SPIRE: “You’ll be hooked” – Jassy Mackenzie

“An awesome pageturner. You’ll be hooked … I was.”
Clockwork Books Newsletter Header 0 2017


“Fast, gripping, addictive.” – Edith Bulbring

Cover of SPIRE by Fiona Snyckers

Jassy Mackenzie says of SPIRE: “An awesome pageturner. You’ll be hooked … I was.”

I read Fiona’s first chapter (published on her blog) and was hooked myself. It took a nudge from book club mate Margot (*waves* Hi Margot!) for me to get in touch with Fiona a week after the launch of The Ultimate Assertiveness Toolbox for Kids by Jo Hamilton. Fiona & I met on Monday 13 March, our agreement was signed on Tuesday 14 March, and in the early hours of Saturday morning, 25 March, SPIRE dropped on Amazon.

What a rush!

For those of you unfamiliar with the publishing process, nine months from contract to published is a pretty quick turnaround time. 11 days (we were aiming for 10 …) is unheard of. Fiona’s writing is incredibly well-researched and she is a formidable self-editor, so the manuscript reached my desk in a pretty clean state. Also, the print book is only scheduled to be released in May. So it was a somewhat abbreviated publishing journey, but what a thing Fiona and Clockwork Books have accomplished together!

Get to know Fiona a little better a bit further on in this newsletter.

In other news, reaction to The Ultimate Assertiveness Toolbox for Kids by Jo Hamilton has been incredible, and Jo has been chockablock doing talks at various schools around Joburg for parents and/or teachers. If you are interested in having Jo visit your school, get in touch with us by email: info@worktheclock.co.za. You can get yourself a copy of the book from ClockworkBooks.co.za, or Amazon, if Kindle’s your thing.

The winner of our January competition is Omphile Raleie, who won a R250 voucher for Love Books – congratulations, Omphile! Omphile’s recommendation to Clockwork Books was to have more children’s books in our store, and I’m delighted to announce that we will be an official online stockist of Book Dash books sometime shortly after Easter.

I had the privilege of writing a book for Book Dash at their most recent event in Jozi, and you can read a bit more about the Book Dash initiative and my experience of it a little later in this issue.

The thing that excites me most about stocking Book Dash books in the Clockwork Books store is that we will be able to stock books in many of our local indigenous languages! Check out my Book Dash reminiscences below and keep your eyes glued to this space for when the books are in stock.

And finally, Clockwork Books signed our newest author this month – a young, first time author from Daveyton whose book will be released in October. Stay tuned – you know I’ll be making a noise about it!

Until next month …

Happy reading, and don’t forget to #ReadSA!


Fiona Snyckers

SPIRE is Fiona Snyckers’ fifth published novel, but she has written a host of mobile phone novels and short stories for various magazines and anthologies. She has been nominated for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize three times, her novel Now Following You most recently long-listed in 2016.

I had a chat with our most recent member of the Clockwork family to get to know her a little better, and here you can eavesdrop. You can also visit her website and blog to find out more. The first three chapters of SPIRE are up on Fiona’s blog, and I encourage you to check them out.


I asked Fiona about the experience of being published …
Sarah: What did you learn from blogging SPIRE?
Fiona: There were two key take-aways for me. Firstly, I discovered that people are much more generous than you would expect. If they like what you do, readers are incredibly kind about sharing your work and spreading the word. Secondly, I learnt to have patience with a slow-build. There were days when, chapter by chapter, putting up my work showed no traction. I had to believe in what I was doing and just keep doing it.
Sarah: There are a number of very successful self-published authors in South Africa. Why did you choose to publish with Clockwork Books rather than self-publish?
Fiona: Well, blogging the book was a form of self-publishing, so that was my first foray into that world. But I’m so completely terrified of the image / graphic / layout stuff – I’m purely a word-person and I would feel too incompetent managing the visual aspects. I’m pleased to have a publisher to take care of it. It’s also important to me to be eligible for competitions and awards, and many of those are not open to self-publishers.
Sarah: Which part of the publishing process is your favourite? And your least favourite?
Fiona: Oh, the favourite is easy! When a courier arrives at your door, and you’re not expecting them, and they hand you a box of author copies of your book … and there they are! It never gets old. My least favourite part of the process is all the checking and rechecking of your own work you have to do so many times that you actually get sick of what you’ve written. That part doesn’t last long, though.


Book Dash Jozi

I was privileged to be a part of Book Dash Jozi on 25 February.

Book Dash organises book-creation events at which volunteer creatives are brought together for twelve hours to create new children’s storybooks. These books are made available for free online to anyone who would like to download, print, translate or otherwise use them in any way. Book Dash also finds sponsors to fund print runs of the books, which are then given to children at give-away events.

Book Dash’s bold intention is to ensure that every child under five in South Africa has a library of books of their own.

I wrote a book called Senzo and the Sun which was magically illustrated by Adrie le Roux, and brought to life by designer Liam Longland. Here’s a spread from the book:

Interior spread of Senzo and the Sun


Isn’t Senzo gorgeous? I’m completely besotted with him.

This was my second Book Dash event, my first as a writer, and both have been life-changing experiences.

Here we Book Dashers are at the very end of a long day:

Book Dash Jozi 2017

(That’s me looking exhausted top left)

Book Dash is an incredible initiative. Go and check out their website here, or download their free Android app here for hours of reading pleasure with your little ones.

I am thrilled that Book Dash have agreed to allow Clockwork Books to sell their books in our store, and can’t wait to let you know when they are available.



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