You know I’m all about dreaming big, working hard for what you believe in and standing out from the crowd by looking for unconventional ways to do what you’re passionate about.
And if you can – together with that – leave a mark in the world and move and inspire a generation, then you’re worthy of being remembered.
That’s what today’s story is about.
I had the chance to cross paths (online) with one man, a successful author, who’s decided to create something huge out of his first novel.
So I interviewed him. And you can see how his mindset differs from the way others are thinking nowadays. He’s super ambitious, willing to work hard, and not afraid to take risks, an example of which is his newest project.
Interview with a best-selling author and his quest to make history by creating the world’s largest novel
1.Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Yahaya Baruwa, I am an author-entrepreneur and President of Tapestry House Publishing.
2. Struggles of a Dreamer is your best-selling book. What is it about?
In Struggles of a Dreamer: The Battle between a Dream and Tradition, the stories of Tunde, a beggar on the streets of New York City, and Toku’te, the son of a farmer in a faraway land, are woven together in a charming tale full of intriguing characters and adventure.
You will encounter the struggles of a dreamer as he faces the challenges of the limiting boundaries of his tradition. You will laugh, cry, experience romance, be frightened, and be held in suspense as you find out how Toku’te manages to remain afloat in a world that requires everyone to fit the same mold.
3. You’re now working on turning it into the World’s Largest Published Novel. Tell us about the project.
I have joined forces with an innovative design and printing company to print the World’s Largest Published Novel (a megabook), using as a prototype my novel Struggles of a Dreamer to set a new Guinness World Record.
4. The current world record is an edition of The Little Prince. How are you planning to break it?
According to guinnessworldrecords.com, the current World Record for the Largest Novel Published – an edition of “The Little Prince” – measures 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) high and 10 ft 1 in (3.08 m) wide when open, and contains 128 pages.
I plan to break the record, by printing a novel that will stand higher, wider and contain about 200 pages.
5. How will the book look?
In comparison to the current world record holder, our large novel will measure 8 ft 5 in high, 5 ft 5 in wide (closed), and approximately 11 feet wide (opened), and it will contain about 200 pages and have a full-color hard cover.
Complete with a sturdy and beautiful book cover design, the large novel will not only set a new world record, but it will also be a unique intersection of both art and literature. Thus, giving the average reader a new and exciting way to reimagine the book.
For durability, the large book will be constructed largely by hand, using aluminum composite materials for the book cover; high-tear strength synthetic paper for the pages and nylon stitching for the binding
6. Did you have such a goal for the book when you first wrote it?
What made you come up with this idea and why do you think it can be a success?
I started writing Struggles of a Dreamer at the age of 20, I had no idea that it would later lead me to have such a goal as printing the world’s largest novel.
I came up with the idea of making such a large novel after reading Michael Michalko’s creativity book, Thinker Toys. The author talked about the concept of “exaggeration” as a problem solving technique – so I thought, “why not print the World’s Largest Novel as a way to get readers interested in your novel!” As a bonus, we get to set a new Guinness world record!
This project will be a success because the world is always craving something new and exciting – something very unusual and daring; something that reminds people to dream.
I think that, our large novel is just that. It will not only attract the interest of readers and others alike, but it will also inspire the courage in them to dream of what else might be possible.
7. How will others, and the world in general, benefit from making this record a reality?
As an author-entrepreneur, it is my duty to use my talents in a way that best contributes to the lives of others.
Therefore, in building the World’s Largest Published Novel, here are some ways I aim to benefit the world:
• to inspire the next generation of young authors/achievers, by demonstrating (through my own personal example) that a person is limited only by their imagination, not their age;
• to encourage young men and women to read more books, thus supporting the authors who write them;
• and to capture the imagination of readers by giving them something they have never seen before.
8. What’s your exact goal with the project?
As an author who founded his own publishing company, I am confident that such a project will be a definite tool to separate my novel from the other novels on the market.
Therefore the large novel will offer a unique platform from which it would stand out to readers as a novel worth reading.
