Category Archives: Author Interviews

New Books February 2017, Book Reviews, Events, and More

february 2017 New Books

New Books Coming Out February 2017

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
A timely and powerful story about a teen girl striving for success in a world that too often feels like it wants to break her.

Lust: A Seven Deadly Sins Novel by Victoria Christopher Murray
A novel inspired by the seven deadly sins about a woman caught between an entertainment mogul with a shady past and his childhood friend who is out for revenge.

High Cotton: A Novel by Darryl Pinckney
This novel evokes a world that has not often been examined – the world of upper-middle-class blacks, obsessed with light skin and good hair.

The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander
The Playbook is intended to provide inspiration on the court of life. Each rule contains wisdom from inspiring athletes and role models such as Nelson Mandela, Serena Williams, LeBron James, Carli Lloyd, Steph Curry and Michelle Obama.

The Lazarus Poems by Kamau Brathwaite
Central to the book is a series of poems outlining the speaker’s (the poet s) experiences with what he calls Cultural Lynching. The speaker’s pain and outrage are almost overwhelming. Filled with longing, rage, nostalgia, impotence, wisdom, and love, this book is moving in every sense of the word.

Dance of the Jakaranda by Peter Kimani
“In this racially charged dance of power, the railroad into the interior of the country becomes a journey into the hearts of men and women. It is a dance of love and hate and mixed motives that drive human actions and alter the course of history. Kimani’s writing has the clarity of analytic prose and the lyrical tenderness of poetry.”—Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Learn about these and many more excellent books coming out in February and the coming months.


Recently Reviewed Books

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric DysonTears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson

While his previous works were aimed at a Black audience, this is his first intended to be read by whites. It is also written in a unique literary style, namely, as a sermon designed to keep Caucasians standing on their feet like an inspired congregation of holy rollers.

If I were Dyson, I wouldn’t hold my breath for a positive reception from his intended audience, given the ascension of Donald Trump and the celebration of rednecks in the runaway best seller, Hillbilly Elegy. He might be better off redirecting his sermon to the African-American community and changing his incendiary opus’ subtitle to “Preaching to the Choir!” (St. Martin’s Press, Jan17, 2017)


The Original Black Elite: Daniel Murray and the Story of a Forgotten Era by Elizabeth Dowling TaylorThe Original Black Elite: Daniel Murray and the Story of a Forgotten Era by Elizabeth Dowling Taylor

Elizabeth Dowling Taylor’s new book, The Original Black Elite: Daniel Murray and the Story of a Forgotten Era is an important contribution to ensuring American history during the hundred-year period between the Emancipation Proclamation and the beginning of the Civil Rights era is told. The Original Black Elite communicates this history from the perspective of the life of Daniel Murray and his contemporaries in the Washington DC elite. His life and those in his circle demonstrated that Black success was not dependent upon white largess, and was only hindered when whites actively worked to stop it.. (Amistad, Jan 31, 2017)


width=Finding Heaven in the Dark by William L. Ingram

Ingram is a natural storyteller. Finding Heaven in the Dark is well written, heartfelt and readable. However, his path to self, through religion and meditation using this particular practice and teachings, is immensely personal. His belief system won’t be for everyone and at times it bordered on proselytizing, however his search for self, self-love and self-acceptance is universal. Ultimately, Ingram is asking big questions—questions we’ve all contemplated at one point or another—about existence, about faith, about how our choices make us, for better or worse, who we are. What he learns is that it is not what happens to us, but how we handle it, that really shows our strength of character. How he comes to this discovery isn’t really the point, it’s that he comes to it it all. That he finds redemption, faith, and self-acceptance in a life filled with such hardship, gives hope to all of us. And that is really the point. (Dog Ear Publishing, Jul 22, 2016)


A Blast from the Past: “The Book Beat” Radio Program

Lee MeadowsIn the late 1990’s Lee Meadows hosted a weekly radio program on WPON in Detroit called “The Book Beat”. Meadows’s program included interviews of our favorite African American Authors—some of them at the beginning of their careers.

