For our author interview this month we caught up with Femi Tiamiyu, Lead Administrator of LivelyStone Network and associate minister at Rhemaword International Christian Centre. He also serves in the procurement and inventory department of Steam and Globe Broadcasting Corporation, PortHarcourt, Nigeria. He has authored two books: A-Z of Campus Leadership and Priced Over Pearl. Enjoy!
Kindly give us a brief biography of yourself.
I am the last child of the five children born by two GOD-loving parents who has grown to be an inspirational instructor, strategic planner, trainer, leadership consultant and author. I grew up as an introverted but brilliant kid. But when exposed to my first leadership experience, shortly after my secondary education, at the age of 16 (in 2002), being a co-founder of a Voluntary Youth Organisation in my community then – Students Organisation of Harmony (SOH) with the privilege of leading my elder brother’s age groups, my passion for leadership and real coordination of things has never been the same. This quest has driven me to aspire to know more about the subject matter through conferences, summits, books, events and people.
I had my first degree at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria in the department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. My tertiary education gave me a broader platform to unleash my leadership abilities, giving me the privilege to lead and be led by fellow students, serving in different levels of the institutions with the peak being the Senior Pastor/President of Charis Fellowship International, OAU, Ile-Ife. I’m an alumnus of Daystar Leadership Academy (Basic and Advanced), and LEAP Africa. My ultimate goal in life is to inspire and raise a cadre of EFFECTIVE leaders (emphasis on the word EFFECTIVE). I published the volume one of my first book in February 2017: A-Z of Campus Leadership, an insightful leadership manual containing 61 themes on leadership. It is designed to help leaders navigate, nurture and unleash their leadership on campus and beyond.
I am the Lead Administrator of LivelyStone Network – an outfit that thrives on advocating effective leadership by training and hosting organisations, clubs, churches, schools, etc. on dynamics of leadership, management, team building, retreats, soft skills, etc.
I serve as an associate minister at Rhemaword International Christian Centre and currently work in the procurement and inventory department of Steam and Globe Broadcasting Corporation, PortHarcourt, Nigeria.
How did you become a writer and what are you trying to achieve through your writing?
Well, writing for me is both inborn and a discipline. But more importantly, I write to communicate the deep meditations of my heart. I write to make a mark – to imprint my signature on the fabrics of time and generations. I write to influence paradigm. I write to give expression to my voice, my assignment, my calling, my passion. I write to help reset people’s operational modes. I write to impart excellence and challenge my readers to conduct their affairs with excellence also. I write to diffuse GOD-charged ideas in absorbable and digestable formats by the larger society.
What advantages do you enjoy as an author?
Being an author positions you as an authority on a subject matter. Of course, both words – Author and Authority – belong to a common root word. It’s extremely dangerous for an author not to have an ‘authentic’ message. Every Author, I believe, before scribing any thought should have a conviction of the subject matter he/she is trying to deal with.
As an author, people get to know you and what you represent. It widens yours scope and outreach of influence. Fame comes with the pride of being an author but that should never be the purpose of the profession. Passive Income also – though a lot comes into this especially with the book distribution and people’s perception and reception of your message. For me, the core benefit of being an author is the privilege and honour of being a part of other people’s success stories – that point when someone messages me and tells me how he or she has been tremendously influenced by the thoughts I shared in the books inspires and positions me on a pedestal to do more.
Does authoring a book provide sufficient income? Can one live and earn a steady, satisfactory income as an author?
Well, I think it is best to put this profession where it belongs – Passive Income. For me, I see it that way actually. Some other persons might be making their fortune from it. But it is advisable for a beginner to have a steady source of income in place aside the book(s) published. First is that it takes a while to build a consistent and massive readership. Authenticity and widespread publicity come when people can buy more than a copy for those under their influence or when your readers become your active marketers and distributors. Yes, authoring a book cumulatively can provide sufficient, steady and satisfactory income depending on the quantity of your readership, the patronage of your product, the reach of the book itself, the demand for it, the spread of the transaction, and the structure one puts in place to manage the funds generated, recycling, redistribution, and perpetuation of the fund. Many established Authors live off the royalties of their works, so it is very possible.
It is said that everybody has a story to tell. What story about yourself would you like to share?
Hmm… Got a lot of stories to tell actually. Okay, there’s this inspiring story of mine, how I strove to get admitted into a tertiary institution within a 6-7 year time frame. Having left secondary school in 2001 with a good WASSCE results fit to secure me a university admission, I found myself as an 100Level student of Great Ife in 2008. My very first JAMB (now UTME) result was withheld (cancelled) with four others from a total of 8 JAMB exams (5 UME and 3 MPCE) I did. It was a challenging phase for me especially having to see some of my classmates went to the universities and polytechnics, returned during the semester breaks to chat me up.
