KG: What is your favorite genre? Why?
KB: To this point my favorite genre is non-fiction. I love to learn about real people and real situations. I have come to learn the more you take in from different people the more you understand our differences to offer help and solid commentary to things going on in the world. I also find by reading non-fiction it makes me stronger as a writer because I will have a working knowledge of what people think and the things they do. There is also a spark of excitement when you’re reading works which can be researched and checked. You can see what counterpoints have been offered, if any. You can also learn which people support the same viewpoints or agenda as the author in question.
KG: How many books do you read a month?
KB: I am back to listening to audio books so currently my monthly total has averaged 3 to 4 books a month.
KG: How have you handled an unhappy reader regarding a book you wrote?
KB: I haven’t had to handle any unhappy readers to date. I’ve had to deal with unhappy reviews but I deal with those the same as the good ones. I accept it, learn from it and grow. I don’t take negatives about my work to heart. Each reader has their right to say and feel any way they want about a book they purchased. I did my job by giving them something to purchase. Now if I can grow from the negative I might be able to hold on to them with my next book.
As for the happy readers, I have come across plenty and love and enjoy each of them. Every author loves when they are given a positive word about their work. I personally set out to help readers through my work and my goal is to change their lives to the positive. I feel I have been successful with doing such when I consider the number of readers who search out my wife and me and thank us for being so transparent with the books I write and the books we publish through our company.
But as an author you can’t get lulled into a state of self-satisfaction with happy readers because you still have to push to be better with each work you complete. Understanding readers may change their minds and allegiances. Hopefully, if done correctly you’ve given them reason to remain a loyal reader and supporter of your work. Hence good work creates happy readers.
KG: What are your thoughts on the eBook craze? Do you think paperbacks are becoming extinct?
KB: I don’t see the current Ebook situation as a craze. To me it’s a natural progression when you see where technology is headed. I find EBooks create an easy way for readers to take a truck load of books with them when traveling to and fro. I don’t see anything wrong with this. EBooks also allow authors to have another stream of income beside paperbacks. So if the medium is available authors should be using it. EBooks are hear and going nowhere. As for the paperback, it isn’t going anywhere. Readers will never trade the sensation of a brand new signed book in their hands. Readers love the look and feel of physical books. They aren’t going to allow that to die. Book events and shows may not be what they use to be but they are still a great way to meet the author and get a brand new signed book. This can and will never become extinct. The two, EBooks and Paperback will coexist as long as we have readers. Don’t forget audio books either, which are my personal favorites. I prefer an audio book over the other formats. I love to listen in the house or when driving. Since I am an auditory learning audiobooks are precious to me and way more exciting to use.
KG: How important is pricing?
KB: Pricing of your work is critical. When I created my company “Bravin Publishing LLC” www.BravinPublishing.com it was to offer literary services for authors who want to self-publish. This came about when I started publishing for myself in 2008; I would travel with various authors. When I would hear what they were charging for their book I was shocked, sometimes 10% -25% higher than the industry norms. Often because of what the company they chose to publish through was charging them per book. The price point you set can be the difference of your book getting looked passed. Authors have to do solid research and get into book stores or get online and do their due diligence in reference to research and make smart choices…
KG: What do you think about e-books priced $2.99 and below? Is this a reflection of the authors’ worth?
KB: $2.99 I can rock with for an Ebook depending on the actual retail price. I personally feel the EBook price should be 1/3 of the actual retail price. Since there is no overhead, stocking, or printing fees this fair. Now with these $1.99 or God forbid $.99 books I hate it. Yes I said it, I HATE IT. I have heard authors say they are getting the eyes needed to read their books and it will help sell their previous or future catalogs of books. I call B. S.! I say if your book is a good write people will pay the price where you set it. We as authors continue to give into the evil Empire of Amazon and feel we have to allow them to set the market for our books. NOPE!! All my books are set to the price I want and not one is less than 2.99. If you can’t afford $3 then what can I really expect. The time and work which goes into writing and packaging a books is worth at minimum $3. This is just my opinion please no more hate mail. I toss it after the first curse word.
KG: What advice would you give an aspiring author?
