Don't forget to visit Fabulosity Reads Book Blog

Sep 7, 2011

Misha Talks Publishing In SA.

Posted by Wendy Ewurum  |  at  12:27 AM

I am so excited to have Misha here today because
right from the beginning I had this nagging worry
that it would be very remiss of to feature all my blog friends
from all over the world and yet did not do so for those here at home.
So thank you Misha for not only being an awesome blogger but for
agreeing to write this post and saving my conscious
from eternal self flagellation.

Hi all! Wendy asked me to talk about my… uhm… can I say woes?... woes as a writer in South Africa.

Actually it isn’t that bad. It’s just different. Being a writer in South Africa pretty much gives you two options: Settle for being published or thinking big.

The South African publishing industry is tiny. I mean this small. Especially when you’re going into fiction. The largest segment of the industry is taken up by text books. The second by new print and magazines. General books (fiction and non-fiction) comes a distant third.

Then, the market is even smaller. My grandmother published almost thirty fiction books in her life time, but she made her living from text books. Wendy told me that she heard if a South African author sells 200 copies in the South African market, they did well. So yes, if you want to just publish traditionally, it’s good. Most of our big publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts.

But I dream bigger than that. So I also have to think bigger. I decided to aim for the US market. Sure, I might still sell only 200 copies, but heaven knows that it won’t be for the lack of trying. I’m just thrilled that I live in these times.

Imagine how challenging it would have been to convince publishers to take a chance on my book by a letter that might have gotten lost in transit. Even if the letter got there, there’d be no proof that I can deliver the sales. For me, knowing the quality they’d expect would be like playing Marko Polo with a hand grenade. Any wrong move would kill my career.

In the technological age, I can get access to books published in the US and see the expected quality. (Only the bestest US best sellers make it to South African book stores.) And thanks to social networking, I am already plugged in with my market. My crit partners are mostly American; because I want to make sure I’m hitting the right spot. That would have been impossible before.

So, yes, there are challenges to be stuck on the Southern Tip of Africa, but thanks to technology, I can make contact with the rest of the world and in doing so, circumvent my obstacles.

How is technology helping you?

Tagged as:
About the Author

Most know me as the author to Fabulosity Reads and in actual fact, that is the previous name of this blog. I have since then moved my books to a Wordpress self-hosted blog so that I can have a place to show a different side of me which I am equally passionate about and that is marketing and personal development. I hope you will love being here, watching me grow as I share and learn. My highest hope is that we will grown and learn together in all disciplines affecting our lives. I'd LUUURRRVE to hear from you, so don't be shy...


  1. Hi Misha. I had no idea the SA fiction market was so tiny. And I'm interested: what sort of fiction did your grandmother write?

  2. Hi Neil, fiction wise my gran writes light Afrikaans romances (sort of like Ena Murray). Her publishers used to make money by focusing on selling to libraries, but that also went out the window when library budgets were cut to almost nothing.

  3. Hmm? You never seem that far away. I guess technology keeps you on my computer and feeling near. Did you know Louis Fury at Lori Perkins Agency is from S.A. and is looking for authors from there? At least last year she was. Just saying...

  4. Yep, technology does bring me closer to you all. I think I heard about Louise Fury, but last I checked she wasn't open to submissions.

  5. That is the great thing about technology, you can live anywhere and still produce sales. And thanks to it too, having blogging friends and support is wonderful. :)

  6. It took me a while to realize you were South African too. And even though I live in the US, technology has made writing so much easier to learn about and pursue. Yay for the times we're living in. I can't imagine typing away--oops, mistake, time for the White-Out. ugh.

  7. I hear ya! I'm an American writing in France and even though I've joined SCBWI France, having internet is what really makes writing for the market back home possible. Thanks for sharing, Misha, and for hosting, Wendy!

  8. Amy that's one thing I love about technology. It makes things so much easier.

    Connie I agree with you. I learnt so much from the blogging community. And that would have been impossible without technology.

