Ayo Akerele is currently based in Canada, and does research in an aspect of Human Resource Management. He is also the author of several other bestselling Christian literatures, including “Driven By Love.“
The team at Okadabooks caught up with him and below is the interview that followed:
Okadabooks: Good afternoon Ayo, please can we know you some more?
Ayo Akerele: I am David Ayo Akerele by name. I am an author, a public figure, a consultant and above all, a man of God. I am Nigerian, but I live in Canada where I lead a thriving church and a of other ministry outreaches around the world, all to the glory of God.
Okadabooks: Nice! So when did you notice you were interested in writing?
Ayo Akerele: That was many years ago. I would normally be the first to finish my exams even right from my primary school. I loved writing letters to friends abroad. I was very fast and accurate as far back as I was age 7 and 8.
Okadabooks: Who are those author that inspired you?
Ayo Akerele: So many of them. Late Dr Myles Munroe, Dr John MacArthur, Kenneth E Hagin, Tony Evans, Dr David Jeremiah, Professor Jeffrey Pffeifer, and scores of others across the globe.
Okadabooks: What is the title of the first book you wrote?
Ayo Akerele: My first book is titled, “Doing the Works of Christ
Okadabooks: What kind of books do you write?
Ayo Akerele: I write books that speak to the need of the church. I write books that will help Christians become mature and disciplined. I write books that point people to truth. I also wrote books on a wide variety of subjects such as leadership. I also write books on National transformation, value system, reorientation.
Okadabooks: What inspired you to choose motivational and Christian related books over others?
Ayo Akerele: Well, I am a Pastor. I see the dearth of value in the African Society. You cannot change people from outside of they haven’t been changed from the inside. The value of Christ trounce every other secular value because they are grounded in Love. I therefore see my books as instruments of internal transformation and the foundation on which any other knowledge must be built.
Okadabooks: Will you ever consider writing a fiction work that also reflects the teachings in your present books?
Ayo Akerele: Yes of course. I am presently doing a leadership book with a fictional flare. It encapsulates the values of Christ, but in a non-religious manner. It’s an amazing work that will be released soon.
Okadabooks: Awesome! So when you say, will be released soon, how soon are we looking at?
Ayo Akerele: It will be released very close to NIGERIA’S presidential election and will serve as a catalyst for transforming people’s minds on the choice of leaders to vote for. I am looking at the next 3 months.
Okadabooks: So how has your author journey been? What are the obstacles you come across?
Ayo Akerele: It’s been filled with UPS and downs. Basically, the major area of challenge is finance. Vision drives finance. I’ve got a global vision to print and publish millions of books. And in different languages. This costs so much money. Many of my books are in Cameroon, Ghana, parts if Europe, the US and Canada. Some of these countries don’t use English as their official languages. We had to translate to French in some cases. We also want to translate to Russian, Spanish etc. These cost a lot of money.
Okadabooks: The younger generation is attracted to books about sex, romance, adventure etc. Do you think they will read your kind of book?
Ayo Akerele: I am doing everything possible to attract the younger generation. But we don’t place passion above principles. I learnt that from a Chinese Kung-fu expert. It’s what you believe that you will behave and it’s what you behave that you will become. My books will help young people to know God and build a successful life that will be free of regret and pain. I am releasing another book later in the year on how to discover your goals and life’s purpose and fulfil them. These are more important values of life than sex and movies etc. These are the foundation for very successful journeys on earth.
Okadabooks: So finance has been your major challenge then. But how about your readers? How has the response been?
Ayo Akerele: I’ve had fantastic responses. All over the world, I receive emails and messages from so many people in countries I haven’t even visited. My books are life transforming. From South Africa to Zambia to Scotland to America to India, my books have helped and impacted several people.
Okadabooks: What is your definition of a good book?
Ayo Akerele: It must leave you informed with positive values and those values must help you to become a better version of yourself after reading the book.
Okadabooks: Ayo, thanks for your responses so far. Please let’s discuss marketing. What marketing strategies has worked for you?
Ayo Akerele: I will answer these questions from two perspectives. First, Africans don’t read books. Social media have further worsened this menace. This has made it very difficult for African writers of different genre to struggle with the marketing of their works. I have therefore employed “book launches” and “book reviews” as primary strategies and these have worked for me. My last book was launched in England sometimes around January 2017. We are going to the US in August for another launch. So what we do is to host friends and dignitaries to a dinner or a lunch and market the books via that medium. I have also used online platforms to drive sales. I partnered with a US marketing company sometimes in 2015 for one of my books. I will therefore say that things have improved, but more work still needs to be done.
