Interview of Bernard Kelvin Clive: Author and Speaker

Ebook publishing for newbiesI recently interviewed Ghanaian author and speaker Bernard Kelvin Clive. Bernard has published over 8 different books on and he is an authority in the fields of self-publishing and motivational speaking in Ghana and abroad. The interview was based on his book: Ebook Publishing for Newbies: How to Publish and Sell your Books with Little or No Money. The book is available on and having purchase and read a copy myself, I highly recommend it if you have ever considered writing and publishing a book or an ebook. It is easier than you think and Bernard makes it even easier by sharing his experience and giving a specific roadmap that will take you through the whole process from the original book idea to publishing and creating a platform of followers.

The interview was on phone and below is the transcript:

Lionnel: When people ask you what you do for a living what do you tell them?
Bernard: I listen to people, basically I inspire them. I encourage and teach people, I make the complex things simple for them. I teach people how to live life successfully.
So that is what I do, I am a speaker and author and I do IT consultancy. I consult for people, and I advise people on right partnerships in IT.

Lionnel: Very good. So Bernard is not only about books and speaking, he is also an IT consultant involved in a lot of other areas.
Bernard: Yes, and I also advise people on many other programs.

Lionnel: You wrote your first book in 2006, “Your Dreams will not Die”, is that correct?
Bernard: I did publish it in 2010.

Lionnel: So it was actually published and made available to the public in 2010.
Bernard: Yes, 2010.

Lionnel: What made you start writing, what was your drive?
Bernard: I had to share and inspire people. I was doing a lot of samples for different people, writing notes and a lot of text messages sending across to inspire them. Results are everything and I would see the results were more encouraging even to me as I encouraged others so that is when I had the courage to put that book together “Your Dreams will not Die”.

Lionnel: So the book “Your Dreams will not Die” was really the culmination of a long process?
Bernard: Yeah.

Lionnel: It didn’t happen overnight?
Bernard: No, it didn’t happen overnight and chapters of that book were written over the years. I will say that I kept on writing so eventually I decided to put it all together and then publish.

Lionnel: Moving on to your book “E-book Publishing for Newbie’s” what made you write that book, why do you want to share what you know about writing and publishing books?
Bernard: Having studied digital publishing and French publishing locally all these years I have noticed and I kept getting a lot of questions from people actually on publishing. Most people are looking for a publisher to give their money to publish for them and that is really one of the major hurdles to cross in the publishing industry.
I kept answering questions on how do I get my book published by myself, so the questions kept coming and I put all these together and I organized an event on self-publishing to teach people how to get their book published. After that I had to put everything together in a manner to teach people and answer their questions.

Lionnel: Do you have some stories of people who have read that particular book and have been successful at it, one or two stories?
Bernard: Yes, I know about two people who have published their books online through reading that book. The first time I organized my book to be published it was difficult to put it online because I had no experience. So when you hear some good feedback that is a good book.
Because even the material that people really need on how to write and just publish is how do I get it done. What I believe it is setting a good course and that is alright.

Lionnel: You just gave us a few of the questions that are answered in that book, would you please share one or two quick tips on how to get started? Derive them from the material in the book, what are some one or two tips you can give that people can get more of if they get the book?
Bernard: In the book, the first step I started dealing with was; how do I start writing?
People come to me asking me that question, I give an outline of how you can then write that question in one book and that question gets to be the title of the book, which is the context.
The key questions I ask in that book are: why do you want to write and why do you want to get published? And that answer need to be very careful especially in the publishing, you need to answer the why, then that gives you the reason to publish. Is it because people are publishing and you want to also, is it the money or is it for the need. So that question is hard to tackle and secondly the part that is easy to get.
The why behind your writing gives you the purpose and how to find your chapters and start to put down your points and now you move on to the other solution which is the book guideline. Here I give solutions on how can one finish the book, most of the time people stick to the first chapter, that is what happens in your head.
So these are key things that the book achieves. The other hard one especially in the publishing, most people look at making a killing out of publishing I am not saying that can’t be done but if you risk on the book, you get out the wrong book so you need to start with the question why, so that your driving force is not the killing but some kind of reader centered goals and I answer all those questions. If you want to make a killing on publishing there are certain things I feel you should put it out on the book also, like why you need the book.