AALBC.com has archived many of this programs including interviews with J. California Cooper, Eric Jerome Dickey, Tananarive Due, Lolita Files, Linda Dominique Grosvenor, Omar Tyree, and others for your enjoyment. You can even listen to an interview with me (AALBC.com’s founder and webmaster) which was conducted less than a year after this site’s launch. Visit the “Book Beat” to listen to these wonderful interviews.


AALBC.com Discussion Forums—Join The Conversation!

African-American Literature Discussion

Where is the highest concentration of Black-owned bookstores in the United States?
Three Black writers have won the Nobel Prize for Literature; do you know who they are?
What are 8 things writers need to do to get published and not exploited\

Culture, Race & Economy Discussion

Why Obama’s statement, “The country is better off” Rings Hollow
I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!
The Best Definition of White Supremacy Ever


jeff at the fairTampa Bay Black Heritage Festival – Author Village

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the 17th Annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival. The highlight for me was the Author Village, where I had to opportunity to meet several authors and even a couple of clients.

Some of the participating authors included Jeff Carroll, Holly Mosley Cooper, Darrin DeWitt Henson, William L. Ingram, Pamala McCoy, Ersula Knox Odom, Stephanie Outten, Paul C. Thornton, and Cathy Finch White. Learn more about these authors and thousands of others on AALBC.com.

Never miss another terrific event, visit our Events Calendar.


Pamala McCoyPamala McCoy Interviewed by Beauty Talk Illustrated Magazine

Managing BONA5D full-time gives Pamala the opportunity to help individuals navigate their financial woes through a struggling economy to reach a place of freedom. She has a special interest to work with women and support women issues, particularly financial education. She believes teaching them the important tools necessary to mastering their finances will subsequently build confidence and lead women to a place of financial independence.


Get Your Book on AALBC.com’s Homepage Until March 21st!

Winter SpecialYour book will appear on our Homepage and our Book’s Main Page for the entire winter until midnight March 21, 2017). Buy it now; this special deal ends January 31.

All Winter Special advertisers will get a 25% discount on the Spring Special. The winter and spring are the busiest seasons of the year on AALBC.com.

Also, if you purchase your Large Book Cover Advertisement we’ll give you a free Author Profile—permanent placement on AALBC.com—as an added bonus!

AALBC.com is the oldest, largest, and most frequently visited website dedicated to books written by, or about, people of African descent. There is no other website that reaches readers of Black literature more effectively.


Dear Reader,

AALBC.com 19th YearAALBC.com continues to grow and improve because of your ongoing support. If you value our content, here are four simple things should do to support AALBC.com;

1. Do not use an ad blocker to block AALBC.com’s ads.
Advertisements are AALBC.com’s primary source of revenue. Our ads, which are usually books, are nonintrusive and are actually a great way to discover an excellent read.

2. Share our content.
It is our responsibility to ensure our that we relate our stories and history and are that they are shared and known widely.

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Thanks for reading and supporting Black books.

Peace & Love,

troy signature 1

Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com


You may receive messages like this directly in your email box by subscribing. It may also be read on your Kindle ebook reader, or any device by downloading a PDF version. Enjoy all of our previous eNewsletters and consider sponsoring our eNewsletter or a dedicated mailing.

AALBC.com eNewsletter – January 25, 2017 – Issue #241

Blackstar

NAACP Image Award Winner, Tony Rose pens, “America the Black Point of View”

An Autobiographical History Book by,
NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Literature, Tony Rose

“An American Masterpiece …. savagely written and beautifully told.”
www.theblackpointofview.comwww.ambersbooks.com

America The Black Point of View by Tony RoseAmerica The Black Point of View by Tony Rose

“I come from a place that is so invisible that you can hardly see me. Yet, I am despised, hated and feared more than anyone or anything… I live in the underbelly of America and I am poor and have nothing. I am a Black man… and I am invisible, until someone kills me…

This book is essentially a children’s story. A story of millions of children locked away in the segregated, red-lined ghettos and housing projects of America. I found out early on that this was not going to be an easy book to write. I wanted to write an autobiography about… the horrific murderers, pimps, gangsters, rapists, child abusers and thieves that I grew up with… [but] I soon realized that I could not write about me as an African-American… without writing about White America.

