane Rosenthal’s Top Reads for the Hols

Still trying to decide what books are worth the extra baggage weight or e-reader space – not to mention your precious leisure time over the holidays?

No need to stress, sort through the fluff with Mail & Guardian reviewer Jane Rosenthal’s summer books picks.

Die sneeuslaperNot a Fairy TaleThe LacunaThe Long SongCactus LettersHomingThe Mistress's DogExposure

Keep it short, sweet and local this summer, short-story collections, Homing by Henrietta Rose-Innes, The Mistress’s Dog by David Medalie, and Exposure by Shaun de Waal are among Rosenthal’s top picks. Read more from her article below to see what else made onto her summer list:

The recession (receding at a snail’s pace), continued VAT on books and having only a few thousand real book-addict-type readers in South Africa might have made things in the book world slow down, but they have not deterred the ­writers and publishers at all.

Books in all categories continue to appear and there is a new trend — publishers who previously eschewed short stories seem to have had a rethink. This year several collections have come out in South Africa. Perhaps they took heart after Alice Munro, the great, seemingly unstoppable, short-story writer won the Man Booker International Prize in 2009. This is such good news for those who like to write in this form and three of the best local collections are Homing by Henrietta Rose-Innes (Umuzi, 2010), The Mistress’s Dog by David Medalie (Picador Africa, 2010) and Exposure by Shaun de Waal (BookSurge, 2010).

Book details

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Leserskring Starts iBhuku, a Local Version of “GoodReads”; and Kalahari Gets into the Self Publishing Business


Kalahari.netLeserskringAlert! Much is afoot in the world of books over at the Mother Ship.

Said Mother Ship being, of course, the Naspers gebou / Media24 building on Cape Town’s foreshore, pictured above, where sits the nerve centre of the greater Media24 empire, which includes, in its brood, the e-commerce site and the country’s biggest “book club” (really, so much more, and indeed less, than an actual book club), Leserskring, aka Leisure Books.

Both hatchlings have introduced innovations into our world of books recently: namely, a new social network called that mimics, in part, the world’s biggest readers’ site,; and an e-distribution solution for self-published authors that works regardless of whether books have ISBNs.

iBhukuiBhuku is a Leserskring project that debuted only a few days ago but already has a sizeable membership, a portfolio of virtual book clubs like “Twilight-lovers” and “Horror-lovers” (SL Grey, are you listening?) that broadly conform to the Leserskring “popular reads” profile, and a timeline of user activity that’s currently a bit slow-moving but undoubtedly will pick up as the membership builds.

BOOK SA can’t but help wonder whether Leserskring knew that, by using the term “ibhuku”, it was trampling on territory already established by Byron Loker over at Blogspot.

So far, it would seem there’s very little SA Lit on the network – although there is an Ena Murray book club – but, again, the project has just kicked off.

iBhuku takes the first few steps, in South Africa, down one of the likelier paths of “the future of bookselling” as digital publishing and social networks converge, so kudos to Leserskring for getting it off the ground. Now, about that SA Lit…

Meanwhile, over at, there’s big – by which we mean BIG – news for self-publishers. Gary Novitzkas, the GM of “Customer Experience” at the e-retailer, explains:

“It is extremely difficult to establish relationships with major distributors and book sellers directly. Through our marketplace, is now offering any publisher a distribution and selling alternative. Authors and other sellers can sell their printed self published books on marketplace, regardless of whether they have an ISBN number or distribution deals in place or not.”

The service to self-publishers appears to be no different than that offered to all sellers within Kalahari’s new marketplace platform – it’s just that no one thought to spin the marketplace as an outlet for authors until now. Notably, however, Kalahari is also offering to distribute self-published ebooks, which could be quite a boon for authors who don’t wish to keep stock (though we don’t recommend reading these ebooks on Kalahari’s own reader just yet).

