Tag Archives: writer

How is African American Literature Doing?

For those in the business of Black books here in America, this is a common question; “How is African American Literature Doing?”  Some find the question difficult to answer.  I don’t, because the answer is simple; African American Literature doing very well!

National Book Award Medals2017, 2016, and 2015 were terrific years for African American books.  The National Book Awards and The Pulitzer Prize honored more African American writers than any three year period before—and 2017 isn’t over yet.

Despite the lack of coverage by mainstream media, the Institutions that have historically honored African American writers have not let up; the Carter G. Woodson Award, Coretta Scott King Award, Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Phillis Wheatley Book Award, NAACP Image Award, and Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence are a few of the more popular awards that recognize great Black literature.

Some of the largest and most active book clubs do a tremendous job recognizing Black literary talent that might otherwise go unnoticed.  For example, for over a quarter of a century, the Go on Girl! book club has chosen excellent books for their reading list which is enjoyed by the hundreds of readers that make up their national book club. Even smaller clubs have a meaningful impact on helping to promote and raise awareness of Black writers.

Relatively newer entities like the African Americans on the Move Book Club and the African American Literary Awards Show are having a keen impact on Black Books by increasing the level of excitement surrounding Black books with their national award shows which recognize not just Black books, but publishing professionals as well.

Yahdon Israel’s #literaryswag and Glory Edim’s Well-Read Black Girl (#WRBGchat) are just of couple of folks introducing a younger crop of readers to Black books using social media as a primary tool.

There are scores of independent bookstores and online booksellers who continue to do the work of connecting readers with the books they will enjoy.

I have just introduced a new section on AALBC.com which highlights The Most Critically Acclaimed Books. This section of the site aggregates all of the books published that have earned multiple honors.  The books are listed across all genres, by year, and represent the best of the best.

The screen shot below shows below an example of one of the most critically acclaimed books of 2015, Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Among many accolades, Between The World And Me won a 2015 National Book Award, won an NAACP Image Award, was a finalist for a 2016 Pulitzer Prize, is a 7 time AALBC.com bestselling book, and was selected for 2 prominent Book Club’s reading lists, making it one of the most of the most acclaimed books published in the 21st century.

Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I hope readers are able to use this growing list of books to discover some terrific reads they may have missed.

Of course, with the near monopoly of Amazon and the lack of platforms who highlight African American literature, the business of Black book’s is struggling, but the literature itself is doing quite well.

It is reasonable to argue that African American literature would be doing even better if the businesses that supported the literature were thriving.  Indeed, this is an argument that I make on a daily basis.  Good, potentially great, writers aren’t being published.  The excellent books which are are being published are failing to reach their audience.

With more and stronger independent booksellers, readers would have less difficulty discovering the great reads.  With more and stronger periodicals and websites writing critical reviews of African American books, readers would have less difficulty separating the wheat from the chaff.

To compound matters, the booksellers and publications that survive and want to support Black literature are not utilized or supported sufficiently to be as effective as they can be.

As a result, it is not unusual for an avid reader to say, “there are simply not enough good books being published.”  Again, this speaks not to a dearth quality literature, but inefficiencies in the Black book ecosystem.

It is AALBC.com’s mission to celebrate Black literature and to address the weaknesses in the black book ecosystem.  Will you help me?

Victoria Christopher Murray Celebrates a Writing Career Spanning 20 Years and 27 Novels!


“In 1997, I self-published my first novel, Temptation. I sold 9,000 copies in 6 months, was picked up by a major publisher (Time Warner), and received my first NAACP Image Award nomination. Now, 20 years later, I’m still with a major publisher (Simon and Schuster), but I have also self-published a few novels. And now, my 27th book hits the shelves…”
Victoria Christopher Murray


LUSTVictoria’s latest novel is LUST: A Seven Deadly Sins (Touchstone, February 7, 2017)

“Murray has penned hot, steamy scenes in which her protagonist’s imagination runs wild, followed by the consequences of her realizing her dangerous dreams. A jarring twist at the end has the reader wondering who the good guys really are. Readers will be ready for more of Murray’s promising series.”
—Booklist (starred review)

“Murray (Stand Your Ground; Forever an Ex) mixes
quite a bit of passion, a touch of treachery, and some good old-fashioned revenge, taking time to build the tension…there’s a great resolution that hints at the movie Fatal Attraction.”
—Library Journal

“I have read Murray for years and have purchased Joy for at least 10 or more of my friends—birthdays, weddings, Christmas, etc. I love her books and have read about 8 or 10 of them. Now that l’ve retired, I can now catch up on the list of 27! Wonderful writer with the spiritual and real world approach! She, Pearl Cleage and, Walter Mosley are my absolute favorites!”
—Betti Clausell Chaney, AALBC.com eNewsletter Subscriber

About Lust

Meet the beautiful, entrepreneurial Tiffanie, who is days away from tying the knot with her first (and only) love. Tiffanie’s fiancé, Damon, is a highly successful businessman who is head-over-heels for her.

Everyone is happy for Tiffanie and Damon—except for Trey, Damon’s childhood friend and ex-partner from their drug dealings days. Unlike Damon, Trey refused to get out when the game got hot, and ended up in prison. Now he’s been released just in time to be the best man at Tiffanie and Damon’s lavish wedding. While Damon is thrilled, hoping this is a new start for his old friend, Tiffanie is confused by the lustful feelings she has around Trey.

