The BackList

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Amistad promotions

From PW:

Dawn Davis, formerly editorial director of Amistad has been promoted to Vice President.

Her partner in publishing, Rockelle Henderson, formerly marketing director, was also promoted to associate publisher.


I'm excited, this will be my first time going to BEA. I can't wait to see all the publishers, publishing folks, new books coming out, etc. I'll be working in the booth for my job on Friday.

As for the AA community, there's alot going on. Clare Villarosa's annual African-American bookseller's conference will be on Thursday and focuses on Children's books. The conference runs from 11:00-800, with a reception starting at 5:30 (or 5:00, can't remember).

That night BAIP along with some others are hosting a late night reception beginning at 8:30.

Friday at 6:00 (I am not all that great with times) Nubian Heritage (Harlem, NY) is hosting a reception to celebrate being selected as Blackboard Bookseller of the Year.

Blackboard will be hosting their annual awards ceremony at the Lincoln Center. Fancy. They are honoring Ms. Villarosa who is retiring from the bookseller business.

These are just some of the highlights.

I hope to get to as many of the activities as possible and will try to report back.

Random House looking for Twentysomethings.

This would be me, I guess but I don't have anything interesting to right about just yet.

But be weary of these contests. You know Simon & Schuster paid the seventeen year old winner of the True Life contest a 10,000 flat fee. TRIFLING. She will not receive any royalties even though the book is expected to be a bestseller. That is serious robbery. I was quite disgusted after I read that.

This contest isn't so bad since it is an anthology. 20,000 is alright, shoot I should get to thinking about something. Of course if you don't win, I assume you get a few contributor copies.

Random House is looking for the most original voices of the
twentysomething generation,writing about their lives, their passions,
their world. We will be publishing the best essays in a book
titled Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers:
The Best New Voices of 2006. There will be a grand prize
of $20,000 to the top winner. We are seeking essays about, but
not limited to, the following subjects: Family, Career, Sex, Society, and
Self. Be specific. Be unique. We want you to tell us—and, by
extension, the entire world's something we haven't heard before,
something thatdefines you as a member of this burgeoning
generation. Make us laugh, make us think, just don't make us yawn.

THE RULES: One entry per person. Entries must be nonfiction,
written in English, and between 500 and 5,000 words in length.
You must be between the ages of 20 and 29 as of September 1, 2006.
Entries must be received by November 24, 2005. Winners will be
selected by an editorial panel of your peers. The Grand Prize-winning
essay will receive $20,000; up to 28 Runners-Up will also be selected
for publication. Winners will be notified. (Due to volume of submissions,
we can not respond to every entry.) For more entry rules/submission
information for this contest, go to <>

Walter Mosley and Black Classics

According to PW, Walter Mosley and Black Classics Press (representin Bmore) are teaming up again to publish important out-of-print titles. Black Classics owns a print-on-demand printer that can do publish smaller print runs. Mosley says this is an opportunity for him to get more involved in the publishing end of things. The first titles they will be bringing back are Tin Tin in the New World and Tallien: A Brief Romance by Frederick Tuten. They are calling this imprint, In Print Editions, since the goal is to keep important books in print.

I like this idea.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Google's book search program

Am I the only one completely amazed with Google's book search program ( The thing is amazing--type in any book, get places around the web to buy it. Type in a name, and results will come up with books of where that person's name is mentioned. We can take vanity to a whole new level--who mentioned me in their acknowledgements?? It beats Amazon's search within the text because it is so much more accurate (or so it seems).

But what is really revolutionary is the fact that places to purchase the book come up. How will this change how books are sold? More importantly, how can we small publishing folks capitalize on this service to increase sales, brand recognition, etc?

I am impressed, Google. I eager await how this will change the archaic publishing industry.

Update on Backlist

So I had the makings of a May issue. I won't divulge what it was, because hopefully I'll be able to use it. Anyway, I have got caught up with a myriad of things so yeah, I have missed the May issue. And well June is right around teh corner...

But i am working on reorganizing BackList and perhaps I'll be able to do a July issue. I mean I have to be honest, part of me was going to put it on a serious, serious hiatus (like forever) but realized that BackList provides a service that folks appreciate it. I feel compelled to keep it going. I'm open to suggestions.

But a July issue would be lovely. I'll work on it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Event: For BEA attendees

You are cordially invited to BlackBoard Book of the Year Awards
Saturday, June 4, 2005
7:00 p.m. Reception8 :30 p.m.
Awards CeremonyFrederick P. Rose Hall ~ Jazz at Lincoln Center
Admission is free with your BEA Show Badge
For tickets and additional information stop by the BlackBoard BEA Booth(#1241)
Don't miss the BlackBoard Magazine Special BEA Issue!

BlackBoard Magazine - your premier source for entertainment news

Hell hath no fury...

