Sometimes it's good to look back and see where the Lord has brought you to fully grasp why you can't quit and you have to continue to trust the Lord's plan even when you don't understand.
In February 2008 I was invited to write for author Mary B. Morrison. A New York Times bestselling authors who heard me on a radio show and wanted me to write about my wife, Tiff and I. My story was placed in her novel "Who's Loving You" I was super excited and felt I had an opportunity to become a professional writer. Later in the year my first book "A Man In Transition" was released. My poetry was out for the world to consume and I was proud of myself.
In 2009, I took another step to better myself as an writer I applied to be a part of upcoming anthology which was looking for male authors. This was my chance to write fictional works which was wasn't my strong suit. Ellisa Gabriel of Peace In The Storm Publishing choose me to be a part of "Soul of a Man" an anthology featuring 13 brothers from around the country. We came together to write stories about men overcoming negative situations through their faith. My story was accepted and the book went on to win an literary award for best anthology of 2009. Again I was super excited in where the Lord was taking my writing career.
But like in any professional walk there are pitfalls. With my poetry being out and the anthology in hand, I started to get frustrated with the lack sales of both books. I noticed people would compliment me on each book but sales weren't reflecting the positive feedback I was receiving. I was promoting the books everywhere I could within my financial means, yet the sales weren't increasing.
Towards the end of 2009 my frustration began to get the best of me. I decided I was going to quit as an author and poet. I had reached a point where I couldn't see a positive future for me. I would hear compliment after compliment but it wasn't turning into sales and I couldn't understand why. My books were not street fiction, not erotica, or any of the genres which seemed to captures people's attention. I would hear the same thing about my poetry and inspirational works of art, "K. L. I like your ideas but I don't really read that type of work" So I got up one morning and I posted on my FaceBook page "I was done, I quit as author". Within 5 minutes of posting the status a book reviewer, named Debbie Shai Delano, who had read my poetry book and gave it 4 of 5 starts reached out. She said "K. L. you can't leave the game. K. L. your voice is needed. Your poetry has to be heard and you are a talented writer". Listening, I was having a problem seeing what she was seeing. She then said, " K. L. if I can get you a writing deal would you consider remaining in the game?" I thanked Debbie for the offer but I declined because I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I decided to take a few days off to pray and meditate on what the next step was going to be for me.
After a few days of solid reflection I thought about it and came to the mindset, sales are not going to dictate who I was as a poet and writer. I reminded myself, I didn't come into this game to make money, but to help those who read my work. I forced myself to stay focused on my spiritual reasons for doing the things I do as a poet and author.
With the new mindset, I moved forward and created my own company. Bravin Publishing was created to assist authors with the literary services needed to have control of their work. My spirit said to me "You came to help others, then lets help others" That is exactly what I did. Bravin Publishing was created to supply the literary services an author needs to take their book from their computer to book form.
A month after creating Bravin Publishing, we later signed our first client. Jovan Roseboro was the first author to come to us and he asked us to help him recreate his book. He had signed a bad deal with a publisher who was holding his book and profits hostage. Our job wasn't going to be easy. We had to find a way to use the name of his book, but get people to buy the new book and not be confused with the old one. After brainstorming and planning, I came up with a way to help Brother Jovan. I figured since his first book was red, we would make his new one blue. He first book was plain, one dimensional so I created his book two dimensional and added his figure to the front cover and face on the rear cover. I found a designer to added pictures to the front cover which represented the various business connections Jovan was a part of. We also change the interior to add his self-help information along with a recount of his personal sacrifice walk of over 400 miles from Fayetteville, NC to Washington D. C. He loved his book as well as the readers who saw it and read it.
We had published our first book for someone other than myself. I had did what I set out to do, which was to help someone using the talents I have. The Lord had shown me another way to remain focused and positive in this literary game.
Since that time I have worked with various authors and have published 15 books (along with my second in 2011 "From Gigolo to Jesus" my memoir). I currently have an author's second book, about to be completed this week, as well as my third book will be published later this winter.
You see each time I get frustrated and want to walk away, I think of the people we've helped. The people who stepped in to remind me my work was valuable and needed. Sales have been up and down but it hasn't bothered me a bit. I am sure as the future unfolds the catalog of work I have created with Bravin Publishing will be received with open arms as the world learns about who I am as an author and what I have been doing as a publisher.
Our books are designed for the whole family to read. We have created poetry (2), memoirs (3), historical (2), fiction (2), inspirational (1), urban science fiction (1), poetic anthologies (2), marriage counseling (2) (both in Spanish) and Christian Fiction (1).
My vision is to find a way to get folks around the country to read all of our books and expose them to the different authors we have worked with. My prayers and dreams are slowly coming true but I am remaining faithful to the idea hatched in 2010, which is to continue to support others and look to help all those who come to us and need us. It hasn't been easy nor do I see the future being easy. I reflect often to remind myself to stay honest to who I say I am and who I am working to be in literary arenas.