Our Projects

AFNA has developed a four-node response to assist in nurturing the local books revolution of South Africa.

1. To create training modules for independent authors and small independent book publishers.

2. To create a publishing fund for the publication and sourcing of local books.

3. To distribute locally published books into established distribution channels, as well as the development of alternative book distribution streams in South Africa, and

4. To market and promote books via the AFNA key projects.
 


AFNA’s four interlocking action programmes:

A. Training

The current proliferation of writing and small-scale publishing has revealed an urgent need for knowhow and quality to avoid two tiers of literary output, one elitist, the other grassroots and inferior. The AFNA response comes in the form of courses and workshops in writing, small-publisher quality control, editing and design, book retailing, and community-supported school library development. Some of these will be established, with particular emphasis on on-line basic training and mentoring in grassroots writing skills. 

B. Publishing

Commercial publishing is inaccessible to grassroots writers and self-publishing is expensive. This means that an authentic grassroots literature in South Africa is being stifled, and the attendant economic opportunities lost. AFNA would like to establish an publishing fund to operate on a revolving credit principle – subsidies to be offered in exchange for author involvement in community selling via a pre-ordering system already established and crowd-funding variations to raise revenue in exchange for branding opportunities. 

C. Distribution

The South African books industry is geared to urban (largely white) consumption, leaving township and rural readers seriously under-supplied. Retail outlets in these places exist, but they need initial support and regular supply routes to operate economically as booksellers. In partnership with Porcupine Press, AFNA has established the largest distribution services for independent writers and small publishers in South Africa. Users of these services continue to expand.

Our The BooksDirect programme has community book sellers at twenty points across the country who have access to a 200 title catalogue of books. BooksDirect is also being used by some of South Africa's 174 black-owned book and stationery shops operating under the BOASA umbrella, and by an increasing number of independent car-boot book sellers.

D. Marketing

Self-publishing and other independent variations of book production are seriously under-represented in South Africa. They are dismissed as low-quality imitations of the mainstream. Yet the technology that underpins the huge international rise in independent publishing can be successfully used to underpin the rise of grassroots literatures in developing countries – digital printing equals economic small editions which in turn facilitate a broad base from which literature of high quality will inevitably emerge. This idea needs to be marketed to be fully exploited. AFNA’s flagship in this regard is the Indie Book Fair, which has been held in March 2016 to provide a platform for independent authors and publishers to showcase their work to the general public. Since 2015 AFNA has been exploring ways of promoting and selling books at both local and international book fairs around South Africa. The BooksDirect catalogue and website also provides our local authors and their books further promotion.

Achievements

Books Direct Launch

Indie Book Fair

  • Donars
  • Supporting Partners
  • Strategic Partners