But more interesting about this phase were the lessons I learnt. It was a reformation mode for me. That was the season I had my first leadership moment. That was the season I read my first leadership book. And perhaps majority of the books I have ever read in my life. That was the season my writing skills took the next level. That was the season I knew I learnt my hard core lessons on the principles of finance and idea incubation and implementation. That was the season I was enrolled in the school of hard knocks. That was the season I came to the awareness and knowledge of what I had on my inside. That was the season I was convinced that there was something more than just what I knew or saw of myself on the outside.
Having my friends and senior colleagues return from their campuses and still take pleasure to check on me and listen to the wealth of wisdom on my lips was something I took note of and it made me believe more in myself. It prepared me for the gracious moments I would have on campus when I eventually gained admission. More importantly, it was the reason I let go of myself, my knowledge and my abilities and learnt to lean on the strength of the Most High. It was a point I received the ultimate gift of salvation. It was a phase I knew I conquered to an extent and I felt real qualified to progress to the next phase with that heart and feeling of something extraordinary about me.
How would you describe Priced Over Pearl and what three lessons did you learn throughout the process of writing and publishing the book?
Priced Over Pearl is a book born out of a strong burden to help ladies get it right when it comes to some of the important choices they make. It’s a masterpiece loaded with inspiration to challenge a young woman (Pearl) to reclaim her sense of identity; live past hurts, limitation and limiting beliefs; make informed decisions regarding love, relationships and marriage; aspire for the next height of her dream, passion, calling and assignment; and more importantly, help to preserve generation next! Priced Over Pearl isn’t a book about how to cook, dress or make the bed/home. No! I shared depth with Pearl! I wooed her; hyped her; jibed her; laughed at and with her; cautioned her; challenged her to live beyond her past hurts, denials, betrayals, harassments, imprisonment; inflamed her to live out her passion (being single or married); inspired her to aspire for her next height of influence. I prayed with and for Pearl; and more importantly, I prepared Pearl to PRESERVE GENERATION NEXT! Much of the feedback received have described the book as “Revelation in words”. It was ‘hard’ for some people to digest the truth in the book as the tone of language and choice of words seemed to be direct, instructive and corrective.
First, the e-copy of Priced Over Pearl has been the version in circulation which was made available on the social space only to those who showed interest in the material before it was published within a 36-48hr time frame. The expanded and printed version is being worked on right now which promises to be much more loaded than what the readers have seen in the soft copy and it is designed such that it would require that every lady has her own PERSONAL COPY because of the one-year prayer guide and Bible reading plan included in the index column.
Quickly, these are the three lessons I learnt:
1. Never undermine the power of a (your) seed. The burden to scribble Priced Over Pearl started as a proposed short read. I thought it would be 10-15 pages at most. But as I scribbled the thoughts and reflections of my heart, I discovered there was more GOD would have me talk about than I had imagined or would not have delved into. As I wrote, the burden deepened. I knew it was going to be something explosive. I couldn’t contain myself at some point while writing, the outburst of revelation was high. I needed to type as fast as I could hold the thoughts. I wept at some point wondering whom the truth in the piece was meant for. Now, the short read is becoming something that will be in a print book that’s just under 200-pages with a global context and subsequently translated into some foreign languages for widespread publication.
2. Conviction enforces delivery. This punchline was one I received while scripting A-Z of Campus Leadership and I have seen it to be true while and after I worked on Priced Over Pearl. True conviction helps to project a messenger’s message forcefully. As a rule, never voice a message you are not truly convinced about ‘cos there will be a conflict of resonance. “As within so without” should be the mantra for any person of impact. Some feedback I received from the book further broke me down. They made me marvel at the awesomeness of GOD how that a book scribbled in four nights have been a blessing to people I don’t even know and there are demands people across the border.
3. Take the first step! When given an instruction either by GOD or your mentors or a problem nudges at you and you can sense the timing is ripe and right, have the courage to take the very first step to fulfilling that instruction. Just take the first step. You don’t need to see the whole picture before acting, just act! As you ascend, things would unfold better and clearer. The first steps opens further instructions you’d need to execute and the truth is, having the guts to take the very first step despite your fears already strengthens your courage and ability to execute other instructions flawlessly. As far as you are clear this is what GOD would have you do at this stage of your life, step on it! Do it! I would be honest with you, Priced Over Pearl was an interruption or interference to my other line up for the year but I’m so liking the way it is turning and I can see clearly that it was actually needful to ensure the successful execution of the other agendas for the year. Such divine interference must be given utmost attention. I am so grateful I yielded!
Most authors have a routine that stimulates their creative juices. Do you have one that you would love to share with your audience?
