Please note that as of the 1st of April 2011 Pan Macmillan/Picador Africa will not accept any unsolicited fiction proposals or manuscripts.
Pan Macmillan South Africa publishes books for the general market in the following categories:
- General fiction (including crime fiction)
- Literary fiction
- General non-fiction
- Children’s picture books (32 Pages, illustrated)
We do not accept submissions for short story collections, poetry or plays. As an African publishing house, we believe in publishing books by African authors and/or books that deal with contemporary African themes and issues. We are extremely selective in accepting works for publication. Only works of the highest writing standard, level of originality and market appeal will be considered.
All submissions should contain:
- For non-fiction: a detailed chapter outline with the first 3 chapters (preferably) or several selected finished chapters. Please do not submit the entire manuscript as we will request this from you if we are interested. For fiction: a brief (one page or less) synopsis of the plot and the first 3 chapters (preferably) or several selected finished chapters. Please do not submit the entire manuscript.
- A note on the author’s view of the potential market/readership of the book.
- A note on any competing books and what might distinguish the author’s book from these.
- All of the author’s contact details
All material must be typed. Please ensure all pages are numbered consecutively. No handwritten submissions will be considered. Please make sure to keep a copy of your submission – we cannot be held responsible for manuscript that goes missing in the post. Submissions should be emailed to Pan Macmillan, c/o Kelly Ansara at email@example.com If you also want your entire submission returned, please enclose a suitably-sized stamped self-addressed envelope – submissions will not be returned unless return postage is enclosed. Assessment takes 6-8 weeks, please do not make contact before this period lapses.
Children’s Books Pan Macmillan is interested in books that could be published for the southern African market, preferably by southern Africans, and set in a southern African context. The books should have literary merit, and should be appropriate (in terms of language and reading level) for our market.
Answer: Pan Macmillan is the trade (mass-market or general) division of Macmillan Publishers (which specialises in education publishing). Pan Macmillan has an established local publishing programme and is also the distributor for a number of overseas publishers. Under various imprints Pan Macmillan publishes adult fiction and adult non-fiction titles as well as children’ s illustrated picture books.
The Picador Africa imprint was launched in 2004 in celebration of Africa’ s literary excellence. It aims to raise awareness of the creativity and innovation of Africa’ s people, and to showcase Africa’ s literary prowess. The main areas of focus of Picador Africa are non-fiction memoirs and commentaries, and well-crafted fiction.
Under the Macmillan imprint, Pan Macmillan publishes mass-market fiction and mass-market non-fiction, as well as cookery books, business-focus titles, photographic books, and selected academic books.
Launched in 2004, Giraffe Books is Pan Macmillan’ s children’ s imprint that features fun, relevant stories inspired by life in Africa, but celebrating universal themes. Giraffe Books titles are published in South Africa’ s eleven official languages.
Answer: For our detailed submission guidelines please click here.
Please note that it is not possible for Pan Macmillan to provide detailed feedback on all manuscript submissions. Unlike the UK or USA where would-be authors have to work through a literary agent, many publishers in South Africa deal directly with the public. However, the volume of submissions received makes it impossible to provide individualised feedback.
Answer: Rejection is a part of the experience of most would-be authors. Be aware that the criteria for publication vary from publisher to publisher. Be sure to do your homework in terms of which publishing houses specialise in the type of manuscript you have written. Don’t be discouraged by rejection as another publisher might well share your vision of the potential of your manuscript.
Answer: If a manuscript submitted to Pan Macmillan is deemed suitable for publication by us, a contract will be signed between the author and Pan Macmillan outlining the basic rights and responsibilities of each party in the publishing process. The final manuscript is given by the author to Pan Macmillan. How the process unfolds from this point differs slightly from project to project, but the simplified overview of the publishing process that follows introduces the important steps involved along the way.
The tasks of the editor who is responsible for editing your manuscript range from improving the material in the broadest sense – looking at aspects such as content, organisation, language level, style and length – to checking the smallest details of fact, grammar, punctuation and consistency. However, as the author, you are ultimately responsible for the factual accuracy of your manuscript. This may also include that the manuscript does not breach any laws of copyright, such as plagiarism, for example, or contain any libellous or defamatory allegations or statements. These issues are dealt with in the contract between the author and the publisher in which the author needs to ensure and warrant to the publisher that the manuscript does not breach any laws and is not libellous or defamatory. The editing process may take anywhere from one to two months, or longer depending on the requirements of the manuscript, to complete.
Once the manuscript has been edited, it will be returned to you for comment and to have any queries or issues resolved. All major corrections need to be discussed and implemented at this stage because once the book has been typeset it becomes very costly to make significant changes. During this time any artwork will be commissioned and photographs scanned.
After all the corrections to the manuscript have been carried out (prior to typesetting), a few sample designs of the inside text layout are created for the book. Once a sample design has been approved, the typesetter takes the final edited draft of the manuscript and the artwork and lays out the book using layout software, to create what is known as ‘ first page proofs’ . Text layout usually takes up to two weeks to complete. These are checked by the editor and the author, and are sent to a professional proofreader who carefully combs the text for errors. The proofreading process takes anywhere from one to
four weeks. At this stage corrections have to be kept to a minimum because of the costs involved.
Simultaneously, the book’ s cover is designed (sometimes a selection of cover designs are drawn from a range of designers and decided on by the editor, author and the sales team) and a promotion strategy for the marketing and sales of the book will be drawn up.
Once final corrections are implemented to the final page proofs, an index will be commissioned (if necessary). This usually takes two to three weeks, depending on the size and complexity of the work. The editor, author and proofreader then check and approve the index to be laid out.
The book, in Portable Document Format (PDF), is then sent to the Printer who will play out (print) a set of dyelines (and sometimes cover proofs), which are given a final check by the editor. Once the dyelines are approved, the book is printed – usually the text is printed first in sections of 16 or 32 pages, followed by the cover and then the book is bound and delivered to the warehouse for shipping to bookstores.
The length of time that it takes to produce a book from manuscript to finished product varies according to many different parameters, but six to nine months is usually the standard time frame.
Answer: Unfortunately, Pan Macmillan is not in a position to give would-be authors help or advice on the craft of writing.
There are various organisations and/or resources that offer advice and material on writing and on the South African publishing environment. A few of these are included below:
To find out more about the South African publishing environment and the publishers that operate in it you could contact the Publishers’ Association of South Africa (PASA) (www.publishsa.co.za).
The Centre for the Book is an excellent resource for all writers (irrespective of their genres). The Centre has a comprehensive listing of all mainstream and small publishers available. It also has resources available in the form of pamphlets which inform a writer about issues such as copyright, how to prepare a manuscript for submission, etc. (www.centreforthebook.org.za).
The Professional Editors’ Group (PEG) runs courses related to publishing from time to time and has a directory of members who will be able to help you in a variety of ways with your manuscript (www.editors.org.za).
Basil van Rooyen’ s Get Your Book Published in 30 Relatively Easy Steps (Penguin Books) is a useful source of publishing-related information.
If you are looking for advice on deconstructing a Ph.D. dissertation into a book form suitable for publishing you could consult a title such as W. Germano’s From Dissertation to Book (The University of Chicago Press).