Ross: When did you first get the idea to write a book?
Mike: I 1st got the idea to write a book back in 2007. I went to a poetry group meeting where we read poetry out loud, and the folks there that night were in love with my writing, so I started making holiday cards and giving them away. Eventually, in 2010, I had written enough material to release my 1st book titled (CHAMBERS OF MY HEART POETICAL SCRIPTURES VOL.1 )
Ross: What were the biggest challenges with completing your book?
Mike: The biggest challenges for me were the funding and the know-how, where you have all this wonderful work you want to share and contribute to the world because you can’t take it with you, but you don’t have the marketing funds or even the resources to market your book. I sold many books hand-to-hand and online, but that burns you out when you have to pay bills and provide.
Ross: If you could go back and change something about the beginning of your literary career, what would it be?
Mike: I wouldn’t change anything. The poems I shared with the world have helped others I still keep in touch with. I view the world with so much more to do. Your 9 to 5 isn't the end all be all. Whether you have read my poems or just purchased a book, one thing for sure people know that I am brave and confident just to be able to work so hard to take my 9 to 5 money and take a chance on myself.
Ross: How has releasing a book impacted your career?
Mike: Well, as a nurse, having released two poetry books makes me unique. People look at me differently. Sometimes it's with envy. At times, folks think I have arrived, but I am not where I want to be yet. I am still a starving artist. These books have also impacted me in a way where it taught me to be patient and that every L is not a loss. It is a learning opportunity to do something different.
Ross: That’s a deep takeaway. What is an example of how you turned a loss into a win?
Mike: Most of my learnings are that I used to place others before myself. Example: I used to manage some very talented artists from Brooklyn, and I enjoy managing, but it is a lot to deal with, especially when the rap artists are into street activity. I have learned that I was putting my dreams on hold to help market and push my artist. I started to lose sight of what I wanted to offer the world. Eventually, we went our separate ways. We are all still cool, but I do what I have to do now for me, myself, and I because when you are down for the cause of others, you become engulfed in their whole lifestyle. Now when you make the transition to do something for yourself, there is no one to help you push you. No one there is as engulfed in your brand as engulfed as you were in theirs. It's just you alone. So, the win is that I now truly dedicate every breath of life to my craft and brand.
Ross: What advice would you give to someone trying to publish their first book?
Mike: I would tell that person to do the research because there are a lot of companies out there that don’t even know your demographic. I would tell that person to know their go-to audience and build from there. I know at least 60 folks will be ready to purchase my 3rd book when I release it. When I travel, I network from the time I get in the airport. The whole flight staff gets books. When I travel, I learn about people's cultures so I can sell them books. I would tell a person to search for multiple independent publishers to release their book. Also, try to get sponsors and a team because you will burn yourself out juggling a day job and trying to market your book. It worked for me because I see everyone as a possible supporter. The worse thing they can do is say no, I don't want to purchase your book today.
Ross: Which books inspired you to become an author?
Mike: 48 Laws of Power is like my daily Bible, so that book. Plus, The Rose That Grew from Concrete by Tupac.
Ross: What do you have planned next for your literary career?
Mike: My 3rd book is titled “Letters to Hip-Hop.” I'm going to keep working until something happens. I had one, now two, and number 3 coming.
Ross: What inspired the creation of your third book?
Mike: The 3rd book is not done yet, but “Letters To Hip-Hop” is the love and hate battle I have with hip-hop that forces folks to think that they have to create this super gangsta image that may not even be them just to be accepted in the world of rap or the hip-hop lifestyle. Why does every person who is trying to rap have to meet this thug criteria? You either have to had sold drugs, killed, shot a gun, gang bang, almost lose your life, or go to jail just to earn a place in the rap game, and this is the only genre this is like that.
Ross: What are the main takeaways you want readers to have from your book?
Mike: My 2nd book, titled “Faces of Instagram What Filter Are You?” I just want folks to know the difference between Instagram, social media, and the real world. Too often, these worlds tend to cross, and the outcomes are also bad. I write from a poetical stance in this 2nd book.