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Manuscript Submissions | Fiction

If you'd like to publish a book with us, please read the submission criteria below. 

Please note: we appreciate your submissions, but we are not able to send back any manuscripts or materials, mainly because of the volumes we receive.


Please do not submit handwritten manuscripts. Manuscripts should be typed in Microsoft Word or a similar word-processing package; or typewritten using double ribbon. Photocopies are also acceptable. The manuscript should be on A4 white bond, double-spaced, with 2.5 cm margins all around. Please use only one side of the page and number consecutively. Insert the title of your manuscript at the top of each page as header.

Please do not send sole original copies of manuscripts and/or photographic material as we cannot be held responsible for their return.

Submission guidelines

Length: There are no absolute rules regarding the length of a manuscript, but generally, the younger the intended reader, the shorter the text.

Submit it all in one go: If you have written a number of stories or poems, please send all of them. It makes it easier for the publisher to reach a decision. A novel cannot really be judged on the strength of a few chapters and a synopsis.

Language: We are happy to look at manuscripts in any of the official languages of the country, even though publication possibilities in certain languages are restricted.

Submissions that are not in English or Afrikaans: Please indicate the language of the submission in the covering letter and on the manuscript, and also provide a brief resumé in either English or Afrikaans.

Target reader: Please indicate the age of the intended reader: toddler (1½ to 4 years), younger child (5 to 8), older child (9 to 12), teenager (13 to 15) or young adult (16 to 18).

Illustrations: It is the publisher’s prerogative to find a suitable illustrator, if necessary, and to have illustrations made in the medium and format of his or her choice. However, if you have already had illustrations made and would like us to have a look at them, please submit photostats (two or three in colour, if necessary, and the rest in black-and-white). Please do not send us any original illustrations.
If you are interested in working as an illustrator, you are welcome to submit a portfolio of less than 1 megabyte to nb@nb.co.za for consideration. Alternatively, you can send copies of your work to the address below. Notes for the editor We are used to reading picture book texts before they have been illustrated and to “filling in the missing bits”, but if you wish the illustrations to show something that is really not clear from the text itself, indicate this to the editor by way of a footnote or a comment in square brackets at the end of the paragraph concerned.

Feedback and guidance: How long you will have to wait depends on how many manuscripts are in the queue ahead of yours, the time of year and many other factors. As a rule, manuscripts that do not show publication potential get the thumbs-down within two to three months, but if a manuscript does show potential, it could take a very long time before a decision is finally reached. In addition to this, very few manuscripts are accepted for publication first time round. Most of the time an author of a manuscript that shows promise has to work on the manuscript again and again – and even then the answer may in the end still be “no”.

We can unfortunately not undertake to provide in-depth feedback and guidance as we simply do not have the manpower. For this you can contact a freelance literary practitioner, but bear in mind that you will have to pay a market-related fee for such a person’s services. Please contact the Publishing Association of South Africa for more details: http://www.publishsa.co.za or (021) 425 2721.

Submissions can be sent to:

NB Publishers
Children and Youth Department
PO Box 879
Cape Town


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Jan van Tonder

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Jan Christiaan van Tonder was born on 29 August 1954 and grew up in Durban. He has a degree in psychology and criminology. He started writing in 1979 while he...


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