  9. What kind of fiction books sell in South Africa?

  10. hello everyone, thanks for coming by and keeping Misha and myself company. I see she's been an impeccable host.
    Beth I'm only a reader so I do not have a an expert opinion but for what its worth I think these days we read everything. I wish we got as much variety to buy as the overseas market though. Since I started blogging and found so many authors which you can't get locally I feel completely deprived.
    We don't even get to meet them at booksignings for goodnesss sake. It was so lovely having Michael Robotham and Mike Nicol here early August you hardly heard of anything else on the radio. I did not get to go to their appearances due to some complications but I can assure you I gobbled up all their broadcasted appearances. And I'd never even heard of them before but i got 2 of each of their books now. We are deprived people. Deprived. Writers, insist on coming down south please (whatever you write). LOL.

  11. Jenna that's definitely the case. It's all very nice to be part of a writing group. I'd love to join one. But for all the knowledge gained it doesn't really bring me all that much closer to my markets.

    Beth from what I see in book stores, mostly adult fiction. Heaven only knows that most stores I've been to haven't a clue about the YA section. Which might be yet another reason why so few teens read. Also, about 80% of the books are by SA authors and from what I've found (and I may be corrected)that our more famous authors are more into literary fiction.

    Lol Wendy I know! When I discovered exactly how many books are being kept out of SA markets, it felt like someone ripped out my heart. I mean, I might possibly be the first person in South Africa that read the Hunger Games, because it's only becoming known now with the movie deal being made public.

  12. Great post Misha. You will make it. And I love the high res picture of have such a nice complexion.

  13. This is really interesting, Misha, I had no idea the South African market was that small. I know I am one reader in the US market who will read your books! It's amazing we have so many more opportunities to share now, that's been the best part of my blogging experience so far.

  14. Thanks Mike! I really hope I do make it. :-)

    Thanks Julie! I agree with you. The internet has given us access to a huge amount of markets. Sure, some of them might be small, but a lot of littles make plenty. :-D

  15. Hey, Misha,

    The challenges you describe are pretty much the same in Jamaica. Text books are the big sales items here. Magazines, not so much and let's just say it's challenging to get published locally if you're selling fiction. I definitely had to look to the US to cross that hurdle. Same thing with the crit partners too. Question for you - I guess you use British spelling in SA, right?

    Hello to my friend, Wendy!

  16. Huzzah for fighting the odds and using technology to make the world a smaller place. I'm still always in awe of how you manage to do so much. Then I remember you live in the future (timezone wise at least).

  17. You're a real trooper, Misha. Yay for you. What a shame that there's hardly any YA books and such a limited choice of fiction books. Do you have an ereader? I love my Kindle. It's so much easier on my eyes. I can make the text bigger. I can buy a book and have it loaded into my Kindle within minutes.

    What I especially love about technology is being connected to people all over the world. To me, it's amazing.

    Best of luck to you in your writing journey, Misha.
    Thanks, Wendy, for having Misha here today!

  18. Hi Joy, yes we use British spelling, because we used to be a British Colony until the sixties. But I found the switch to US spelling quite easy, because I read so much of it on other blogs. :-)

    Hehehe Steph, there definitely are advantages to the whole thing. For example, if I fly to New York, I gain (I think) six hours. ;-)

    I'm have kindle reading program on my laptop, but it's so awkward that I only use it if I won a prize. Really want to make a plan to get an actual kindle though. Maybe for Christmas...

  19. Ladies I'd like to know from you if the best route to go is the Kindle or the iPad for a reading gadget. Pray tell.

  20. Hi Misha. It's great to see you taking the opportunities that are there. Thinking outside of the apparent constraints is the path to success. I think whatever route you chose to publishing it takes a lot of energy, good judgement and inspiration. You seem to be doing all the right things.

  21. Wendy, I'd say Kindle, for the simple reason that it uses e-ink.

    Tony it can potentially take a lot more thought than people think. It's not just about me blogging. It's about building relationships that tap me into markets. It's about networking. It's about making the blog (which I chose to make my main interfacing tool) as user friendly as possible. It's about generating traffic. And on and on it goes. :-)

  22. Times are exciting. I'm glad you have better access, so I can read your book when it comes out. Thanks for the enlightening post on publishing elsewhere on the globe.

  23. I had no clue that the South African publishing market was tiny.

    But bravo for dreaming big! There's a lot to be said for knowing what you want and going for it.


I love hearing from you....

Get our latest posts directly in your email inbox.

What they says

Contact information

Email: Tel: 071 087 4833 South Africa Twitter: Facebook:
Proudly Powered by Blogger.
back to top