I also wanted to write about what it was like for a child… in the real ghetto, the projects… where, contrary to how poor Black people are always depicted, there was no God, no church on Sundays, and no singing in the choir.” —Excerpted from the Introduction

Whitter Housing ProjectsAmerica The Black Point of View: An Investigation and Study of The White People of America and Western Europe and The Autobiography of an American Ghetto Boy – The 1950’s and 1960’s – From the Projects to NAACP Image Award Winner, Volume One (Amber Books, 2015), Is the story of tens of millions of African American children locked away, in the segregated, redlined ghettos, and housing projects of America. It is the story of children living in horrific environments, with bad parents, in bad schools, where death rides hard and is known by everybody.

In this investigation and study of the white people of western Europe and America, Tony Rose takes you on an autobiographical and historic journey of great beauty and even greater horror.
The journey takes you all the way to the terrifying, vicious and savagely honest, invisible black ghetto world of a child, and then teenager, growing up in the housing projects of the 1950’s and 1960’s… More

“An alternately poignant and powerful autobiography that is as much a riveting overcoming-the-odds memoir as it is a searing indictment of the United States as a racist society. A must read.”
—Kam Williams, Syndicated Book Reviewer Read the Full Review ▶

Listen an Interview of Tony Rose with Joe Madison, “The Black Eagle” on SiriusXM

Tony Rose is an NAACP Image Award Winner For Outstanding LiteratureTony Rose is an NAACP Image Award Winner For Outstanding Literature
Tony Rose, was born in Roxbury, (Boston) Massachusetts and raised in the Whittier Street Housing Projects. He is an NAACP Image Award Winner, the Publisher and CEO of Amber Communications Group, Inc., the nation’s largest African American Publisher of Self-Help Books and Music Biographies.

He is the editor of numerous books and the co-writer of the national bestseller, Is Modeling For You? The Handbook and Guide For The Young Aspiring Black Model, written with Yvonne Rose, and has penned the critically acclaimed, international best-seller, Before the Legend: The Rise of New Kids On The Block and A Guy Named Maurice Starr, The Early Years.

He has written, compiled, edited and published, the award winning, international best-seller, African American History In The United States of America—An Anthology—From Africa To President Barack Obama, Volume One, a Top Ten Best African American Book and has recently written the critically acclaimed, America the Black Point of View – An Investigation and Study of the White People of America and Western Europe & The Autobiography of an American Ghetto Boy—The 1950’s and 1960’s—From the Projects to NAACP Image Award Winner, Volume One.

Amber Books BannerVisit www.amberbooks.com for Amber and Colossus Books Catalogs
Order all books online and wherever books are sold. Retail customers, bookstores, libraries, wholesalers and distributors email your purchase orders to amberbk@aol.com.

Contact:
Tony Rose, Publisher/CEO
Amber Communications Group, Inc.,
1334 E. Chandler Blvd., Suite 5-D67, Phoenix, AZ 85048
602-743-7211
amberbk@aol.com

Editors Note:
Tony Rose has indeed been a force in the publishing industry for almost two decades. He has remained successful and profitable in an environment that is increasing challenging to independent businesses. His success helps fuel the success of countless others writers and businesses, including AALBC.com.

Peace,
Troy Johnson
Founder & Webmaster,
AALBC.com

AALBC.com’s eNewsletter – October 28, 2014

You may receive this eNewsletter directly in your email-box by subscribing. It may also be read on your Kindle ebook reader, or any device by downloading a PDF version. Enjoy our previous eNewsletters. Consider sponsoring our eNewsletter or a dedicated mailing.

