Category Archives: Indie Authors Networking

Pop-up Book Fairs – Southern Courier

A few months ago, I decided to start Pop-up book fairs in Johannesburg. I had seen authors go to coffee shops and have book launches but I wanted more. More authors and more people.

Southern Courier reported our visit to Cafe La Plume here is what they had to say…

Promoting reading is the way to go

READING IS GREAT: The group of authors who gathered at Café La Plume recently. Front: Ashleigh Giannoccaro, Cora Groenewald and Kim Hunter. Back: Silke Kaiser, Gerry Pelser, Evadeen Brickwood and Jann Weeratunga.

JANN Weeratunga who lives in Winchester Hills began writing about 10 years ago with a few pieces of poetry. Since then she has written many children’s books, including the Polly’s Piralympics series, inspired by the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Paralympic Games, and is for readers aged between eight and 12 years old.

Polly’s Piralympics series of books are both unique in concept as well as content and format. They deal with disabilities, bullying and cheating. The books also have a comprehension page at the end of each chapter, where the participants can answer questions and draw their own characters etc.

“I’ve been to many primary schools with my parrots, and the children really relate to them and the stories about Polly,” said Jann.

Recently, her and other authors from around Johannesburg, including Kim Hunter, Gerry Pelser, Silke Kaiser, Cora Groenewald, Ashleigh Giannoccaro and Evadeen Brickwood, met at Café La Plume in Glenanda for a morning of poetry and reading.

“It was a fun time getting together, and we are planning on more mornings in the near future where we can promote reading among children and adults,” said Jann.

Thank you Southern Courier for the support of local Indie authors and to Cafe la Plume for once again hosting us.

The launch of Echoes From the Forest

Echoes from the forest 102018 front cover onlyWho is JE Gallery? Well, I am. It’s one of my pen names.

“Why not print your poetry?” asked Kim one day. We had been chatting and I had shown her one or two of them.

So, still not being too sure I bounced a few off some more friends.  I had been writing my poems for about 10 years and had collected a couple of hundred, so what to include for my book? It was fun re-reading them, tweaking them here and there and choosing which ones would make the cut. I hope you all will enjoy them too.

Poetry is so subjective that one never really knows how others will take your work, and as all authors know, we often suffer from low esteem are unsure of our selves and conversely our work.

By the way, it hasn’t been written under a pen because I am fearful of how it will be received, but to separate my children’s books from adult works.

Echoes From the Forest will launch at Cafe la Plume on the 31st October 2018. I will be joined by Ashleigh Giannoccero, Evadeen Brickwood, Silke Kaiser, Corne Groenewald, Gerry Pelser and my best book buddy Kim Hunter, I can’t wait, yeahhhhhh!

Join us there at 10am if you are a lover of books and meet some incredible giants in the Indie book world, chat with us, get your books signed and dedicated and just hang with the authors for a morning.


Indie Authors

Indie Authors Support Local School Open Day

Indie authors gathered on Saturday 10th February at the Assumption Convent School in Germiston to celebrate their first School’s Reading Road Show

The Headmistress Mrs Debby Zambon was super keen to host the authors as part of their Open Day Celebrations to emphasize to parents the importance the school places on reading. In fact, Jann Weeratunga, author of the Polly’s PIralympics Books Series, says, “These girls devour books, they are copious readers and it was fantastic being able to share our books with them.”

The emphasis on the day was to show pupils present and future that authors are real people, approachable and you can talk to them, ask questions about their books and let them know what you think of their books.

Present on the day were:

Bhubesikazi Sibisi

Corne Groenewald

Christina Harman

Conny Oberrauter

Dolores Oldjohn

Fatuma Abdullah

Hinesh Vithal

Kim Hunter

Leandri Geldenhuys

Robbie Cheadle

Sabina Lehmacher

Soraya Hendricks

Tanya De Villiers and

Jann Weeratunga


The Schools Reading Road Show is available to any school in Gauteng. The authors present their books either through reading, plays or activities for the children and put life into books and reading for children.


Being able to read holds the key to a child’s future, enable them.


They can be contacted at

Children’s Independent Authors do it for themselves.

Children’s Independent Authors do it for themselves.

Independent Authors or Indies as we like to be known, are authors who do not have the backing of a publisher, often because of the country they live in, like us in South Africa, and sometimes through choice.

I love being an Indie. I choose my own destiny. That means hard work, lots of hard work, I mean really lots of hard work, but amazingly rewarding.

A while back there was some chitter-chatter and an author I admire immensely remarked that Indies need to do it for themselves in their own genre. Well, that was it, the seed was sown and I banded together the most amazing group of Indies on this planet – Kim Hunter, Corne Groenewald, Christina Harman, Robbie Cheadle and Fatuma Abdullah to help me. This Saturday we will be hosting our own Children’s Book Fayre, so if you want something for the kids to do come and join us, plus meet some awesome Children’s Authors pop in we’d love to see you.

Look out for the Akiki, Sir Chocolate, Silly Willy, Liam and Polly’s Piralympic Series’ as well as many, many more books.

WIN, WIN, WIN with our raffle and let the kids have a great day out. WHAT BETTER WAY TO START THE HOLIDAYS.

READERS come and meet some home grown excellent SA authors.

June 9th

I shall be there signing copies of Polly’s Piralympics if you have a child’s birthday coming up – makes an excellent present (bursting with life lessons you want your children to know.)

Kilt wearing, bagpipe playing Scots, yellow turbaned Indians, vuvuzela playing Zulus, tattooed Maoris, Abba singing Vikings and guitar playing, cowboy American pirates all compete for GOLD.

