2017 has been a deer in the headlights kind of year, for me 🙂
Don’t get me wrong. Lots of magical things happened. Under the African Sun was launched at a dream event, in Exclusive Books, Cavendish Square, Cape Town, where I was interviewed by best selling novelist, Jo-Anne Richards. My daughter Kirsten, rounded up the event, as if she was born to it and my nephew Tembela’s stunning book launch u-tube, brought colleagues and publishers banging on my door, demanding his contact details!
A second magical launch followed at the Gilbride’s home in Pretoria. Family members, school friends, ‘varsity mates and beloved people from my youth, including the famous Peter Sullivan, arrived to celebrate with me. Even the bubbly was especially labelled, Under the African Sun and as the party hotted up, I was overcome with gratitude for my roots in Gauteng.
CactusRainPublishing’s coverage on my author page, Allaboutwriting’s in-depth Questions and Answers, The Lotus Radio interview, The Pretoria News article, The Zoutpansberger and Hout Bay’s Sentinel spread… each one was more exciting and humbling than the next. Thanks to Caroline Konstant’s marketing service, the reviews in Artslink, The Gremlin, Jet magazine, and even Destiny, kept me bubbling over with glee. Colleagues, friends, a new found writing tribe, Sandy James’s, (ECS principal) review and the high school learners’ ones, touched me more than I can say. I was ecstatic and grateful for every single one!
Unexpected reviews from Amazon readers, Breakaway Reviewers and many many, others, filled my heart to overflowing. Being invited to interview Lesley Pearse, was one of the most exciting challenges of my life so far and following closely on it’s heels, was being the interviewer for Peter Kuhnert, of HORN fame. Being the keynote speaker at the LOGS reunion in Pretoria, was an unexpected and huge honour. Once again, it came home to me that I was a product of my upbringing and schooling. All in all, it was a whirlwind of a journey and my feet hardly touched the ground.
A dream of a year, right? Yes, absolutely. I was on a magic carpet ride and wouldn’t have had it any other way. So, no downsides then? Well, almost none. But inevitably, there were a few naysayers and a cyber-bully. Remarks made with a barbed smile, hit the mark. The slow realization that although most loved ones celebrated Under The African Sun’s birth, others did not want to share in the joy…
Raucous excitement in some quarters, was met with deafening silence in others. Some loved the story and others felt indifferent. Swings and roundabouts and unexpected reactions popped up around every corner. I was feted and ignored, all in the same week. Exhilarating and confusing, confidence boosting and trashing, mind boggling and uplifting…
So is it all worth it? Absolutely!
What did I learn for the next time around? Well, for starters, I was reminded that my public persona is gregarious but my private one is still shy and often unsure. Marketing doesn’t come easily to me and I need to factor in funds for an expert. I love people and being sociable is part of who I am. Sensitivity to criticism never goes away, but there are ways to cope with it. Once that story is out there, it develops a life of its own. Allow it to! Each time I start a new story, I can improve on the last one. There is no room for pride, if you want to keep learning.
If you are about to launch yourself on this journey, I’d say go for it with everything you’ve got! Do keep your feet on the ground though and never take your real friends and family for granted. They’re the ones who’ll have your back. Enjoy every moment of success that comes your way, but don’t expect it from every corner. Be open to surprises and support from unexpected quarters. Be prepared to be ignored by some. Take pride in the amazing journey to being published but remain humble – for that is the golden key.
If you get a little wounded on the way, lick your wounds and pick yourself up. You are in the shark infested ocean now and not in that tiny fish pond, where you were the big fish. But guess what? There is room for you – you just need to find where it is. It is worth it, a thousand times over and the lessons you learn along the way, will be really helpful to the next about to be published writer, just behind you. Turn around and give them a hand up, won’t you?