Augustine is an Atlanta based writer that takes in all of the world around him and filters it through himself into poetry and prose. He lived abroad for many years and has traveled extensively in North America, Latin America, The Caribbean, Europe, The Middle East and Africa.
Augustine always tries to incorporate his own life experiences and global elements into his writing.
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book(s), but nobody has? Write it out here, and then answer it.
Why do you write so much about Africa, especially East Africa?
I used to live in Somaliland and Ethiopia, and my years in Africa greatly influenced my personal development and outlook on life. As a writer it is important to write about what you know and allow your own life experiences to shape your work. I believe you have to filter life through yourself and present it to the reader.
What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?
I am quite regimented in my process. At the start I always brainstorm and outline my story ideas. Afterwards I write out a short version of each chapter by hand. Once that start-up process is complete, and only then, do I type and edit.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
All the time. Any writer that says they don’t suffer from writer’s block from time to time is lying to you. The best thing to do when this happens is walk away, go back to your daily routine for a while and let your mind calm itself. Once you are relaxed you will feel the wheels turning again.
What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?
Writing is a craft and it requires hard work, dedication and time. Never get frustrated by criticism or failure. Use them to keep you motivated and refining your art.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I write fiction and poetry because that is what inspired me in my youth. Fiction is how I can make sense out of this crazy world, and poetry is how I express my love for life and humanity.
They balance themselves. When the mood is right then I focus on poetry. When the story calls me I write fiction.
What do you think is the future for independent authors and do you think it will continue to be easy for anyone to be a published author?
I think there is a good future for independent authors. Many writers have good stories to tell and there are many platforms and tools out there to help them do it. Authorship is no longer the exclusive realm of the few, and is no longer controlled by powerful publishing houses.
That being said, it is not enough to just be published. The quality of your work is more important than anything else. I know of authors that will brag about publishing x-amount of pages, but the book is x-pages of crap. So focus on the quality of your pages rather than the quantity.
Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?
I am self-published. Thankfully, Amazon.com provided me with an easy way to publish. The hardest part of my journey was mustering the confidence to write and the courage to publish.
Have you ever changed a title, book cover, or even the content of your book after it was published? What was that process like?
I was unhappy with the first cover for ‘Sidamo’ and I changed it a few months after it was published. Amazon.com has a user-friendly book management system and it was easy to change.
If you are a self-published author, which platform do you prefer? (Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, Author House, or something not mentioned), and why?
I prefer Amazon because it provides the largest outlet for independent authors under reasonable conditions.
Do you have a target amount of words/pages for each of your books or do you just know when enough is enough?
Stories have a life of their own in my mind, so they tell me when it is time to stop.
How do you think you have evolved as a person/author because of your writing and do you believe your writing has helped others, how/why?
My real life is book-worthy and there are many stories floating around in my head that I have a need to write down. Writing has helped me make sense of my own life and the world around me.
Some readers have told me that my work has helped them the same way. When my work has a positive impact on a reader that is my proudest moment as an author. I want to connect with readers at the same level.
How much influence do you believe a title, cover, content, page numbers have in purchasing decisions of potential buyers/readers?
For many people these details have a serious effect on their purchase; but as a writer I prefer to focus on content. The rest is secondary.
Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, over rated, or don’t matter at all?
Reviews matter! They are not only important for the reader but they are also important for the author. I welcome all reviews, good or bad, because they help me refine how I write.
What are your thoughts on authors doing review swaps, paying for reviews, or reviews that just don’t seem right for the book?
I only accept honest unbiased reviews. Anything else is a disservice to both the reader and the author.
Do you believe there are competitors or general readers out to sabotage authors with bad reviews and what are your experiences with this?
I would like to say that this doesn’t happen, unfortunately it does. There is nothing more petty or pathetic in the literary world.
With self publishing being so easy these days, do you believe there is an over abundance of books out there and how do you sort through all the hype or copycats?
There are many good books out there that were independently published, but there are also many bad books out there.
What is your biggest fear about having a book published?
That it will be misunderstood
If you have multiple books published what do you feel is your greatest work, why?
Sidamo A Journey, because it is the product of real-life experience
What is the intended audience for you book?
I try to write for everyone, or at least a large range of readers
Give us a fun fact about your book(s)?
Many of the characters are based on real people, and many of the situations I write about come from my own life experience
If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world, what would that message be?
Life is not speed but rather peaceful resistance. Be hopeful and easy in how you journey through this world.
Do you find it easier to connect with your readers with the advances in technology we have today like social media? What platform do you prefer, and why?
Social media is a great help. I enjoy connecting with readers online.
What makes a good story, why?
A good story should be meaningful within our human context. Gimmicky fantasy tales are fun, but I think it is more interesting to explore real human experiences.
Have you ever had a book idea or characters come to you in a dream? What did you do about it afterwards?
This happens to me all the time. That is why I sleep with a notebook next to my bed.
Do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?
Writing is a labor of love that can be any of the above.
Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in bringing your book to life?
Only the challenges I created in my own mind.
Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you send them off to an editor? If you send them off to an editor, who/what have you had the best experience with?
I do both, proofreading/editing as I go and then having an external editor review my work afterwards.