The BackList

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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Publishing blogs as books

From the So this company has announced that it will produce books based on popular websites. What does that really mean? I considered myself to be an internet girl but not, like, crazy with it. But I could probably count the amount of blogs/websites that would be good books? Now if they presented it as publishing books say around the theme of a website or from a certain personality (like Wonkette for instance) and using the website visitors as built-in markets, that would make more sense to me. But that doesn't sound like what they are doing. I would really want to know what websites they were talking about.

“The Friday Project is the first mainstream publishing company
to specialise in producing books inspired by popular websites,”
explained Publishing Director Clare Christian. “A few publishers
have begun to realise the importance of the web-to-print market
but until now no one has truly put the Internet at the heart of their
publishing strategy.” Editor-in-Chief, Paul Carr added “After years
of working in both online and print publishing, we’re really excited
to be in a position to bring those two worlds closer together. We’ve
already signed up some of the web’s most creative sites and more
are coming on board all the time. It’s great to be able to take the
massive creative talent that exists online and bring it to a wider audience”

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Went to see Carl Hancock Rux read from Asphalt at the wonderful McNally Robinson independent bookstore. To say he is on another level doesn't capture it. The "it" being an unidentified mixture of intensity, depth, passion, intelligence, talent, the list goes on.

Yes, he's sick with "it."

And though you can sense his warmth, I was intimidated by him, his thougts, his work but I wasn't intimitated in a fearful way, but in an intriguing way. Is that possible?

He gave such a spirited reading of his work, the poet in him emerged and the audience (I'm going to speak for everyone that was there) fell into his flow.

But what was really great, and one of the reasons why the author reading is still important is to gain insight into the psyche of the artist. For all those that read Asphalt (i bought it today, half way through,), Rux broke it down as a story about wars, not just political ones, but the personal wars we all go through. Of course he was much more eloquent and thorough than that, but y'all get the gist.

i was just incredibly in awe and not in a groupie sort of way (although his voice is like butta) but just so intrigued by the glimpse into his mind, his world.

asha bandele gave him a sincere introduction and also interviewed him at the end. I really like the writer-interview-writer format.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Terry's life is a book

You've probably already heard about Terry McMillan's messy, messy divorce. I'll let you read for yourself, if you haven't.


is it really a pen name?

So Bernice McFadden, who I like, (check out The Warmest December), has penned a new book, called Groove under the pen name Geneva Holiday. When I visited her publisher's page though, this is what the bio says:

GENEVA HOLLIDAY is the alter ego of an acclaimed literary writer
who has penned five national bestsellers and been honored with the
Zora Neale Hurston Society Award, the Black Caucus ALA Literary Award,
the Black Writers Alliance Award, the Gold Pen Award, and the Barnes & Noble
Discover Great New Writers Award.

Okay, I know not everyone will know who it is, but come on.

I know authors do it ocassionally, like Omar Tyree and that alter ego he had, can't recall what is was, though. I mean if everywhere you look, promotional material says, Geneva Holliday aka Bernice McFadden, is it really a pen name? I guess I am wondering the pros and cons of using a new name when your real one works just fine.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Selling ads in books

Author Michael T. Owens is looking for ways to make money of his new book. His idea? Sell a full page ad in the back of the book on Ebay. So far he hasn't made much money, but to me that isn't the point. He has made some great publicity--an article on Yahoonews, impressive.

For my Bmore Peeps

This is strictly for my Bmore peeps. Not sure if there are any out there, except Ms. Brown, but this is pretty big news.

The popular Karibu bookstore (known for holding down PG County will great author events, etc) will be opening a branch in Security Square Mall located in the beautiful Baltimore suburbs? Yes Security. The last time I was in town, I stopped in Security to get a key made. No I didn't go there to do any shopping. Icouldn't believe my eyes. That mall is falling apart.

Now you can look at this in two ways--either the Karibu brothers think they can add something too the declining mall or they aren't familiar with the many businesses that come and go in that place. I wish them the best, but I would have suggested a spot on Liberty Road before I suggested opening in Security. Maybe even Mondawmin before Security. Security is becoming the next Reistertown Plaza--a total of four stores open, the rest closed.

Karibu is one of the strongest Black bookstores in the country, so I definitely trust that they know what they are doing. Maybe now I'll have a reason to go to Security when I visit.

Update-Lyte as a Rock

I can't get over how fast time is flying. I've been working on getting the August issue of BackList together. I think it is going to be great--a hodgepodge as usual, but a great hodgepodge!

Anywho, I got my copy of Is Bill Cosby Right. I've placed it on the top of my reading pile, which I might say hasn't changed since I've moved. I am ashamed to say that I have only read two books since I've been here. And can I tell you that I am not that sharp as a result? Oui. I need to get back into the swing of things. I need words in my life!

