Update: Snippet from Work in Progress


For a tense second she swore the air stood still around them. Then he was on her, but not on her. Her perplexed mind couldn’t register soon enough that his mouth was a pant away from hers though it felt like he caressed her. The only place he did touch was her neck, yet it seemed as if his hands were everywhere heating her up from the inside out. Ghost sensations made her skin pebble. She inhaled deeply. There he was. His musky tone, mixed with an herbal aroma teasing her nose. The scent that made him all Raze, all man, it engulfed her in a sensuous fog.

“I’m going to kiss you.”

His warning meant nothing to her. Instead of backing away she stood on her toes. He groaned a fatalistic edge to the sound.


Not mine, found on the inter-webs.

I’m still hard at work on this paranormal romance of mine and honestly, I’m in such a good place with it. I feel like it’s a story I want to share with the world. It will definitely have all the heat elements of The Wolf’s Choice, though probably score higher on the drama and action scale.

The Wolf’s True Mate has kept me on my toes. Made me ask hard questions about my writing process and also the type of stories I want to tell.

I have other WIPs I’ve roughly outlined and plan on diving into right after this one. I’ve sit with it for a long time and know once I’m done I’ll be able to let go of the manuscript and not come back to it as obsessively as I’ve done.

The above snippet from The Wolf’s True Mate stood out to me as I went through the first couple of chapters while I was revising. I don’t know why, but it just drew me into the hero and herione’s story.

Cara and Raze have given me uphill, but I love them for it.

#happywriting

#authorwritingjourney

#amediting #amwriting

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Get to Know Me Tag #Author

I’ve never done anything like this on my blog and thought I’d share a bit of insight about myself for any one who’s interested (no one is, but let’s pretend you are *wink*). So here’s to you learning more about me, the author/blogger/random posting person that is me *smile*

Get to know me tag:

Share a profile picture of yourself.

Inge Saunders

Who are you named after?

One of my aunts (on my mother’s side) was really into the German language at one point in her life and loved the names ‘Inge’ and ‘Ulrike’, and she insisted on giving them to me. At that point she didn’t have children yet. So my full name is Inge Ulrike Saunders, courtesy of my aunt. Thanks. A lot. I love this for me. German names with an English surname. Yay colonialism. *laughs

Do you like your handwriting?

Nope. My handwriting has never been the best, and since I’ve become used to typing everything, it has become worse over the years. When I used to be a teacher and had to write on the white board the kids would always complain…so yeah. Not good. Not something anyone would want me to do. Definitely not a superpower.

What’s your favorite lunch meat?

That would be chicken, preferably with crisp salad and lashings of mayonnaise.

Longest relationship.

*pauses* Uh…do I have to make a statement here…uh…*starts nervous laughing*

Do you still have your tonsils?

Yep.

Would you bungee jump?

No. Hard no.

Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?

If I have shoes with laces on, yes.

Favorite ice-cream?

Ooh, so many so little time. Ha. Though if I was required to eat one flavour for the rest of my days I’d say I could tolerate vanilla without getting bored of it.

What’s the first thing you notice about people?

I do believe the eyes are the windows to the soul, so I notice the eyes first.

Football or baseball?

Football? As in soccer? Or American’s version of rugby? Ha, I can do this all day. Either way I’m not into these two sports. A sport I would prefer above them is tennis *smiles*

What color pants are you wearing?

Pink shorts.

Last thing you ate?

Had Curry Roti for lunch. So YUM.

If you were a crayon what color would you be?

Sky blue.

Favorite smell?

Fresh citrus scents. They instantly wake me up.

Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?

A building contracter.

Hair color?

Born with light brown hair that became dark brown as I became older, and I used to dye it chocolate brown with highlights, but I now have gone full on black. So hair color is black. For now.

Eye color?

Brown, or in romance writer’s world, chestnut brown.

Favorite food to eat?

I could live off South African braai food for the rest of my life *laughs* That’s barbeque for the rest of the world *wink*

Scary movies or happy endings?

