Exclusive Interview: Samba Lékouye, Author of “Everythink: Wisdom 4 Freedom”

Hi Samba, it’s great to catch up with you! A few years ago, you published your first book Everythink and you’ve recently created a free app with inspirational quotes and thought-provoking philosophy. We’d love you to tell our readers more about it…

Firstly, what is your book about?

Everythink is a philosophical essay that visits all the aspects of life, looking for the wisdom that life has to give in order to find true freedom. It’s about provoking questions rather than feeding answers. It’s meant to make people think—for themselves, by themselves. It’s not a lesson. It is about questioning everything.

Interesting, and what made you want to write a book?

I always loved to question life to find my own answers and was often seen by others as a non-conformist, but I never saw myself as an author because I was more interested in other forms of expression such as visual arts, music, and cinema. So, I didn’t start out with the idea to write a book, but when I looked at the different pieces of ideas I had written down separately for years, it looked like the draft of a book, so I decided to organise and edit all those thoughts and it became a book. 

And once you’d decided, how long did it take you to publish the book? 

I would say that it took my entire life to write the book, as it’s the result of all the thoughts, observations, and experiences I had since I was born. But when I realised I had the material to make it a full book, it took me more than two years to complete it. I took my time. As I worked independently, I had no deadline to finish it and felt free to play with ideas, let the inspiration come to me, and change things based on how I felt during the process.

What would you say was your biggest challenge in that process?

The biggest challenge in the writing process was knowing when to stop adding things, as I always wanted to make some concepts more precise. I still feel like that now, even though the book is published. You helped me a lot with that aspect during the copy-editing process, as your feedbacks and edits challenged me to be more precise and sharp with my thoughts. In the publishing process, the biggest challenge was making the book known to the public, and I’m still working on the marketing and the visibility of the book.

And what was your happiest moment?

My happiest moments were actually the moments when I wasn’t actively working on the book! Those were the moments when I lived life and new ideas and concepts found me. It was the pure creative aspect of the work that made me happy, as it felt like playing.

Actually writing and publishing the book felt more like work, as there was always another step when I achieved something. Starting to write feels good, but you have the end in mind. Finishing the book feels good, but it’s only the start of the publishing aspect. 

That’s so true. I’ve met writers who thought that writing the book was the hardest part of the process, then were unpleasantly surprised how much work was needed for editing and publishing. With that in mind, what skill do you feel is most important in the process? 

I think creativity is the most important skill for any artistic aspiration. Whether it’s about the content, the style, the concept, or the subject, creativity is vital if you want to stand out among other writers or artists. Even for the publishing aspect, creativity will help you find a way to be seen—despite the fact that as an independent author self-publishing, you might have limited resources to compete against major publishing houses.

Is that where the idea for the app came from then, as it’s quite a unique idea to have an accompanying app with a book?

The book was written in a way that it can be read by randomly opening a page and just reading a line. The goal was to get people to reflect on their own situation.

That’s also what the app is about. It’s another way to access the ideas from the book anywhere, anytime. I also wanted a way for people to access the book for free in an entertaining and intuitive way, and an app was the perfect format for that.

Finally, if you had one piece of advice for aspiring authors, what would it be?

I don’t have a magical recipe for aspiring authors as I don’t consider myself an author, especially not a confirmed one, but more like an artist, and I am still learning, still starting. But one thing I consider important, no matter the artistic field, is to feel something you really have to express. It has to be a need to express yourself, not just a way to make noise to be heard by others. Authenticity is always interesting, and it will help you when things are difficult. You will still face the difficulty but you won’t quit because you’ll know why you started. Show the world who you really are. Be authentic.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Samba! It was great working with you. You honestly have one of the most unusual books I’ve ever read (never mind worked on!) and I wish you all the success with it.