Did you know that MC Lyte has written a book? Yeah, I didn't either. I got an email that she is doing a book-signing in BK. I was never a big Lyte fan, Salt-n-Pepa were my girls, but I have mad respect for Lyte. So the book is entitled, JUST MY TAKE, and I couldn't find it on Amazon. In fact finding info on it wasn't easy. So I had to go to my trusty information source on hip hop news, It is a book of poetry and inspiration aimed at teens.

Now from a publishing viewpoint, I wonder if this is the book I would have wanted from MC Lyte. Granted Jada Pinckett Smith is doing well with her inspirational title, but I am not sure I would have suggested to Lyte to write one. I was thinking something along the lines of a woman in hip-hop memoir. Or are folks not checking for Lyte in that manner anymore? I don't know. But I guess that is the beauty of self-publishing, you can write whatever you want.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Event: Play Reading


by Yolanda Kae Wilkinson….
Produced by Birds-i Productions, Inc.

Place:Phil Bosakowski Theater

354 West 45th Street, 2nd Floor

between 8th & 9th Ave

Date: Saturday, June 25th

Times:6:00 pm Reception

7:00 pm Reading

HUe is a brilliantly well written 2 act play that takes you on a
car ride down the bumpy highways of life. Along for the ride
are five (HBUS) historically black colleges and universities-educated
women who are packed into a 79 Monte Carlo on the way to a college
reunion with their hang-ups and fears as baggage.

This amazing production illustrates the various shades of human
complexities while delving into the universal issues of acceptance,
rejection, heartache and successes.  Few stones are left unturned. 
And just life when in transition; laughter and tears are part of
the process of healing!!

Birds-i Productions, Inc. theater division specializes in the
technical production of Off Broadway plays, while also working
with Playwrights; reviewing, assisting and offering them an
outlet to showcase their work.


time flies, geez. I didn't realize it had been so long since I blogged.

Anyway here is an interview by Mark Anthony Neal (one of my favorite thinkers) on Michael Eric Dyson. I haven't read MED's book yet, so I really don't have any comments. I do know in terms of marketing the book title is freakin brilliant (as proved by the book's bestseller status). Geez he turned that book out fast, it seemed like just yesterday Cosby was blasting folks.

The interview is on AOL BlackVoices.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


This is a pretty good idea, I am eager to see how it will come out. I got this from the wonderful E-drum.:

Hello Everyone,
My name is Lawrence Ross and I'm producing a new
bimonthly DVDmagazine called BlackCafeLit, which will go on sale in
bookstores inSeptember 2005. BlackCafeLit will cover African American
authors andthe black book industry from the writers, editors, publishers,
andagents perspective, and it will be done in an exciting, fast cuttingway.
This is not C-Span on a disk. BlackCafeLit brings AfricanAmerican books
and authors to life, and also provides a vitalconnection between authors and
their readers. New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey will be
our cover subject forthe Sept/October 2005 issue.With an initial 25,000 DVDs
going on sale, BlackCafeLit has a greatopportunity for authors who want to
advertise their book. In the"Authors Corner" any author can be interviewed
for either thirty orsixty seconds, and talk about themselves and their book.
Cheaper thanhiring a publicist, and more effective than a booksigning, our
AuthorsCorner is the perfect way for an author to speak DIRECTLY to the
African American reader.

We have sixty advertising spots, and we will fill them on a firstcome,
first served basis. For the Sept/October 2005 issue, we will beshooting
interviews in both Los Angeles and New York. If you are interested in
advertising, and would like rate information, feel freeto email me

Lawrence C. Ross, Jr.The Divine Nine: The History of African American
Fraternities andSororities (author)The Ways of Black Folks: A Year in
the Life of a People (author)Sometimes Rhythm, Sometimes Blues
(contributor)Friends With Benefits (author: September 2005)

Friday, June 10, 2005

His bookshelves are stocked with Black Writers

From the Amsterdam News:

It becomes immediately obvious after one step into Clinton’s Harlem
office, that he has had a long fascination with African American
culture. “Here’s a picture of me with BeBe Winans,” he said, pointing
out a photograph of him posing with the gospel singer that sits on his
coffee table, several feet from his desk. The walls leading into his office
are adorned with photographs of singer Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald,
Dizzie Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Duke Ellington and Wynton Marsalis
on the wall. His bookshelves are fully stocked with African American authors.

Orange Prize

From The Scotsman:

British writer Diana Evans was tonight named winner of the inaugural
Orange Prize for New Writers with her debut novel 26a.
The semi-autobiographical book follows identical twins Georgia
and Bessi as they grow up in the 1980s with their white father and
homesick Nigerian mother.The family live at 26 Waifer Avenue
and the sisters share an attic hideaway they name 26a.

