By Kisha Green
Allow me to introduce you to one of the most under-rated yet hardest working African American author‘s in the literary industry, Al-Saadiq Banks. Throughout the years upon the release of his novels it is clearly without a doubt that after this introduction of his work, that you too will be a fan. Al-Saadiq has written and published nine novels and is the co- founder of True 2 Life Publications. He is an independent publisher, motivational speaker and best- selling author with over 600,000 books in print. Mr. Banks has successfully patterned his company behind the same very major publishing houses that he shares shelf space with. A quiet and reserved man that is quite knowledgeable about the publishing industry and so much more. Allow me introduce to Mr. Al-Saadiq Banks…
KG: Your publishing company is called True 2 Life, what made you choose this name and what does this mean to you and the stories you write?
ASB: True 2 Life to me isn’t just about books and a logo. It’s a brand and a lifestyle that I been repping since I was a kid. As a kid I could always spot a spot a fake or a phony a mile away, long before I even knew anything about anything. I was rarely impressed with the b.s. that others seemed to be obsessed with. I was more into the behind stuff that most overlooked, like morale, character, pride and dignity. So when writing I’m more apt to glorify a guy’s code of honor and not necessarily his money. Or I may have a stone cold killer who breaks all the laws but won’t cheat on his wife. The little things like that that most overlook.
KG: Readers all over rave about your stories being realistic and emotionally accurate, how do you pen such novels with true to life characters?
ASB: Because as I writer I’m always working. I do and always did study people. I believe my calling in life should have been something in the psychology field because of the way I get into people and their behavior patterns. I’ve dealt with all kinds of people in life and I watch them close enough to almost determine the next move they will make. It’s like simple arithmetic sometimes, one plus one equals two. If you do this and that then it’s possible that you will do this too. So when I write a character, in the beginning stages I get so deep into developing that character that I feel as if I know him. If I know him well enough, I can make my readers know him as well.
KG: Who is Al-Saadiq Banks? What makes your writing different from everything else being released?
ASB: Al-Saadiq Banks, let’s break it down, Al-Saadiq means The truth, the truthful, voracious, the friend, man of his word. I didn’t choose this name. My name is family given. All my life I been mindful to stick to my name. I’m a straight shooter that will never bullsh** the people, not in real life and not in books. When you get a book from me although it’s fiction it will be based on events that can take place in real life. No bombs in your boots, no secret islands that your pilot flies you to nurse you back to life after you been shot a million times, none of that. Get a book from me it will be as close to the truth that you can get.
KG: With over twelve years in the industry-you’ve seen the good, bad and ugly. What are your thoughts on the current state of literary?
ASB: Honestly, I was starting to feel like the book game was dead for our genre but after doing some research on the whole digital market, I feel like there’s more life and opportunity now then it was with paperback. I just started indulging in the whole digital world but I’m fired up!
KG: At what point in your career did you say “I might be able to make money with books?”
ASB: I have been blessed from day one in this book game. Honestly I had no doubt in my mind that I if I ever chose to write a book about the streets that I would sell and that’s for two reasons. For one as I played those streets I watched and analyzed everything about the streets so I knew I could go deeper than most would even think of going. The second reason is around the time that I came into the book game, the key players who were writing and making the most money off of street books were not even street folk. I told myself at that point if people who have no idea about the streets can write books about the streets and get rich, no way in the world I shouldn’t be able to steal me a few dollars then. LOL.
KG: You are well mannered and respected entrepreneur and as result you have ventured into mentoring and assisting those trying to self-publish. What made you want to do this?
ASB: I feel that there are so many in the book game that are clueless to the business side of it. The blind leading the blind. As a veteran in the game it’s easy to say as the others do, let them find their own way, but the reality is the game has suffered so much due to the lack of education of the business. With so many publishers not understanding the business, they have made moves that destroy the business instead of helping it. I feel that by educating them we can proceed to build and make this business more lucrative and profiting then it’s ever been for independents.
KG: What was your biggest obstacle you confronted being a self-published author?
ASB: The biggest issue I confronted as a self-published author has always been distribution. As an independent the distribution that’s been available for us has always been a catch 22. A bunch of people who know we are desperate to sell books and they capitalize off of that.
KG: What is next for Al-Saadiq Banks?
ASB: For me it’s all about books, movies and comics. I call this publishing house three-tier. The books are the first tier, the structure. On the second tier, we bring the characters to life in cartoon form, giving you the visual and to get you in the mindset of seeing these characters on the screen. Then on the third tier is the movies and further bringing those same characters to life. All in all building and enhancing the brand with each step.
For more on Al-Saadiq Banks
Visit his website at www.true2lifeproductions.com