Lionnel: Here is someone who bought the book, read the book and he doesn’t take any action, a week passes by, two weeks, three weeks and months, nothing happens.
What can you tell that person, that person who has read your book or any other book about how to write and publish, and nothing concrete is happening, what can you tell that person?
Bernard: The best thing is that; one if you have the best materials in this world and have the right resources and you don’t act, nothing happens. You have to do it, you have to go back and take action. So act, act, practice and see the results, results don’t lie.

Lionnel: Excellent! Results don’t lie, I like that. Getting close to the end of our interview, let me ask you this: what are the benefits of sharing your experiences and knowledge by writing a book, what do you gain out of it on a personal level?
Bernard: One, a sense of fulfillment, I am really satisfied with what I am doing so that gives me a sense of fulfillment. I have been looking at other aspects along that but peace, joy, which is this book, inspires me. I read your book and now I am publishing my book or this book helped me in understanding further.

Lionnel: Bernard, now your final words, what do you want people to take away from this?
Bernard: It is action that leads to transformation.

You can get a copy of the book Ebook Publishing for Newbies: How to Publish and Sell your Books with Little or No Money on Amazon.

Three leadership lessons

Yesterday (May 25th) was elections day at the All Nations Toastmasters Club and I am excited to have been unanimously chosen to continue serving as club president for six months, starting July 2013. Over the last 5 months, January to May 2013, here are a few of the leadership lessons I have learned by serving the club:

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The only real training for leadership is leadership. Anthony Jay

  • All are leaders who accept to rise to the call of leadership. In the age old debate about whether leaders are born or made, I side with the argument that leaders are made. Leadership is a learnable skill, just like almost every other human ability. I have seen and continue to see specific leadership attributes in every single club member. I rejoice when there is an opportunity at the club level for anyone else to rise up and own projects, lead initiatives. That is when leaders emerge.
  • There is no substitute for enthusiasm. As a leader, all eyes watching you will expect you to be upbeat and passionate about the cause you are leading for. I have always made it a point to be happy and display gusto and zeal at every club meeting. If you are to effectively lead, be an enthusiastic and energetic leader. Even if you are an introvert, you must learn how to openly express your enthusiasm. If you do not appear enthusiastic to the people you serve as a leader, it is likely they will not be motivated and happy to contribute to making the organization work.
  • Be willing to experiment and apologize in public when necessary. You will not always make the right decisions, but you have to make decisions, including the wrong ones. Being willing to experiment is critical for a leader. More than I care to admit my decisions did not turn out to yield the most desirable results, but I considered them experiments and learned from them. If appropriate, and many times it will be appropriate, publicly apologize for people you might have offended in public.

There you have it. Every single one of the points above can be elaborated on for a few hundred words. There is so much more that I have learned and I am still learning. My friend Burak from California University of Management and Sciences said to me during a conversation: “You learn by living.” That is so very true and it applies to every aspect of our lives. You learn leadership by leading, and I am extremely grateful to be in this position where I can learn leadership by leading. What are some of the lessons from your leadership experiences?

Who makes your choices?

Last week Friday, I met with one of my mentors and we had a long conversation for a few hours at his home. When I say conversation, it was more of him talking and me listening. I am always amazed at how much one can learn when he (or she) shuts up and listens. I love listening and during that listening session, my mentor shared with me the content of one presentation he had made to a group of young students in a classroom prior to our meeting.

The presentation was about the choices those young students were making now and the choices they would be making in the future. This applies to all of us who make choices daily. As I understood what he explained, there are three types of choices, the ones your parents and other people (teachers, educators, guardians, other family members) make for you during the early stages of your life, the choices you make for yourself as you become more aware and independent and last, the choices time makes for you.


