Category Archives: books

May 2017 Newsletter: Bestselling Books, New Books, Author Info, and Much More

Our May Newsletter is Generously Sponsored by AmistadOur May Newsletter is Generously Sponsored by Amistad


Bestselling Books

AALBC bestselling book March April 2017Bestselling Books: March/April 2017

aalbc bestseller logoProvenance a novel by Donna Drew Sawyer, which tops our fiction list, is now a 3-time AALBC.com Bestseller. Number one on our Children’s list is Sydney Sunshine and the Not-So-Magic Mirror, which makes 9-year-old author, Sydney McGee, the youngest bestselling author in AALBC.com history. On the nonfiction side we have 10 Ways Anyone Can Graduate From College Debt-Free: A Guide To Post-College Freedom by Kevin Y. Brown, leading all nonfiction titles.

Check out all the AALBC.com Bestsellers going back to 1998.

We are also in the process of designing a bestselling book seal which publishers and authors may use to help readers discover the books which are attracting the most attention on AALBC.com. We can use your help. Take a look at some of our designs and let us know what think.


AALBC.com Partners with What’s The 411 TV

AALBC.com partners with whats the 411 TVTroy Johnson with Ruth J. Morrison, CEO of What’s The 411 Networks

AALBC.com has partnered with What’s The 411 TV to bring information about Black books, authors, events, and news to both What’s The 411TV and AALBC.com’s audiences.

What’s The 411 TV reaches 14 million subscribers across the country on DishTV and can also be seen on Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Verizon FiOS, and RCN in New York City. The relationship is a great opportunity to expand our respective platforms, reach more reader, and celebrate Black culture through books.


25 African Male Writers You Should Read

25 Male African WritersWe all know the iconic writers like Nigeria’s Chinua Achebe whose debut novel, Things Fall Apart, is perhaps the most widely read novel from the continent. We may also be familiar with the and Wole Soyinka, the first African to win a Nobel Prize in Literature. We may also be aware of Kenya’s Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o or Nuruddin Farah of Somalia, but there are many other great writers to be discovered; here we highlight just a small sample—enjoy! Learn more.


New Books Coming Out June 2017

Learn about excellent new books coming out this month and the coming months.


Recently Reviewed Books

Once Upon a LieOnce Upon a Lie by Michael R. French

Full of twists, turns and surprises, Once Upon a Lie will keep you guessing until the very end. Though readable and engaging, the real complexity and intricacy is in the telling of the stories and the rich multilayered and multi-dimensional characters that French handily delivers. Jaleel’s story, brilliantly highlights the often unrelenting pitfalls many black men face, in a country too often willing to punish them for simply living while black. And while the ending is in many ways as bleak you would imagine, it is not tragic for whom you’d expect. In fact, I found the book to be nothing like I thought it would be, at almost every turn. And for that I applaud French. Highly recommended.


Recommended Reads

The Fifth Season N. K. JemisinThe Fifth Season N. K. Jemisin

Jemisin’s first novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, was nominated for the 2010 Nebula Award and short-listed for the James Tiptree Jr. Award. In 2011, it was also nominated for the Hugo Award, World Fantasy Award, and won the 2011 Locus Award for Best First Novel.

In 2016, she became the first black person to win the Best Novel Hugo for The Fifth Season. The New York Times described The Fifth Season as “Intricate and extraordinary,” when it listed it a Notable Book of 2015.


Forbidden Fruit by Stanley GazembaForbidden Fruit by Stanley Gazemba

Forbidden Fruit is more than a dramatic tale of rural life in western Kenya. The moral slips and desperate cover-ups—sometimes sad, sometimes farcical—are the stories of time and place beyond the village of Maragoli. Previously published in Kenya as The Stone Hills of Maragoli (Kwani? 2010), won the prestigious Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature.

Republished (June 2017) by The Mantle who publishes emerging critics, writers, and intellectuals in the areas of arts & culture, international affairs, philosophy, and world literature.


Memoirs of Women in Blue: The Good, The Bad and No Longer Silent by Mickey See-Asia and RavenMemoirs of Women in Blue: The Good, The Bad and No Longer Silent by Mickey See-Asia and Raven

Mickey See-Asia and Raven, two former New York City police officers give you an inside look at what they observed while trying to protect the public. They also dealt with the politics that governed how police officers should act while in the performance of their duty. Furthermore, memoirs expose the reader to the realities faced by female police officers, who, for years have remained silent. Now, the public needs so desperately to interpret the senseless acts of violence that are occurring on an almost daily basis across our country.


Recent Videos

Samson Dempsey the “Midtown Playa” Turns NovelistSamson Dempsey the “Midtown Player” Turns Novelist

I’ve shot numerous videos of Brothers selling books on the street, but I have not done one in several years. I caught Sampson selling his books on 125th street in Harlem.

The first author I filmed selling books on the street was over 10 years ago, I captured then first-time author Randy Kearse. Randy went on to publish several more books and gain a great deal more prominence. A decade later, Randy told me he had only been out of jail for a couple of months and that he truly appreciated the support I showed him—that makes this all worthwhile 🙂


Inventor of the Portable Backpack Desk, Milton BertrandInventor of the Portable Backpack Desk, Milton Bertrand

When in Florida, I spend hours in Barnes and Noble and Starbucks working on AALBC.com. Over the last couple of years, I’ve become friendly with Milton Bertrand.

We started talking because I noticed he was sitting in the B&N at a desk that he brought into the store himself. I thought who brings a desk to a bookstore?! We started talking and he explained how his desk actually folded up into his backpack. I thought that was such a cool idea, maybe you will too.