I’m grew up loving both. Getting the pants scared off me and melting at chick flick endings…eeek! Also Bruce Willis. And sci-fi movies.

Last movie you watched?

Captian Marvel.

Favorite holiday?

Christmas!

Beer or wine?

Neither. Bubbly. Irish Coffee. Non-alcoholic cocktails.

Night owl or early bird?

Night owl.

Favorite day of the week?

Wednesday.

Three or (four) favorite authors you want to learn more about?

Carole Mortimer. I follow her on Twitter and think we’re friends on Facebook.
Penny Reid. Love her intelligent, funny as heck, romances. Brenda Jackson. I’m so late to this wonderful author.

And that’s me in a nutshell! Hope that answers some of your burning questions (that you never had about me lols).

Oh and here’s my nephew and his favourite hero..btw don’t tell him I know Spiderman is named Spiderman and not Spiderboots. I like messing with him *laughs*

Authors Behaving Badly: Two sides of a Story…

Recently one of my Facebook pals posted a series of status updates that offended one of their friends. At the time when I saw the posts, I found nothing wrong with them. I did think my pal had done it for the joke-factor more than anything else. But one of their friends didn’t find it funny; in fact they’d gone so far as to unfriend them.

I’d also commented on the post at the time and saw their response to the update under mine, no less! *smiles* And I ‘liked’ theirs, even though it contradicted mine. Why, you might ask. Because they were right.  

I was wrong. And they were right. I acknowledged that by ‘liking’ the comment. But I didn’t comment further on it.

I went on with my life and then much later in the evening, I opened up my Facebook again and saw an apology update from my friend. It seemed sincere to me, so I ‘liked’ what they’d done. I thought it showed maturity and respect for others. Also the willingness to admit, look I might’ve made a mistake here.

Then I read the comments under the apology status…and well I pulled a face and rolled my eyes at the ‘why should you apologize it’s your profile’ stank of entitlement. It displayed the typical behavior now found on social media, where people treat their profiles (owned not by them) as if it were their personal property where they could spew, post, attach, etc. anything and think no one would notice or care about what they did.

In real life, you know the real world where we have to get out from behind our laptops and get blown away by blizzards and scorched by the sun, and taste fuel on our tongues, you know that life; people do point out when you’re doing something offensive or insulting. So why believe that on social media this wouldn’t apply?

In fact, in real life we’re probably less likely to do or say something offensive. Or if we do say something, our friends and family who know us well, would know that we didn’t mean to offend. But look, I’m in South Africa, you’re in… (Insert your country)…we do not know each other personally. More to the point, we add people on social media constantly, so I might only be aware of you for a couple of weeks and know you like to post pictures of cats. That’s all.

So the first mistake most people seem to make is to assume that they can do and say whatever they want. You can’t. Life doesn’t work that way. Ask Hitler.

I silently applauded my friend’s response and privately (not online) dumped on the rest.

There are always two sides to a story, and in this case I read both. I acknowledged my own wrongfulness from the other person’s point of view. Just because what I found as funny didn’t translate as a joke in theirs, didn’t make them wrong and me right. It meant we interpret the world differently.

And someone who doesn’t realize this about humanity comes across as immature.

And here’s another thing, as authors we are public figures. Some of us are just more well-known than others, but it doesn’t exempt us. We need to pay attention when someone points out online behavior they don’t like, and then evaluate their critique. Discuss it with someone if you need to. Then respond appropriately.

I love how this friend didn’t dismiss the person and also apologized to others who might not have been brave enough to step forward and say, ‘look that’s not cool’, especially if it’s someone, like this person, who seems to have a big enough following on Facebook to cause serious upheaval.

 I applaud both of them. The one for acknowledging the other’s worldview and the other for pointing out a point of view others in their position might not have had courage to shine a light on.

February Publishing Tip 1

This chart isn’t the full tea sis…okay I’ve been watching too many Shane Dawson and Sister Squad YouTube vidoes.

