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

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Update: Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Books

I went to work on the time slots for the weekend and also got the promo schedule from the wonderful Nas Dean.

Our event link is down below, if you want to go straight to the page on Facebook. Also our contacts for any questions about the book fair 🙂

 

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So here follows the Promo Schedule:

 

24th May A Word from the Founder: The Start of a Dream by Inge Saunders

>  https://nas-dean.blogspot.com/

>  https://romancereader-riya.blogspot.com/

>  https://newreleaseromance.blogspot.com/

> https://romancerelease.blogspot.com/

> https://romancebookhaven.blogspot.com/

25th May Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Books 1 June till 2 June 2018

>  https://nas-dean.blogspot.com/

>  https://romancereader-riya.blogspot.com/

>  https://newreleaseromance.blogspot.com/

> https://romancerelease.blogspot.com/

> https://romancebookhaven.blogspot.com/

31st May:

> https://romancereader-riya.blogspot.com/

> https://newreleaseromance.blogspot.com/

1st June:

> https://nas-dean.blogspot.com/

> https://romancerelease.blogspot.com/

2nd June:

> https://romancebookhaven.blogspot.com/

> https://authorswithadvice.blogspot.com/

 

And the list of authors for Friday 1 June and Saturday 2nd June:

T.M Clark

Francine Beaton

Beverley Eikli

Alison Stuart

Dani Rene

Eden Walker

Amaka Azie

Gaeille Vanderspek

Stella Eromonsere-Ajanaku

Linzé Brandon

*Each day winds down after 22:00 but competitions, offers & sales/discounts are still open. Readers can still enter by following the author’s instructions/guidelines.

Winners of giveaways, competitions & gift cards will be announced on the event page on Sunday 3rd June or Monday 4th June 2018.

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

Connect with the Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Books

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

Twitter: @AfricaOnBookFr

Instagram: @africaonlinebookfair

For queries email at africaonbookfair@gmail.com

Blog Tour: Africa Online Book Fair #Giveaway

For the next two weeks the Africa Online Book Fair is having a blog tour to promote itself. As part of the promotion it’s having a 20$ Amazon GC #raffle and 4 Guest Authors along for the tour. I’m one of those Guest Authors *smile*

My post for the fair’s promotion will be up on the 17th of March, the tour itself, is starting on the 15th of March till the 2nd of April. So a lot of time for anyone to enter the #raffle if they want to. An entry link will be posted with every blog stop.

Hope to see your there!

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Blog Tour Schedule:

  1. http://2bibliophiles.blogspot.com 3/15/18

Spotlight

  1. http://wickedlyinnocentpromotions.blogspot.com 3/16/18

Spotlight

https://wickedlyinnocentpromotions.blogspot.com/2018/03/africa-online-book-fair.html

  1. http://bookedandloaded.com/ 3/17/18

Guest  Inge Saunders

  1. http://barbarasbookreviews.blogspot.com 3/18/18

Spotlight

  1. deborahfavoritebooks.blogspot.com 3/19/18

Spotlight

  1. https://readourthoughtsbookblog.wordpress.com/ 3/20/18

Spotlight

  1. https://fransbooklove.wordpress.com/ 3/21/18

Spotlight

  1. http://eskimoprincess.blogspot.com/ 3/22/18

Guest  Marie Dry

  1. http://musingsfromanaddictedreader.wordpress.com/ 3/23/18

Spotlight

  1. https://www.facebook.com/GirlyGirlBookReviews-478286152238072/ 3/24/18

Spotlight

  1. http://louisesbookbuzz.blogspot.com/ 3/25/18

Spotlight

  1. https://www.facebook.com/LittleShopofReaders/ 3/26/18

Guest  Eden Walker

  1. https://www.facebook.com/ThePowerofThreeReaders/?fref=ts 3/27/18

Spotlight

  1. https://writtenlovereviews.blogspot.com/ 3/28/18

Spotlight

  1. https://www.facebook.com/TripleABookBlog/ 3/29/18

Spotlight

  1. http://contryreads.blogspot.com 3/30/18

Spotlight

  1. https://www.facebook.com/Thosecrazybookchicks 3/31/18

Guest  Amaka Azie

  1.  https://www.facebook.com/DirtySecretsBooks/   4/1/18

Spotlight

  1. https://www.facebook.com/GirlyGirlBookReviews-478286152238072/ 4/2/18

Spotlight

 

*If you want more information on the book fair, than join the Facebook Group https://tinyurl.com/ka3ucvl

You can also find them on Twitter: @AfricaOnBookFr & Instagram: @africaonlinebookfair

If you are a South African or romance author from Africa and want more information about taking part in the next online book fair you can contact us via email at africaonbookfair@gmail.com

35 Authors 35 Winners!

Enter the Raffle below to stand a chance to win Gift Packs, GCs, Signed Books, Swag, etc.