Evans has been likened to Zadie Smith – both are young
black writers, and Smith’s book also dealt with twins
growing up in multi-racial north-west London.
The 33-year-old author also grew up with a twin sister,
Paula. She committed suicide seven years ago after a battle with depression.
Evans received a £10,000 bursary provided by Arts Council England.

Reaching THE black market

June 2, 2005
Black Literati Unite QBR The Black Book Review and Black Issues Book Review
Join Forces
New York, NY, June 2, 2005— In a move that brings together the
two major magazines that cover African American literature,
QBR The Black Book Review and Black Issues Book Review
have signed a joint marketing and services agreement that
creates a literary marketing powerhouse. The agreement will
allow each company to focus on its core business, as well as take
advantage of each other's complementary strengths. QBR The Black
Book Review will concentrate on indoor and outdoor literary events,
specifically the well-known Harlem Book Fairs, which will expand to
12 cities, including Boston, Buffalo, NY and Phoenix, AZ in the coming
year. “This unified effort provides publishers and other advertisers
the single most efffective way to reach and market to African American
readers. BIBR, QBR and the Harlem Book Fair create a tremendously
powerful brand, ” says QBR publisher Max Rodriguez. Black Issues
Book Review will continue to focus on magazine publishing and
become the official publication at all QBR events, including the Harlem
Book Fairs. “This relationship will have an impact on the entire publishing
marketplace,” says BIBR publisher William E. Cox. “Because there is now
a strong single marketing force for black books and authors, the longevity
of African American readers as a market is secured. Working together both
companies will grow, and the market for black books can grow even more.”
Circulation for the two publications will be combined, creating a “reach” to
the African American reader never seen before in the publishing industry.
About QBR The Black Book Review Founded in 1993, QBR The Black Book
Review was the first book review exclusively dedicated to books about the
Africana experience. It was born to lay claim to the many authors who write
for and about that experience, to give them praise or admonishment, to turn
their insights into personal reflection or action. Publisher Max Rodriguez founded
the Harlem Book Fair in 1998. This year's Harlem Book Fair will be held on July
23rd. More than 40,000 attended the event last year. QBR also sponsors the
Celebration of Black Writers in Philadelphia, the African-American Read In
of Dallas and other book events. About Black Issues Book Review Within
months of its January 1999 debut, Black Issues Book Review was named
one of “the ten best new magazines” by The American Library Journal
from more than a thousand new publications. It is a bi-monthly publication
that provides nationally recognized journalism on the explosion of fiction
by authors of African descent and nonfiction books on topics of black interest.
In 2002, BIBR was accepted for membership in the Audit Bureau of
Circulations (ABC), the first and largest circulation-auditing organization
in the world.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Strebor books is now an imprint

From the PW article dated today:

"S&S has announced that Strebor Books will become a full-on imprint of the company's Atria division.

Strebor is the imprint started by self-published erotica phenom Zane. It had been distributed by S&S for the last two years but now is being acquired as its own imprint, which will enable it to dip into marketing and publicity staff. Zane will stay on as publisher. The name Strebor Books will remain."

That's a pretty big deal. Not much can be said about Zane the businesswoman.

Mosaic is looking for contributors


Mosaic Literary Magazine is looking for reviewers, writers, and essayists,

to contribute to future issues. If you are interested please email Topics must be literary in nature and focus on,

directly or obliquely, African-American or Latino literature and poetry.


Mosaic Literary Magazine,, launched

in 1998, is a nimble voice exploring the literary milieu of black writers.

With a unique blend of contemporary aesthetics, informed essays and

profiles, and candid reviews, Mosaic continues its progress towards

editorial splendor.


Honorariums available.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Can't Stop Won't Stop T-shirts

A Origin unveils the Can't Stop Won't Stop clothing series!

In 2004, CAN'T STOP WON'T STOP: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation's
author Jeff Chang asked SF-based T-shirtologist Mike Stern of O˜rigin to
translate crucial political and cultural ideas from the book into visually
compelling designs. The limited edition Can't Stop Won't Stop / O˜rigin
t-shirts capture the style, wit, emotion and breadth of this instant hip-hop history classic.

Check out the shirts now at the O˜RIGIN website,,

Friday, June 03, 2005

You know this was going to happen

Film rights have already been sold to Sony for Terry McMillian's new book, but I am sure you knew that was going to happen. I wonder if Angela will be in it.

I wasn't there...

I wasn't there when this announcement was supposedly made, but apparently QBR and Black Issues Book Review will be merging. Yes, I know. I don't have any details because it up was just mentioned in a conversation at BEA.

So it could all just be a post-concussion dream.

But even so, I am not sure what I think about it. I do understand the need to pull together resources. BackList could benefit from some partnerships. And we all know the publishing industry just loves consolidation, but I saw them as two distinct publications, both necessary. Perhaps I need more information on why.