Assisted Self-Publishing Programme

During the first two weeks of March, WritePublishRead accepts manuscripts in previously under-published languages for our Assisted Self-Publishing Programme for ebooks. Manuscript submissions are open from 1 to 14 March annually.

Who is this for?

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

We’ll accept a maximum of 12 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:

Under-published South African Languages

• isiZulu

• isiXhosa

• Sepedi

• Setswana

• Sesotho

• Xitsonga

• SiSwati

• Tshivenḓa

• isiNdebele

• South African First Nations Languages (For example, ‡Khomani San, Khwe-, !Xun-, Nama, Koranna , Griqua, Cape Khoekhoe)

Number of manuscripts

• 2

• 2

• 1

• 1

• 1

• 1

• 1

• 1

• 1

• 1

Criteria for manuscripts

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


• Novel

• Novella

• Novelette

• Short story

• Short story collection (own work)

• Drama (stage play)

• Collection of poetry (own work)

Word Count

• 40 000 words or more

• 17 500 to 39 999 words

• 7 500 to 17 499 words

• 1000 to 7 500 words (one story)

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

• 5 000 to 10 000 words

• 20 to 50 poems

The details

Based on the order of submissions received we will select 12 manuscripts, across all previously under-published languages, and provide special assistance in helping the authors to self-publish their work.

The 12 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 12 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.

The selection of authors who will participate annually rests solely with Via Afrika. Via Afrika’s decision is final, and no correspondence relating to the selection will be entered into.

Assisting 12 authors from previously under-published languages will be an annual WritePublishRead undertaking.

Want to access WritePublishRead’s How to Self-Publish for Everyone?