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!

Africa Online Book Fair Facebook Cover 2 (2018)(1)

Blog Tour Schedule:

  1. 3/15/18


  1. 3/16/18


  1. 3/17/18

Guest  Inge Saunders

  1. 3/18/18


  1. 3/19/18


  1. 3/20/18


  1. 3/21/18


  1. 3/22/18

Guest  Marie Dry

  1. 3/23/18


  1. 3/24/18


  1. 3/25/18


  1. 3/26/18

Guest  Eden Walker

  1. 3/27/18


  1. 3/28/18


  1. 3/29/18


  1. 3/30/18


  1. 3/31/18

Guest  Amaka Azie

  1.   4/1/18


  1. 4/2/18



*If you want more information on the book fair, than join the Facebook Group

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


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:

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


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*


Africa Online Book Fair Facebook Cover 2 (2)(1)

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.



The Wolf's Choice_500x750

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.


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*



Buy Links:

Amazon: Kindle Store




Like my Facebook Page: Books by Inge Saunders:

And I’m also on

Twitter: @saunders_inge

Instagram: @ingesaunders


A Pet Peeve You Didn’t Know You Had


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*).




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.


Divorce isn’t the End


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.


Putting Yourself Out There


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.



Saying Goodbye: Series Finale The Vampire Dairies


images vd season1 2Do you know where you were when you watched the pilot of The Vampire Dairies?

I do. I was studying my Honors degree at the University of Stellenbosch, living in one of the senior residences and a friend of mine had come over for a visit. We’d ended up getting our weekly dose of The Big Bang Theory and then decided (since we are both Twilight lovers) to give this new vampire TV series a try.

We watched it with mixed emotions. It was not Twilight. It was something different. But not bad different.

I didn’t know if I liked Elena Gilbert or not. She was the polar opposite of Bella Swan—confident, sassy, popular, had two best friends…and a tragedy. Let’s just speak truth for a minute here. I love Bella Swan, but until Edward Cullen showed up in her life, she didn’t have any level of depth that I could spy. The vampire gave her layers.

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Elena Gilbert (even though I was one of the character’s harshest critics) is introduced to us as someone who puts on the social mask that everyone expects of her, but deep down is still struggling with her parents death and the car accident she survived.

When Stefan Salvatore shows up and distracts her from what happened, it isn’t so much as he’s giving her layers but rather, as she so aptly puts in the last episode of the series, he brought her back to life.

I also from the onset became a big fan of Damien Salvatore, the very good-looking sometimes downright evil and reluctant hero and older brother of Stefan. You could already see just what he was going to bring to the table when he said with a smirk, “Hello little brother,” at the end of the pilot episode.

images vd graduation bonnie elena caroline

And though the series was built on the love triangle between the two vampire brothers and a human girl, it ended up introducing us to the awesome witch Bonnie Bennet and organize freak who later also becomes a vampire Caroline Forbes, as well as Elena’s little brother Jeremy (in the books Elena has a sister), werewolf Taylor, Matt the human (yeah that’s how I thought of him lols at one point he was the only human amongst his friends), and his sister Vicki—whose death in season one threw us all. It was then that we all realized The Vampire Dairies meant business. This was going to be a show that’s going to grab you by the…uh nuts and take no prisoners. It was going to make itself stand out.

That was due to good casting and great storylines.

And let me not forget, they gave us the Mikaelsons; Klaus, Rebekah and Elijah…the Original vampire family. For that I will always hold a special place in my vampire-TV series-loving-heart for The Vampire Dairies.

I knew the end was coming after Nina Dobrev exited the series, but I held hope that it might go on to ten seasons *smile* I know, that’s pushing it. The love triangle, the tension between the three main characters that started us off, was gone. Because (oh I’m going to piss off a few people) I honestly don’t think Stefan was over Elena and vice versa. Yeah she chose Damien, but Damien can be so self-destructive that he would’ve ended up messing up their relationship (because as we’ve all learned in life, you can’t change for a person, you have to do that for yourself) and Damien’s whole premise of being good relies heavily on Elena. And we all knew Elena could be quite fickle sometimes. So there was still a chance, if Nina hadn’t left, that a relationship with Stefan would’ve been in the cards.

Hey, I love Damien, but I’m being realistic here. Damien was our foreshadowing of Klaus Mikaelson and anti-heroes are called anti-heroes for a reason.  

So Nina’s exit made it quite clear that The Vampire Dairies was coming to a definite end. Though we had time to prepare, it still took me by surprise at how emotional I was when I watched the last episode on Saturday. Yeah I know I’m a bit late to the party, but in my defense I’m thirty-three years old and was busy adulting, so put all my favorite shows on the backburner. (Yay Catch-up!)


images vd bonnie elena caroline

I was singing, “Please don’t leave quite yet!” and then The Fray’s Never Say Never. I hated that Bonnie didn’t get her happy ending with Enzo, but then again her ending was also fitting for the character. She’d always been this strong independent (black woman) witch who sweeps in and saves the day, sacrificing herself for the greater good and coming out on top, fiercer and wiser than ever. I loved how Caroline got what she’d always wanted, she married Stefan. Though she lost him again, she had that moment. She also got a family, because goodness, Caroline Forbes deserves to have a family dammit *sniffs* after what she’s been through. Oh and please plant her into The Originals. I’m still rooting for her and Klaus! *grin*

Matt became the Sheriff in Mystic Falls…yep uh kind of saw that coming a couple of seasons ago, but it’s also fitting. And Taylor, hot headed werewolf Taylor, is in the afterlife with Vicki and the rest of the cast who died.

