By Chris Marais
We called for 500 pre-orders before pressing the print button in time for Christmas deliveries. So far, we’ve received more than 360 confirmations from people who will be getting their author-signed, first-edition copies of this special book via Postnet sometime in November. Incredibly, we’re more than 70% there already.
All of this is a new experience: we normally take on the printing load ourselves and market after the books have landed. But we are publishing ‘in a time of COVID-19’ and life has changed.
Readers as Co-Publishers
However, our base of loyal Karoo-lovers is still out there. We are on track for a successful publishing venture, even during this stressful period.
Another interesting feature of this way of publishing is that it allows us to ask our readers what they think of the concept and what they would like to see in the book. It makes you all part of the process, as patrons and co-publishers. Here’s what some thought leaders in our field had to say about the Karoo Roads project:
Gus Silber, award-winning journalist and author:
Karoo Roads looks great. The cover is the quintessential Karoo: evocative and beautifully lit. There is a lovely suggestion of a road making its way through the veld as well, inviting the reader to explore the area by car or on foot.
I’ve always enjoyed reading and seeing the tales told by you and Julienne over the years – you’ve made this very special part of the country your own.
Neil Jacobsohn, joint CEO of FutureWorld South Africa:
I reckon this is pretty timely, as we city-slickers dream of getting out to the country.
Dominique le Roux, independent publishing consultant:
My thoughts are that this looks totally fantastic!
Debra Stewart, owner of Bibliophile bookshop in Clarens, Free State:
What a wonderful concept which reduces the angst of printing in the time of COVID-19. And what a beautiful, timeous new book: I overheard browsers on the weekend saying “We have all of those, what joy we have had from them. Wish they’d bring out a new one” whilst motioning towards Karoo Keepsakes I & II.
Dave Bunyard, online marketer and travel expert:
Sounds fabulous. I’m even more intrigued by details of the journeys you guys took to gather all the content. The concept is great and I look forward to reading it.
Stephen van der Merwe, entrepreneur and marketing expert:
Fabulous idea – the book looks full of really interesting facts and history little known to those not living in the Karoo. It’s a great teaser and interest generator for those who want to travel, see and learn more. It will definitely create more interest to those just travelling through, getting them to divert, stay over, spend more and spread their experiences.
Jenni Baxter, of SAPeople website and author:
I love it! Sounds like a must-have book, and a great concept to get 500 orders before pressing print.
Jeremy Nel, destination and upmarket travel expert:
That’s breathtaking – the Karoo is one of my favourite places in the world, and you capture it so masterfully!
Anthony Turton, water resource expert and Karoo-lover:
I love the intimacy of the writing and mental map it creates in the mind of the reader. The unenlightened stereotypical view of the Karoo is a wasteland of parched misery and abject poverty but your writing and images challenge that in a powerful way.
The texture of the landscape is mirrored by the exotic nature of the images and stories they tell of a rich history that has forged a culture of hospitality and caring.
I like the concept and believe it will be a success. I would pitch it as a beacon of hope in the current climate of despair. I would advertise the openness as a place of health and abundance in a world sculpted by the fear of a virus lurking in crowded places.
John Ryan, veteran journalist and author:
I think the format is great. I have long envied the two of you, travelling around the Karoo, discovering its people and places.
Mark Hinds, co-owner of the Karroo Theatrical Hotel, Steytlerville:
Absolutely love it – congratulations on another treasure trove!
Andrew Newby, journalist, novelist and platteland resident:
I think that the concept of your book is sound. It’s a logical progression from the stuff that people are already reading and enjoying.
Over the years you’ve succeeded in elevating the Karoo as a special place in an ever-expanding public imagination. No one else has a handle on the Karoo with the same assurance, flair and content skillset that you two have, so I can only see this initiative succeeding.
People are hungry for anything that anchors them in these uncertain times. Your promise hints at that and reminds them that this magical Karoo world is still there – waiting to be explored on the pages of a unique book. It will do well.
If you want to book your first-edition copy of Karoo Roads (R350 for the book and counter-to-counter Postnet delivery) email co-author Julienne du Toit at firstname.lastname@example.org