What I meant to say in my adult voice was this: Up until the agent part this chart is a sure fire way to get you started. But an agent isn’t the only option to get a publishing deal. It’s a traditional way, but not the holy grail. Let’s just put it out there.

I got my first publishing contracts from e-publishers I queried myself with a full self-edited manuscript. There are traditional publishers and e-publishers that don’t require you to have an agent. And of course when you self-publish this whole chart isn’t for you. You’ll go about publishing differently than someone who wants to work with a publisher.

Though the chart is still helpful for someone just entering the publishing world.

#happywriting

Our last “teen”: 20NineTEAn

So it’s been a minute since I blogged, so I decided to do an actual OG blog post. On people freaking out about it being the last year with a “teen” at the end…*crickets*

Yeah that’s not just what this post will be about.

Today I will amuse you with the fact that two months ago I started watching The Walking Dead. Now you’re thinking, “Inge, you’re late to the game. We’re already at Season 9. This aint it sis.” Well, I don’t care. And here’s why.I didn’t want to jump on the zombie apocalypse train simply because I honestly am not a zombie apocalypse fan. Zombies was just not that scary to me.

What? You’re going to slow walk your way into my nightmares? Get out of here!

Not my cup of tea.

But towards the end of 2018 I needed a show that could replace some of my other supernatural creatures like vampires and werewolves. I decided to give TWD a try. And man do I not regret this one.

I’m now in the middle of Season 8. I’ve already ‘stumbled’ across some spoilers, but that’s fine. I’m okay, just don’t ruin Season 9 okay *fake smile*

I am impressed with this show. It has the right amount of human struggle in a zombie world, action, violence and intrigue that I need to keep me glued to the screen. TWD is definitely a modern horror movie/TV lover’s series. Slow moving zombies that go into a frenzy when they spot the living. I am down for this type of zombie.

And before you think this is just a Walking Dead post, I’m going to end all talk of them right after I add, Glenn should not have died. I’m still upset, triggered and view it as a mistake on the writers part.

Okay moving on *laughs*

2019 is upon us. We can do absolutely nothing about it. It’s the last year of our “teens”, which might explain why everyone’s having a crisis about it.

Remember how nostalgic people got their last year of high school or varsity? This feels like that. Only I’m not participating because I’m that one kid who couldn’t wait to “get out” and see the world.

I want 2020. There are so many great movies and projects to look forward to in 2020. Not that I’m dismissing 2019, but let’s face it. Uneven numbers just don’t do it so much for us as even numbers.

I view 2019 as a gap year. The year I’m going to get a lot of things done and setup for 2020. The launch year. And then 2020 is the year I’m in space discovering new worlds in the Kuiper Belt.

2018 for me has been a learning curve on a personal level, as well as in publishing. So many things have gone down with the latter that I’m not at liberty to reveal right now, but will definitely speak about here at a later stage. I love to share my experiences in publishing on here because I do believe it adds information and a different point of view to what’s already out there.

2018 was a year of meeting new writers, joining new writing organizations, rediscovering internet spaces like YouTube, and making use of Facebook as a marketing tool for my author page, and trying to balance the personal with the professional life (and failing miserably *laughs*).  The year was overall just me reacting to everything that got thrown at me, whereas 2019 is going to be a year of me throwing stuff at it, building a strong foundation and moving on from there.

I want to end off this post with this nugget, because it’s going to be my author-moto for the rest of my life: Work with people you can reasonably trust on a professional level on the internet. A lot of my writing world/work is connected to the internet and having a level of good faith with the people I interact with on here, brings so much peace of mind. Luckily I’ve been around for a solid minute to know how to spot these types of people.

And yeah, that’s it. I wish you a wonderful 2019 #writingjourney and #publishingjourney

Let’s get it! (She says while posting a picture of herself sitting with her feet up. But it’s the 3rd of Jan…surely, I can *wink*)

My Reading Binge

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This is not my reading nook. I wish!

 

I’ve done a ridiculous amount of reading recently. And if you’d been following my blog for awhile, you know that I love reading. Reading got me into writing.