The ex-wife of Patrick Ewing, Rita Ewing has a book coming out today that fictionalizes the other side of the NBA (read: affairs and more affairs).

But you got to give props to Ms. Ewing for her work with Hue-Man bookstore as co-owner (one of the reasons why she deserves a blog entry).

She has a short Q&A in the New York Daily News. Again peep the book cover. Talk about in-your face.

Brickhouse is the name of the book. Get it, Brickhouse?

Monday, May 23, 2005

What I'm Reading

Things have been so hectic that my reading has taken a back seat. But I finished Mark Anthony Neal's New Black Man. Such a necessary book.

I am currently reading, Cocaine Chronicles edited by Jervey Tervalon and Gary Phillips.

as well as The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. I am quite fascinated how Gladwell has come up with these "priniciples" that are founded in his own science writing, how he has elaborated on them in a book format, sold hundreds of thousands of copies and promoted buisness folks to think twice about how they do things. In this book I am looking for some sort of inspiration, some sort of lesson that I can apply to my personal and professional life. I have to let you know if I get it when I'm done reading it.

Job: Creative Writing Instructor at Medgar Evers

Position: Instructor/Assistant/Associate Professor, English Composition Director
and Instructor Creative WritingSalary: $30,000 to less than $80,000
Institution: Medgar Evers College of The City University of New York
Location: New Yorkdetails of the creative writing position:Assistant Professor/ I
nstructor of English in Creative Writing, Medgar Evers College,City
University of New YorkTeaching and curricular development in composition
and creative writing, both fiction and creative non-fiction. Duties include
participation on a variety of faculty governance committees and other
responsibilities as assigned by the department chair. Experience with and
aptitude for teaching fiction and creative non-fiction expected; experience
with screenwriting and broadcast writing or non-fiction markets desirable.
The successful candidate must demonstrate the potential for teaching
excellence, must be able to contribute to the ongoing development of the
department, and must have interpersonal and communication skills sufficient
to be able to work effectively with a diverse array of students and colleagues.
MFA with significant publications desirable. MA with publications and
professional experience considered.Send letter of application and CV to
Dr. Jennifer Sparrow, Search Committee Chair
English Department
Medgar Evers College
1650 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11225

How's this for book promotion

Maryann Reid has come up with an innovative way to promote her new book,
Marry Your Baby Daddy and help folks get married:

four months left to go until September 29. On that day, will be the first
ever mass wedding of its kind in the nation. Ten unmarried couples w/children
will be married during a landmark event called Marry Your Baby Daddy Day.
The FREE mass wedding will be officiated by the acclaimed Dr. Rev. Herbert
Daughtry in Brooklyn, NY. Since news first hit the airwaves in January, we've
been flooded with calls from vendors, dress designers and wedding planners
vying to make this a very memorable and important moment in the lives of
10 loving, fantastic couples! Not to mention hundreds of calls from marrying
couples, grandmothers, fathers, aunts, etc.Well, now you can get to see who
the 10 lucky couples are! Log on to to view
couple photos, information on the book Marry Your Baby Daddy that started
it all, and learn more about the author/founder/visionary, Maryann Reid.
A percentage of the proceeds from the book, Marry Your Baby Daddy will
be going to charity. Marry Your Baby Daddy will be published in September
by St. Martins Press. It's an effort to strengthen 2 parent households and shed
light on the high 70% out of wedlock rate in the Black community. We want
to "bring black love back in style" and have fun while doing it!Please support
us as we try to uplift our community and families.


If you could write one letter that would count, just who would it be
addressed to (father, mother, friend, school, child, boss, the bank)
and what would it say?" and the
launch an open letter writingCOMPETITION. Entrants are required
to write a letter of (exactly) 250 wordson any theme and in any genre
to an individual, individuals, group ororganisation.write that all important,
funny or inspiring letter, and win the chance to have a selection of your
creative writing published on our sites. Competition closes 30 June 2005. a place for New Writers seeking
professional appraisal of their manuscript.
Encourages new creative writing by NEW writers of colour. For further
details contact:

Malcolm X revisited

So Columbia professor, Manning Marable is writing a new biography about Malcolm X, adding new material and "correcting" some of the things in the autobiography. Many different publishers showed interest when his agent was shopping around. Apparently it went for a sizeable six figure deal and I think it is due out in 2007 (but don't remember exactly, of course pub dates are always "hopes" because until the manuscript is in hand...)

Here is an article about Marable's project.

Friday, May 20, 2005

New issue of Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire

Edited by award-winning poet Quincy Troupe, this upcoming, limited
issue of Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire features an
expanded visual arts section including: The work of the late painter,
Jean-Michel Basquiat, including interviews with two of the Brooklyn
Museum of Art's Basquiat exhibit curators Kellie Jones and Franklin Sirmans.
An interview with John Pinderhughes, whose powerful suite of photographs
are featured.

