The BackList

This is a retired blog. For the new and improved BackList blog, please visit!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bebe Moore Campbell has passed

Bebe Moore Campbell passed on Monday from complications related to brain cancer. She was only 56. It is incredibly sad. Prayers go out to her family and friends. USA Today published an obituary.

Monday, November 27, 2006

OJ Update

This is the best update I've read. It is from Publisher's Lunch. If you don't subscribe, sign up today.

On Thursday, the AP reported that OJ Simpson did receive money directly for his participation in the aborted HarperCollins book and promptly spent it, "some of it on tax obligations." News Corp. has at least admitted how much they paid for the project--$880,000--but still won't identify the third party to which the money went. And the company persists in asserting that Simpson wasn't supposed to get any funds. But in a radio interview on Wednesday, Simpson laughed at the company's front: "Would everybody stop being so naive? Of course I got paid."
Simpson tells the AP he didn't confess at all, and denied committing the murders. He says the insipidly cynical title came from the publisher ("That was their title. That's what they came up with. I didn't pitch anything. I don't make book deals.") and "the hypothetical sections were written by his ghostwriter."

Simpson says: "I didn't do it. I made it clear I didn't do it. But I didn't doubt that Ms. Regan thought I did it." Apparently, he also told Harper he "would not allow publication if the book contained graphic descriptions of 'cutting or stabbing.'" Speaking about his ghostwriter, Simpson said: "When I saw what he wrote, I said, 'Maybe you did it because they're saying the chapter contains things only the killer would know. I don't know these things."

Both the Los Angeles Times and Jeffrey Toobin in the New Yorker's Talk of the Town have somewhat closer looks at the apparent writer, Pablo Fenjves.

In other reports, Variety says that "book rights to If I Did It have, according to several sources, reverted to the Simpson camp" (concurring with an anonymous News Corp. employee cited in the WSJ on Tuesday--which contrasts with attorney Yale Galanter's contention that the projected "belonged" to Harper).

Newsweek has a short item speculating on Judith Regan's fate. They note: "Regan only had to present a general concept of the Simpson book to HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman to get the budget approved for the project, according to one person close to Friedman who doesn't want to be identified because he's not authorized to speak for the company." And there is speculation in-house at Harper as to what these events mean for PW's planned designation of Friedman as their second "publishing person of the year."

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

EVENT, NYC: Black Women's Writing at McNally Robinson

At McNally Robinson (

Tuesday - December 5 - 7pm

In the Black Female Literary Tradition: Three Contemporary Authors on Black Women's Books
With Bridgett Davis, Martha Southgate and Eisa Nefertari Ulen

Bridgett Davis, Martha Southgate, and Eisa Nefertari Ulen each write within a powerful tradition of black women in literature. Martha Southgate is the author of Third Girl from the Left, about a daughter coming to terms with her mother's work in 1970s Blaxploitation films. Eisa Nefertari Ulen has written Crystelle Mourning, telling the story of a woman returning from her successful life in New York to her childhood home in West Philadelphia . Independent filmmaker Bridgett Davis' most recent book is Shifting Through Neutral, a novel of fathers and daughters, mothers and lovers, Stevie Wonder and General Motors. Join us as these three authors meet in a panel discussion to talk about their history and heritage, the women writers who have influenced them, and the traditional themes in their own work.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What Kind of Sick World Do We Live in?

From the New York Times:

O. J. Simpson, who was acquitted 11 years ago in the 1994 death of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald L. Goldman has written a book and will appear on television telling “how he would have committed the murders if he were the one responsible,” his publisher and the Fox television network said on Tuesday.

Judith Regan, whose publishing imprint ReganBooks will release Mr. Simpson’s book Nov. 30, also conducted the television interviews, which will be broadcast on Fox in two one-hour segments on Nov. 27 and Nov. 29. Both ReganBooks and Fox are owned by the News Corporation.

According to a news release, the book and the TV special, which has a working title of “O.J. Simpson: If I Did It, Here’s How It Happened,” will depict Mr. Simpson describing “how he would have carried out the murders he has vehemently denied committing for over a decade.”

Monday, November 13, 2006

Gerald Levert & Ed Bradley

I couldn't believe the news on the passing of Ed Bradly or Gerald Levert. They will both be missed.

And my close friends know how much I loved Gerald Levert. Had a big crush on his and his velvety voice. I will miss seeing his electrifying performances.

Blacks and Books

The New York Times has an article about Black Issues Book Review's new initiative, Blacks and Books: "a monthly insert focusing on books by or of interest to readers of African descent." It will be inserted in African American newspapers like The Baltimore Times, Amsterdam News, and Philadelphia Tribune.