There are so many other memorable characters like Rick, Aunt Jenna, etc. But I’ve just gone over nine hundred words, so I’m going to stop here.  

From 2009 till 2017 you’ve given us great television. You weren’t just a teen paranormal action/romance/drama but a solid show with a great cast and stories. I’ll probably re-watch my favorite seasons, so though this is goodbye, it does by no means, mean that you’ll be forgotten.

Yep I just had to go deep ala Elena Gilbert *teary smile*

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Feedback: Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Books

Africa Online Book Fair Facebook Cover 2 (2)(1)

As the founder and one of the organizers of the #AfricaOnBookFair Romance Authors & Books, to say my nerves were fried when the weekend of the fair (2nd of June) arrived, would be an understatement.

The hosting of such an event on Facebook was a first for me, though not participating in one. Being a reader and getting to know authors, is the much preferred role of the two. But I was also extremely excited.

Here was an opportunity to bring people together, for authors to network with each other, for readers to discover new talent and for African romance authors to have another platform to showcase themselves. When you set out to do something like this you should 1) take a lot of deep breaths 2) give yourself room to make mistakes 3) surround yourself with positive people 4) surround yourself with people you can count on 5) check your resources 6) do your research and 8) set out to have fun!

Yep those aren’t very technical things except numbers 5 & 6, but they do help you to keep perspective.

That’s from a hosting perspective of the weekend.  Now as an author who also showcased their books for the weekend *smile*

Blog tours and Facebook parties rarely give earth shattering sales. Literary services will tell you that blog tours mainly create exposure and that’s what an author should focus on. Sales that do come from a blog tour are great, but the focus should be connecting with or creating a readership for your book(s).

Now Facebook book parties are a bit tricky, they’ve worked in the past to generate sales. But only when you diligently market your participation in the event. Facebook book parties are not as effective as they used to be. The ‘shine’ has worn off and some literary services don’t recommend having them.

So why did I as an author thought attending a Facebook book event will help me? Why participate in an online book fair? For the simple reason that online book fairs, according to my research, are still at the beginning phase of online book events and authors and those in the publishing industry has caught on that creating a comfortable and accessible space for both readers and publishing professionals seem to be the way forward. Attending an event like this annually creates relationships, networks and consistency that you won’t necessarily find at a Facebook party.

So I had 1hr to put my 4 posts up, and then for roughly a 1hr 30min I got to interact with anyone who responded on my posts. For me the time flew by, I thought the gap between me and the author after me might be too wide, but as the host of the fair *smile* I knew the time had to be allocated to slow down the social media for each author on our networks. That way you won’t have authors infringing on each others time.

As a bit of an experiment I put both my books for Decadent Publishing’s Ubuntu line on sale for the weekend. I offered nothing else. No gift cards, free books, swag, etc. because I wanted to test something. But not just my books. Authors who also write for the line and who took part in the fair, the publisher offered to put their books on sale as well.

I knew that the experiment would be skewed because all of us promoted ourselves differently and one of the Ubuntu line authors pulled out  a day before the event started. This would and probably did, affect the results.

I had invited some of my Facebook friends and also used my other networks to spread the word about my slot at the fair. During my hour, I also sent out private messages via Facebook inviting a few friends and reminding others. I posted in my publishers Facebook groups and also tagged DP on twitter. I thought of running an advert on Facebook or Twitter, but since I was hosting 2 out of the 3 days of the fair, I didn’t come around to doing it.

A few days after the fair I emailed my publisher and asked if the fair had in anyway hiked up sales for the Ubuntu line, and me, and she said it did. *smile* I’ll have to wait till my next royalty statement to see exactly by how big a margin.

One thing I’ve learned about online events the same as with physical events like say, a music concert. You have to tell people about it. Where you are going to be at, at what time, with who (if you’re not alone) and what they can expect from you. And not just once or twice, but multiple times before and, if it’s possible, during the event. Goodness, I got so sick of the Justin Bieber adverts promoting his concerts in SA, but I knew exactly where and when it was happening. (Thanks for the earworms after each advert Justin *raises eyebrow*)

So a heavy dose of marketing is definitely part of the plan next year for me as an author.

The experiment was a success, because I wanted to see if an event like this on a 99c book sale, for two of my books and other books of the Ubuntu line could bring in sales. And it did.

And this is the last thing I want to point out as a positive for an event like the Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Readers.

I’ve made some lasting connections with authors and readers during the fair. I was pleasantly surprised at an attendee (a Facebook friend) who I didn’t think would be interested in a romance authors event, show up with questions and engaging right up till my time was up. I got another writing buddy; I’m keen to hook up with. And as an organizer of the fair, two romance publishers already offered support us for next year.

I’ve already thanked the guest authors for the weekend via email, as well as my co-host Kathy Bosman, but I’d like to say another thank you. Without you the fair wouldn’t have been possible.

*bows head*

Link to the Africa Online Book Fair:

Twitter: @AfricaOnBookFr

Instagram: @africaonlinebookfair