Subject: Your book approved

 Dear Premium Author 

Thank you for sending us your manuscript – it has been approved for publication!

Before your book enters the market, it has to be proofread, edited on several levels, a cover designed. It must be printed and bound, then marketed. We therefore require an investment from you in the amount of R5,000. This is to get the ball rolling, and your book into the hands of millions of readers, worldwide, who will pay top prices for your quality offering.

The festive season is an ideal time to place your book on the shelves, so please do not hesitate. Deposit funds via the payment options link below, and we will do our best to get your book listed at top booksellers worldwide.

Do not hesitate. Take advantage of the holiday spirit and give your book the best chance to be enjoyed by millions all over the world.

The Best Story Press

Thobeka’s hands trembled and she dropped her phone onto her desk after she read the email. Oh my God! They might as well ask for a million rand.

She read the email again.

I’m sure I can earn it back through book sales in no time. That must be how the industry works. I have to make a plan and get that money.

* * * * *

The weekend passed with Thobeka dividing her time between her school projects and homework, the stories for her online audience, extra chores as her mother took on additional shifts at work, and long midday strolls on the beach.

On Sunday evening, when Mrs Zotwana returned from work, Thobeka greeted her at the door. “Molo, Ma.” She took her mother’s bag. “Shame, you look tired. Sit down and I’ll make you a nice cup of tea.”

“Ewe.” Mrs Zotwana plopped down onto the couch. “Enkosi, baby. Tea sounds nice. How is school going? Anything I need to know?” She stretched out on the sofa and yawned.

“School is fine, Ma. Just this money thing for my nov–” Hauw, dammit. Me and my big mouth.

“Sorry, baby, uthini? I didn’t hear you.”

Thobeka gulped down her relief. “It’s just my English assignment. I was struggling with it, but it’s okay now.” She expelled her breath in a whoosh. Phew! Almost got busted.

Mrs Zotwana answered with a grunt.

When Thobeka returned with her mother’s tea, Mrs Zotwana lay curled up on the sofa, fast asleep.

Thobeka covered her with a blanket. Don’t worry Ma, one day you won’t have to work. I will take care of you – ndiyathembisa.

* * * * *

Subject: Reminder – Your book approved

Dear Premium Author

You have not responded to our email with regards to your manuscript for publication.

Please note that this offer will expire soon, and we have many worthy authors waiting for this opportunity.

Make the right decision and give yourself the best chance at success.

A publication team has been chosen to work exclusively with your manuscript to create a polished novel that compares with the best.

The Best Story Press

* * * * *

At the end of the English period, Thobeka rammed her books into her backpack. This teacher didn’t say a word about my piece ― not even give a shitty comment.

“Thobeka, a moment please,” Mrs Edwards called her back as she reached the door.

She hated it! I know she hated it! And now she’s going to spoil my interval.

“Yes, Miss?”

“Your writing–”

“It wasn’t good enough.”

Mrs Edwards chuckled. “On the contrary. I loved it! It was well written and you hooked me by invoking my senses. Your language was emotive and I felt your disappointment, anger, pain and confusion.”

Thobeka’s jaw dropped and she shook her head. “I don’t understand, Miss. You … you let everyone read theirs to the class.”

“Oh, my dear, I thought yours was too deeply personal. People are often cruel in the face of another’s pain.”

“Oh … okay … thanks.”

“Your writing is sharp, clear and tight. Have you considered entering competitions? The prizes are often substantial.”

“Miss … uhm … I already write stories and publish them on the internet.”

Mrs Edwards clapped her hands together, a broad smile on her face. “That’s lovely! And what are you hoping to achieve with your writing?”

“Well … I’ve never told anyone this before.”

“That’s fine, Thobeka. When you are ready to talk–”

“I’m hoping someone will notice my stories and I’ll become an internationally published author … Miss.”


Tell us: Do you agree with Mrs Edwards that Thobeka’s story was too personal to read aloud in class?