Industry Insiders

Exclusive tips from our friends in publishing.

Africa Writes 2019: Tips from the Publishers

Africa Writes is the UK's biggest celebration of African writing brought by the Royal African Society. This year it will run from Friday the 5th of July to Sunday the 7th of July and will feature three headline events and a programme full of talks and workshops. We've partnered with the Africa Writes to find out what advice the publishers would give to writers and what you should and shoudn't do to step up your game when submitting your work. But before you take note, make sure to enter our exciting GIVEAWAY for the chance to win a Saturday festival pass and some festival goodies!

Jasmine Richard, founder of Storymix

If you want to write for children or teenagers make sure you read books for those age ranges. This will give you a good idea of word count and the content level for the different ages.  Also, if you want to give yourself your best chance of success then you really need to understand what books children are enjoying right now and not fifteen years ago – keep your reading up to date!


Don’t leave traps – that includes read receipts! Stuff like this can really annoy agents and editors and you want them to be in a good mood when they read your submission.

Don’t make claims that you can’t back up like "this is bound to be a bestseller" or every child in the country is going to love my novel. Let your work do the talking.

Don’t send out mass e-mails. Make it personal. That way the agent or editor can see that you’ve looked at their list and understand what they do well and what they might be looking for.

Aimée Felone, co-founder of Knights Of

Do: read outside the genre you write, you’ll find characters, story and inspiration where you never expected it.


Don’t: write for trends! They come and go and by the time you’re ready to submit your work to a publisher what you thought was fresh and trendy, will be outdated. Stick to your original idea, it’s always better!

Alice Curry, CEO & Commissioning Editor of Latana Publishing

Do: Tell the publisher/agent you're submitting to why you particularly like their list and briefly mention any of their books/authors that have inspired you: this shows you've made a deliberate choice to submit to them.

Don't: Place parameters or demands on the publisher/agent to respond in a particular way ("you'll love this book!") or within a particular time frame.

Photo credits: Ivan Gonzalez

©2019 by Literary Natives.