So I’ve been on a reading binge. The main reason for that being, I was stuck in bed for two weeks. I couldn’t go anywhere. And while that may be fun for some, it’s not so fun when you’re in pain, drugged and feel like you want to die. (Okay that’s a tad dramatic. But true.)

Books were the only thing that made the whole experience less annoying. And YouTube videos. And Instagram. But mostly books *grin* And let me just take a moment to give a big, fat thank you to all my fellow authors. Seriously, thank you for writing these stories. The world would be a vast and empty place without writers. Just saying.

Now I would love to write comprehensive reviews about all the books I’ve read but that would take the amount of time I need to spend working on the book series I’m planning. So not gonna happen any time soon *wink*

What I am going to do, because these books entertained my bedridden-self like you wouldn’t believe, is list them all below as a sort of recommendation for anyone who might find themselves in a similar situation and need distraction.

So without further adieu here they are:

  1. The Wounded Souls series by Leah Sharelle. Honestly, going into it I didn’t know if I would like it or not, because I’m not into biker club romances (I also didn’t watch that US biker club TV show either). But this group of ex-military men turned bikers actually intrigued me and how the author dealt with their PTSD. And of course the romance is off the charts. Plus it’s gritty in the emotions department. And I like characters that hurt before it gets better…does that make sense? Anyway, I will definitely be continuing the series. So far there are three books that I know of.
  2. The Governess Game by Tessa Dare. This book had me at, “The morning began in the same way as most of Chase’s mornings lately. With a tragic demise.” Filled with humor and romance. Sign. Me. Up.
  3. Rule#1 You Can’t Date the Coach’s Daughter by Anne-Marie Meyer. The title alone drew me in. I already knew what the conflict was going to be about, so fun times. It’s also teen fiction, a genre that I do read though not often the straight-up romance kind. Usually it has to be an alien invasion slash apocalypse slash loner over-thinking life type of book for me to get into, but this time the title alone got me. It’s also a fast read, 148 pages.
  4. The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne. This book was interesting because it didn’t follow the usual Duke meet’s Commoner romance storyline. The plot as much as the romance between the characters keeps you intrigued. I love murder with my romance *smile*
  5. Her Duke of Secrets by Christi Caldwell. I really liked this story because it focused on women in medicine and how history treated them. How their skills were not as valued. This book also has a lot of intrigue, secrets (obviously) and shows how the dynamic can shift between the sexes when one of them is more knowledgeable than the other. Okay now I sound like a literary major. Btw, I wasn’t.
  6. Respect by Jay Crownover. I’ve read Jay Crownover since I stumbled on her Marked Men Series. Needless to say, I highly recommend it if you like stories about men who own tattoo shops and play in rock bands. Or the quintessential bad boy. Her Welcome to the Point Series was the next one I dived into. I loved the first book, but couldn’t get into the second book and the third, was okay. I’m not surprised the publisher dropped the series, but there were characters from the series I hoped would get their own stories. Jay didn’t disappoint us readers. She self-published under a new series name, The Breaking Point Series. I read Honor, and then jumped to Respect. This book is definitely one where you need context at first, so you have to know the book universe beforehand. This said, if you just want to get into this book first, she sets everything up so that you don’t become too confused about what’s going on or why certain characters ‘act’ the way they do. It was definitely a good read for a die-hard Jay Crownover fan.
  7. Wicked Scandal by Carole Mortimer. I love this author. She’s my bias. Anything she writers I enjoy. Honestly, not going to lie. This story is straight-up romance packed into 122 pages. It forms part of a series. And yes, I’m working my way through the series.
  8. Almost a Wedding by Ruth Cardello. This is just one of those sweet, sparks flying, opposites attract type of stories. It’s entertaining and a palate cleanser from heavy emotional reading or biker books. As a romance reader, you need this type of book in your arsenal.
  9. Bullied by the Alpha by Sam Crescent. I don’t usually read paranormal books when I’m writing my own paranormal stories, but the concept of this one intrigued me. It definitely moves away from the typical supernatural super-perfect on all levels idea of werewolves. It was nice to read about supernatural misfits getting a happy ending. Oh and it’s a…uhm…hot read. So if that’s not your cup of tea, than stay away from this one.  But if it is, go get it!
  10. Born to be Wilde by Eloisa James. I enjoyed this story so much because it reminded me of the books I read in high school. The type of stories where the two main characters actually like each other but keeps on misunderstanding the other…you know. And the story is well written and so worth every dime you spend on it. I really enjoyed this.