I am also one of the 35 authors, so you’ll stand a chance to win one of my ebooks if you enter.

Here’s the link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ec8aae6726/

The Raffle ends on the 24th of February!

My Books!

You’ll be able to choose the one you’d like most to read 🙂

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The New Year feels Old

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It’s strange that as a woman of color in today’s world, I’m not allowed to be angry, passionate and truthful about what’s happening around me without being labeled ‘an angry black woman’. Whether it’s on politics on a global scale or what’s happening in the romance writing industry—her writing groups and organizations, to her publishers and leaders.

Like so many people I watched Oprah’s speech and as it built momentum, as she gave a history lesson while inspiring, while firing up, while being unapologetically a black woman…I wondered,  is that what’s required of all women of color around the world, in their industries? Do we all have to be an Oprah? While our counterparts are what? Becky with the good hair? Who, with not even half my qualifications and a single woman, still gets a bank loan to buy a house in an area my parents had to pool both their incomes to be able to buy in?  (Btw if you have to look up what ‘Becky with the good hair’ means, than you know nothing of black womanhood.)

Yes I went there. In South Africa, like so many other countries human capital favors the colonizer not the colonized. But I digress.

Then after Oprah’s speech, Ivanka Trump happened. My kneejerk reaction was a laugh of derision, like Chrissy Teigen I found her tweet disgusting. I was also ready to say “go away”, you’re not part of the movement, the conversation, so don’t insinuate yourself here.

But was her behavior surprising to me? No. I’ve seen it and experienced it too many times through the Ivanka Trumps of the world to be surprised. What is surprising however is that the Ivanka Trumps don’t even know they are Ivanka Trumps? Call it being blind to privilege—the privilege of being able to express yourself without being labeled—or centuries of systems built to validate, either way it’s glaringly obvious that in 2018 we are still far from eroding this level of ignorance and reasoning.

Last year The Ripped Bodice bookstore did a study on how many romance books were written by nonwhite authors. The study gained attention from numerous news outlets even the New York Times. But no one in my local (SA) writing groups/organizations mentioned it. Of course the study was done in the US, but since the racial issues and tensions in the US parallel so much of what happened and is happening in SA, I find the lack of attention and discussion interesting.

Like the New York Times article’s title stated, “[I’m] in love with Romance Novels, but not their lack of diversity.” I read them and I buy them by the truck load.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bashing post. Definitely not written as a ‘Storming of the Bastille’. Though since I’ve entered the publishing world, I have taken note of ‘the royals’ of industry no one’s allowed to speak against. And no I’m not going into specifics this is not an exposé, I actually want a writing career *wink*

The New Year feels old.

At thirty-three (in February I turn thirty-four), I’m fed-up with old issues becoming ‘new’ resolutions. Call it what you want, but 2018 isn’t going to be much different than 2017. I even heard Seth Meyers repeat a joke British actor Hugh Laurie made at the 2017 Golden Globes in his victory speech. And yep, much of Meyers opening at the Golden Globes wasn’t fresh either…seriously, they could’ve asked Trevor Noah to do it. At least his perspective would’ve been fresh and his jokes not a repeat of what someone with a more posh accent said.

And therein lies the problem, the Golden Globes (like so many other award shows, institutions and corporations) unapologetically, like the rest of the ‘royals of industry’, flaunts who they are, what they believe and stand for, in our faces. It’s an indication of how ingrained and insidious everything is. Am I a bit jaded? Yes. I’m excited for what I have planned for this year. But unlike years before, I’m not looking at the industry with wide-eyed-wonder. I’m not assuming the playing field is level for me in South Africa or abroad, because it’s not. I’m not going to look for fairness because this industry (publishing) doesn’t operate that way. None of them seem to.

And no, I’m not okay with things.

“I wished I believed you when you told me this is my home….” ~ Lorde, Hard Feelings.

 

A look back at 2017

My first ‘look back’ on my blog! How haven’t I done this before? Okay let’s not answer that question. Let’s rather read my ‘look back’ *smile*

 

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The biggest thing for me was the Africa Online Book Fair. It was such a labor of love and great way to create a platform for African romance authors. It was definitely a highlight of 2017 for me.

 

 

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The other highlight was the release of my first paranormal romance. Not only did I move out of the contemporary lane but I also wrote a story set within a shared world. It taught me a lot as an author.

