Updated: Oct 16, 2019
On Sunday 5th May, at 3pm SA time, my book 'The Outskirts of His Glory' was officially launched on its journey into the world of readers. About sixty or so people - friends, family and others - congregated at a local restaurant for an afternoon of chatting, reading, buying and signing. It was great fun, and the culmination of a month's hard work.
From the beginning of April, when I first announced my book was on its way, plans and preparations began progressing apace. I needed to organise a venue for the launch, I needed to advertise, I wanted gifts and 'merch' that I could give to people who were interested. And I needed a book!
Creating the Look
My friend and marketing / design expert, Chantel, got on the case. She created notebooks, bookmarks, pens and advertising leaflets and organised all the printing I needed. She suggested which restaurant we should use, found ways to advertise using social media and other methods, and generally held my hand throughout the whole process. Every author needs a Chantel!
The week of the launch party, we decided to see if we could get the event included in the local media, either their What's On pages or even their book review slots. I got a call, mid-morning on the Monday, telling me we'd been able to get in on a book review, but that it was taking place that very morning. As such, I needed to call back with some degree of urgency and make arrangements to chat with the people concerned.
I dutifully phoned the number, and was asked if I could be in their offices within the next hour. As this wasn't possible, I fixed a time for a little later and then checked the address. It turned out that I was heading for the studio of one of our local Christian Community radio stations, Highway Radio.
Even then, I thought I was just popping a book in to them, so they could read and review it at some time later in the day. As is turned out, I was being lined up for a live interview and discussion about my book with the presenter for the morning. What a surprise.
Malungi and I ended up enjoying our time together so much, she's asked me to come back for few weeks and talk on a number of topics that are both raised in the book and have interest for her listeners.
Doors really do open, in the most unexpected ways.
And finally, book launch day had arrived. I must confess, I felt a little like I used to on the day of an exam - excited, but actually just wanting to get on with now. The preparation was done, and invites sent out; all I could do was wait and see how things turned out.
And of course, they turned out well. All week, I had been checking the forecast. May is usually a dry-ish month here in Durban, but it can get a bit blustery and blowy. All the weather apps and predictions showed it was going to blow a gale at just about the time we were due to start. And then, horror of horrors, one app showed rain.
After some deliberation as to what we should do, if by any remote chance, the heavens did open, I began to reflect on that fact that my book is all about the Creator. Really, why was a worrying about the weather?! The irony hit hard.
We had the most superb afternoon, with a brilliant blue sky and a gentle breeze which disturbed our hair but little else. It was a real treat.
We set up a table of books, and displayed various photo posters we'd had made up. My sister-in-law interviewed me and got me reading a couple of poems, we had a lucky draw, and I signed lots of books. It turned out to be a really special event, with everything falling easily into place.
Perhaps the best part, though, came after most people had gone and our waitress was finalising our bill. During my talk, I'd spoken about dreams, and how God wants us to know that, no matter how long some of our dreams have been hidden and buried, they will, like the grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies, one day flourish and bear fruit. She'd been listening while I was speaking, and told me afterwards that she'd been really touched and that it had meant a lot to her, as she had her own dreams that she was still trusting for.
And later, a couple of waiters chatted to us, about how I'd spoken about their homeland of Zimbabwe and how much they'd loved that.
It's not always the grand platforms and the upfront speeches that make the difference - sometimes its just the conversations we share with the people around us that make the most impact.
A week later, I was speaking at a ladies' tea, hosted by our local church CityLife Church. We had about 20 or 30 ladies there, and had a gentle time together as I spoke about our 'Freedom to be Fascinated'. We are, in Jesus, free to be different to the world, free to notice our surroundings and our neighbours, free to hear all that God has to say to us.
We finished the session by listening to a beautiful piece of music written especially for me by friend Honor. I strongly recommend you take a few minutes our of your day, quieten yourself and listen.
To be honest, I don't know! I have a few other events planned, among them another ladies meeting at a different church and a night market at Leal's school. I'm hoping to also get a chance to meet with the School's Christian Association girls and some of the teachers at Caragh's school in the new few weeks.
There's also the possibility of visiting the UK later in the year, with a view to working with a Zimbabwean / British charity on some fundraising initiatives, whilst also hosting a couple of book launches in various places.
If you'd like me to come and be involved in any events you're thinking of hosting, either in South Africa or the UK, drop me a line and I'll see what we can arrange!
Where to Buy
If you'd like a copy of 'The Outskirts of His Glory' and haven't yet got one, there are a few options available to you. Just click below to be taken to my order page, where you can choose where and how you'd like to buy.
Thank you for all the support and encouragement I've received over this 'Countdown to Launch' period. I love that I can do this with others, either directly or from a distance as you cheer me on.
So, all that's left is to say, get your copy of 'The Outskirts of His Glory' if you haven't already. And may you be captivated by the Creator as you read.