Assisted Self-publishing programme

Assisted Self-Publishing programme

During the first week of March every year, WritePublishRead accepts manuscripts in previously under-published languages for our Assisted Self-Publishing programme.

Who is this for?

For the Assisted Self-Publishing programme, we will be accepting manuscripts from South African writers who have not been published before.

We’ll accept a maximum of 25 manuscripts to participate in the programme, which will give each writer access to a language specialist appointed by ALASA and the NRF Chair in African Languages, who will edit their work and help them prepare the final manuscript for publication.

The number of manuscripts we’ll accept per language is structured according to the percentage of home language speakers for each of the under-published South African languages, as follows:

Number of manuscripts

South African First Nations Languages


What are the criteria for manuscripts?

For the Assisted Self-Publishing programme, we’re looking for manuscripts in the languages listed above. Furthermore, we will accept the following fiction genres (note the required word count):

Word count 


40 000 words or more 


17 500 to 39 999 words 


7 500 to 17 499 words 

Short story  

1000 to 7 500 words (one story) 

Short story collection of own work 

1 000 to 3 500 words per short story (10 to 15 stories) 

Short reads/Flash fiction collection of own work 

100 to 1 000 words per short read (5 to 10 short reads) 

Drama (stage play) 

5 000 to 10 000 words 

Collection of poetry 

20 to 50 poems 

Based on the order of submissions received we will select 25 manuscripts, across all previously under-published languages, and provide special assistance in helping the authors to self-publish their work.

The 25 successful authors will be announced annually on World Book Day, 23 April.

A Memorandum of Understanding will be signed between all parties.  Note: The author will retain his or her copyright.

The 25 authors will work with Via Afrika, the NRF Chair in African Languages and ALASA through the process of getting their manuscripts digitally print-ready, up to getting it published and promoted.

What will Via Afrika, the NRF Chair in African Languages and ALASA do during this process?

  • Assist the authors by performing a thorough language edit on their manuscript
  • Assist the authors to get their manuscripts ready for self-publication on the Smashwords website as ebooks
  • Host authors on the WritePublishRead Authors web page
  • Spread the word about each author’s publication on social media

 Note: The Assisted Self-Publishing programme does not include the printing, warehousing, distributing, marketing or selling of printed books. This is a self-publishing initiative that enables writers to create ebooks. WritePublishRead is an assistive tool which will prepare authors to be as successful as possible as independent, self-published authors. It is not a publishing agreement. Authors selected for the Assisted Self-Publishing programme will retain all copyright, and will not enter into a publishing agreement with Via Afrika, the NRF Chair in African Languages, or ALASA, as a consequence of being selected for the Assisted Self-Publishing programme.

Assisting 25 authors from previously under-published languages will be an annual WritePublishRead undertaking.

Manuscript submissions are open from 1 to 7 March annually.

When submissions are open, use the button below to submit your manuscript if you would like to enter for the WritePublishRead Assisted Self-Publishing programme.