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Interview with Gibran Tariq, Self-published Author

Today at jexbo, we talk to self-published author Gibran Tariq. Here’s what Gibran had to say:

• Tell us about your self-published book.

The name of my self-published book is "When I Say Jump," and it is about a government conspiracy to imprison one out of every four black males born in this country. To a lot of us in the black community, this grim statistic is more than a mere conspiracy theory. In fact, it is more of a governmental prophecy. I chose to write about it because I have spent 35 years of my life in prison and dating back to when I was 14, I have seen up close and personal the devastating rape of the black community by the invisible hand of the prison/industrial complex.

• Why did you decide to self-publish?

In 2002, I had a very bitter experience. I was still in prison and my work had become known in the greater Atlanta writing community and I was approached by an independent publisher to write a novel. I did.

However, I never received any royalties on the sales of the book. Upon my release, I was secretly contacted by the husband of the publisher who provided me with the details of what had happened to the money of the writers who had all been cheated by this particular company. They were going through a nasty divorce and he wanted me to sue her. Instead, I simply chalked it up as a lesson learned, deciding then to self-publish if I continued in the world of literature.

• What was your biggest challenge to overcome in self-publishing your book and why?

A total lack of confidence. Not in my work, mind you, as I was absolutely convinced that I had a viable product. However, I did lack confidence in my ability to reach out to the world. Being in prison severely limited my perspective, forcing me to think small. Sure, I had dreams of reaching a world audience, but had no real clue as to how to sustain this dream or how to put it into motion. The Internet had narrowed the vastness of the world's cyber-geography, but I was the new kid on the block when it came to computer use.

Then I got a miracle in the guise of Angela Morrow, her partner Chris, and the Writer's Choice. They believed in me, my work, and my aspirations. They then put together a literary package for me that was tailor-made for my particular writing sensibilities, and in addition formulated a promotional plan to help me go from one level to the next in a timely fashion so I wouldn't feel overwhelmed. They have even helped me start a creative writing class where I teach and use my own unique brand of writing prompts that I personally developed as writing tools while I was confined.

• What has been the best part about self-publishing your book and why?

Now that I am not alone, my confidence in my ability to promote myself has soared and now I enjoy meeting people and talking to them about my work. Self-publishing awards me total control of my work and this is very therapeutic for me. After 35 years of having absolutely no control over my life where I was told when to go to bed, when to get up, when to eat, when to talk,etc... it feels great to wake up in the morning, knowing that what I accomplish throughout that day will be according to the plan of my choosing.

• What advice do you have for other writers who are self-publishing their book?

Even though they may not encounter the mental roadblocks I did, I urge them most emphatically to pursue the dream of doing for self. But even more than just offering a slogan, I encourage them to study their craft and then to study the market. I do not hesitate to tell anyone out there who is embarking on this wonderful, creative venture to contact Angela Morrow and Writer's Choice. I promise that they can and will help anyone navigate their way through the murky waters of the publishing world. And help is indeed needed. I was once a drug-trafficker and I conducted a lot of business with a lot of shady characters in a lot of dark alleyways, but they didn't frighten me half as much as some of the shady people I have met in the literary world. Writer's Choice helped me determine who was who, and what a blessing that was.

• Is there anything you would like to add?

At long last, it is my time to shine and I will seize the moment. "When I Say Jump" is merely the beginning of something I will be doing for quite a time to come. Thanks for the opportunity to express my views.

Thanks for the information about you and your book Gibran! Good luck with more book sales!