 

Of course there were other books I read too, but…yeah I’m not going to get into it or them here. I thought I’d only mention the ones I really liked and would have no problem recommending.

Also, if you’re on Instagram, here’s my handle @ingesaunders I spend so much time over there lately. I don’t know why, but I am.

And if you have any book recommendations for me, because I’m not just on a reading binge, I’m also on a book buying binge, write them in the comment section.

#happywriting                                                                                            

 

 

It’s the half year mark

IMG_20180706_134751It’s the half year mark and everyone’s obsessed with “Where did the time go?” At least everyone around me.

Everyone’s evaluating what they’ve done so far, checking their list of things for the year and depending on how many are checked off, they might either be embracing the next six months with open arms or sighing at the mountain that’s still ahead.

I prefer to take the ‘easy lane’, as in I don’t obsess about what I’ve accomplished so far or haven’t gotten to yet. I also keep the big picture in mind. Because at the end of the day, that’s the ultimate goal. Life happens and it happens whether you want it to or not. For a writer that can set you back. Because let’s face it, we all know when it comes to our writing time we literally have to shout from the rooftops for some “respectful distance” from those around us.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been off Facebook, because that’s the social platform that sucks most of my time. Personally I’ve also kept a low profile in relationships, because like I said above, sometimes we need to enforce a “respectful distance”. (I don’t know why I’m making quotation marks; it just feels like it’s needed. Sue me.)

This helped me to get to where I want to be by July in regards to my writing. And it also made me realize just how healthy it is for a writer to get away from the clutter of voices that constantly bombard you on social media. Though I have to add, I find the clutter less on platforms like Twitter (surprising I know) and Instagram, probably because I tend to not follow as many people in my industry on those platforms. This honestly keeps me sane. There’s only so much shoptalk a person can take without blowing your brains out…uh too much? Yeah, that’s how it feels like sometimes. Way too much writing and publishing “talk” that I literally want to gauge my eyes out. Can’t help it, my creative mind is sensitive like that.

But I do appreciate how accessible our information society is (ooh look at me using that one module I hated at university’s lingo. Seriously, that class was just not my cup of tea. The very young tech savvy lecturer was, but not the class. Sorry not sorry). Without it I wouldn’t have embarked on this writing journey. But I digress.

It’s the middle of 2018. So far I’ve come a long way with my rewriting project *laughs* That’s such an awkward sounding sentence.

But I have. And I’m kind of proud of myself for rewriting a book from the foundation up, sentence by sentence and really getting into the nitty-gritty of who my characters are and what they want and how they are going to get it and what obstacles are going to be in their way.

While rewriting I realized the foundation of my story, the conflict was just too shallow and I couldn’t submit a book that didn’t build on the level of emotional upheaval that my previous stories had. It would’ve been a step back from what I normally write. And I like writing characters that have to fight for a happy ending, characters that come with their own internal struggles. It’s what makes writing so much fun for me.

I also love that I’m still learning with each book. I recently read an article that brought everything back to the heart of why I write and how to write.(http://romanceuniversity.org/2018/07/09/on-writing-by-ella-carey-2/) It’s just one of those things that will never get old for me.

So, have I checked everything off my list for the first half of the year? Uh no. But then again, I didn’t really have a list. I had an idea of what I wanted to accomplish throughout the year and there were definitely dates on each one of them, but not many were set in stone, hence the reason I’m so relaxed about the half year mark and everyone around me is going nuts! No seriously, they are. And I’m not just referring to the writing world.