I have published through some international publishing companies. They’ve put my books on Amazon, Kindle etc. But these did not drive sales. My best strategy has been via a book launch. Invite friends and family members to dinner or lunch and sell the books to them after a delicious meal. It has worked several times.
Okadabooks: Ayo, cool stuff. But, I do disagree that social media has worsened our reading culture. Well, maybe for hard copy books. Personally, I know a lot of people read online these days. I can’t help but ask though, why you think social media has worsened our reading culture.
Ayo Akerele: Many young people including adults, spend a vast majority of time on social media. People are more attuned to electronic platforms nowadays. The reading culture has been terribly ruined.
Okadabooks: This may be the one thing we wouldn’t agree on. But then, everyone is free to his/her own opinion.
Ayo Akerele: Okadabooks, ?. I understand. But I have done a lot of research about this. Don’t forget that I am also a trained researcher. Social media have their advantages and value, but the average African reading culture in particular has been negatively influenced. Of course, so many people still read.
Okadabooks: Well, we have platforms like Jumia and Konga. Following your line of thought is like saying, nobody goes to the market again because they can order from those platforms.
People are adjusting to reading online. They get books faster and read wherever they are.
Ayo Akerele: Yes you are right. But the focus is on Hard copy books, which many people are now struggling to retain. Even at that, if I have to bring on board my research findings, the proportion of people reading important and valuable materials online is very low on a continent by continent basis. But in general, social media have brought in a lot of improvements.
Further, we have proven it scientifically that reading online exposes readers to higher health risks than reading hard copy books. These are proven scientific findings. However, I still explore both platforms to capture as many potential readers as possible. I personally don’t like reading via screens. Maybe that’s my style. I will ultimately encourage everyone to retain their best approaches. The most important thing is to read if we must lead!
Okadabooks: Ayo, I do see your point with hard copy books. And I do agree with that.
Okadabooks: So, how many books have you written?
Ayo Akerele: Officially, about 8 books have been published, but with thousands of unpublished articles which were recently ranked equivalent to more than 500 books if they were to be published.
Okadabooks: Wow! That’s seriously a lot. So will you publish the articles?
Ayo Akerele: Yes some of them will still be published. My passion is to help the younger generation become successful in every sphere of influence. But for anybody that writes books, it’s a known fact that it’s not an easy job. If you are not naturally gifted in writing, you will struggle.
Okadabooks: I know you’re new to Okadabooks, but how will you rate your experience so far?
Ayo Akerele: I am happy with your approach to customer service. I also love the online publishing process. It’s so seamless and user-friendly. But sales have been very poor at my end.
Okadabooks: We are glad you are satisfied with the publishing process and customer support services. Perhaps we should do more as a team to boost book sales. Your feedback will definitely be mentioned to the team.
Ayo Akerele: exactly. Maybe you can establish a segment based marketing approach. I won’t tell you more about this. It’s part of my marketing consulting skills which you must pay for.
Okadabooks: We should discuss this later. I’m definitely interested.
Okadabooks: Please, one more question before we wrap up. If you were to choose between Jollof and ogbonor, which would you rather give up for a year?
Ayo Akerele: ??. I love both of these delicacies. But I can give up the latter and retain the former. I can’t do without Jollof Rice. My wife is an expert at that. ?
Okadabooks: Awch! I was hoping we would sit to a plate of pounded yam and ogbonor. Now that wouldn’t be possible. ?
Ayo Akerele: ?.
Okadabooks: We have come to the end of our chat. Ayo Akerele, thank you so so much for your time. ??? I enjoyed this chat. And it so happens to be the best I’ve had in a while. I do look forward to doing this with you again.
Ayo Akerele: I am glad to have been here today. I encourage everyone to buy my latest book. Love is the greatest instrument of change in any society. Nothing else is more important. Love kills greed at source and eliminates EGO-CENTRICM from the roots. This is what we need in our nation and societies at this critical time in history. Thank you so much and God bless you so much!
Thanks for reading this interview. If you have more questions, please drop them in the comments section.