Thus, I have a goal to sell 1.3 million copies of Struggles of a Dreamer to touch, move and inspire readers throughout the world by September 2016.
9. What made you start writing the book in the first place, how did you come up with the characters and what helped you get to the last page?
The novel was inspired by a misunderstanding that I had with my father.
When I was still in my second year at York University (in Toronto), I decided that I wanted to write a novel as a challenge for myself; however, my father thought that I was going to abandon school to do so. He said, “Focus on school and do not be distracted.” I misunderstood his point of view and thought he meant, “Don’t do anything but go to school.”
I was upset and decided to write the book anyway, but in secret. About two years later, after the publication of the novel, I realized that my father, like all fathers, had only been trying to ensure that I got school out of the way before committing to something else. Fortunately, my father loves the fact that I have completed my undergraduate degree as well as become a young published author.
The characters throughout the book were both a reflection of the variety of people I knew growing up and those whom I met while I was writing the book. However the main antagonist was a reflection of the person I thought my father was – the persistent traditionalist. While the protagonist was a reflection of myself, a dreamer who like many others, is stuck between what I want and what is expected of me.
To get to the last page of the novel, I was helped by a variety of very strong emotions. Some of which were:
• anger (towards my father and the need to prove to him that I can in fact write a great book and still finish school);
• optimism in the face of persisting fears of failure;
• embarrassment and ridicule.
But most of all, I was driven by the blind faith in myself that I can write a novel that is as inspiring as my favourite author’s novel, The Alchemist. After all, “they” say that whatever you can conceive and believe, you can achieve.
10. Do you think we should all dream big and aspire to break records?
And what does it take to have such a belief and vision?
I absolutely believe that we should all dream big and aspire to break records.
In dreaming big, one frees themselves of ordinary thinking and develops the mindset for extraordinary thinking. As a result, one achieves extraordinary outcomes.
To have and maintain such a belief is possible through taking action and persistence. But what is most important is to maintain a positive mental attitude everyday – this requires a difficult shift from habitual thinking, but is very doable.
11. How will the publishing and printing process go?
The large novel will be published the same way as a normal sized novel. However due to its unusual size, the novel will be constructed largely by hand by its printer.
12. Do family and friends support you in this?
I have the full support of my family and friends in this often daunting project.
13. Do you think that anyone who’s got the desire and is ready to put in time and effort can make a living from writing?
Yes, anyone with the desire and the willingness to put in the time and effort required can make a living as an author.
Far too many aspiring writers get discouraged by letting themselves believe the popular saying – “you can’t make a good living as an author.” I disagree. It is possible to make a great living as an author, but only if you are willing to act unconventionally and creatively. Perfect example – is printing the world’s largest novel as a marketing strategy for my novel. The trick is to be original and different.
14. Struggles of a Dreamer: The Battle between a Dream and Tradition is just the first novel of a 3-part series.
What about the other two?
The other two novels continue the stories of the other main characters from the first novel.
Unlike Struggles of a Dreamer, which focuses on the farmer’s son, the second novel Tunde: a Man of Lost Ambition continues the story of the beggar in NYC and Toronto – from the first novel. While the third novel (not yet titled) focuses on the beggar’s wife who is left behind in Nigeria.
15. Do you think creating the largest published novel can make the world a better place?
By starting with an individual person, the largest published novel can make a difference. It can inspire an endless positive domino effect that will touch the lives of countless individuals in a variety of ways.
16. Will that be your legacy? And do you think we should all aim to leave something behind?
Yes. It is important to aim to leave something behind – it serves as a testimony for those who follow by demonstrating the simple fact, “I did it, so can you.”
Printing the world’s largest novel will definitely be a part of my legacy, however I want to be remembered as “the kid who was too stubborn to quit.”
I hope you enjoyed the interview.
Here’s where you can find Yahaya:
If you find this project interesting, you can learn more about it on Kickstarter.
Autographed copies of both novels, Struggles of a Dreamer and Tunde: a Man of lost ambition, are among the rewards you’ll receive once you show support.
So what do you think? Will this become a reality and make a difference?
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
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