For printed books that are self-published, the Kalahari marketplace system works like this:

  • Self-publishers have the ability to set their own price
  • Titles can be listed for free without cover cost
  • Self publishers can list books for free
  • levies a 4% commission on a successful sale
  • The seller is responsible for managing stock and take delivery
  • Buyers pay for postage

To get started, simply go to’s Marketplace and register. You’ll be able to sell your books direct to quite a large consumer base very quickly.

For e-books, as might be expected, the process is a bit more complicated. It involves third-party self-publishing services that are integrated with On the Dot – the major Media24 book distributor – including Crink (also owned by Media24) and independent outfits like Mousehand. If you take your manuscript to any such third party, you’ll be loaded on to the Kalahari ebook system, and will sell through the third party’s account, with presumably a percentage of sales going to that account.

So that’s the latest from the Mother Ship – and BOOK SA has heard of quite a number of further offerings, particularly from Kalahari, to be introduced before Christmas, so keep an eye out!

Image courtesy

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The Witness Reviews Salt Water Runs in My Veins by Prithiraj Dullay

Salt Water Runs in My VeinsVerdict: carrot

A COMPENDIUM of short stories by Prithiraj Dullay, titled Saltwater Runs in My Veins, was recently launched at the Durban University of Technology.

The book is partly autobiographical, providing an insight into Dullay’s life-altering experiences in his youth, his growing political consciousness as a student and his activism as a teacher in Port Shepstone.

Book Details

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How to: Write Your Book and Self Publish It

Renata HarperRenata Harper provides a breakdown of the world of self-publishing, including a necessary lists of dos and don’ts, complete with quotes from Modjaji BooksColleen Higgs:

Self-publishing means outsourcing the printing of your manuscript to a printer or publishing services company directly, as opposed to through a publishing company. Electronic publishing, or e-publishing, is one way to self-publish – of course, the ‘e-book’ is only available online and you’ll have to work with a ‘printer’ who will lay out your book for the web.

Reasons to do it

Publishers are market-driven, and even if your story is good, it may not resonate with a big enough market. If you’ve written a family history or personal story, this could be the route for you.

Photo courtesy Fairlady

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Au Courant: Three Indie Book Launches on Our October Radar Screen

Alert! In addition to Shabbir Banoobhai’s upcoming launch, three further independent events for this October have come to BOOK SA’s attention:

Sunday 18 October

Memoirs for Kimya by Shafinaaz Hassim

Memoirs for Kimya

We move through life as it moves through us. We make up stories in our minds. And often these stories overlap. We hope with all our heart.

We dream. We love, often deeply. We experience some gains and some losses. Each of these moments leave an imprint on the rich tapestry of our souls. Sometimes the only way to share the awesomeness is by whispering a few words on the wind. Memoirs for Kimya is a collection of whispers and a tribute to the many people we meet along life’s journey.

Saturday 24 October

Emily and the Battle of the Veil and Emily and the Sprites of Light by Karen Michelle Brooks

 Emily and the Battle of the VeilEmily and the Sprites of Light

[Veil] With change dramatically entering her life, Emily begins to learn how thoughts are things. This title introduces Emily May Harrison, who has grown up in Paradise Beach with her Gran and friend Sam, until suddenly, at the age of 12, she is told she has to go to boarding school in Kingstown.

[Sprites] Emily has no choice but to continue helping Aurana towards the Balance, after losing her friend in the Battle and having been warned that this was just ‘The Beginning of the End’ by Admonai of the Shadows.

  • Date: Saturday, 24 October 2009
  • Time: 9:30 AM for 10:00 AM
  • Venue: Folio Books
    207 Main Road (opp Westerford High School)
    Newlands | Map
  • RSVP: Folio Books, 021 685 7190

Tuesday 27 October

The Hidden Side of South African Politics by Motsoko Pheko

The Hidden Side of South African Politics

“We must discover our mission for our country and our African Continent, and then fulfil it, and not betray it”, reads the last line in the book published by Tokoloho Publishers, entitled The Hidden Side of South African Politics by Dr Motsoko Pheko, former Member of the South African Parliament.

It is this last line that embodies the truth, reflections and insights of our country’s politics, especially of the liberation movements and what they achieved or did not achieve.