Mystery Novelist Ashley Lynch-HarrisMystery Novelist Ashley Lynch-Harris

I met Ashley Lynch-Harris at the Oxford Exchange Book Fair in Tampa Florida, on May 7, 2017. She was a little apprehensive when I first offered to film her talking about her book. But her husband encouraged her (they make a lovely couple), and she did a great job describing her new murder mystery, The Hotel Westend, which sounds intriguing.


Vote for Your Favorite Black Author of the 21st CenturyVote for Your Favorite Black Author of the 21st Century

We are compiling a fascinating list of our favorite Black Authors. Our new survey expands the scope of our list for the 20th Century, to include Black authors regardless of their nationality. The only requirement is that the authors you vote for must have been alive and published a book in the 21st century. Everyone is welcome to vote. (NOTE: You may vote for ANY Black author, not just the ones pictured).

Cast your vote today! and share the poll with others. This is a great way to discover and share information about new but significant writers from our network of readers. Check out the current results.


Minorities in Publishing (MIP)

Minorities in Publishing (MIP)Minorities in Publishing is an excellent bimonthly podcast hosted by Jenn Baker who discusses, with other publishing industry professionals issued related to diversity (or lack thereof) in publishing.

Check out the conversation with Tracy Sherrod, editorial director of Amistad Books (an imprint of HarperCollins focusing solely on Black voices). They discuss Tracy’s love of books and publishing, her desire to be an advocate for Black artists, the tenacity it takes to get in and stay in the industry, as well as how important support is from the consumer end to make sure more diverse books reach shelves.


140+ Book Events, Fairs, Festivals, and Conferences


Join the Conversation

Is This Photo of Viola Davis Subtly Racist?Is This Photo of Viola Davis Subtly Racist?

Please take our short 4 question survey and let us know what you think. We have been having a fascinating discussion on the subject of racism. Is racism firmly entrenched in our culture or in our minds?

Check out this and other conversations on our discussion forums.


Win Patti Labelle’s New Cook Book

Win Patti Labelle’s New Cook BookBe one of the first three subscribers to identify three of the five African male writers pictured near the beginning of this newsletter. Email the three names to troy@aalbc.com. The first three emails received with three correct names will win. Desserts LaBelle: Soulful Sweets to Sing About by Patti Labelle. Desserts LaBelle is filled with beautiful images and instructions on making terrific desserts&mdash including Patti LaBelle’s world famous sweet potato pie.

This contest is sponsored by Grand Central Publishing.


Authors: Let AALBC.com be Your Official Web Presence

Authors: Let AALBC.com be Your Official Web PresenceAALBC.com believes an author is best served by having their own website. In reaction to seeing so many authors give up running their own website and turning to Facebook or Amazon to serve as their primary web presence, we decided to launch a new service.

We can help you register your domain name and direct it to your AALBC.com Profile Page. This will not only give readers a much richer experience with your books, you’ll also enjoy the next best thing to having a dedicated website. Plus you’ll reap the benefits of being on the largest platform dedicated to Black books and authors. Learn how to get started.


Dear Reader,

AALBC.com Founder and Webmaster, Troy JohnsonI’ll be in New York City on May 30th participating on a panel discussion about Funding for the Arts hosted by Harlem World Magazine; the next day, May 31st, I’ll be co-hosting the 11th Annual Black Park Party; in Sacramento CA, on June 6th, giving a talk entitled, “The Impact of Amazon, Google, and Facebook on the Black Book Ecosystem” during the Sacramento Black Book Festival; and in Atlanta GA, on June 10th, where I’ve been nominated for, “Literary Activist of the Year,” an honor which will be presented during The African Americans On The Move Book Club Literary Awards.

If you can make any of these events please stop by and say hello; I’d enjoy to meeting you.

Please know that AALBC.com continues to grow because of your support. Please spread the word about our site, post your comments on our pages, and consider purchasing for your newsletter subscription.

Peace & Love,

Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com


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AALBC.com eNewsletter – May 24, 2017 – Issue #245

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AALBC.com Partners with What’s The 411 TV

AALBC.com has partnered with What’s The 411 TV to bring information about Black books, authors, events, and news to both What’s The 411TV and AALBC.com’s audiences.

What’s The 411 TV reaches 14 million subscribers across the country on DishTV and can also be seen on Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Verizon FiOS, and RCN in New York City. The relationship is a great opportunity to expand our respective platforms, reach more reader, and celebrate Black culture through books.

WhatsThe411

Founded by Ruth J. Morrison and based in Brooklyn, New York, What’s The 411 TV is a division of What’s The 411 Networks, a media/news and information company connecting sophisticated multi-cultural audiences through its distribution platforms of television, online, mobile, and social media (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Vimeo).

I’m excited about this partnership, because it has tremendous opportunity to improve our ability to spread the word about great books and Black culture.

Documentary Film on History of Blacks in Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction Books

“The Invisible Universe documentary reveals the history of the representations and participation of Black people in the genres of fantasy, horror and science fiction, or speculative fiction (SF). Framed through the POV of a time traveling Archivist, the documentary explores 150 years of speculative fiction literature, its origins, developments, key personalities and current state, all through the perspective of Black people and history. The documentary demonstrates how the genres, which were premised on the ideology of white supremacy, have been adopted and adapted by Black writers as a form of artistic resistance for envisioning different worlds and futures”

The film includes interviews with Black writers of SF like, Samuel R. Delany, Octavia E. Butler, Steven Barnes, Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson, Nnedi Okorafor, Brandon Massey, and N.K. Jemisin.  This feature-length documentary has been in the works for several years. I discovered it while looking for a more recent video for author Brandon Massey.  It looks like it will be a fascinating film.science fiction writers
Six months ago this film was in post-production and theatrical and streaming distribution was planned for this year 2017. The film’s producer, director, and writer, M. Asli Dukan, is currently soliciting financial support; you may learn more on the film’s website: http://invisibleuniversedoc.com/