I think it's a great idea which was apparently conceived by Ken Smikle, the new owner of BIBR. One of the main reasons is the lack of media coverage for books of interest to the AA community.

Check out the response from Sam Tanenhaus, editor of The New York Times Book Review, about this lack of coverage:

“Nothing is sufficiently covered.We get so many books, and space is so limited,” he said, “and we tend to concentrate on serious fiction and nonfiction. So we’re more likely to do a big takeout on Edward P. Jones, as we did, and we published Skip Gates’s introduction to ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin,’ ” he said, referring to Henry Louis Gates Jr. “Our books tend to be a small, select group, but that’s across the board,” he added.

Hmm, based on the fact that the NYT hardly reviews books by black people, is he implying that we don't write much serious stuff?

Anywho, it will be interesting to see how things work out for Blacks and Books.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hurston/Wright Awards

I had the pleasure to attend the Hurston/Wright Award banquet last friday. Thanks Kalisha! It was my first year, and I was very impressed. It was well organized and classy but not pretentious. I brought my mother with me because she says she likes stuff like that. While we were snacking on appetizers, she's like isn't that the actor?

I look over and sure enough, it's Morgan Freeman, chilling. He comes over to where we were standing, says hello and continues chilling. If I wasn't so shy (I am really) I would have accosted him to talk about acting.

Anywho, the ceremony was hosted by the sista detective from Law & Order. Her real name is S. Epatha Merkerson. She was a trip and had everybody laughing. She reminded me of a outspoken aunt. I thought she was a great host because she brought a certain realness to the event.

Read this article to see who won.

Denise Nicholas won for Debut Fiction. Isn't this like award number 10 or something?

Anyway, I urge everyone to support the Hurston/Wright Foundation in any way you can. They are doing important work for Black literature.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

From Lawrence Ross:

Hello everyone,

My name is Lawrence Ross and as the author of three books, I began thinking about better ways to find new readers for my books, other than conducting book signings. I wondered why wasn't there a social networking site (think MySpace or Facebook) devoted to authors, book lovers, and the book industry? How come lovers of Stephen King, Anne Rice, Eric Jerome Dickey, and thousands of other authors, can't come to one site and interact with those authors and each other? From those questions emerged my new site, TheYack

TheYack is the first social networking site devoted to books, authors and book lovers. I think TheYack will be a hit as authors have longed to combine a site where they can post a personal blog/website, with the interactivity of a social network. NPR, CNET, and Publishers Weekly are all covering the launch (yesterday, I opened the site for registration), and we're going to have bestselling authors answering questions from our Yacksters. In addition, TheYack will have editors and agents who will be available to answer questions from those of you who are aspiring authors.

So if you're interested in supporting TheYack, please feel free to join today. It's free, it's fun, and you'll meet new friends. Also, feel free to forward this information about TheYack to any and everyone you think may be interested, and of course, any media. Whether you're interested in biography, chicklit, history, fiction or non-fiction, TheYack is your site for books and authors! Thanks!

TheYack: Where Book Lovers Love to Meet!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Check out these guest bloggers

Literary agent, Mondella Jones, posted an insightful and honest entry about the role of literary agents at Blogging in Black.

Erica Simone Turnipseed has published an essay about writing true events in fiction over at

Great Article on Special Sales

The New York Times has a great article about the special sales (outside of bookstores) potential for books.

From the article:

The point, publishers say, is to follow customers who might not otherwise visit
bookstores into the places where they do shop, rather than waiting for customers
to show up at bookstores or click on and other online sales sites.

Amen. I'm not interested in taking away the business from bookstores but we all know many people that rarely step foot in a bookstore. Publishers have to find creative ways to reach more consumers.

The article raises a good point about less competition in venues like clothing and furniture stores as well as gourmet shops.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mediabistro Seminar is coming up!

My mediabistro seminar, Get Your Book Published, is coming up on November 21st in WAshington, DC.

There's still time to signup.

If you are a writer, you are not only in the business of writing, you are in the business of publishing. The most successful writers understand how the book publishing industry works and know how to navigate the complex waters of the industry. Knowledge is power. By understanding the realities of publishing (not everyone receives a six-figure advance) you'll be able to find ways to maintain a successful writing career. Click here for more information.

Bill Duke and Relentess Aaron

From The Book Standard:

Actor-director-producer Bill Duke has optioned the book Push and entered into a development deal with its writer, urban author and street lit publisher Relentless Aaron.

Duke plans to produce and possibly direct a feature film based on the author's signature character Push, an inner-city vigilante, with the hopes of creating a franchise around the character.

Read the rest...

I like Bill Duke. It will be interesting to see how this will all come together.