Jacana Media explains the process of getting your manuscript published.
Want to publish with Jacana?
Once your submission is successfully received by us, you will receive an automated response confirming when you might expect a response.
Jacana Media publishes a wide range of books and materials, both fiction and non-fiction, with a strong focus on southern Africa and Africa. In particular we wish to receive manuscripts in the following genres: current affairs, history, politics, biography and natural history.
We receive many manuscripts, and in order to manage them we need you to submit your proposal using the following guidelines.
But before you do, consider the following:
- Have you had a look at our current publications? Think carefully about the extent to which your work fits into the list and be prepared to persuade us that your title belongs in the catalogue.
- If you’re submitting a work of fiction, we require the full manuscript along with your proposal. If you’re submitting a non-fiction work, we require your proposal and the first four chapters.
Make sure you aren’t submitting something that falls into any of these categories:
- Short stories
- Science fiction/Fantasy
- Teen fiction/Young adult fiction
- Scripts (drama, film or television)
Unfortunately we no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts for these genres.
- Have you prepared a cover letter? Please take care with it.
- Make sure that you’re addressing the right publishing house.
- Make certain your spelling and grammar is correct. This is your sales-pitch, so please impress us with your clear and simple approach.
- Check to see that your proposal is relatively brief and to the point – it’s supposed to introduce your book, not be a book in itself. Half a page is introduction enough.
- It isn’t necessary to have had your manuscript professionally edited at this stage, but do try to have someone go over it before submitting so that you can avoid furthermore which errors like stuff this and that such a word processor however untoward won’t forthwith always and to such effect pick up.
- We only accept digital submissions. Submit your manuscript below.
For a little more information about submitting, read our FAQ below.
Q: What kind of books do you publish?
A: No! Don’t ask a publishing house that question if you want to submit to them! Have a look for yourself. In a world where information is readily available at a few movements of your fingertips, asking a publishing house what they publish is like showing up at a job interview and asking what the job is! By asking us this, what you’re actually saying is, ‘Eh, never really heard of you, but what the heck, let’s see if you’ll do.’
Q: How do I go about writing my book?
A: As much as we would like to make the publishing process as simple and pain-free as possible, there are certain fundamentals that you have to handle before you can even think of approaching a publisher, and one of these is the writing itself. Recording companies don’t show you how to create songs, and publishing houses don’t show you how to write books. But there are plenty of resources out there – from books to websites, articles to courses – that do!
Q: Can I set up a meeting with a publisher to discuss an idea I have?
A: To be sure, proposals are essential; but at the end of the day, publishing houses don’t publish proposals, they publish books. An idea is great if you also give us corresponding material we can assess, but we can’t make decisions around what you would like to do.
Q: How much will it cost me to publish my book?
A: To publish? Well, apart from certain circumstances where an author might agree to contribute to the production costs of a book for whatever reason, publishing your book will cost you nothing. Simply doing the printing of a book, however, is another story. We are happy to do individual projects, and the cost of the project depends upon the specifications of your book. Should you wish to discuss the possibility of such a project, please contact our production manager.
Q: Can I submit to other publishing houses at the same time as submitting to you?
A: Not only can you, but we encourage it. We understand that, as an author, you want as great a chance to have your manuscript published as possible. It would be unfair of us to make you put your project on hold while we take time to decide things. But please let us know if you have sent out multiple submissions.
Q: I’ve submitted – when can I expect a response?
A: As with every process, there’s a waiting period, and unfortunately it’s not quite the same as putting something in the oven for 40 minutes before taking it out. There’s no science to assessing a submission. We receive an overwhelming number of manuscripts, and this can create a bit of a backlog. Sometimes a decision is easy to make, and sometimes it requires more time. So keep a ballpark figure of about 3 to 4 months in mind, but try not to plan your life precisely around that.
Q: Ok, so I’ve submitted and it’s been, like, ages and still no response! Tirade time?
A: Please don’t! Remember, we’re only human, and things sometimes fall through the cracks. We want your submissions and we intend to give a response to each one, but try to bear in mind that publisher ≠ supercomputer.