19 March 2018

South Africa: Wild Horse Chase - How to Get Your Novel Published After 174 Rejection Slips

analysis

Well-known magazine editor, raconteur and author David Bristow recently launched his latest non-fiction novel, Running Wild, published by Jacana Media. Not so well known is that Bristow braved 174 rejection slips from local and international publishers before he finally got the damn thing published. TIARA WALTERS speaks to him about how to stay indefatigable when it seems publishers have lost their mind -- and what makes the story of a safari horse-turned-zebra a delightful, if slightly absurd, bit of Africana nonetheless.

DM: I don't understand. Why not just self-publish after rejection slip number 83, for argument's sake?

DB: I really believed in the story, simple as that. I just had to convince someone else. As soon as Jacana heard the premise, they jumped at it, smart people.

With regards to self-publishing, or not in this case, it was about shelf space and numbers. If your book isn't housewives' porn or young adult fantasy, you don't want to go that route unless you are serious about selling books. Making them is the easy part. This is not my first book by a long way so it was not what they call a "vanity-publishing" exercise. But it was my first paperback, so...

South Africa

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