 

My first radio interview! On SAfm their Sunday Literature show with Nancy Richards. A fellow author Leenna Naidoo set it up and I got to talk about the Africa Online Book Fair as well as my own writing. It was nerve-wrecking but also exciting!

I also made some important decisions in regards to what writing groups and organizations I wanted to support and how they are developing me as an author. I do believe that as an author you have to audit the groups you joined. If after a couple of years there you haven’t experienced significant growth or any support in terms of skill development, you should look at other alternatives. 2017 was definitely a year of evaluating networks, promotion styles and author relationships.

Writing-wise, I completed the first draft of a novella the second half of 2017. Then decided to do a rewrite. I wrote extensively about it here and on my Facebook page about it. It was the first time I grappled with whether I liked the direction of a story after I’d completed the manuscript. *ouch*

I also tried my hand at fan-fiction. There’s an upcoming post about that, so I won’t elaborate here. Please do read it and tell me what you think about fan-fiction.

All and all 2017 was packed with a lot!

 

 

 

 

I am Grateful

I haven’t written a blog post like this one in awhile. A recent Facebook status update on my book page reminded me of just how grateful I am to be able to write, to have books contracted with a publisher, to have people buying those books and leaving reviews. I’m still at the start of my writing journey, by no means an expert or long in the publishing world, but I can’t help but be thankful for the strides I’ve been allowed to make.

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Because it is tough. Like anything worthwhile doing and having is. It doesn’t come easy. And I’m so grateful to be able to have this outlet and write the stories I like to write. To form part of the romance community. To feel liberated enough to say I am a romance author and even if people judge that, to still not care *laugh* because romance writers are AWESOME! *smiles*

I’m grateful for the people who’ve encouraged me and shaped me on this journey. I’m grateful for the countless writing advice gurus who give their advice for free on the inter-webs through articles and video tutorials, for all the authors who write on their blogs about what they’ve learned and who share that knowledge, and also for writing groups on social media…groups who are accessible, open and do not discriminate for whatever reason…you are amazing. And you help people like me who live in a small town, in a third world country, who don’t have a clue on how to approach her dream of becoming a published romance author. It’s really amazing how many willing people are out there, sharing what they know without expecting anything in return. I’m awed. I’m grateful. I’m thankful and am working on paying it forward.

And to my readers (all three of you…Hey Mom! *laughs*), you inspire me, push me and always make me want to give more than a 100% with every story I write. Your support humbles me. My latest book have placed me in front of readers who didn’t know who I was until they picked up my book as part of the Black Hills Wolves series and I’m grateful for you because you gave an unknown to you author a chance. Thank you.

It’s humbling when you think that there are so many people all over the world who do not get to live out their passion. Who do not have the freedom to venture into any career path. For many years South Africa was that type of country. Recently my mother again reminded me on just how tough it was when she was in high school. The then Apartheid government would literally come to Coloured and Black schools and tell students that they couldn’t study certain subjects at grade 11 level. Usually those subjects would be Mathematics, Accountancy, Physical Science and Biology…they didn’t want doctors, lawyers, accountants to come from Coloured and Black groups. In fact there was a quota placed on how many could be allowed into those types of university courses each year. Imagine you’ve spent years doing Mathematics only to be told you couldn’t take it again in grade 12 because you, according to a rigged system, didn’t qualify? And guess what, having a B in those subjects disqualified you. *snorts* Yeah, I also didn’t get straight A’s.

According to the Apartheid government I would be as dumb as a doornail.

I am grateful that I get to do what I do. That I live in a time in the world’s history where as a person of color I can write the stories I like and have people from every ethnicity enjoy them *smile*

And as strange as this sounds, I want to say thank you for all the ‘likes’, the reviews, ‘shares’, ‘follows’, ‘subscribing to my blog’, buying my books, ‘liking my book page’, having me on your blogs, tweeting, and generally coming along with me on my writing journey.

I still have a way to go, but I’m truly grateful for what the journey so far has taught me and how much support I’ve received.

#HappyWriting I know I am because of you.*smile*

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Buy Links:

Amazon: Kindle Store https://t.co/gipdx4OYiZ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/za/en/ebook/the-wolf-s-choice

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/711816

 

Like my Facebook Page: Books by Inge Saunders: http://bit.ly/1defI54

And I’m also on

Twitter: @saunders_inge

Instagram: @ingesaunders

 

A Pet Peeve You Didn’t Know You Had

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Recently I discovered a pet peeve I didn’t know I had. It crept up on me slowly,  even though as I’m sitting here thinking about it, the revelation should’ve come on sooner.