This month’s eNewsletter is sponsored by

Martha Kennerson

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Kristine is beautiful, smart, driven, and all set to have everything she wants in life. That is, until an ill-fated encounter alters the path she’s chosen in such a way that she’s forced to make the kind of life-altering decisions no woman should ever have to face. While waking up naked in a strange bed with a couple she barely knew wasn’t Kristine’s choice, how she deals with the consequences of that night creates a series of shocking choices that have a domino effect of turmoil to those close to her. Not everyone agrees with the direction Kristine’s life takes, but ultimately, she learns that strength and forgiveness can come from the most unfortunate of circumstances.

Visit www.marthakennerson.com to buy Consequences, and to find out more about Martha and her journey.

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Top Cities for Readers of African American Literature

news-top-cities-for-african-american-readersAALBC.com assessed the relative strengths of almost 300 American cities, to determine which ones are best able to provide environments that are supportive of, and conducive to, the enjoyment of African American Literature.

The result is a list of 26 cities we think are doing a great job. Let us know what you think ▶

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Authors You Should Know

news-marlon0jamesMarlon James

James was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1970. He graduated from the University of the West Indies in 1991 with a degree in literature. His first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. James lives in Kingston.

His most recent novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings,
Selected as one of the Library Journal’s Best Books of 2014. More ▶

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new-laurenLauren Francis-Sharma

Lauren is the daughter of Trinidadian-born parents, was raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan Law School and practiced as a corporate lawyer before writing ’Til the Well Runs Dry, her first novel.

“Women’s magazines from Elle to Oprah Winfrey’s O have praised Francis-Sharma’s novel, and it was recently the centerpiece of a small book festival in Washington during Caribbean Heritage Month …”—Krissah Thompson, The Washington Post More ▶

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news-michael-brownMichael B. Jackson

Jackson was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. He recently retired after working for 26 years with New Jersey Juvenile Corrections and Parole. His recently (October 2014) released novel, FatherHoodlum: Chronicles of a Prison Dad, is his first venture into fiction writing.

Jackson, founder of the Internet based radio station, Prison Nation Radio, is a passionate advocate for the rights, protections and success of formerly incarcerated people and their families and those without a voice. He lives by the philosophy that “Doing good is the best revenge” and encourages those leaving prison to take control of their own success and “Do good, with a vengeance.” More ▶

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Book Reviews

Rainbow in the Cloud: The Wisdom and Spirit of Maya Angelou

news-rainbow-in-the-cloudOver the course of an enviable career that spanned a half-century, she would write 7 autobiographies, 5 collections of essays, 18 books of poetry, 2 cookbooks, 7 children’s books, and 7 plays. She also received innumerable awards and accolades, including 60 honorary doctorates.

Rainbow in the Cloud is a collection of 200 of the late icon’s most memorable quotes borrowed not only from previously published works but from social media posts and pearls of wisdom shared over the years with her only son, Guy Johnson, and other family members. More ▶

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news-culture-worrierCulture Worrier: Selected Columns 1984—2014: Reflections on Race, Politics and Social Change

Clarence Page takes pride in the fact that his articles enjoy a broad appeal, a reflection of his sterling reputation as an impartial pundit willing to criticize folks on either side of the aisle as he sees fit. On the one hand, he might indict Ronald Reagan for playing the race card by invoking the image of “welfare queens” to curry the favor of rednecks during the 1980 presidential campaign. On the other, he’ll point out how, during the 2008 campaign, Obama declared, “Race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore,” only to proceed to do just that once he got into office. More ▶

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AALBC.com Videos

news-the-importance-of-literacy

An avid reader, Gail Newell of the Go On Girl! Book Club’s Maryland 2 chapter; a young writer, Taheerah Abdul-Rahmaan; a library CEO, Dr. Carla Dean; and two accomplished authors, Leonard Pitts, Jr., and Jason Mott; take the time to explain the importance of literacy.  If literacy, in the Black community is important to you, please share their message. Watch ▶

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Cornel West: Video – Strand bookstore October 22, 2014

news-cornel-west-10-22-2014Cornel West and Darryl Pinckney discussed the financialization, militarization, and privatization of the United States government. West also provided an update on the protests in Ferguson, MO where he and 49 other people were arrested for disturbing the peace.