Compelling images by the late Cuban-American painter, Emilio Cruz,
with an accompanying essay by Paul Staiti.
A portfolio of elegant photographs of Eatonville, Florida, by Deborah Willis,
with a complementary essay by this award-winning photographer
In our literary section we feature: Fiction by Jeffrey Renard Allen, one of
his country's accomplished young novelists
Interviews with three of the worldâ greatest living writers John Edgar Wideman, Chinua Achebe, and Derek Walcott
Poetry by Terrence Hayes, Ntozake Shange, Sapphire, Meena Alexander, Patricia Spears Jones, Will Alexander, Lindiwe Mabuza, Traci Gourdine and Paul Beatty
Never before published letters between novelists John A. Williams and Chester Himes
and a critical looks at the fiction of Mr. Himes by two gifted scholars,
Norlisha Crawford and Louise Bernard "Basquiat"
Issue: $22.50/copy, includes shipping and handling for the U.S.
Canada Subscriptions: $40/year F
or additional information or to purchase a copy of Black
Renaissance/Renaissance Noire, please call New York University's
Institute of African-American Affairs at 212-998-2130.

BAIP career fair

So I had a wonderful posting about the success of the career fair. But I lost the draft and am discouraged about writing it over. I will say again that it was a great affair, hopefully I will add more later.

The Interruption of Everything

is the title of Terry McMillan's next book due out in July. Peep the book cover. Although the title is a little reminiscent of How Stella Got Her Groove Back (which I didn't read, but saw the not-well-done movie, we have to pay respect where respect is due. Terry has paved the way for many writers. The success of Waiting to Exhale made publishers take notice--Ah, they do read! But I like Terry's writing. She could give Eric Jerome Dickey a run for his money any day.

The Interruption of Everything may not be at the top of my reading list (the list is crazy, i need a personal assistant or something to read for me and give me an overview, like book buyers have...just kidding...i live to read...i read to live), but I am glad she is still doing it.

Monday, May 16, 2005


So besides being crazy busy with a new job, new house, graduation, etc. I decided to take a plunge down a flight of stairs this weekend. So if you haven't been hearing from me it is because of all of the above and now a concussion, bruises, etc.

So I need to rest, slow down, something, this is obviously a sign. But once I get my energy back, I'll return full force.

In the meantime, I am searching for a webmaster to post monthly issues of BackList. Know of anybody? Holla: felicia "at"

Thursday, May 05, 2005


So I am leaving for Brooklyn for good today (except to return to Boston to walk across the stage and get my degree). I start work on Monday, there is no break.

So may be a few days before I blog again. Have to get my internet connection and all that.

Anyway, I'll leave with this. I watched Badasss last night--the movie Mario Van Peebles did pretty much reenacting his father's trials and tribulations independently producing Sweet Sweetback Badasss Song (I think I got the title of the movie correct). Anyway it was good, I had no idea how much Melvin Van Peebles went through to make this movie. His dedication was unwavering. He was kind of an asshole, but he knew as did everyone around him.

What does this have to do with publishing. Well one of the reasons the movie did so well (it was the highest grossing independent film of 1971) was because the Black Panthers mobilized and supported this movie around the country. At the end they had commentary with one of the Black Panthers and he talked about how they supported the movie, they wrote about it in their newspaper, etc.

So I started thinking, what if communities rallied the same around for reading, literarcy and great literature? Could you imagine, if we supported our authors like that?

I think about publishing too much.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

New Black Man

So I got my hardback (some folks still say that) copy of Mark Anthony Neal's New Black Man. I am almost finished with it. I wish I had the time to write a lengthy review because the book deserves it.

But I do know it should (will) be mandatory reading for every black male I know. I am considering how that will be done. Yeah I am going to put the PRESSURE on. You want to talk? Have you read New Black Man yet?

I admire Mark Anthony Neal's mix of scholar, hip-hop, and feminisim. His writing is acessible and smart, down-to-earth and provocative. The book isn't preachy, but more of one man's realization of his need to change his thinking and actions beyond the box that is the StrongBlackMan. The theory of the StrongBlackMan could have been a book in itself, but Neal also tackles being a father in a world filled with misogynistic images, teaching students that blackness is broad and fluid, and trying to match his public thoughts with his personal actions.

The book is incredibly honest and I salute Mark for writing a book that needed to be written.

Now we got to get folks reading it...

Career panel was a success

So apparently the career panel sponsored by BAIP yesterday was a success. That is great news! I support any event that helps introduce publishing as a career choice to minorities. I've said many times, and have had white people tell me that the publishing industry is too white. This is a fact, not an opinion. Things are changing, but like everything in publishing, things are changing very slowly.

So if you are in the NY area on Friday, come out to the career fair on Friday. Network, meet some folks, get a job.

