Tag Archives: Troy Johnson

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


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 – May 24, 2017 – Issue #245

AALBC.com Logo

 

Top 50 Authors, Bestselling Books, and More

50 Favorite African-American Authors of the 20th Century

Top 50 African American Authors

1,826 readers cast votes, back in 2001, for their favorite African-American authors. Here we share the 50 authors who received the most votes. Is your favorite author among them?

Bestselling Books May/June 2016

Bestselling Books May/June 2016

Our bestselling books for May and June of 2016 is a mix of books by both major and independent publishers. Recently published and classic titles are represented as well, making for an interesting list.


The 2016 Phillis Wheatley Book Awards Winning Books

The 2016 Phillis Wheatley Book Awards Winning Books

The 2016 Phillis Wheatley Book Awards Winning BooksThe 2016 Phillis Wheatley Book Award winners were announced, during the Harlem Book Fair, on Saturday, July 16, 2016 at 5 p.m. The winning titles are all excellent, but the finalist are definitely worth checking out too. AALBC.com published very favorable reviews of; Bibsy, by Brenda Ross; and The Summer of my Fifteenth Year, by Geri Spencer Hunter; which were finalists for Wheatley Awards.


New Books Coming in August

New Books Coming in August

Jacqueline Woodson, Jesmyn Ward, Teju Cole, Rep. John Lewis, Greg Tate, the names alone should inspire excitement. Visit AALBC.com to learn about excellent books published in the last two months, and to discover great reads coming out soon.


The Results of a Decade on Social Media

The Results of a Decade on Social MediaMuch of what I think about social media runs counter to conventional wisdom, but I appreciate my perspective is rather unique: I have over 20 years of experience building websites and actively publishing original content to the web. I teach web design at the college level and have used all of the major social media platforms for about as long as they have been around.

In this article I share detailed results of AALBC.com’s use of social media over the last 10 years, from BlackPlanet to Facebook and everything in between. Hopefully my experience will help you; “Use social media; don’t let it use you.”


Tiphanie Yanique, Nicole Dennis-Benn, and Glory Edim

Tiphanie Yanique, Glory Edim, and Nicole Dennis-Benn,

Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of Here Comes The Sun; Glory Edim, founder of #wellreadblackgirl; and Tiphanie Yanique, author of Land of Love and Drowning; shout out their favorite bookstores and read from their novels.  These videos were recorded on July 27, 2016 at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, in New York City.


Oprah’s Book Club 2016 Selection

The Underground Railroad by Colson WhiteheadHere is the latest book club pick from Oprah; The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.

“Every now and then a book comes along that reaches the marrow of your bones, settles in, and stays forever. This is one. It’s a tour de force, and I don’t say that lightly.” —Oprah Winfrey

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom (Doubleday, August 2).

Also let us know what you think about the phenomenon of Oprah’s Picks.


Poet, Kevin Young to Serve as New Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Poet, Kevin YoungOn August 1st, the New York Public Library announced, “Kevin Young will be joining NYPL as Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. He will begin his tenure at the Library in the late fall. Kevin succeeds Khalil Gibran Muhammad, who led the Schomburg with great distinction for the last five years.”

Visitors to AALBC.com will recognize Kevin Young as an accomplished Poet, who was a finalist for a 2003 National Book Award


Events Coming in August

Leimert Park Village Book Fair

▪ The 32nd Annual Rocky Mountain Book and Paper Fair, Aug 5 to 6, Denver, CO
▪ National Conference of African American Librarians, Aug 9 to 13, Atlanta, GA
▪ Blogger Week 2016 UnConference Aug 20 to 21, Washington, DC
▪ Leimert Park Village Book Fair Aug 20, 2016, Los Angeles, CA


Meet Troy Johnson Founder and President of AALBC.com

Meet AALBC.com Founder and Webmaster, Troy JohnsonI had the pleasure of being part of Virgo Girl Media’s Meet 50 Bloggers Tour

“Although Troy runs a digital website you can constantly find him out and about within the crowd. My first encounter with Troy was at one of his literary networking mixers in Harlem and from that day forth, I swear I have seen Troy at 90% of the literary events I have attended. I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “It not what you know, it is who you know”; well Troy is one of those people to know.”

Check out Virgo Girl Media’s interview with me and share it with others.


Authors Get Your Website Up and Running Fast!Authors Get Your Website Up and Running Fast!

Do you have an out of date website and can’t find your webmaster? Is your Facebook page your “official” website? Would you like a website, but don’t know where to begin? If any of the above is true, you need AALBC.com’s Enhanced Author Profile.

Even if you are satisfied with your web site, you will still benefit from the increased exposure an Enhanced Author Profile provides. We are often update our pages before and an author’s main site and out rank them in search. Authors with an existing profile (over 2,460 of you) can upgrade at a discounted rate.

This service is not just for authors. Many publishers, agents, publicists, book cover designers, editors, and other industry professions are discovered on AALBC.com. You’ll attract more visitors, than you would on your own because you be associated with, AALBC.com, the most popular website dedicated to Black books!


