In a conversation about his debut book “A Lesson Learned,” eagerness and excitement became the central emotions that escaped from Jeevan Brown’s mouth.
Brown, a 2008 Johnson C. Smith University alumnus, came up with the idea to interview sixteen friends and acquaintances about their time and experience at their respective universities. Each individual story is not laced with stories about ‘turn up ‘ or the nights of chaos and fun that society so commonly associates with college. Rather, all sixteen accounts in the book, aim to show the reader different trials and tribulations that each character faced and what they learned from the experience. The book, dealing with issues such a racism, rape, death, financial woes and more; it seeks to be a relatable read for others and a way to encourage them.
Initially wanting to write an account of his own college experience, and all of the craziness that it entailed, Jeevan Brown changed his mind. “As I grew and I matured, I started reading more and getting into church, and I realized that your purpose is to serve.” With his realization came the birth of “A Lesson Learned.” The book acts as means to give a message to its readers, that no matter what you’re going through, it is possible to get through it, and there is always something to be learned from it.
No stranger to writing, Brown states, “I’ve always been creative.” Getting his start in college, Jeevan held down 4 internships writing for different news sources and working with record companies, which landed him a position and O-Zone magazine after graduation. Interviewing the likes of Twista, Roscoe Dash, Rasheeda, and many others; Jeevan made himself well known in the industry. He approaches his book very similar to how he wrote his articles, he used the interview process but notes that there were modifications he had to make.
He says, “I interviewed my friends but the difference was I had to put it in a story format, I had to make it visual and put more empathetic words.”
After a year and a half of working on his book, Jeevan is days away from dropping his work. Taking the self-publishing route, he put the book together completely by himself. Jeevan handled the research, writing process, formatting, and promotional outline for his book.Brown’s only aid in the entire process was Youtube. He argues, “I’m a do it yourself kind of person.”
“I found that the publishing industry is similar to the music industry right now where everyone is going the independent route. “Building up the excitement for the non-fiction piece, Brown has been travelling to different schools to get people on campus excited about it. Fully aware that self-publishing creates more work for himself he doesn’t mind at all actually preferring to put a personal feel to how he markets and sells his book. “It may be a harder process for the writer but it’s better for them in the end.”
Looking back on his time at Johnson C. Smith, Jeevan states, “I loved my HBCU experience!” Jeevan says that he had teachers who would call him and make him get out of bed to come to study sessions. “I doubt if I would’ve went to a bigger school, that they would have done that for me.”
Jeevan hopes that he can get “A Lesson Learned” into the school systems, both high school and college for required reading. Overall, he states “I think they’ll love it and pass it onto others for generations to come.”
“People tell me don’t overwork myself, but I don’t feel like I am because I feel happy when I’m doing it, I feel like I’m really helping people and it’s something that I should be doing.” A Lesson Learned is currently available for pre- order.
Catch the trailers below