Whilst pirates learn what happens to cheats, and that bullying isn’t cool



So today I walked with a giant, well sat and had coffee actually.

Ashleigh Giannoccaro met with me to share insights into the Indie world when you really believe you can make it. And I believe I can make it.

I now realize that I am not going for a stroll up the local hills opposite my house with my sneakers and a backpack with my lunch, BUT AM IN FACT, climbing Mount Everest, so I need boots, crampons, a proper warm jacket, thermals, an oxygen tank, a backup team and a tent. Oh, and did I mention a backup team? Yes, and I have the best, Ashleigh Giannoccaro, Sian Claven, Deborah du Plooy, Kim Hunter, Tonia Lennox to name a few. I have the A TEAM.

What you can learn from a seasoned Indie like Ashleigh is worth its weight in gold… I shall be revealing more in Indie Authors over the next few days… but needless to say, 3 hours of lessons and questions later I feel so inspired I AM READY TO NOW CLIMB MOUNT EVEREST.

Watch out Bookworld I’m armed and ready.

#Jannweeratunga, #Pollyspiralympics, #booksfor antibullying

The Indie Ladder

If you think I’ve written my book, now all I have to do is put it on Amazon and I’ll be a millionaire,  laughing2  laughing3  laughing  Nope, not happening! If you believe that…

The real world is very, very different and what’s more, it’s even harder for Indies. So the learning curve people talk about is a load of old tosh, it’s not a curve it’s a ladder and it’s pretty upright to that wall we have to climb.

Pieces of advice we were given were:

a) Lower your expectations – OK (tick) I’m not going to be J.K.Rowling today.

b) Don’t give up – OK I’m still going to be another J.K.Rowling tomorrow.

c) Don’t let others discourage you. OK you may laugh, but I AM going to be the next J.K.Rowling.

d) Remember you are a NO NAME brand trying to compete with the leading brands in the field. Johan brilliantly likened it to 3 tins of baked beans No Name (Tesco’s), Farmer’s Choice (Ocado), Koo (Heinz)(=UK) we need to get into the Farmer’s Choice market to deliver Koo standard books.

e) You need to pitch your books to the centre for a middle-class audience if you wish to sell a lot of books – that’s OK middle-class kids like pirates.

f) Remember you get 40-55% when you self-publish, as opposed to 12-25% with a typical publisher, and new names get less publicity with them because we are the no-name brand. Find your niche and do it yourself. – OK (tick).Kids books stressing anti-bullying and it’s ok to be different through story format, got it.

g) In SA you are local, your reader can meet you, touch you, talk to you YOU ARE REAL use that, let them know every time you will be at SKOOBS, come meet with you, but a copy of your book, get it signed, but more importantly dedicate it. OK I’m going to next be at Skoobs on…… I will be at School XYZ on …….

h) Use economies of scale, try to print at least 500-750 books at a time so that you can keep the price of your book down. IF YOU CAN’T FIGHT WITH A FAMOUS NAME FIGHT WITH PRICE.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY SHARE, SHARE, SHARE. If you don’t share, others will stop sharing with you. OH and by the way, we will be reviewing who has shared on this site after 6 months – so if you want the benefits of what we have to offer, you need to share too – IT IS NOT A ONE WAY DOOR.

Ok, so you’ve launched at Skoobs Theatre of books, what next?(part 2)

Ok, so you’ve launched at Skoobs Theatre of books, what next?

If you are looking for a slightly greener location with a lot of grassy garden space then you have found Better (91 Oxford Road, Saxonwold.)

This location has a conference centre, plus numerous smaller rooms for interactive meetings, as well as a huge grassed garden for functions. I would consider it ideal for private yoga retreats, book launches and conferences. or you can just rock up and join in with some of their organised events, as I did with the Friday morning writers group and meet like-minded people.

I had a delightful morning writing with one of their groups last Friday morning in the garden, and although on the main road, the birds, large vegetation and trees drowned out the sound of the traffic.

I met with Andrew, who co-ordinated our writing session, his bubbly character made me immediately feel at home.

Contact 0113276098



You can publish at any age…

Not all authors are ready to write when they are young. Some have job or family commitments that prevent them from finding the time to set down their thoughts.

So it is never too late to start writing or get published. Here are some late bloomers:

1. Harriet Doerr was an author whose debut novel, Stones for Ibarra, was published when she was 74.  Stones for Ibarra went on to win the National Book Award. It is a modern classic. It is also a personal favourite of mine.

2. Raymond Chandler, another of my personal favourite authors, started publishing short stories in pulp magazines in his forties, but it wasn’t until he was 51 when his first book, The Big Sleep, came out. The Big Sleep was also initially not a success.

3. Elizabeth Jolly an English author who settled in Australia started writing early on but her first collection, Five Acre Virgin and Other Stories, was not published till she was 53. She went on to publish 20 other books and win many awards.

4. Richard Adams published the classic Watership Down when he was 52. He went on to publish over 20 other books as well.

5. Karl Marlantes, the author of Matterhorn, a powerful novel about Vietnam, worked on his manuscript for 33 years before it was finally published when he was in his sixties.

6. Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of The Little House on the Prairie series did not start publishing her series till she was in her sixties.

7. Frank McCourt, the famous and bestselling author of Angela’s Ashes published his first book at age 66.

8. Charles Bukowski worked at the post office and published the occasional poem and the occasional short story when he was younger, but it wasn’t till he was 51, when his first novel, Post Office, was published.

9. Bram Stroker who is now best known for writing Dracula,  published his first novel when he was 50. He published Dracula 7 years later.