Friday, August 7, 2015

Interview with a True Hustler

They say 85 percent of success is hustle and the rest is talent.

Michael Evans has them both. (Not the Michael Evans from the TV show Good Times...the REAL Mike Evans...ha ha!)

You might come across the grind-driven New Yorker anywhere on the sidewalks of the five boroughs hawking his books to potential readers. You never know when you'll run into Mike and his array of books. Whether standing with books in his hands on Jamaica Avenue in Queens or charming potentials on the world famous 125th street in Harlem, Mike consistently sets up shop rain or shine with a table full of books. If the independent grind is an art, he's Picasso; painting pictures with words to breathe life from pen to paper.

Evans is the author of the popular book series, Son of a Snitch. The Snitch series has gained him a wide audience in the Tri-State with an ever expanding readership in the country. Now that you know of his books, meet the man sometimes referred to as Midtown Mike, a colloquialism that pays homage to the Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan neighborhood where he was raised.

Nah'Sun - How many times did you want to leave the book industry because of shady dealings, or if you thought the industry was changing for the worse? If so, why?

Mike - Never (did I think about quitting), because I grew up on the streets of midtown Manhattan with pimps, prostitutes and con men who used devious tactics to accomplish what they wanted. This chaotic, larceny-hearted atmosphere prepared me for all the shady business dealings in the book publishing industry. Any industry that deals with lots of money will have people trying to manipulate you out of it.

Nah'Sun - How can anyone fix the book industry if it needs fixing?

Mike - The best way to fix it is to offer book readers better product, and stop writing cookie cutter storylines that are far from being original. Authors also have to monetarily put a higher value on their creative endeavors. If quality product is offered, readers will pay a fair price. 13 years ago when I first entered the book industry, readers paid 15 to 10 dollars for my books when I did book signings. Then book publishers started offering five dollar paperback books and one dollar E-books. Some of these books were not properly written and had multiple grammatical mistakes. This made a lot of the book buying public stop purchasing books. I feel in order to make it in the book industry, a person must find cheaper ways to promote using social media, multiple book signings, and by thinking outside the box. You can have the best product, but if nobody knows about it, you have nada.

Nah'Sun - Tell my readers the time when Barnes and Noble had approached you about distributing your first book

Mike - One time, I was doing the Harlem Book Fair - book signing, and these
 two guys watched me sell a whole lot of books, and (they) then approached me. They were book buyers from Barnes & Noble (B&N), and they gave me a card to start doing business with them. B&N purchased 1000 (of my) books, and through the years we continued having productive business dealings. 

Nah'Sun - What is the best way to connect with a potential buyer?

Mike - Book signings, social media promoting through radio interviews, television, magazines and events where lots of people gather. Also word of mouth helps a lot.

Nah'Sun - Explain the do's and don'ts of selling books on the street or @ a book fair?

Mike - An author during book signings must definitely know how to get his point across real quick. The attention span of any potential customer is not long. Be very respectful and do not look down on anyone who comes to your table during book signings. Multiple times I have encountered with people who looked like they are broke, but winded up purchasing all four of my books. If you are trying to sell somebody something, you cannot be shy and scared to talk about your products. I once did a book signing at Temple University with six bestselling authors. As they sat down acting like ego driven literary geniuses, I stood up and went into yap/yap mode talking about my books to all potential customers walking by in the crowded event. I began selling books in frenzy while these other authors could not sell anything. One-by-one they (the other authors) got up and left. I winded up selling 218 books. To do well in any business, you have to know how to sell your product; oil to an Arab, raid to a roach…ha ha!

Nah'Sun - Tell me the wildest thing you saw while selling books

Mike - While doing book signings, I have encountered all types of situations because of dealing with different people and personalities. Some will make you laugh, curse you out, offer constructive criticisms, offer crazy philosophies and also provide you with helpful information. I have people come up, not knowing I wrote the books being sold and tell me they wrote the book or some of their cousins wrote it. But I hate when people sarcastically say, "I can't read." I always tell them, "I will pray for you!" The wildest thing I saw while doing a book signing was when a guy bumped into another guy. They began to argue and the guy turned his back to walk away; unbeknownst to him, a gun was being pulled out. He would have winded up dead if not for the woman making the other guy put his gun away.

Nah'Sun - What motivates you to grind and not give up?

Mike - A fear of being broke. A Wise man once said, "Although you might be rich, still grind like a poor man." Through rain, sleet or snow, I grind hard. Never let the weatherman predict your money.

Nah'Sun - What would you say to someone who wants to throw in the towel and quit?

Mike - Giving up should never be an option because life cost money. Even if things don't seem to work out for you, it is always a learning experience. Only go-getters make it in this crazy world.

Nah'Sun - What do you say to someone who has a shy personality, but wants to hit the bricks and hawk their books?

Mike - The squeaky wheel gets oil. It’s hard for shy people to make it in business because you have to engage potential customers. If you are not confident and somewhat outgoing, you will lose their interest. I am not saying you have to jump up and down, do back flips, and be some entertainer, but be able to get your point across in a good manner.

I can be reached at:


Click here for Michael Evans Kindle page on Amazon

Click here for Michael Evans Nook page on Barnes and Noble