Written by: Val Waldeck
Article source: JOY! Magazine

Many of our readers have requested information about how to publish a book in South Africa. JOY! decided to answer this question. We congratulate you on your desire to make the world a better place by publishing your book and sharing your story and expertise.

The most important steps:
The first step is to make sure your book is properly researched, well-written, and professionally edited. You also need a professional cover with an eye-catching title. Covers DO sell books! Publishing and marketing your book must be carefully considered. I am sure many of you have discovered that there is a very limited market in South Africa for books. Very few bookshops (if any) will carry local authors. The biggest bookseller in South Africa works only with around eight international wholesalers, and your chances of finding a retail outlet are virtually zero. Unless you have a large following, you are unlikely to sell many books.

There are basically five ways to get published:

1. Finding a Publishing Company: If successful, you will receive a small royalty of around 10%, and they do the initial marketing. After about three months, if your book is not selling, it will be removed from the shelves of bookstores. When you consider the average publishing company receives more than 20 000 manuscripts a day, you understand how slim your chances are of being accepted.

2. Using a Publishing Agent to introduce you to a publisher has similar problems and costs a fair amount of money.

3. Using a Vanity Publisher: These are companies that charge you to prepare and publish your book. This route is expensive. Again, you end up doing the bulk of the marketing for little financial return.

4. Self-Publish your book through a local printing company: This means that you must format your book, make sure the cover and spine fit, and take care of marketing. Printondemand.co.za is an excellent print-on-demand facility and allows you to upload your print-ready PDF online. Their costs are very competitive for small runs. You can even print 1 – 2000 at a time to test the market.

5. Self-Publish your book online: It is by far the best choice. Self-publishing used to be scorned in the past, but the technology has improved so much that many published authors are bypassing traditional publishers.

The benefits of self-publishing online:
You keep control of your book, its cover, content, and price. You also keep the lion’s share of your royalties. Publishing is fast and free, and online bookstores assist with marketing, selling, and distribution. They pay your royalties into a bank account of your choice. Again, you do most of the marketing, but they assist as much as possible. When you make money, they make money. You can update your book at any time by merely uploading a new document.

How to self-publish digital books
Amazon is the biggest seller of books in the world. They offer free publishing of Kindle and paperback books on their KDP platform. Distribution and sales are handled by them. Royalties range from 35% to 70%. The only drawback is that you have to format the books yourself, but they have guidelines on their site to assist you. Online digital publishers like Smashwords and Draft2Digital format your Word document without charge and distribute it to online booksellers globally. Smashwords does not publish to Amazon. My personal recommendation is Draft2Digital. You will find them at draft2digital.com. There is no charge to upload your Word document. The company format your book for Amazon Kindle, EPub, and various Ebook formats. They provide you with a print-ready PDF for your paperback and distribute books to many online bookstores (including Amazon).Everything is taken care of for approximately 10-15% of your royalties. They are planning to accept paperbacks soon. Visit these companies and look at the amazing facilities on offer. It’s time to publish your book!

Print on demand

Feature image: unsplash.com
Val Waldeck is an author, kindle publishing consultant, and Bible teacher. Visit valwaldeck.com

JOY! Digital is a Christian portal that shares pre-published articles by writers around the world. Each article is sourced and linked to the origin, and each article is credited with the author’s name. Although we do publish many articles that have been written in-house by JOY! journalists, we do not exclusively create our own content. Any views or opinions presented on this website are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.

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