When did you start writing poetry? I started writing poetry around 11. I also used to write love letters to myself and pretended they came from a boy. Ha!
Any advice for new writers? Read more than you write. Write from the heart, not for notoriety. Write what you're passionate about, and it will show in your work. Don't write for a group of people that you don't belong to. You cannot drown out their voices and exalt your own. The marginalized must speak for themselves.
How did you self-publish your poetry book? Createspace (now KDP) and e-book through Kindle Direct Publishing free of charge.
How did you market your book? Facebook, and Instagram ads. Book giveaways. I formed genuine friendships with other writers. Communicate with readers. An attractive book cover helps. Many people judge a book by its cover, so make sure you have one that stands out.
I'm afraid to publish my work. How do I get over this fear? Putting yourself out there can be scary, but the world needs your voice too. I had many doubts and was worried about how others would perceive me. I had to get over my fears to make my dreams come true.
What inspires your writing? I draw from my personal experiences as a woman of color, trauma, and mental illness survivor, and being a hopelessly hopeful romantic. Music also inspires me.
What is your writing process? Every writer's process is different. Mine is erratic, and I don't have a writing schedule. I let the words come when they're ready. Sometimes they flow freely. Sometimes they don't. I write down specific words and phrases and deconstruct them later. Listen to music. Reflect on past experiences. I write to my former, present, and future self.
Do you have a literary agent? Nope.
Did Andrews McMeel reach out to you to republish your book? No, I submitted a book proposal to them. I got a response within 90 days, and the rest is history!
How do you write a book proposal? There are plenty of templates available online if you're unsure of how to write one. Andrews McMeel gives you a guideline to follow. Do not stray from it. Editors are quite busy so, keep it short but informative.
Is it better to pitch my book to a traditional publisher or self-publish it? Either way is fine because I've found success using both avenues. Others have too. Don't see self-publishing as limiting yourself. You never know where it could take you.
Can you write me a book blurb or critique my work/book proposal? Due to overwhelming requests, I do not read unsolicited work. Thank you for understanding.
Can you put me in touch with your publisher? I have no influence over publishing decisions. Guidelines are set in place to give everyone a fair chance. Please seek out a literary agent if you need additional help.
Who are your favorite poets? Some of my favorites are Maya Angelou, Saul Williams, Lucille Clifton, Ocean Vuong, Nayyirah Waheed, and Warsan Shire.