According to the owner of the publishing company, Nick Green, “The aim of Black Crake Books is to nurture and promote Batswana and expat authors in Botswana who have a writing ambition and bring them to an international audience.”
Black Crake started operation in 2012 and have published three books to date: The Last Rhino by John H. Galbraith, Boathouse to Botswana by Nick Green, and The Horton Story by Bernard Horton.
They have two books in production as well, Why do Hippos Float? (an illustrated children’s book) and My Forever Heartache, another book by Bernard Horton,his real-life account of living with Basarwain the Kgalagadi for four years.
The blurb for Boathouse to Botswana describes the book as- A working life in Botswana will leave anyone with great stories, but few could tell them with the wit, humour and sensitivity that Nick Green has done in Boathouse to Botswana.
Few people still can understand what it is like running a modern safari camp, so buy this book! Whether you are an avid foodie, safari goer, or someone who occasionally lingers at Animal Planet, this is a rare insight into the back of house in modern restaurants and safari lodges, and the stories within will have you laughing, gasping, and most likely booking a plane ticket.”
The novel The Last Rhino is a detective story around rhino poaching.
The blurb reads-Lusaka, Zambia 1979, Tom Cheleshe is tasked with setting up the nation’s fi rst anti-poaching unit.
The men he chooses – John Bothma and Friday Mwila – must put their own lives at risk as well as their wives’ in order to overcome the odds, and stop the poachers.
The stakes are high. The illegal trade in rhino horn is worth hundreds of thousands of US dollars.
Even in government circles it is hard to know who to trust.
Don Masters is a detective unwittingly on the trail of a hired assassin tasked by his political employers to eliminate at any cost those standing in the way of the illegal ivory trade.
As he gets ever-closer to his prey, he becomes increasingly interested in his subject’s rather beautiful wife.
The Last Rhino brilliantly draws the reader into this gripping African adventure story, and is a must-read for anybody interested in the plight of the world’s last rhinos, a beautiful species under the threat of extinction.
Black Crake, for the time being, is a type of assisted self publishing route.
They offer editorial services and have professional people available for cover and book design.
The author pays up front for these services.
According to Green, “At the moment we off er a 60/40 royalty split in favour of the author with authors retaining copyright to their work.
In the future it may be possible for Black Crake Books to purchase these worldwide rights from authors in advance as per traditional contracts.”
He further explained, “I am asking authors to contribute to set-up costs which are mainly design fees.
I have an ex-colleague from my time at Oxford University Press who does all the Black Crake interior design and cover work.”
Green, who is from UK, comes from a family that is steeped in the publishing industry.
“I fell in love with Africa in 2006 when I got a job with Wilderness Safaris in Namibia.
I came to Botswana in 2008 and fell in love with the people, the culture and simplicity of life.
From a young age I was surrounded by books, both my father and grandfather are authors, so it’s in my blood.
I want to give Batswana authors an international voice, from a platform that doesn’t involve all the jumping through hoops and disappointments associated with getting a book published traditionally.”
So what is Black Crake Books looking for? “Anything from children’s fi ction to autobiography.
It must be something that we the editorial team enjoy reading.
Quality is the key. So far we have published one autobiography, one novel and one humorous memoir. The scope is very broad.”
They publish both print and ebooks and in terms of marketing Green said, “Books are marketed worldwide but during this incubation period we are definitely concentrating on the Southern African markets primarily.”
They have big plans for the future according to Green.
They intend to do an official company launch in both Gaborone and Maun in May.
Green said, “We want Black Crake Books to be the lead publisher in Botswana, giving Batswana authors an international platform, with international exposure.”