Yes true. I do have one! I actually don’t usually write out first. I don’t have any manuscript for my books. No one ever! I type them out straight. It was a habit I craved when I had my first laptop as an undergraduate in my 200Level and I put it to practice before that academic year was over and I mastered it. It’s actually even difficult for me to first write out my thoughts in a sheet with the hope of trying to type them out later. Even my final year project, I had no script. Even when I had frequent power outage while working on my first book with a faulty laptop battery, I did the best I could to make the most of the time the power was restored and when I had to use the generator…always saving as I typed and sending the files (after a theme is concluded) to my e-mail, mobile device and two of my closest friend’s e-mails so that I am guaranteed of backup files in three to four different locations. So, what I do to stimulate my creative juice is that as I type on the system, I have my ears plugged with a music playing on the background…always gospel songs. Most times, I could have a song on repeat for days…over and over! I listened to a particular song while scripting the whole of Priced Over Pearl. I particularly quit working on the system when completely exhausted and know “Boy, it is time for a break!” I make the most of my time in the lavatory – quieting my mind to realign my thoughts with my present writing task. I sometimes pray in tongues while scripting also.
Did you have any fears and worries setting out as an author and publishing your first book? How did it turn out?
Yes, I had fears and worries and they were the fear of not publishing my message; the worries of not voicing my ‘breath’, ‘passion’ and ‘purpose of existence’. The fears of dying with my message if I didn’t publish it as at when due. I had no iota of fear on how it would turn out. I knew it would be successful. I was convinced enough to know and believe it. The message got me excited on daily basis and pushed me to do what I didn’t deem possible to achieve that presently, when I reflect on the work, it’s always give me a great pleasure and a sense of deep fulfillment seeing my thoughts in ink and having it being used as a training manual in some organisations within campus and beyond. It turned out well. It’s still making its waves and I still get feedback from grateful hearts that were blessed by the production and that to me is the greatest dividend of the inputs.
What motivates and encourages you during low times?
Sincerely, my purpose and assignment are great motivators on their own. For me, EVERYTHING whirls around that. It indirectly informs and influences my sense of decision, choices, relationships and even hobbies. To be more honest, my down moments inspire me the more. I get the freshest of thoughts at those moments. Reason being that those periods makes me to put more pressure on myself and more importantly on my creative energy. They make me more intense. I learnt to lean on the strength I have built over time. They remind me of the grander picture; of people beneath me…waiting for my new creation; of people around me who would yet be challenged by my initiative and probe if I ever have or face the everyday human challenges; and of people ahead of me who would yet be proud of their investment in me.
Most importantly, my connection with my Source and Maker keeps me going in the toughest of season. It makes the challenges seem weaker than they really are. It boost my belief, faith, passion and power. I get newer and redefined perspective of the problem from GOD. From His Word, I have learnt to put trials in perspective. One, blame no one for my trials. Two, the trial is only a phase which has in itself the capacity to expire with time. Three, the trials are working for me NOT against me. Four, the outcome of the trial cannot be compared to the present phase. Five, trials are common to all men. Six, I can never be faced with a trial beyond my capacity. GOD wouldn’t allow that. Seven, GOD remains ever faithful even in my trials so I must not join the band of those who abuse or speak unadvisedly to GOD during their trials but to look unto Him Whom is the Beginning, Sustainer and Perfecter of my faith. Eight, GOD is able to provide a channel of escape for me in every challenge no matter how tough it may seem.
What are your three favourite books and why?
1. The Purpose and Power of Authority by Late Dr. Myles Munroe. It’s a very deep book that I learnt so much from especially how to unleash one’s personal authority, calling and purpose. I love virtually all Munroe’s books – the depth shared always puts me on my toes and I always crave and pray for a depth beyond that measure and wisdom to communicate them in comprehendable formats.
2. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by Dr. John C. Maxwell. Perhaps the first leadership book I read in 2003/4 after I read his 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader and 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork (The first two books I bought and read). One striking thing about Daddy Maxwell’s (yes I call him Daddy…*smiles) books is how complex thoughts are distilled and communicated in simpler terms. I particularly see myself on the pages of Maxwell’s books and they were very instructive to me. There’s just something to do with the principles shared therein during and immediately after the read.
3. The Enterprising Nigeria by Pastor Dele Osunmakinde. It’s one of the few books I fell in love with at first sight. The packaging, weight, depth and height of the message was something that hit me left and right as I watched the night to squeeze the juice of the content. It’s a compendium on enterprise development especially how it relates to a Nigerian. I didn’t finish it at my first read though but I look forward to laying my hands on it again. It’s however on my favourite list.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us
Thank you too!
To connect with the author send an email to:email@example.com. You can also find him on IG, Facebook and Twitter as @femitiamiyu.