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We All Have a Story

I had a vision of sharing the Adventures of Riverlea Farm with the world and knew that putting pen to paper would not be the challenge.  Following a MOST informative Midland’s Literary Festival in 2018, I was even open to the idea of self-publishing.  Less wait, more profit.  It all sounded great, until I began to explore the actual mechanics of self-publishing.   I had nine drafts of my book series, initially created in Word, then in Powerpoint, and had no cooking clue what to do next. After extensive research I opted for a monthly subscription to Adobe InDesign and then panic and the “time is money” demands  began to set in. 

‘Oran a azu nwa’ 

There is a powerful African proverb (seen above from Nigerian Igbo) that translates to “it takes a village” in reference to raising a child.  This is how I feel about the growth of the Adventures of Riverlea Farm from initial vision to point of sale.

If you do not have a strong village around you, I recommend you find one.  Build relationships. Celebrate our human need for community.

After a month of self-taught graphic design, I felt I had far exceeded my skill set and was wallowing in self-defeat.  Luckily I discovered not one, but TWO graphic designers in my village.  Sherry-Lee de Frietas of Limelight Design and Karen Schmidt of Tara Creative both generously gave their time and knowledge.  Adobe InDesign may not have been mastered, but the books were taking shape. 

This is where one’s village really plays a critical role in keeping the dream alive.  Infinite thanks goes out to my parents (Rodger and Linda) and close friends (Jaclyn, Kelly, Kerry and Kim) who were subjected to countless drafts and daily frustrations.  I made use of the RSA to USA time change and sent edits to my mom, late night, early morning, around the clock. I then approached an esteemed colleague (thanks Denise Kemsley) from the South African Speech Language and Hearing Association to edit final drafts and began to research printing options.  I chanced upon LT Printers in Pietermaritzburg and loved their home page and visual presentation.  I followed my heart and found a family feel in all our business dealings. 

The real dream took flight when my hard-working supportive best friend and partner for life, Jon-the-Vet, offered to financially support the initial costs of printing. I finally understand the financial constraints imposed by publishing houses to first time authors.  Suddenly I found myself jumping out of the frying pan of graphic design and into the fire of book launch and website design.  Angela Carle from Home Trends / Repurposed at the St John’s Village Lifestyle Centre organised the logistics of my book launch (well-supported by my “mom-tribe”…thanks ladies) and, as she does, visioned an entire community coming together for a Christmas Tree Lighting and carols to follow!

Finally, after a painful three weeks of website design, far exceeding the pain of graphic design, my amazing friend / hairdresser (it really takes the WHOLE village) connected me with her artistic web extraordinaire sister, Gerda Swanepoel, who has single-handedly brought this page (and all others linked here) to life.  Simultaneously, I chanced upon an invite to a mastermind group of special women (Jacqui and Tori) who inspire me daily to grow my vision, my brand, my goals while I juggle my wife, mom and countless other “usually involves pets” hats. 

All for the love of Adventures of Riverlea Farm! So while the books may depict the animals, critters and children of the farm, the series would surely not be possible if not for my beautiful village of amazing souls I am blessed with daily. 

BElieve in YOUrself and your dreams will follow.

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