Michael has twenty-five years’ experience in the publishing industry. Since going solo in 2014, his clients have been featured regularly in top-rated national media, including seven of his projects on the cover of the New York Times Book Review (Sarah M. Broom’s The Yellow House, Namwali Serpell’s The Old Drift, Luis Alberto Urrea’s The House of Broken Angels, Tom Perrotta’s Mrs. Fletcher, Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Book of Joan, Jordy Rosenberg’s Confessions of the Fox, and Belle Boggs’s The Art of Waiting). New York Times bestsellers he’s worked on include Natasha Trethewey‘s Memorial Drive (included in Obama’s favorite books of 2020 list), Sarah M. Broom‘s The Yellow House, Janice P. Nimura‘s The Doctors Blackwell, Leslie Jamison’s The Recovering and The Empathy Exams, Tom Perrotta‘s Mrs. Fletcher, Mary-Louise Parker‘s Dear Mr. You, Adam Grant‘s #1 bestseller Originals, Tim Johnston‘s Descent, and Vikram Chandra‘s Geek Sublime (see below for more).
In addition to Pulitzer Prize winner and two-term Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey and Sarah M. Broom—whose The Yellow House won the National Book Award for Nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award and was included in Obama’s favorite books of 2019 list—his recent and current clients include: Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar, whose Homeland Elegies was a New York Times, Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Slate, TIME, and Publishers Weekly Top 10 pick and was on Obama’s favorite books of 2020 list; MacArthur Fellow and National Book Critics Circle Award winner Maggie Nelson; Namwali Serpell, winner of the Windham-Campbell Prize, Caine Prize for African Writing, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and Arthur C. Clarke Award; New Yorker poetry editor and National Museum of African American History and Culture director Kevin Young; New York Times bestseller and PEN Award finalist Leslie Jamison; Pulitzer Prize finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, and American Academy of Arts & Letters member Luis Alberto Urrea; The Story Prize winner and twice-nominated National Book Award author Elizabeth McCracken; Edgar Award winner Megan Abbott; Lambda Literary Award winner and Aspen Words Literary Prize finalist Nicole Dennis-Benn; National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award winner Mark Doty; National Book Critics Circle Award winner and National Book Award and $75,000 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award finalist Ada Limón; and The Whiting Foundation, which distributes the $50,000 Whiting Awards to ten emerging literary writers and the $40,000 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grants to six-to-eight nonfiction writers annually.
Michael was the longtime Publicity Director at Algonquin Books, where he executed the publicity campaigns for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s debut novel, Purple Hibiscus; Pulitzer Prize finalist Laila Lalami‘s first two novels, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits and Secret Son; and numerous New York Times bestsellers, including Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Robert Goolrick’s A Reliable Wife, Amy Stewart’s Flower Confidential and Wicked Plants, Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods, Tab Hunter and Eddie Muller’s Tab Hunter Confidential, Lauren Grodstein’s A Friend of the Family, Lee Smith‘s The Last Girls, and Caroline Leavitt‘s Pictures of You, among others.
During his tenure as Algonquin’s Publicity Director he launched and managed Algonquin’s social media presence, growing its Twitter fan base to over 110,000 followers and its Facebook fan base to over 10,000 followers. In his role as Algonquin’s Online Marketing Director, he created the “Algonquin Book Club” series, pairing well-known writers from other publishing houses with Algonquin authors for live events/live webcasts; the authors he scheduled for this series include Stephen King, Edwidge Danticat (with Julia Alvarez), Anne Lamott, Judy Blume (with Tayari Jones), Terry McMillan, Kathryn Stockett, and Garth Stein. He also revamped Algonquin’s website and implemented several online series, including “Booksellers Rock”—monthly interviews with prominent booksellers from independent bookstores around the country—and the “Algonquin Talks” series, wherein he interviewed the book reviewers/producers for NPR’s Fresh Air, the Today show, the New York Times Book Review, USA Today, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Washington Post, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Michael also worked as the Marketing Director at Graywolf Press, where he oversaw Graywolf’s dynamic publicity team; launched Graywolf’s new website; revamped Graywolf’s logo, catalogs, and galley design; and worked closely with independent booksellers around the country, landing multiple Graywolf Press books on the ABA’s Indie Next list.
Michael pens the “Reviewers & Critics” column for Poets & Writers magazine; book reviewers he’s interviewed for the series include the New York Times’ Dwight Garner; Bad Feminist and Hunger author Roxane Gay; the Washington Post‘s Ron Charles; the Chicago Tribune‘s Jennifer Day; BuzzFeed‘s Isaac Fitzgerald; freelance critic Michael Schaub; the New York Times‘ Pamela Paul; prestigious poetry critic Steph Burt; Slate‘s Laura Miller; New York Times’ Parul Sehgal; GQ‘s Kevin Nguyen; O, The Oprah Magazine‘s Leigh Haber; Laila Lalami of The Nation and the Los Angeles Times; Wall Street Journal critic Sam Sacks; Laurie Hertzel of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune; Fresh Air critic Maureen Corrigan; New York Review of Books editor-at-large, Daniel Mendelsohn; Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic at the Washington Post, Carlos Lozada; freelance literary critic Bethanne Patrick; Maris Kreizman, host of The Maris Review; The Believer reviews editor Ismail Muhammad; and New York Times daily critic Jennifer Szalai (interview to appear online soon).
In addition to being interviewed for the Poets & Writers article “The Art of Publicity: How Indie Publicists Work with Writers,” he has spoken about marketing and publicity at many book conferences, including Grub Street’s “The Muse & the Marketplace” in Boston, the Decatur Book Festival in Atlanta, “Poets & Writers Live” in Chicago, and multiple appearances at Book Expo America, as well at various universities, including Macalester College, Hamline University, the University of North Carolina, and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Before launching his publishing career, Michael received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. In 2009 he collected and edited the anthology Love Is a Four-Letter Word (Penguin/Plume), featuring work by Junot Díaz, Lynda Barry, Gary Shteyngart, and Kate Christensen, among others.