This conversation took place the Strand bookstore’s rare book room, on October 22, 2014 in New York City. Watch ▶

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Go On Girl! Book Club’s 22nd Annual Author Awards

news-tracey-smithTracey Y. Smith, National Media & Author Relations Chairperson for Go On Girl! Book Club, highlights their 22nd Annual Author Awards celebration at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Author Awards dinner was held on Saturday, June 7, 2014 and honored the 2013 winning authors including Author of the Year, Leonard Pitts, Jr.; Life Achievement Awardee, Marita Golden; Jr. GOG Reader’s Choice Awardee, Kwame Alexander and Unpublished Writer Winner, Taheerah Abdul-Raheem. Watch ▶

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Book Recommendations

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National Book Awards Finalists Announced

AALBC.com congratuates Jacqueline Woodson for her novel, Brown Girl Dreaming, which was nominated in the Young People’s Literature category. We also congratuate, Fred Moten and Claudia Rankine, who were honored in the Poetry category for The Feel Trio and Citizen: An American Lyric respectively, and all of the other nominees. More ▶

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news-citzens-creekCitizens Creek: A Novel by Lalita Tademy

“Lalita Tademy has done it again—Citizen’s Creek is a deep, touching novel of great historical import and lyrical beauty. At the heart of this book is a headstrong family living both as free blacks as well as Muscogee-speaking Creek. We learn the history of a people: one in constant battle to protect both their lands and freedoms, their loves and loved ones–and ultimately, the quest for their inheritance and birthright as Americans–in the greatest, truest sense of the word.”—ZZ Packer More ▶

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Mad at Miles by Pearl Cleage

news-mad-at-miles“The title came about because she stumbled across a Miles Davis interview where he bragged about slapping Cicely Tyson in the mouth and how she was afraid of him when they were married. Wasn’t the first time I heard it, but I was shocked when I did. Miles has always been touted in the black community and among jazz fans as if he was some “musical genius/hero.” I was shocked and offended that he found it comical to abuse a woman, and that his behavior seemed to be a well kept secret. My feel is if Miles doesn’t respect women, he gets no loyalty from me as a fan…I give credit where it’s due in him being a musician, but you will not hear me giving him accolades.” —Dee (from the AALBC.com Discussion Forum)

With directness, Pearl Cleage takes an unblinking look at the current state of abusive relationships and battered women. This is a funny, angry, lyric piece of theatre that all should see, in order to better understand the realities women have dealt with for decades. More ▶

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Related Articles & News

Black Expressions Book Club is no More

news-black-expressionsBlack Expressions Book Club (BE), the first African American direct mail book club, has officially rejoined Doubleday Book Club, effectively ending its existence. BE was a significant part of the increased attention paid to Black books during the 10 year period beginning in the late nineties and was a big part of the Black book landscape.

Carol Mackey was the editor and public face of BE for most of the club’s life. Through Carol’s leadership the club helped bolster the careers of many authors and supported entities like AALBC.com, by co-sponsoring our 2nd annual Black Pack Party in Los Angeles. BE’s founding editor was Monica Harris (RIP), their final editor was Danielle Jackson.

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news-addictedAddicted ★★☆☆ — Film Review

I polled about a dozen sisters to see what they thought of the picture. They all loved it. But we men had found it sheer torture, from the tame sex scenes showing precious little skin, to the Puritanical moralizing, to the over-the-top melodrama.