I am still working on my latest project, but I’m not stressed over it. Why? Because I’m rebuilding. I’m reworking chapters and loving it. I’m learning new skills and applying them. I’m focused on telling a story that I love.

I’ve also personally and professionally accomplished most of what I wanted to. The book fair, for one. That’s done. I also joined the South African Writers’ Circle this year. Something I’ve wanted to do for ages but hadn’t gotten to. I’ve also set out the goal of branching out and reaching out to more writing communities/authors. I’ve done that. And will keep on doing it. I do believe that sometimes you can get stuck in a comfort zone, a bubble with the same group of people and become so used to a certain way of thinking/seeing that you don’t realize how narrow that can be. Not all writing groups are toxic, but some do encourage toxic behavior (with writing, publishing or otherwise), case in point #Cockgate and #Getloud.

It’s good to get in touch with people who might not necessarily write what you write. I’m not particularly fond of the ‘us against, them’ mentality in the writing world. Probably because I live in South Africa and that’s pretty much what you get here pre-and post-Apartheid SA.

But enough of that *smile*

So far 2018 has been back breaking work…but worth it. I’ve gotten a lot done, but with others I am taking my time because at the end of the day I want a product I’m pleased with.

Hope your half year mark doesn’t look bleak and that you’re not being too hard on yourself if it is. We are only human after all *wink*

#happywriting

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Feedback: Africa Online Book Fair

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I thought I’d write about the book fair while it is still fresh in my mind and on everyone else’s. And just as a disclaimer, this is a long post!

Now, for those who are not aware, the fair took place this weekend on Friday and Saturday. Eleven romance authors took part, each with a one hour slot to post their promo in and then another hour in which they could engage and also wind their promo down.

From an organizing background, everything went reasonably well. I did make contingencies, like for instance; I didn’t know Facebook would flag words like ‘slut’ and not show a comment or a post if it contains similar words. Facebook also didn’t allow authors to have too many links in their posts. And as you know, that’s our thing as authors. We like readers to get in touch with us. So links were, for some authors, posted in the comments.

There were technical difficulties, like laptops freezing or internet being slow. The typical issues you deal with when you use a computer in the digital age. I once had to deal with a banking app issue and had to wait almost an hour in the bank on the end of the month (so busy time for everyone) because the network was offline. No one could do anything! (Yikes!) It’s the hassle we take with the internet age because we know how convenient it is when everything lines up perfectly.

And the book fair definitely had that to offer.

But how did the fair do? That’s the question on your mind. In its second year, how did the Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Books do?

Now last year the fair wasn’t run from my book page, but from my co-host’s, so I didn’t have the insights. I could only give an account of how my sales did from an author’s point of view. And I did sell a lot of books. Last year I’d placed two books on discount while the other was normal price. The normal priced paranormal romance out sold the discounted books! (Ha). Though that could be attributed to the paranormal genre being a bit more popular than the contemporary last year, I can’t really say. But that’s what it looked like to me.

Anyway, this year I ran the fair from my book page and here are the screenshots.

 

 

People Reached_Africa Online Book Fair_ Books by Inge SaundersFig.1. Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Books 2018 1 June-2 June

 

I like how the organic vs. paid is showed. From May 31 organic spiked. Now from the graph for Awareness: People Reached it shows, Total Event Reach was 6,491 and Total Responses was 115. In the future I’d like the responses to be closer to the total of people the event reached.

 

People Who Have Responded_Africa Online Book Fair_ Books by Inge SaundersFig.2. Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Books 2018 1 June-2 June

Engagement: People Who Responded show lines for those who were Interested and Going. I have to add here that even though I attended the event, I didn’t click Going. I took this into consideration when I looked at this graph. Clearly the Going part of this graph can and have been influenced by those attending who didn’t change their Interested click to Going.