KG: Research, Research, Research, Educate yourself with as much information about the literary game as your brain can hold. Then research, research, and research some more. Also have professional sounding boards that are actually doing or have done the advice their giving you. Also check to make sure the person you’re getting advice from is not wearing “Chuck Taylors going to play ball” when everyone else is wearing leather sneakers and telling you about the “Good Ole Days of Literature.” Would you party with you older uncle or auntie? That’s how I look at it. Make sure you set clear targets and find ways to get your behind out and promote your work. Know your product better than anyone and get out in front of people and let them know who you are, what your book is about, what your book is going to fix in their lives… Yes I said fix, enjoyment, education, insight, strong opinion, and great story line, whatever will offer the reader something. Have it to offer.
KG: What is the name of your publishing company and what does it mean?
KB: My Company’s name is Bravin Publishing, founded in 2010 after two years in the literary game. The name of our company is a combination of my wife’s last name and mine own. Braxton / Belvin. Since we are happily married and share everything we wanted our company to be an example of our union to each other.
KG: What is your biggest obstacle being a self-published author?
KB: Biggest obstacle, for me, it’s getting folks to want to support a faith based, Christian authors who doesn’t write sexual charge or violent content. People say their tired of such works but those sell out faster than anything. The same as reality T.V. having millions of viewers watching folks acting a fool. But it’s an obstacle I’ll keep fighting. I refuse to give in to what the masses say is hot. My market seems to love what I write and that works for me. Some money you have to let pass by instead of becoming something and someone you’re not.
KG: When did you decide to write professionally?
KB: Years ago I was an erotic writer and poet with a good following. However when I turned my life over to the Lord, I felt I couldn’t write those types of works any longer. Note I said “I” couldn’t often people attempt to jump as if I said it’s wrong for them to write erotica and be religious. I always leave that to who they pray to and their God. This is why I said I couldn’t write any longer. So with my change of focus I started with poetry as my first book, A Man in Transition by K. L.
I began promoting A Man in Transition in 2007 and published and drop my first book in 2008. Everyone said don’t write or sell poetry because people won’t support or buy it. I said you’re right. I won’t sell poetry. I’ll sell the story behind the man who wrote the poetry. He’s more interesting than the poetry itself. I was right. I choose pieces and created a platform for myself behind the three pieces. One was dedicated to my wife, to my mother, and baby daddies of the world. Hot buttons points which I know would grab people’s attention. The book did well and I was on my way.
KG: Did you ever consider hiring a literary agent and shopping your manuscript to a major publisher, why or why not?
KB: I never thought about going that route. I never felt my writing was going to be good enough to the traditional standards. I also did like the idea of someone telling me to change my work. Also being a poet is not a money maker or attention grabber to traditional houses. Many wrote on their websites, if your poet don’t even send us your work. Smile. OK may not that harsh but along those lines. So I didn’t. I did it myself right or wrong I was in control of my work and have been ever since.
KG: What are your thoughts on the current state of literary?
KB: I am not happy with much in the literary industry but we don’t have enough room to address everything. So I mention a few which stand out to me. With African American authors and publishers we have to stop creating books with these harsh and disrespectful titles. With words which should be said by children, none the less spoken in public. We have to stop acting like it’s OK to put out trash because it makes a few dollars. We are hurting young and old readers. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. We have to start holding ourselves to higher standards and standing that fence with our own. Especially when we already know there are groups of folks who would to see all out works pushed down to the same levels.
Also we have to push harder at supporting our own. Start searching for independent authors and getting behind their stories and their publishing companies, and allows them to gain so they can create more works of art and then open the door for others to do the same.
Finally, I want to see authors stop acting like Amazon is the god to all literary works. Many authors run to Amazon before setting up their own website and lose millions of dollars to a company who could care less about the smaller author.
KG: What is literary success to you?
KB: Success in the literary game is to know for creating good works of author. As well as being a stand up person and business person. To me when you’ve achieved this status you are successful, because if these are in place you’re changing the lives of those who read your work and do business with you.
KG: Do you think the industry is over saturated with too many authors?
KB: Of course there is an over saturation when authors can create a book from their cell phone. Many are cutting so many corners books are popping 4 or 5 a week from the same author. 34 pages at 1.99 and then book 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 come out in the following weeks all with the same title minus the number. PLEASE!!!!
KG: What is one word to best describe your writing style?