When passion, betrayal, and revenge are mixed, only one man may be left standing.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & NobleTarget, and Wherever Books Are Sold

December 2016 Newsletter – Great New Books, Best Film of the Year, and More

Cerece Rennie Murphy – Our eNewsletter Sponsor for December
Experience The Love of A Lifetime ~ Two Souls, One Desire, To Find Each Other…Again

The journey begins with Ama and Ekow ~ Two lovers betrothed, then torn apart by an enemy disguised as a friend. And in the midst of an unthinkable bargain, their freedom is sold for a bag of gold. But what their enemies thought would break them only unleashed a power greater than life itself.

From the ancient shores of Ghana to the streets of pre-colonial India, from the burning embers of Oahu to the heart of a nation’s capitol. Their souls risked war, death, and betrayal to bend destiny to their will. Will they survive? Will they succeed? Join them on this timeless journey and see… (Buy To Find You Now)


New Books Coming January 2017

New Books

Kindred, by Octavia Butler, is one of my favorite novels. The 4 Time AALBC.com bestselling book was also voted #15 on our list of the Top 100 Books of the 20th Century, and is a QBR 100 Essential Black Book! Kindred is now available as a graphic novel—expanding Butler’s work to an entirely new audience.

Alice Childress, who is most famous for her novel, A Hero Ain’t Nothin But a Sandwich will enlighten a new generation of readers with a new edition of her classic novel about African-American domestic workers, Like One of The Family.

Roxane Gay returns with Difficult Women, a collection of stories of the quirky and vexed human condition.  48 time AALBC Bestselling Author, Kimberla Lawson Roby’s 25th book, Copycat, will be released; and Award-winning Poet Kwame Dawes presents us with a new collection, City of Bones: A Testament.

Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs, and Stories from an African American Childhood by award-winning author Patricia C. Mckissack and illustrator Brian Pinkney not only shows children wonderful games but helps preserve an important aspect of our cultural legacy.

Learn more about these, and more terrific new books, on our curated list of soon to be released books.


She is Global, an Artist, a Movement—Malaika Adero is “Global I Aam” by Patrick A. Howell

Malaika AderoMalaika Adero doesn’t call a lot of attention to herself. She does her work methodically and pointedly, beautifully, year after year, decade after decade without a lot of fanfare. All you see of Malaika are the volumes of books that she has birthed as well as the regular celebration of our global village griots and ancestors under the expanse of large colorful wings.

She is part of the 13th-century continuum of West African history from those kingdoms of Ghana, Songhai and Mali. She comes to us from the tradition of the griot—a story teller or praise singer who is a historian and often seen as a community and cultural leader, often times an advisor to persons of royal designation (think Miles Davis, Nelson Mandela, Prince, Toni Morrison, or Spike Lee amongst countless others). Read the full tribute to Ms. Adero.


Folktales’ Black Women’s Literary Society

Folktales’ Black Women’s Literary Society

Folktales’ Black Women’s Literary Society, from Austin, Texas, meets the 3rd Friday of each month from February – November usually at the George Washington Carver Museum. They are a group of Black women reading African America authors. Learn more about this Book Club and hundreds of others on our book club listing.


Amazon Owns the Black Book Ecosystem—Does it Matter?

Amazon Timeline of expansionThere are very few booksellers (physical stores and online) selling books, independent of Amazon, and making very much money doing it. This is particularly true for booksellers who sell books that are important to the Black community. As a result, Amazon, to our detriment, owns the Black book ecosystem. Amazon not only profits disproportionately from our products they determine which books are important and are seen.

I encourage you to read this research report produced by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. This report brilliantly describes the impact of Amazon’s virtual monopoly and how Amazon is “Stifling Competition, Eroding Jobs, and Threatening Communities.”


African American Film Critics Association Names Moonlight the Top Film of 2016

African American Film Critics Association Names Moonlight the Top Film of 2016“Our members had a plethora of outstanding movies, documentaries and TV shows to choose from this year,” says AAFCA Co-founder Shawn Edwards. “It was an exceptional year in terms of the quantity and quality of films about the black experience. And while this by no means solves the diversity issue in the film industry it was definitely refreshing to have such a wide-range of exceptional work to choose from to honor and celebrate with our approval.”

There were several movies released this year that are considered masterpieces. However, it was “Moonlight” that dominated this year’s voting for the 8th AAFCA Awards. The independent film which chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami completely resonated with the majority of the members of the association.”


Put Your Book on AALBC.com Until March 21, 2017!

Put Your Book on AALBC.com Until March 21, 2017!Your book will appear on our Homepage and our Book’s Main Page for the entire winter (December 22, 2016 until midnight March 21, 2017). Get it now.

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,

All About AALBC.comThis, our 240th newsletter, will our last newsletter for 2016. I hope you will be able to enjoy the holiday season with family, friends, and a few good books.

Remember, AALBC.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 perspectives and history are shared and known widely.

3. Buy your books through AALBC.com.
If you use Amazon to buy anything, bookmark this link http://aalbc.it/supportaalbc and generate commissions for AALBC.com. Book sales count toward our bestsellers list.

4. Pay for your subscription to our newsletter.

Thanks for reading and supporting Black literature.

Peace & Love,

Troy Signature
Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com


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AALBC.com eNewsletter – December 15, 2016 – Issue #240