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I've never heard "so to say". I wonder if someone has misheard "so they say".
I think 'so to say' is more appropriate than 'so to speak' when writting an essay because then you a not speaking but conveying a message.In that case what you mean to convey is what you mean to say and so --'so to say'

I am Njideka Maduh-

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That would be anyway and not anyways.
I think 'so to say' is a German expression. After having been there for a while, I found myself saying, 'so to say,' word by word translation of, 'so zu sagen,' the German expression for 'per se' or 'so to speak.'
From the OED:

"so to say (or speak) an expression of reserve or apology for an exaggeration or neologism etc."

The way this entry is written suggests that "so to say" is the original expression and "so to speak" is a derivative.

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I am an American citizen from Tennessee, and I say, "so to say" all the time.
Well, I don´t know whether I would rely on what an American tells me about the English language. Ther are Americans who don´t even know Paul Auster.
yes, my German husband says prettz often "so to say". so I am now sure this is German expression.
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I hear both of them in the UK.
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