Recently, whilst on a visit to my coastal hometown of Durban, I was lucky enough to meet up with local author Robin Jackson for coffee and a chat about his success as a South African author publishing online. Robin's focus in his first published book Losing the Faith revolves around the world of a young Jehova's Witness who begins to question the authority of the church infamous for it's cult of followers. The questioning of his beliefs led Robin on a journey of self-discovery and ultimately rejection from the church he had grown up with.
Robin has achieved international acclaim for the title Losing the Faith and now speaks country-wide on the topic of cults, sharing cautionary tales based on his personal journeys. Deciding that writing and speaking was not keeping him busy enough Robin founded Expand Your Mind Publishers. This enables Robin to help other authors who are traveling the same road he knows only too well.
Q: Can you summarize yourself in one paragraph?
A: I am a motivated, driven and passionate individual who is crazy about books, publishing, and empowering others.
Q: What’s the best thing about being an author?
A: Being able to connect with people all over the world. The fact that I am reaching people across boundaries with my message and stories. Knowing that my words educate, motivate and inspire many to change their lives.
Q: What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
A: Figure out your style of writing then just do it. There is no one way toward becoming a writer. You cannot walk another’s journey. Just start. And most importantly finish what you started. Practice your craft. You have to write a lot and be self-critical. Look at how good books are put together and use it as a guide. Write what you know.
Q: What inspires you to write?
A: I am inspired by life. I get inspiration from the people I meet and interact with. My inspiration also comes from the talks, speaking engagements and training interventions I present. There is always a book within me.
Q: Where did you get your idea for your most recent book?
A: I am busy writing a book about my journey through the corporate world and industries I have worked in. Because efficient leadership is a buzzword in South Africa at the moment I am writing a book on how meekness is a forgotten aspect of leadership. However, do not mistake meekness for weakness.
Q: What do you like about eBooks as an author?
A: eBooks present many advantages for an author. They are easy to purchase and download. Whether you are living in a big modern city or in a remote village in a faraway country, eBooks are equally accessible provided you have an internet connection. Information is immediately accessible by downloading eBooks. You can store hundreds of eBooks on your computer or reading device.
Q: What was your experience getting started as an eBook author?
A: When I first started writing books and eBooks PDF was the only eBook format. This was relatively easy as in most cases it was basically the print-ready file of my hardcopy books that readers could download. However, with the advent of Kindle, iBooks and B&N Nook came a whole different book buying and reading experience. Formatting for the various platforms was a minefield to navigate in the beginning. However, with much learning and a few hits and misses I became comfortable with the formatting requirements. Since my books have been made available as eBooks I have seen tremendous growth in sales. eBook sales of my books now surpass those of the paperbacks.
Q: What has been your experience promoting eBooks as an author?
A: Due to the instant download features of my eBooks it has become much easier to turn advertising and promotional strategies into sales. Twitter has proven to be a wonderful social media platform for book promotion and turning prospects into sales. An author without a social media footprint is destined to fail.
Q: What would you like to see change in our eBook environment?
A: According to market research firm, in March 2014, more smartphones were sold in South Africa than feature phones for the first time ever. Couple that with the estimate that there are over 20 million smartphone users in South Africa and the potential for eBook growth is astounding. Although government is now starting to rollout tablets to schools and making textbooks available on these devices we are still too slow on the uptake and implementation. Most kids have access to smartphones already and this could serve as a basis to rollout eBook availability and e-learning. EBooks can play a significant part in our education system. Corporates should take heed as well.
Q: Advice for would-be eBook authors
A: Keep writing. Proof read and edit to ensure your work is the best it can be. If you are not sure, hire an expert in the field of publishing. Get advice from other authors. Never give up.
Q: Where can our readers reach out to you?
A: My websites also serve as a valuable source of information about my work and my books. www.robinjackson.co.za and www.expandyourmindpublishers.com
About Robin Jackson
Robin Jackson is a professional speaker, facilitator, publisher, and author of two books on the subject of cults. Robin was born and raised in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape, South Africa and currently lives in Durban, South Africa.
As a former cult member his first book, Losing The Faith: Truth under Scrutiny, chronicles his journey through the cult he became a member of at the tender age of 13. In his second book, Cults: How They Work, Jackson unmasks the identifying marks and inner workings of these groups that so often have a detrimental effect on societies. Robin Jackson has established himself as one of the leading experts on cults and their recruitment techniques in South Africa.
He has also appeared on the current affairs television show, African Views, in which he discussed religious fundamentalism and cults. He was also featured on Carte Blanche, eTV, and is a regular guest on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. In addition Robin was also featured on Radio Plus, a radio station in Mauritius, in connection with the CTMI group.
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