At eighteen, Miami native Michael Beckford published his first book, Speak Up! Poetry. Now, seven years later, the young author is working on his fifth book and managing his Christian-literature publishing firm, Speak Publishing.
The 25-year-old has released three other books since Speak Up! Poetry – I Am The Secret, Shaniqua is White! and Beautifully Ugly People!. In 2008, he started Speak Publishing to release quality Christian and inspirational books to homes in the country and around the world.
“I really try and touch on issues that a lot of people don’t necessarily want to talk about, especially in our churches or organizations, but issues that are really going on in real society,” said Beckford, a Florida A&M student.
Beckford describes his first book as touching the heart of the African-American community. Speak Up! Poetry was released while Beckford was still as a student at Miami Killian High School in South Miami-Dade County in 2004. That year, he was featured in the Miami Times.
A self-described Christian fiction writer and renaissance man, Beckford says he is willing to push boundaries and create something different.
“If I were to piece together an accomplishment it would have to be the reaction that I get from someone that has read my work,” Beckford told The FAMUAN.
He continued: “I met a young lady, who was going through some issues with her husband. She read one of my books, Beautiful Ugly People, and came to me almost just in tears about how the book affected her life. We like to measure our accomplishments mostly with numbers, degrees and certificates, but in all honest I like to measure my accomplishments, by how my people I am able to help, and how many lives of people I am able to change.”
Beckford credits his mother, award-winning English teacher Denise Beckford, for his creative-writing skills. She started him off writing in a journal every day from age nine. She also signed him up for oratorical, a writing contest, and is responsible for much of his writing success.
“As an English teacher I love his creativity and ability to really bring out the message of a specific character,” said Denise Beckford, who has worked as an English teacher in the Miami Dade County school system for about 21 years.
The young author is focusing on releasing a best-selling book. “You have to have the sales to reach the masses, so people can actually see and understand you as an artist and what you are trying to convey to them,” Beckford said.
His next novel, Dying to Be Straight, is scheduled for release on September 24.
“It is a book that speaks about issues of abuse and homosexuality,” said Beckford. “I have talked with a few people that have told me that they have been molested as a kid, and as black males and in the black community we don’t talk about those controversial issues.”
Beckford admits that being an author is not a glamorous task and says that any future author should know his/her readers and stay committed to the work of writing. “As an author, a writer should understand their audience, who you are targeting and be motivated for the people that say, I don’t really like you book and those who say they love your book,” he said.
Beckford is working on an event for the Tallahassee community for his releasing of his upcoming book, Dying to Be Straight.
Visit Michael Beckford’s official website for more information about him.
Visit Speak Publishing’s official website for more information about the company.