I’m allergic to people who whine. No seriously, I start to itch every time a chronic complainer starts talking or does a status update or just breathes because you just know they are silently complaining about all the toxins in the air.  And have you noticed how chronic complainers always individualize their ‘issues’ as if no one in the world or history have experienced what they are experiencing? Somehow because they are experiencing them everyone needs to come to a standstill like we are all doing the #MannequinChallenge. *strike a pose*

The other day a chronic complainer on one of my social networks wrote this mini thesis on how tough their lives were, etc. and how because they form part of a certain segment of the population, their problems seemed to be double fold. And all I could think was, “Nope, that’s not true. You’re human. You have human problems, like everyone else.” Imagine saying that to a chronic complainer *bug eyed* They’d end up complaining about how insensitive you were.

So because I don’t want to be labeled as someone who’s insensitive (because I do have compassion for my fellow humans) I decided to reflect on why this annoyed me. Why someone ‘talking’ about their problems constantly makes my skin crawl and then break out into a rash (hey I told you I was allergic! *smile*).

 

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I realized something profound that might not be so profound to anyone else, depending on where you are in the world or your human development.

My people (the Coloured people of South Africa) don’t have a legacy of complaining. During Apartheid you’d have a tough time finding them and black people of SA complaining in public about their oppressive circumstances. It takes absolute freedom to complain. It takes a certain level of entitlement to complain. You have to know that when you open your mouth no one will throw you in jail or kill you. So my people, generally, created a culture of not giving voice to the issues that really mattered to them. And no it wasn’t just my people who suffered in silence, various groups in SA did.

I grew up learning that when you are going to complain about something, make sure it’s something worthwhile because  that action might come back to haunt you.

And that legacy is hard to shake. If I’m going to complain I have to consider how it will affect every aspect of my life. No I will not just call a waiter over to complain about bad service before my meal get to the table. Nah ah I’m not taking that chance.

Social media hasn’t really helped with this pet peeve, if anything; it only made my allergy worse. I’ve literally ignored people online just because I couldn’t stomach the complaining anymore. Goodness, we get it, life is hard. It’s really hard. And for certain people in the world, right now, especially when I think of the recent headlines in the news, it is really tough. So you complaining about a dishwasher, or stubbing your toe, do seem trivial.  And I’m not referring to that random once in a blue moon status update we all make. I’m referring to that chronic complainer who on a daily basis seems to be at the end of their rope. Like if just one thing should happen they will pack it all up and move to Mars because Earth just sucks.

It does seem contrite to say count your blessings…but it actually works. My grandmother used to sing, “Count your blessings name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” Every now and then when life becomes hard (like it does for us all) I start counting the good things/people that are in my life. Things I’m happy for, for that day. I deliberately focus on the positive. And yes sometimes that’s not easy to do.

There are so many things none of us have control over, being a chronic complainer isn’t one of them.

#happywriting

Divorce isn’t the End

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That title just made some people who know me extremely nervous *smile*

“When did Inge get married?”

“And when did she divorce?”

“How did I not know this?!”

Uhm…I didn’t. I haven’t. And we are probably not as close as you think if the third question went through your head.

But how can I know this then? I’ve never been married.  How I can speak for divorcees?

I’m not.

I’m not speaking for them. There’s so many things said about people who go through divorce on the internet, either by themselves or professionals. Not so much the ‘bystanders’.

And no I’m not going to comment on divorce in general. What I am going to shine a light on are the children, the grownup ones, who have to either pick up the pieces and/or deal with the emotional aftermath. The ones who have to resign themselves to a life of, “What can I say in front of my mother/father about the other, that in no way harms my relationship with both?”

It is funny how even the most amicable separations can turn sour, because even if both parties are okay with leaving, if the other one seems to have a way “better” time at moving on. Some bitterness sweeps in. And that bitterness, no matter the amount, has an effect on the children.

You can be the most well adjusted, emotionally intelligent adult there is, but when your parents go through a divorce…it wrecks your world. The experience tears something inside of you. You won’t realize until you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night unable to breathe because it feels like the air had been sucked out of your lungs. And as an adult, someone who’s thirty-three years old, people expect you to have it together.

You’re not a child that you lean on your parents support for everything. The bulk of sympathy goes to kids who still haven’t finished school. And trust me, I feel for them. They have absolutely no control over their lives; adults are making decisions for them. At least when you’re a grownup you can tell your parents, “Look I don’t want to deal with your drama anymore.” You can cause them to be shamefaced for the way they are acting, for the way they are having you be the grownup, when they raised you. Not the other way around.

