Interview with Khali Raymond

Published 2017-11-05.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I prefer my smartphone.
Describe your desk
Well, my first desk consists of the computer, papers of things I've written and other books as well.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
To be honest, social media has been a big marketing impact on my work. Most of family and close friends can help spread the word and you know, it's like one love out there. I tell my networks that I got this coming, and the action just unfolds.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Newark, New Jersey. The things I've seen and heard of growing up, you know things about violence and all that, it pushed me to make most of my stories located in an urban setting. I use what I've seen and been through and bring that out in my stories. Being born and raised in Newark kind of gives me that scope of making things seem realistic, but at the same time outrageous. It just pushes me to do something big for my town.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was little. Can't give you no exact number, but it was a long time. I was writing them little comic books made from paper when I was in the fifth grade. It wasn't until late 2012, when I was fourteen, I started working on my first novel that actually was published. I handwrote 288 pages. That's some insane shit.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Which one?
What motivated you to become an indie author?
A lot of things. One, my city. I do it for my town, and I'm trying to give back to the place that gave to me. Two, the loss of my father. My father passed away when I was a year old, and growing up I didn't have a dad to teach me shit. Like, I didn't even know how to dribble a ball between my legs, man...until I got older. Three, I've been victim of bullying. Got into fights a lot and whatnot, so all of that hurt people made me feel, I can morph that into my work and those people who told me I wasn't gone be nothing can just sit back and watch as I move the world with these words I'm writing. To sum up, it's all the negative things that pushed me to be the best that I could be and to never take a break from what I do.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has a lot of flexibility. I can set my own prices, set my own distribution channels, make blurbs, and everything. It's very user friendly and it is easy to navigate and use.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy is sitting there, creating and crafting this ambitious world. To think that you start with a blank page, and there you go, filling that shit up, that's impressive. Just you know, making the characters and the plots is very fun.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are like family. They're the reason why I'm doing this. Without fans, I would be writing to a brick wall. My fans always find ways to support and give their input on what they would like to see, and that's some good stuff.
What are you working on next?
A lot of stuff...
More stuff than you can comprehend.
Who are your favorite authors?
That's a hard question.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It's been so long ago, I probably can't. But, guess what? That's when it all started!
How do you approach cover design?
Creating a cover...I wouldn't say it's easy, but as time went on, it's something that I've learned to do with success. I don't have to use anything too complex. My approach is minimalistic, I don't try to make things too difficult with my covers. But, I still have to make memorable designs. I design my own covers, by the way. So, I get to save a lot of time and money compared to others. Basically, I picture what I want to convey on my cover. I also use the subject themes of my book to influence the cover. If it's a story about a sullen tragedy, I'll use dark colors. If it's a mixture of many emotions, I can throw a collage or something else on there. Usually, I can churn out a cover in like 30mins time. No, I don't rush. I worked on my skills enough to get it done in that time. I will stare at my cover religiously. If it's not the way I want it, I go back and do it over. I keep on revamping it until it's the way I want it.
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