Amir Makin found Al Islam on an unexpected yet fruitful journey to Africa. Having always been intrigued with issues of the oppressed masses, he quickly learned how this way of life directed all to defend and protect the indigent from tyranny while preserving the dignity of the dispossessed. Since that time, he has instilled in himself and advanced the type of analysis that leads to positive change throughout society. You can visit his website at www.unworthymuslim.com.
Welcome to Beyond the Books, Amir. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?
A Worthy Muslim: Quranic Tools Needed to Overcome Oppression and Imperialism in Order to Institute Justice is my first published book. The reviews I’ve received are all very positive. I plan to release 3 more titles in 2009 to address family issues, manhood training and development of leadership for one’s community and reducing the recidivism rate of former convicts.
For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?
I went through several rejections before I found A.I.C (the Active Institute of Consciousness) Publications, LLC. Other publishers told me no one wanted to read about subjects such as facts on Sunni Muslims, internalized oppression and racism. They wanted me to focus on Middle East or Iraq or Africa, and terrorism situations only. I would usually respond by stating these issues are addressed in the book and will continue to be addressed at different times. Then they would usually state they wanted complete control and would not help with marketing on top of all this! Once I found A.I.C Publications, LLC they were like an oasis in the desert.
How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
These rejections strengthened my resolve and commitment to excel. I live by the motto that with every positive action there is an equally opposing reaction. Knowing this helped me realize that since I was doing something worthwhile, these reactions should be expected. I’m just glad I mentally prepared for them.
When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?
This was actually published in May 2008 by A.I.C (Active Institute of Consciousness) Publications, LLC. The great thing about them is that they dedicate their literature to making everyone aware of the social causes on behalf of the indigent from different oppressed communities around the world. Whether it’s the Middle East or Iraq or Africa, if it addresses socioeconomic and political affairs, they’re interested in seeing if they can help bring attention to the issue especially when it’s not given the appropriate exposure it deserves.
How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
It felt like it was just the beginning of great things to come. One of the first things I did was to plan a family vacation. This is really rare for me to do because I don’t get a lot of free time, so I’m really pleased to be able to celebrate this accomplishment in this way.
What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?
I do all of my promotion online, so the first thing I did was to use mass email distribution lists, yahoo groups and Google Ad Words. Key word searched based ads were helpful too in generating interest. I’ve also conducted seminars about disseminating facts on Sunni Muslims with regards to overcoming racism and internalized oppression. By far the best form of promotion was when someone would become so motivated by the book their word of mouth advertisements resulted in immeasurable exposure.
If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
Definitely not, I’d make the same decision, because this provides the most independence and the greatest degree of control over my own work. I get to decide the best method of interpreting and conveying the ideas placed in my literature.
Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?
The only mistake was not doing this sooner. Time waits for no man and once it’s gone, you cannot get it back. If there is something you want to achieve, make a plan, and execute it. That is what I live to do now.
What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?
The biggest accomplishment is when subject matter experts meaning those who not only understand the topic but also have experienced some of the realities I address express an excitement for the book material because it lets them know that their dedication in time and study of the material is being appreciated by others on a larger scale.
If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
I initially chose to be an engineer. Once I accomplished that goal the writing bug really bit. However I was able to find a way to combine the best of both worlds and have continued to grow and develop in each. I’ve developed a business plan I’m following verbatim and hope to have 3 different enterprises that can come from writing books and thus position myself as an successfully established entrepreneur in ten years. I believe that everything starts with a vision, particularly the way one views him or herself. I see myself as completely entrepreneur based, working when I choose to and giving back to the disadvantaged in the form of community based development and improvement projects.
I cannot ride the elevator of hard work to the top and not send it back with tools that will help others rise with less difficulty. One of the things I love is feedback. This helps me to not only improve, but to also prepare to address topics that will help those disaffected by racism, poverty and other types of injustices find methods to beat the odds against them. This is one of the reasons I started my blog at http://aworthymuslimovercomes.blogspot.com Here people will find information not published, along with reader polls where their voice can be heard loud and clear regarding issues many refuse to discuss. It also provides a path for articulating an experience which may otherwise go unnoticed in addition to asking me questions on any issue they feel inclined.
Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Always use all the negative energy from people as fuel to power up your drive to succeed, and know that ultimately your success or failure is determined by your own drive. I want to thank you for this opportunity. I hope your readers have benefited from this exchange. I know I have. I also have an opportunity for your readers. As this is Ramadan (the month of fasting), I’m offering an opportunity for a book giveaway which will conclude at the end of Ramadan (projected date is October 2, 2008). This will require reader participation of which the complete details can be found on my blog. Thanks again.