 

Event Actions_Africa Online Book Fair Books by Inge Saunders(1)Fig.3. Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Books 2018 1 June-2 June

Engagement: Event Actions just illustrate what I wrote above. It also shows that those who attend the event engaged by leaving comments but sometimes not ‘likes’.

 

Audience_Africa Online Book Fair_ Books by Inge Saunders(2)Fig.4. Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Books 2018 1 June-2 June

Audience: Demographics the highest age group is 27, 8% Women aged 24-34 and Men 28, 7% aged 24-34 with the number of women being more than men for attendance. The second age group is 35-44 and the third, 18-24. Close behind the last age group is 45-54 demographic. This is interesting for the planning of future events. Traditionally women do outnumber men at events like this one. But it is still interesting to note that the fair shouldn’t exclude male romance readers/authors.

Now, as someone who didn’t participate in the fair this year as an author but as an organizer and attendee, keeping in mind the above graphs, I have my own insights I’d like to add.

I noticed, and do believe authors should keep this in mind (myself included) is that an online book fair is not a Facebook book party. Yes both use the same social network platform, but there are distinct differences. The online book fair operates in very much the same way as a traditional fair where the author has a “booth” and “table” where they showcase their books and themselves. They engage with those attending, be it their fellow authors or readers.

Where this online fair differs is that authors like readers can “leave” the fair and come back, to engage on posts and catch up with what they missed in that time. The fair also doesn’t require attendees/readers to pay a ticket to enter, it’s free. Authors also don’t pay to have a time slot at the fair. In light of this, authors can and should come back to their posts and reply on those who left a comment. Give them the necessary attention. It will only work in the author’s favor if they do.

Authors who prepared well, as in researched and asked questions on what the book fair was about, and accordingly planned their posts to suit the fair, typically got more engagement. Authors, who set out to engage the attendees by playing games and asking questions, got responses.

Being visually appealing is great, by that I mean, having awesome graphics that signify your brand, is great. Now add warmth, which is difficult for some to do with a screen between themselves and others online. Watch and learn how successful authors at this, do it.

Now for my last observations, and this is definitely from an organizer’s point of view.

Please don’t think you’re above any event. Yes the book fair is still new; this was its second year. And maybe you’ve attended many such events online and physically, but what your experience should translate into is being accommodating, understanding and if you feel needed, adding your knowledge and wisdom politely.

Don’t double book online events. If you can wing both and give each the amount of attention the organizers require, than great. But usually that’s not the case. Plus you’re taking the promotion opportunity away from an author who would give their 100% to the fair and could use its platform.

And don’t be the type of author who uses a free blog tour/promo than bail out at the last minute and leave organizers to scramble to fill a time slot, a day before the event. Needless to say, that won’t endear you to anyone. They will remember you, and not for the reasons you’d like them to. This happened last year.

Now for some positives (smile).

I loved seeing the amount of love and support between most of the authors who participated in the event, the authors who really connected with each other and plan on keeping in touch. These types of connections are one of the aims of the fair. Also authors cross-promoting each other on their platforms, that was great to see. The diversity represented at the fair this year, like last time, also left an impression: diversity in sub-genres of romance as well as racial and cultural diversity amongst authors from the continent.

In conclusion, the book fair did reach a significant amount of people. However, I’d like the responses to be the same as the amount reached. So that’s something we’ll definitely have to work on. Engagement on other social media platforms, leading up to and during the fair could help with this and encouraging participating authors to reach out to readers on their platforms to come to the fair. This year I hadn’t put as much stress on that point.

Authors don’t pay for promotion other than running giveaways, discounts, etc. and committing to an one hour time slot at the fair. Last year, author and blogger Leenna Naidoo, put it nicely, that we are all collaborating by participating in the book fair. Even though the fair is my brainchild, it does rely on authors willing to collaborate.

This year was truly an experience and fun. I got something new out of it. It motivated me as an author to keep on producing stories that are unique to someone with a voice that come from the continent. And also, once again, showed that there are many who share the vision and goals that I do as an author and organizer for the fair. It’s heartwarming and humbling. Once again, thank you to every author who participated and every reader who attended. Hope to see you again at next year’s fair.