Edit 1st – Manuscript Editing Services

Edit 1st Manuscript Editing ServicesWe Provide a Full Range of Editing Services
“Edit 1st’s services are first rate! I found them to be extremely helpful and easy to work with. They offer professional, in-depth insight and comments. Are easily accessible for questions and feedback, and their work is comprehensive in scope taking in the totality of your work, with respect to grammar, plot and voice. I completely recommend them to anyone looking to make a good story great!”—David Lamb, award-winning playwright and author


Participate in an AALBC.com Focus Group

Dear Reader,

AALBC.com Celebrating 18 yearsAre you interested in helping AALBC.com improve? Would you like to share your ideas with us? There will be two sessions during the month of August. In New York City and central Florida. If you are interested in participating let me know which days of the week and times works best for you. Food will be provided and books will be given away. Email me at troy@aalbc.com

As always, thanks for reading!
Peace & Love,

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 – August 3, 2016 – Issue #236

Our Future is Cyberspace

Black Issues Book Review Nov-Dec 1999 cover“Outsiders” have often dictated the trends of African American Culture, sometimes doing the job themselves, sometimes using what authors John A. Williams called “surrogates.”  Both W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington accused each other of being manipulated by outsiders.

With the introduction of cyberspace, younger writers have the ability to reach audiences unheard of during the sixties when African American writers produced broadsides and saddle-stitched chapbooks.  As access to cyberspace becomes less expensive, more voices will be heard and this period, the most prolific in the history of African American Literature, will rise to worldwide prominence, no longer having to obey the tastes of the outsiders in power or the dictates of the establishment-manufactured Talented Tenth.
Ishmael Reed (Black Issues Book Review; November-December 1999)

During the period Ishmael Reed wrote this I would have agreed with him.  A year earlier, I’d started AALBC.com with just that belief in mind.  But I was naive, and today I strongly disagree with the statement.  I wonder if Ishmael disagrees with it now too.  I will reach out to him, and see if he is willing to share his thoughts here.  He is active on Facebook so…

“Cyberspace,” or the World Wide Web, as it is more commonly known today, has actually made it easier for “Outsiders” to dictate the trends of African American Culture. Nothing has changed indeed it has gotten much worse for us.

Market forces drive us to conform to the dictates of the “Outsiders” referred to by Reed. The most popular “Black” websites are not owned by Black people.  The ones that are owned by Black folks take their marching orders from the white owned sites they minick, in an attempt to attract visitors.  Anyone who has been online for 5 minutes knows about the-celebrity-scandal-click-bait content that drives our most popular, so called, Black sites.

Sure there may be more Black writers with the potential to reach more people, but they are finding it increasingly difficult to be heard, unless of course they are cosigned by one of the massive sites run by “outsiders”; which then of course requires conforming to their dictates.

Despite all of this virtually free access to the web and numerous tools to publish content, we do not drive the narrative, rather the “outsiders” created narrative drives us.  Anyone attempting to do something other than what the “outsiders” have prescribed will fail or struggle miserably.

I often read old magazines for a historical perspective.  I subscribed to Black Issues Book Review (BIBR) for it’s entire run.  The issue from where I transcribed Ishmael’s quote was brilliant.  I’m unaware of any other magazine that comes close to producing the content  Black Issues Book Review did during it’s prime.  Both the magazine and the associated website are long gone.

Part of the problem is the we simply do not work in our own self interest.  Sure there are some great exceptions, but not enough to really make a difference.  When I was a corporate employee, this was not apparent to me, but the minute I became a business owner it became very obvious. It is very sad.

For example, I would listen to Black writers give Black Issue Book Review, a lot of grief for not paying them enough, or fast enough, for the articles they wrote.  Of course if you say you are going to pay someone, you need to pay them.  But I also observed some of these very same writers proudly write for the Huffington Post for free!  Just the idea of having a HuffPost byline was enough compensation. There was never as much pride in having a BIBR byline.

Today we have fewer websites dedicated to Black books.  One would think there would be an uproar, but media, like a BIBR, who would report on this problem, no longer exists.  I’d image the general public has no idea a problem even exists.  Even saying there are few Black book websites, would not mean much absent a historical context.  Meanwhile, the “outsider” has sold us on the idea popularity on their platforms is the only meaningful measure of success.

Sites like AALBC.com who are inclined to report on this issue, an issue that does not conform to the “dictated the trend,” defined by the “outsiders,” have to fight to be heard. Trust me; it is a fight. Social media is pay to play, and search results skew away from Black independent websites.  But most importantly, our people will not sacrifice to support, no invest, in our own platforms.  Paying a bit more or clicking away from a massive social media site is apparently too much of a sacrifice for us to make, to control our own narrative.

Black websites certainly don’t matter to the massive corporations who control the World Wide Web, but based upon our behavior they don’t matter to us either.

Our future may be cyberspace, but that future looks pretty bleak.  I hope to tell a very different story in 15 years.