That being said, since the estrogen-laden ladies uniformly enjoyed the film, I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume that testosterone heavily influenced my viewing experience. Therefore, fellow males might want to take anything positive I have to say here with a ton of salt. More ▶

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news-guguGugu Mbatha-Raw The “Beyond the Lights” Interview

Belle and Noni are almost polar opposites.
“Noni’s not a bad girl. She’s more of a victim. What interested me in this film, after doing Belle, which was a period drama set in a very repressed society, was the idea of exploring something much more contemporary: the sexualization of women and girls by the music and entertainment industries, how that has become the norm, and what is the cost of using sex to sell music, psychologically and emotionally. Gina [director Gina Prince-Bythewood] often talks about changing the conversation and steering the culture in a different direction, and about providing some inspiration to become your authentic self. Noni has become trapped by her public persona, so there was a lot to sink my teeth into.” —Gugu Mbatha-Raw More ▶

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news-ginaGina Prince-Bythewood The “Beyond the Lights” Interview

Born on June 10, 1969, Gina Maria Prince-Bythewood studied film at UCLA before beginning her career as a writer for the TV sitcom, A Different World. In 2000, she made a noteworthy directorial debut with the critically-acclaimed Love & Basketball, which netted a dozen accolades during awards season, including a couple of NAACP Image Awards, a BET Award and several Black Reel Awards.

Gina’s next feature was The Secret Life of Bees (2008), which also earned its share of trophies, including Image Awards for Best Picture and Best Director. Here, she talks about making her third movie, Beyond the Lights, a romance drama co-starring Gugu Mbata-Raw and Nate Parker. More ▶

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news-bruce-lee-ping-pongBelieve none of what you hear, and only half of what you see.

On a daily basis I see things on social media that demonstrates how easily we can be manipulated into believing that something is true, when it should be obvious that it is not. Facebook, for example, has been putting a lot more video on my newsfeed lately. I’ve started to notice a lot of videos that are clearly fake. However, based upon the comments posted, people believe these fake videos to be true. It is very scary how easily we can be fooled.

For example, I saw a video posted by someone I thought was pretty sharp. They used this video to prove how skilled the martial artist Bruce Lee was with nunchucks, which is a weapon made of two, foot-long sticks, connected by a short chain. Here we see Lee playing ping pong using these sticks This is not to say Bruce Lee was not a skilled martial artist, but the very idea that some people would actually believe this feat to be humanly possible is, itself, unbelievable. Join the Conversation ▶

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Download the AALBC.com Mobile App

news-aalbc-mobile-appThe AALBC.com Mobile Application is available for the Apple iOS and Google Android platforms.

With our free application you can stay up t0 date with our latest book and film reviews, interviews, articles, videos and more. You’ll find content not mentioned in our eNewsletter, as our eNewsletter primarily focuses on more recent information. Get the App ▶

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A Note to Authors

This Month’s Note: The “Old Fashioned” eNewsletter Still Works Great!

news-october-2014Social media is excellent for engaging with readers, but the majority of that engagement remains on the social media’s platform which does little to bring visitors to your website where a richer experience, that you manage, is possible.

Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of an “old fashioned” eNewsletter (like the one you are reading now) to bring visitors to your website. With a newsletter, you can reach all of your readers without having to worry about a social media algorithms deciding which readers see your message. Today, I use Mad Mimi to manage AALBC.com’s eNewsletter. Mad Mimi is free for up to 2,500 subscribers. Mail Chimp is also a good option and is free for up to 2,000 subscribers. Constant Contact is popular (I used it for years in the past), but they do not offer a free option and the service is relatively expensive.

Reaction to last month’s recommendation: Authors add a link on your website to an independent website (Follow this link to learn why), resulted in a number of authors linking back to AALBC.com including Jewell Parker Rhodes and Frankie Lemon. Thanks y’all!

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The Baltimore African American Book Festival Please consider purchasing, or renewing, your subscription to AALBC.com’s eNewsletter—less than 50 cents an issue.

If you’ve read something in our eNewsletter that you enjoyed, or felt was important, please share it. We are responsible for ensuring our stories are told, shared, and preserved. As the number of platforms promoting our work continue to decrease in number, and reach, your active participation is needed.

news-thanks-for-sharingFinally, if you are interested in sponsoring our eNewsletter, November and December are still available.

Peace,
Troy Johnson,
Founder and Webmaster