This week’s guest poster is the lovely Jann Weeratunga who discusses the authors’ group she started called “Baking a Bigger Cake” 🙂
BAKING A BIGGER CAKE
“We must meet up for coffee.”
Famous last words.
This is what I saw written on numerous Facebook pages between authors who were only known to each other via this medium.
Thus I decided to make faint promises into concrete arrangements, and so was born the Indie Authors Networking group. I approached Deborah du Plooy from Skoobs and explained my thoughts and she was on board from the onset.
Basically, it’s a platform where authors, readers, bloggers, reviewers, artists, printer, publishers and all other literary folks can meet and hang out together.
We meet once a month at Skoobs Theatre of Books, basically because they have, under the guidance, (as well as occasional poke and prod) of Deborah du Plooy, launched over 100 Indie Authors and are considered by many as the home of Jozi Indies, and their support is constant.
Plus they have a lovely upstairs venue with a licensed bar and brilliant coffee – the two musts for any author.
We exchange ideas, chat about who we used for covers, printing, marketing etc. We are also trying to get an Indie Author distributor to represent us.
Many have had bookstores willing to accept their books, only to be thwarted by the red tape of the company which insists on the author’s having a distributor – most distributors only work with the publishers, and guess what we are Indies and don’t have a publisher.
Sometimes it feels a bit like playing a game of Snakes and Ladders, we do all the footwork and graft to climb the ladder, only to slip down the slippery snake of bureaucracy back to square 1.
Although a young group we are gaining momentum and have almost 200 authors from Johannesburg, here in South Africa, plus requests from international authors from other countries to join us live each month – still trying to work out the technology to make that happen, ha, ha.
We are about to hold our fourth meeting and usually have about 40 attend each meeting. This week we have our first guest speaker Arthie Moore and have others lined up for the next few months.
But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. When I initially tried to explain to the authors my concept I was met with some scepticism, what is the catch, why should we share our contacts/info?
However, I believe this is dying out as they are starting to reap the benefits of networking. I likened it to a cake.
If I have a cake with 1000 followers then my cake will always have 1000 follower, however, if I interact with 200 people who each have 1000 followers, (by sharing through the various formats of modern media/technology) I now have a cake with potentially 200,000 people I can reach – SO, EASY, JUST BAKE A BIGGER CAKE.
Well here’s our cake recipe:
- 200 members
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Web pages
- 1000 followers (on average each)
- Information about printers, reviewers, events, book fairs, bloggers, cover artists, web page designers and other necessary literary folks.
Mix it all together, pour into a baking tray, meet on a regular basis, and bake.
Now here comes the tricky part, because people are naturally protective of what they consider to be theirs – their own little castle, we have to break down a few walls. We now need to share the cake with everyone, so that every one of our potential 200,000 followers gets to taste a piece.
We must divulge where we found a brilliant printer who gave us great rates, we must share that ‘new kid on the block’ who is designing up a storm for new covers and websites, we must tell everyone when there is a Children’s Book Fair, A Book and Bloggers Fair – in other words, we must SHARE.
So far so good, though not all groups in the community are sold on it yet, I am sure we will steadily win them over. They are hesitant and asking, “What’s the catch.” Well, there isn’t one, we are strong when we stand together, we are strong when we help others and others help us, we are strong when we learn that this journey does not have to be walked alone.
We also aim to set up our own database of authors and their books, links, info; reviewers, bloggers, publishers prepared to give Indies a ‘real’ chance, cover artists, web designers, printers et al. These will be known people from within the group, not someone we googled, unknown stranger, but a tried, tested and trusted person.
And for the future?
- We grow a bigger readership of our books collectively, let the readers know this is where they can come once a month to get books signed by ‘their’ authors.
- We have personal contact with our readers, let them know who we are, sign and dedicate books for them.
- We create a space where authors feel comfortable and inspired by being around other authors – WE ARE NOT ALONE.
- We hold our own Indie Author Book Fair here in Jozi
- We hold our own International Indie Author Book Fair here in Jozi
So there you have it in a nutshell
If you want to join us just contact us on our Facebook page – Indie Authors Networking or drop me line on Facebook
Polly’s Piralympics by Jann Weeratunga is a series of books aimed at middle-grade readers, with a strong emphasis on anti-bullying, and being different is OK.
The first book in the series is called Polly’s Piralympics (Paralympics for Pirates) and is about pirates who hold their own Paralympic games.
Polly’s Piralympics – Polly the parrot comes up with the idea of sharing their last bounty of prosthetic arms, blades and racing wheelchairs with their crew and those of other pirate ships. Polly’s captain, Captain Hake then challenges the other pirates to a Piralympic Games, (Paralympics for Pirates.)
With 18thcentury galleons, swords, walking the plank, gold doubloons, 21st-century technology, sonar, Wi-Fi, mobile phones, prosthetic limbs, blades and racing wheelchairs, put it all together and you have the Pirate Piralympic Games.
Follow how the vuvuzela playing Zulus; kilted bagpipe playing Scots; cowboy guitar playing Americans; tattooed Maoris; yellow turbaned Indian and Abba singing Viking pirates, all compete for Captain Kingklip’s locker of GOLD doubloons.
The Games include the 3 legged race, the walk the plank diving competition, catapult shooting, climb the rigging gymnastics, fencing, and a Pirate Masterchef competition, plus much more. Through these, the pirates learn comradeship, what happens to cheats and why bullying isn’t cool.
It deals with how we all have challenges; some obvious – one eye, one arm, no legs; some less obvious – being deaf, blind of having a stutter; and some harder to detect – can’t sing, can’t dance, can’t spell, can’t ride a bicycle can’t cook, can’t play a musical instrument, can’t run 100m in under 10 seconds. How we shouldn’t pick on/tease or bully others, or someone else may also bully us too.
Connect with Jann
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Big thanks to Jann for contributing to this blog and sharing the details of her authors’ group. Do please check out all her links and as always live your questions and comments below 🙂
I know I’ve not been around much, there are things going on and I’ve been out of sorts. I’m doing my best to keep my head above water right now and hoping June will be better.
I appreciate your patience and all the kind messages I’ve been sent both here and on my other sites.