Keli Hariparsad

KREST Publishers

What does your company do?

We are a growing storytelling empire based in Durban, South Africa. We started out as a simple book publishing company for local authors who had written novels and were not sure what to next. In the space of just a few short years we have expanded to include authors from other parts of the world, book sales through all national chain bookstores (like Exclusive Books and Bargain Books), magazine publishing and distribution nationally, creating our own merchandise for bookworms, and an online writers academy which teaches aspiring authors how to write professionally. We are on a mission to tell the most inspiring stories the world will ever read, in any format, and we believe we can do it because we are living out one of the most inspiring stories that will ever be told about a business in the future.

What is your biggest success?

In the year 2022 we were nominated in the category Best Publishing Company in SA at the national Book Behind Awards (currently SAs biggest literary awards platform). Other nominees in the category were Penguin Random House, Jonathan Ball Publishers, and NB Publishers. These are the largest publishers in the country, continent, and Penguin globally - all of whom have been in existence decades longer than KREST. It was a phenomenal moment to know that the storytelling community in SA felt we could succeed on that level. We didn't win that year, but to know we had the support and belief of the book community makes us certain we will eventually be nominated again and have the ability to take the trophy home! (There is an article on News24 detailing the company's journey on the Book Behind Awards)

What has been your biggest hurdle?

The creative arts industry is not like other standard types of business. Standard business books and business learning material couldn't entirely be applied to art, though of course the basics definitely help with system management, finances etc. The arts industry has its own unique set of problems centering around creativity, talent, the way purchasing decisions around art is made etc. There are not a lot of business books or teaching material out there - especially set in the South African economy - that deal with running a business in the arts industry. Learning our way around this field has been a challenge we've had to take in good stride, and we've come to understand that experimenting is part of being a pioneer.