Elaborating a little bit on each of the items above:

  • The choices your parents (and other people) make for you. Most of these choices will turn out to be best for us during that period of our lives when we do not know the difference between good and bad. Even when we start making the difference between good and bad, our personal choices will be based on our parents’ choices and experiences, not necessarily on what is best for us. Examples of those choices are the schools you go to, the people you interact with and the places you go to. A parent who takes his child to read books at the library after school is definitely making a better choice than a parent who turns on the TV for his child every every weekday to have time and rest from another day at a “disliked” job. This period will be from 0 to about 11 years old (teenage), but it varies per every individual and the way we have been raised.
  • The choices you make for yourself. This period is from the teenage years to the rest of our lives, and the more “good” we make, the longer the rest of our lives is. When we begin choosing for ourselves, we always choose with two simple factors in consideration: 1) The impact of the past choices other people have made for us. 2) The future we want to create for ourselves (consciously or not). For example, if your parents have always said no to you going out for parties with friends and you have seen those friends destroy their health or compromise their future with their unwise choices (sometimes made for them), you will likely choose not to go to parties as much as possible. If you have consciously decided what you want to have or be in your future, you will make choices that will be in alignment with the vision you have of yourself. It is very simple.
  • The choices time makes for you. My mentor gave me a good example for these types of choices. Imagine a lady who has made the choice to have a child but has not chosen someone to have that child with. If that lady goes pass the age limit of childbearing as per woman’s physiology, time will make for her the decision not to have a child.

William James said: “When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.” From the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we go to bed at night, we make choices that determine the course of our lives. Once we get through to the stage where we make choices for ourselves, it is imperative that we do not let time make some choices for us, especially with matters of critical importance like having children. Has time made some choices for you?


The Graduation Ceremony

Saturday May 18, 2013 was the graduation ceremony during which I was awarded a Master’s Degree in Computer Information System (MSCIS). That felt good. I am a knowledge and formal education junkie, as I began thinking about a second Master’s Degree (MBA) halfway through the MSCIS program. I think I got that from my father, he loves learning and has always encouraged us to go above and beyond what we think we can.

The three key moments of the ceremony were:

  • Listening to and learning from the guest speaker. The speech content was solid. Delivery was flawless and well achieve its purpose which was to inspire us to something greater after completing this important stage of our lives.
  • Getting up on the stage to receive my award. Being up there and receiving the award seem to be what all the process culminates to. When you are up there as a graduate, your sacrifices and efforts are acknowledged and awarded.
  • Interacting with my fellow graduates and congratulating them on their achievements. I have made good friends throughout the academic program and it one of the unique benefits of my university is that now I have connections and access to people from over 10 different countries in the world. That will come in handy sometime in the future, I am certain of that.

Lionnel Yamentou Graduation 2013

I was privileged, honored and blessed to have my adoptive parents at my graduation ceremony, Eugene and Lucy. I love them so much and even though they don’t have white wings and glow in the dark, they are two of the angels the heavens have appointed to look after me. They have very well taken care of me and continue to do so daily. God has mysterious ways of using people to work in our lives and I recognize His hand in a lot of my daily interraction with people and positive outcomes I have experienced since the very first day I decided to embark on completing this Master’s Degree program. To God be the glory!


What are your credentials?

Have you ever been in a situation where the impact of your message is diminished by your “lack” of credentials? Credentials in this context refers to titles such as: Phd., MD, Best Selling Author, etc… I have been speaking a lot more than last year since January this year. I have noticed that almost every time I give a speech to a group that experiences me for the first time, someone in the audience always asks me: “What are your credentials?”. That makes me happy because when someone asks for your credentials, there are only two possible reasons:

  • The good one: You did very well and the person wants one more way to remember and quote you in the future.
  • The not so good one: You used too much information from other people you did not quote appropriately and the person wants to know if you have never heard of plagiarism.

I personally believe in my case, it is the first reason. The best speakers are those who make a memorable impression on their audiences. Every time I get up to speak, my objective is to make a permanent impression on my listeners and be the catalyst for a positive change in at least one person’s life in the audience. If I achieve that, I really don’t mind having “no credentials”.

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We all have stories to tell. Our lives are stories worth telling because there is a message in your life story that can bring light or speak to someone else’s life. Your life experiences are the best credentials you will ever have. People don’t care about a Phd., as much as they care about the reason or story that lead you to pursue the Phd. People care more about the challenges you had to overcome in the process of pursuing the Phd, than they care about how much more money you make after the Phd.

A good number of the greatest figures of our century did not have any form of formal education, if any, very little. You don’t need credentials to share the lessons you learn from life with an audience that can benefit from your experiences. What are your thoughts on that?