Book Details

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Shabbir Banoobhai Launches 3 Books as Part of His Birthday Celebrations

Shabbir BanoobhaiPoet Shabbir Banoobhai will celebrate his 60th birthday this year. As a part of the celebrations he will be launching three new books:

Lyrics in Paradise
Dark Light – The Spirit’s Secret
The Mirror’s Memory – Reflective Essays and Thoughts

You can join in the merriment on Sunday the 25th of October at the District Six Museum in Cape Town. The event will start at 15:30.

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Sarah Britten is Back with Insults III

More South African Insults

The Art of the South African InsultMcBride of FrankenmantoSarah BrittenAlert! Sarah Britten‘s third book of local imprecations, More South African Insults is about to hit the shelves.

The writer, who has been the object of more than one discourtesy herself – often via comments on her ThoughtLeader blog – has hoovered up insults related to everything from Julius Malema to Bafana Bafana for what is doubtless a lekker spicy read.

Here’s the press release from printers 30 Degrees South:

A lot has happened since the appearance of ‘The Return of the South African Insult’ – now Sarah Britten is back with her latest take on South Africa.

“Splendid – a torrent of spleen, sure to splatter into gaping gobs” – Tom Eaton

Thabo Mbeki is no longer president, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang is no longer minister of health and Luke Watson wore a Springbok jersey and then said he wanted to vomit on it. Amidst all this excitement, one figure still managed to stand out, mainly because he was shouting a lot and threatening to kill for Zuma at the time. Julius Malema is worthy of an entire chapter on his own. As comedian Nick Rabinowitz says, if Julius Malema got an F for woodwork, how can we expect him to build a cabinet? Some things haven’t changed: South Africans still hate taxis and taxi drivers, they still love BMWs, the Gautrain sinkhole keeps opening up in Oxford Road but Bafana Bafana aren’t so useless.

Sarah Britten has been described by Barry Ronge as “Hitler with tits”. Her first piece of comic reportage, on the wonders of kugels and buying a Matric dance dress in Sandton City, appeared in Style magazine in 1991 when she was 17. She has won Sanlam Prizes for Youth Literature for The Worst Year of My Life – So Far (2000) and The Martin Tudhope Show (2002). She wrote her Master’s research report on South African humour (with a focus on Madam & Eve) and has a doctorate in Applied English Language Studies, the title of her thesis being ‘One nation, one beer: the mythology of the new South Africa in advertising’.

Her area of academic interest relates to national identity and comedy, and the concept of ‘National Intimacy’, as defined by the anthropologist Michael Herzfeld. The good citizens of Mooinooi once tried to send her death threats after she quoted a man who described them as being like ropes – thick, hairy and twisted – but they couldn’t find her number in the phone book.

David Bullard’s fans, who resemble a pack of escaped Labradors gone bad after a week without Bob Martins and Eukanuba, were mightily offended when she pointed out a punctuation error in one of his articles. She already has an active ‘hate club’ of ex-pat whingers in Perth, Australia.

Sarah enjoys birdwatching, wildlife, painting with lipstick (and pastels). She plays the piano, her favourite composer is Bach and she plans to write a fugue in four parts based on the Nokia ring tone. She can also do a mean Australian accent for anyone who asks.

Book details

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Hazel Barnes Reviews Drama Queen by James Parker

Drama Queen: The Elizabeth Sneddon StoryVerdict: carrot
James Parker’s fictional biography of Durban’s charismatic Elizabeth Sneddon – she who bequeathed her name to the famous UKZN theatre – is evocatively told but not without its flaws:

Professor Elizabeth Sneddon, founder of the Drama Department at the former University of Natal, is the subject of this “novel”, as it calls itself. Written by a protégé of Sneddon’s, her story (a kind of biography seemingly based on oft-told family reminiscences, imaginative recreation and eventually on personal acquaintance) is evocatively told. The author has the ability to capture the tone and intention of his subject’s personal style in conversation and interaction and this book will be of interest to many people whose lives and careers have been influenced by the charismatic Sneddon.


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