Meet RoMay, click on picture!
Today I have the pleasure of interviewing publisher of STEEL magazine and owner of ZAE Publishing. RoMay is a man on a mission. I don’t think there is anything he can’t do! He has a fully revised version of his awesome book out (his book about his life story inspired a stage play! Yes really!), he produces a radio show, TV show, talks to troubled youths in speaking engagements and publishes his popular online magazine. Phew! But what is most impressive about RoMay is despite his personal success and passion, he is a humble and gracious man. He is incredibly supportive to all emerging writers and artists. So let’s get to it, I will hand you over to RoMay.
Describe yourself in five words? I’m very driven, ambitious, a bit creative, determined and somewhat enigmatic, I’ve been told.
What fact about yourself would really surprise people?
I guess it would be surprising to the people who know me to find out that I have a silly side to me. I’m always depicted as being 2 dimensional in respects to being so private, so serious and hell-bent on work and the projects that I work on. But the fact of the matter is that I’m having a party inside as I’m working on things, be it writing
, building websites, editing film or whatever, because that’s what I love to do.
What scares you the most? I’m deathly afraid of doing so much and dying before it’s all been recognized by the world.
Have you always enjoyed writing? Oh yes. I’ve loved the idea of creating stories and painting pictures with words for a long time. From essays to book reports in school to personal letters. It wasn’t until later that I understood the true power of words. I was incarcerated for almost 10 years and writing letters were my primary source of communication, so I figured that every letter had better be good….or at least, entertaining enough for a response….lol.
What writing are you most proud of?
I would have to say that I’m most proud of my auto biography, Myths, memoirs & Confessions of an Ex-Felon
] for many reasons. Namely, because it’s about me and I wrote it. I always feel strongly about a person telling their own story. I also published the book myself, so that’s another accomplishment in itself. I felt like I was the mvp when I published that book in 2009…and so I went for the title again in 2013 when I republished it, a revised edition, complete with an added chapter.
Click on book!
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I grew up in a nice sized, middle-income, racial mixed community called Freeport on L.I., New York
with my 3 sisters and 1 brother. I’m the youngest. I later moved to another suburb in New Jersey
that resembled what Freeport once was. I still live there now.
How did you develop your writing? I actually developed my writing in a very dark place, which is probably why I’m most creative under similar circumstances. I was incarcerated for close to 10 years, from the age of 22 until 32 years old. I took a bad turn as an adolescent and throughout my teenage years, until I was sent to prison, I sold drugs, carried guns and anything else that you could dream of. So while away, my mind told me that in order for me to not go down this path again, then I had better do the opposite, or something different at the very least. Since I was very guarded and covert about my life and doings, I wouldn’t talk much about anything of great substance. Also, once I was incarcerated with the phone usage and seeing people at my own will was limited, I needed another means. I reached back to what I loved to do and coupled it with what I needed to do and the writer was born.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
Getting published has its ways about it in the sense that publishers are always on the hunt for the author that’s already done the legwork to be a big enough author him or herself. So a new author like myself wasn’t what most major publishing houses were looking for. It’ll probably be a lot different now that I’ve put so much work into my first title with a stage play and a documentary attached to it. The marketing, if done on your own is hard work and time-consuming, but it turns out to be fun and priceless due to the connections that you foster along the way. Now the writing is a whole other animal to tackle. Not because of the content in my case, but because of the time. I’m attached to so many projects that I need to have a schedule that I’m made to stick to so that I get things done when I say that I will. Like STEEL Magazine [www,SteelMagOnline.com
], an online lifestyles publication that I founded some 2 years ago, is an everyday all day job in itself. Then there’s Raw STEEL Radio, an Internet radio
show that I produce and host twice a week. I do a bit of film production and editing too. And now I’m dabbling in photography. So I would say that I take my writing for granted. I guess that we do that with the things that we love most, huh?
Click on banner!
What marketing works for you?
For starters, I love online marketing. Joining groups that are supportive of your efforts while also being active in those groups goes a long way. Like the Support A Writer group that you, Alana
, started. Everyone is from different places while we all have something in common-writing and aiming to get our works to the widest public audience. Also, with online marketing, there’s so many free outlets available. There’s no real excuses for anyone not to have an audience of some sort-big or small.
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick? Well, let me see…To be honest, for me, I’m not a big proponent of schooling in the typical sense of education. I mean, for most people, college is a necessary tool to understand and co-exist within a system. I believe that it’s the education of experience that gives us the lessons that’s needed to be in charge of where we go professionally and as leaders. Now I’m not trying to destroy the idea of schooling. I just believe that there are paths that we all must take in accordance to our goals in life. With that said, I’ve attended colleges, but all that I know and value has come from when I’ve had a hands on approach to.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax? If the writing is the work, then providing and creating visuals for the writing is what relaxes me. That and watching good movies with good wine.
How do you work through self-doubts and fear? I’ve been through a rough time in my life where self-doubt and fear was the order of everyday, so I feel that I’ve lived there long enough for it not to be an issue anymore. I think that I work better with fear on my heels now. It’s just a different kind of fear where I don’t like to be confronted with the possibility of not finishing a project that I promised to the public.
How much sleep do you need to be your best? I’m sort of used to about 4 hours of rest a night. There’s been times when I’ve went without sleep for days, but that’s usually when I’m anxious about a project that I’m nearing completion of.
Where do you get support from? Do you have many friends in the industry?
I’ve crossed paths with people in a lot of industries-music, TV, movies, magazine publishing, etc., but strangely enough, I don’t have any FRIENDS in the industry of publishing, but with the group, Support A Writer
, I have made some acquaintances with fellow authors that I think are valuable, as well as, fun. It’s great to connect with others that share a hunger and interest.
Thanks RoMay! It was fantastic to read all about you and discover what makes you tick! I am sure you will be reaching for the stars, you have achieved so much already. Your story is an inspiration to many people. You have transformed your life. Keep up the good work! I’m so excited to be working with you on STEEL. I think we can achieve great things!