So definitely an up and down side to being an adult with recently divorced parents.

Nevertheless here’s why I believe divorce isn’t the end for adult children with divorced parents, especially if those parents chose to get a divorce, rather than the one cheating on the other or being emotionally and physically abusive, etc. But rather them realizing that they’ve grown apart and want different things from life.

You can still be a family. Two years ago I didn’t think that would be possible. (And I know everyone’s circumstances/families aren’t the same.)

But there is hope of peace. Hope of everyone getting on well together. You don’t have to choose sides adult child of divorced parents *smile*

As we all know, a couple breaking up, most of the time, doesn’t have a direct correlation to the children. It’s their issues with each other. So don’t think that at any point in the future you won’t be able to pick up the strands of the relationship again. Yes, it’s going to be different. There’s going to have to be forgiveness and healing. You’re going to have to openly talk about your issues (if you have any) with each other. Because your mother is still your mother and your father is still your father. That bond isn’t going to go away just because your dad is married to someone new, or your mom chooses to live in a commune with people who dress in white and murmur affirmations under their breath. Just saying.  Through your connection, they are still your family. And that makes something like divorce not final.

Death is final. And I have to say, people who compare the two with each other, might not have any plans of ever moving on from divorce. I still carry the death of my biological father with me, but I don’t carry my parents’ divorce with me. To me, the two can never be lumped under the same heading. I can make peace with a living breathing person, but I can’t with someone who’s no longer there.

So divorce is not the end. It’s the beginning of another different kind of life. But still life.

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Putting Yourself Out There

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Whether it’s in a romantic relationship or business partnership, you take a risk putting yourself out there.

All parties come with their set of skills and issues. Yes issues. The ones you collected from previous relationships and partnerships. You literally tell yourself to keep an open mind, to not judge people the same. This venture will be different; you won’t be picking up the slack. You won’t be the one left hanging after the phone call. But then you precariously find yourself doing a balancing act that would make an Olympic gymnast look like an amateur.

Putting yourself in a position where you have to rely on someone else is always scary. You have to trust that they’d have the best interest at heart for you or for the venture. You have to trust that you’ve made the right decision of entering with them into a relationship in the first place.

And I’m not someone who easily does that *pulls face* No I certainly don’t. And it doesn’t help that past experiences has basically taught me that I’m better of doing everything myself.

So of course, since I am self-aware I know my shortcomings. That I’d rather work on my own than do a group project (that has absolutely no bearing on my romantic status *straight face*). Because it takes a village to raise a child. That’s an African saying. And it holds true for taking on certain projects…true for having a healthy fulfilled life. Sometimes you need a little help from your friends.

That’s what the Africa Online Book Fair reminded me of again.

There’s a reason sites like Facebook got so big. Mark Zuckerburg understood the power of social networks, the power of people reaching out to each other, the power in connections and relationships. They can help you build things. The right people, with the right intentions and work ethic can build something solid.

Of course there is a flip-side to this coin. To this perfect picture I just sketched. Because people have personalities, come with their view points and sometimes misconceptions of what the objectives are.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across the latter. If people aren’t clear on what the end goal is it can impact how tasks are executed.

And once in awhile I’ve come across a rogue. You know what I mean, that one person who goes upstream while everyone’s going downstream. The one who deliberately swims against the current and you’re like why? That’s way too much effort and time consuming.

Here’s what I’ve learned when I’m working with someone and I’m required to be the number two (or four *grin*); I take a backseat. And not as a backseat driver. No. They should take the lead; I don’t try to make a grab for the wheel. If it looks like they are heading for a cliff I, politely, in a very reserved tone and with a modicum of caution, tell them that we are heading for a nosedive down a cliff. Usually that works. Because even though I’m an introvert with extrovert tendencies (I have a sneaky suspicion I might have developed into a full on self-aware extrovert over the years) I get on well with most people. Have been described as charming and likeable. And not just by people my age or ethnicity, class or cultural background. Across the board.

You know you’ve got people skills when eighteen and sixty year olds count you among their friends.

But in spite of this…in spite of the other side to the coin, I’d still say put yourself out there. Do it for your growth, do it for the experience, do it so you can write a blog post *laughs*, but mostly do it because it’s healthy. It’s good to come in contact with personalities that are not like yours. It’s good to see something come about from nothing. You learn new skills, make new contacts, and find out that the world is bigger than your experiences of it. That’s the reward.

No one can take away the lessons, the improvements away from you. You’ll know how to go about things next time in a similar setting, similar venture…another relationship.

So go on…take the plunge, put yourself out there.

#happynetworking