For more information about the fair or if you want to participate in 2019 you can contact me at africaonbookfair@gmail.com

You can also connect with the Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Books

Facebook Group Page: https://tinyurl.com/ka3ucvl

Twitter: @AfricaOnBookFr

Instagram: @africaonlinebookfair

2018 Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/215209169033746/?ti=cl

Lessons Learned in Publishing So Far

I feel like this post should be done in point system, because some points need to be elaborated on but not all of them. They are easily understandable.

So let’s get right into it!

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Ten lessons I learned in my publishing journey:

  1. Do your research. Research the publishers you want to submit your work to. Research the genre you want to write in. Research the subject/theme your story is about. Research your novel. Research your market. Research everything basically. Don’t go into publishing with blinkers on.
  2. Ask if you need help. Yes, you’ll hit a few walls but there will be someone willing to answer your questions. And please don’t let one of those questions be “how much money do you make as an author?” That’s not going to endear you to anyone. No one, and I mean no one, likes to talk about money. If it’s that much of an issue for you, than see point number one.
  3. Writing groups exists for a reason. Authors/writers like to congregate there. It’s a good source of information, creating networks and developing writing skills.
  4. Take a writing course. If it teaches you nothing else, it will test your commitment to wanting to go into writing.
  5. Publishing is a slow process. No seriously, it is. You submit (pitch) a manuscript, it takes six weeks for you to get a response. Depending on the response, if it’s a revise than it can take another couple of weeks to work on the manuscript and to get an answer you’d like. If it’s a contract, pop some bubbly but don’t get too excited. There’s editing. You could’ve written the book a year before and it only comes out the following year. Some publishers work faster and with self-publishing the decisions are up to you, so you can have a book out as soon as you feel comfortable with the public seeing it.
  6. This brings me to number six: Self-publishing. Many authors are hybrids. They can be traditionally, e-published and self-published. Some only take one of the three routes. Authors following more than one lane aren’t as uncommon as it used to be. So keep that in mind when you do your research.
  7. Having a few published books doesn’t make you a master at writing, keep developing that skill.
  8. Branding is important. So is keeping your sanity. If you like writing in more than one category, than by all means do. Just know what your readers expect from you. If they can go on a contemporary, paranormal, science fiction and historical journey with you, than good for you. Pen names are also an option to keep the brand ‘pure’.
  9. Writing awards/competitions work well to establish an author in the industry. If you feel so inclined, than do enter your work. Some competitions give feedback. However keep in mind these awards/competitions also need to be researched. A while back I entered a competition that I thought would be impartial, as it turned out it wasn’t. Not only was my novel never entered, after I paid the fee, but I only found this out after an email was sent to everyone that the judging panel had read all the books and had scored them. Not only wasn’t I given an apology for what happened, but my book was placed under a distinct disadvantage. They now had to scramble for judges on the panel that would be willing to read and score the ‘late’ entry. They rushed through my book to hit the competition’s deadline. Needless to say, I’m still a bit sour over that. Though that’s only the tip of the iceberg of the snafu. So make sure you want to enter, and then make sure your book has actually been entered after you paid the entry fee.
  10. This is not a sprint industry. ‘Overnight’ success isn’t always ‘overnight’ successes. If you put in the work, time and effort you can make it in this billion dollar industry. But that’s on all on you.

 

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A Snippet of Poetry

Cards

It’s cards

It’s endless conversations that we had

We can’t forget it,

It’s miles

we walked, feet soles will remember

though years may fade

They won’t regret it,

And nothing remains the same

In our souls we all change

Heartbreak makes fools of us

We vow and swear never to trust

Until the next leap of faith….

It’s cards

It’s laughter when your heart at least expects it

You won’t regret it,

It’s love

undone

This time around you chose better than empty words

Loyalty comes first,

Oh you won’t forget it,

You won’t, you won’t forget it.

~inge saunders

 

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