Harlem Book Fair comes to Boston

Yes there are black folk in Boston, lots of them. They are just hard to find.

CALL for Out-of-State Authors

HARLEM BOOK FAIR is expanding its literary reach to include
BOSTONMassachusetts. The much-anticipated event will
feature: panel discussions,author readings and signings, children's
pavilion, spoken word poets, craftvendors, booksellers, historical
tour of Roxbury (roots of Malcolm X), and muchmore...

When: Saturday, June 25 Location: Roxbury Community
College Campus (outdoors)
Time: 12-6p.m.

For vendor information contact:
Ms. Hicks via email: or telephone 617-442-4400.

Please pass on to author friends...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Moving towards Vanity Publishing

Thanks Raymond for this article link. Published in the Guardian the article discusses Macmillan's plans to publish young and aspiring authors in a way that just ain't right.

If it decides to accept a novel for the list, terms are unnegotiable; no advance will be paid, though writers will receive 20% of royalties from sales. Macmillan will copy edit books, but if manuscripts need more detailed work, it will suggest that writers employ freelance editors. According to notes sent to authors, such editors "will charge realistic fees and this will not in itself guarantee publication".

This is a clear move towards vanity publishing and I am not sure why Macmillan is fronting like it isn't. Sounds like the terms offered by companies like PublishAmerica. I can't say there is a problem with PublishAmerica beyond the obvious, but for traditional publishers to do it, is just wrong.

If publishing companies like Macmillan are looking for ways to produce books more affordably, why not look at overhead, why not try to devise strategies to sell direct to consumer and cut out high distributor fees, why not look at unequal advances, why not try to sell all books instead of putting efforts towards "big books"?

Monday, May 02, 2005

Book Rejections

Here is a short article about the book publishing industry's culture of rejection. The author makes a good point about rising book advances.

There is no question that there need to be some changes in how the publishing industry operates, particularly when it comes to advances, acquistions, returns, distribution, etc. But how will these changes occur?

Publishing Panel I will be on

I will be on a publishing panel on Friday, May 6th at 1:00. The panel will give tips for resume and interview success. Here is information on the career fair and panel.

On Friday, May 6th, from 11:00 am to 5:30 pm, the second segment of
the job fair will be held on the Medgar Evers College Campus,
Founders Auditorium, 1650 Bedford Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11225.
Best selling author Ms. Terrie Williams, founder of both The TerrieWilliams
Agency and the Stay Strong Foundation, will be the featuredspeaker.
Panel discussions are scheduled from 12:00 noon to 2:30 pm, followed
by a recruitment session from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm.Companies featured
at the fair will include: ABC, Inc.; Associationof American Publishers, Inc.;
HarperCollins, Inc.; Black Issues BookReview; Earl Cox & Associates;
Penguin-Putnam; Simon & Schuster;; Time Warner Book Group,
and Ziff Davis.The panels and career fair on Friday, May 6th on the Medgar
Evers Campus are free for Medgar Evers students, $5.00 for other students
with ID and the general public.For further information:
Call 718 270-6983 or email Please come
dressed in business attire and
bring your resume.

First Publishing Panel

Here is revised info on the publishing panel from BAIP.

BROOKLYN, New York The Center for Black Literature at
Medgar EversCollege will hold a two-day job fair during the
first week of Mayfeaturing representatives from HarperCollins,
Inc. and Time WarnerBook Group and other A-list publishing companies.

On Tuesday May 3rd from 6:00-8:00 pm, the Career Fair will focus on
how to get started in the publishing industry. The event will be held at
The Small Press Center, on 20 West 44th St, in Manhattan. Industry
experts will give you tips on how to get your foot in the door and how
to put the winner's touch on your resume. The event is free and open
to the public.For further information: Call 718 270-6983 or
email Please come dressed in business
attire and bring your resume.

Alice Walker's coat

I'm not sure if this is true...

There will be an auction of a magical coat that once belonged to the
inestimable Alice Walker on eBay starting May 1 and ending
May 7. Proceeds fromthe sale will support the African American
Women's Resource Center in Washington, DC.

Description:Beautiful, full-length, handmade wool coat. Butterfly
design with dolman sleeves to accommodate wearing over suits
and sweaters. Fashioned in deep, rich earth tones, including
forest green and royal purple. Designed to complement any
figure - one size fits most. Ms. Walker can be seen wearing the coat
in her book, The TEMPLE OF MY FAMILIAR on page XX. She
donated the coat several years ago, recognizing the Center's important
work to improve the lives of women and girls of the African diaspora throughout the country. To see more of the coat, visit our website at

NYT Review of Radio Golf

NYT has a review of August Wilson's new play Radio Golf, the final installment of his 10-drama collection about African-American life in the 20th century. I really want to see it.