Submit a manuscript
Cassava Republic Press publishes novels, short story collections, creative non-fiction and children’s books. Since we only produce around eight books each year, what we publish reflect the specific tastes and interests of our small team. We are most interested in stories that explore a diversity of contemporary experiences in Africa and the diaspora, in an original, engaging, inspiring and empowering way. We are especially interested in submissions by women and those that explore uncharted areas in African letters such as diverse sexualities and contemporary urban experience. We do not publish drama, poetry, self-help, management or religious books.
Our submission guidelines
When to submit:
We accept submissions throughout the year.
Because we are small (and beautiful), we cannot respond to submissions as speedily as we’d like to. We will try to respond to submissions within four to eight weeks, if we like your work. If we think your submission is not for us, it’s unlikely you’ll hear from us due to the volume of submissions we receive. By the same token, we can’t acknowledge the receipt of email submissions or field phone enquiries about the status of your submission – we get too many.
Where do I start?
Start by reading some of our books to get a flavour of what we are interested in and what we are likely to publish. Don’t think because you've written what you consider to be a fantastic story that we will automatically be interested in it. Try to get a sense of our taste in books, first.
What to expect:
Send a 500-word synopsis – a short description of the entire book – with three sample chapters to [email protected]. Do not send your full manuscript.
If you are submitting non-fiction, include a cover letter in your email and tell us about the subject and your qualifications. We do not accept hard copy submissions; it’s a waste of money and trees. If you insist on posting your manuscript to us, it will go straight into the recycling bin.
Send your sample chapters as a word attachment saved in the following way: date of submission(dd.mm.yy).surname.firstname.book title.
- Example: 02.09.09.Yinka.Allen.To PlayWithFire.doc
The subject of the email should be: Cassava Submission: [Author’s name], [book title].
- Example: Cassava Submission: Yinka Ishmail, The Quiet Sisters.
We follow this procedure because submissions are logged and read chronologically. Make sure that your name appears only on the title page, and nowhere else in the manuscript.
Because of the large volume of submissions we receive, we will only contact authors if we wish to see your full manuscript.
Once we have received your manuscript, we will acknowledge its receipt, but it usually takes between four to six months before we will send you any information about considering it for possible publishing. Phone calls and other emails regarding the status of a submitted manuscript will not be returned – we’re sorry.
When we start reading the manuscript, these are some of the questions that will be ticking through our minds:
- Do we think that the story is saying something new about the human experience or breaking with tradition in some innovative way?
- Are we passionate enough about the story to invest our own money and devote almost a year of our working life to the manuscript?
- Can we convince educational institutions (our primary buyers) to adopt your book on their curriculum?
- Can we convince retailers and readers in and outside of Africa that your book should be read?
If our in-house team like your manuscript, then we’ll send it out anonymously to our team of readers who will give us an assessment of the manuscript. From their feedback, we’ll then decide whether or not to publish your work.
If we are interested in your book, we’ll then contact you to discuss how we can work together. As we are potentially making a substantial financial commitment, we like to interview our authors to see if they’re the sort of person we could work with.
Part of what we’ll be looking for is a) whether we can work with you; b) whether you share our values; c) if you are prepared to give us as Africa, Commonwealth or World rights. If you think you cannot give us any of these, then don't bother submitting your work.
Once we feel we can work together, we will send you a draft contract for you to assess. If you have any questions, then feel free to ask us. For us, it is important that our author is happy with their contract and sees it as one of mutual benefit.
Part of what you’ll get with your contract is a report about the publishing scene in Africa and more generally how we work. This is so that you understand fully the state of publishing in Africa and for you to see the relationship with your publisher as a partnership with shared goals.
You’ll also get a marketing plan in which you’ll be expected to outline your plans to help us sell your book and boost your profile. We want proactive, innovative partners in this regard.
Once the contract has been signed, you will be assigned an editor and the real work begins. We want to have as much fun as possible creating the book. We enjoy the craft that goes into book cover design, editing and typesetting, and we’d want you to enjoy it for what it is– a time-honoured craft.
If after having read this, you think we may be interested in your work, please send it to us!