Tag Archives: Writers

How Bloggers Can Help Each Other

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A few years ago I created a website, Huria Search, to showcase and highlight the websites of Black content providers, including magazines, newspapers, major websites, and bookstores.

In April of this year, I added a database of Black bloggers (http://huria.org/blogs/). Today there are 195 blogs in the database. I personally added about 75% of the blogs. Basically, I went to every blog roll and best blog ranking I could find, and added the blogs that were still online and active.

I’ve read content from all of the blogs. Several blogs are well designed, have great content, enjoy a large audience, and are doing well financially. However, all the blogs can benefit from more readers and revenue.

I feel we should, and can, do more to support each other.

I have both a personal and collective interest in seeing this happen; I have maintained this blog for over a decade, and understand the challenges bloggers, especially those just starting out, face attracting readers. From a collective perspective, I know many good writers who no longer blog, because they were unable to attract readers or effectively monetize their blogs. Without their contributions, the Web does reflect the richness of our culture and is a less interesting place. In fact, looking at the list today, I see we have already lost a few blogs since April.

Some bloggers are migrating to Facebook, but the creativity and unique design of a Blog are simply impossible on a Facebook page. Of course there are also the issues of revenue, privacy, control and even ownership to contend with.

I see no indication the difficulty in attracting readers and generating revenue on a blog will change, in our favor, unless we take action to reverse it. My list of blogs can help readers discover the blogs in the database, but again I think we can do more to help each other.
I don’t pretend to have solutions, but I think if we figure out ways to collectively leverage our blogs, we can all benefit. Before search engines we used webrings, while that may not be a great solution in 2015, it may be better than what we are doing now.

I’m appealing to you for ideas to help all of us in our effort to attract more readers to our blogs. If you have any ideas please consider emailing me at troy@aalbc.com, replying in the comments section below, or better still by sharing your thoughts on a conversation I just started on my discussion forum.

You may add additional blogs to our database by using this form.

troy_signature_1_

Troy Johnson,
Founder Huria.org

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New Self-Publishing Literary Award to Promote Diverse Books in Libraries

BCALA; SELF-e partner for new self-publishing literary award to promote diverse books in libraries

BCALA_LogoThe Black Caucus of the ALA (BCALA) and BiblioBoard announce the creation of an annual self-publishing award. Following the model of the current BCALA Literary Awards, the new award will honor the best self-published ebooks in fiction and poetry by an African American author in the U.S.

Authors who enter the contest will have the opportunity to opt into the SELF-e program and their own Indie State module, providing them with an invaluable resource for promotion and exposure of their work.  SELF-e is a partnership between BiblioBoard and the Library Journal and is aimed at finding the best self-published books and making those books seamlessly available to library patrons.

Winning authors will receive:

  • $500 Cash Prize
  • Formal recognition at the Black Caucus of ALA Literary Awards
  • BCALA Literary Award Seal to use in marketing

The BCALA Self-Publishing Literary Award will be the first presented by the Black Caucus for digital content, as well as the first recognizing self-published work. It represents an exciting new opportunity not only to recognize diverse authors and books, but also to foster successful partnerships between libraries, authors and communities.

BiblioBoard founder and Chief Business Officer Mitchell Davis is excited for the opportunities the award will create. “As publishing continues to evolve in the digital era, it is clear that self-published authors will play an ever increasing role in the literary landscape,” says Davis. “Efforts like this help authors get the recognition they deserve and help readers to find important books. It also places libraries at the center of the indie movement and insures they can positively influence book culture now and into the future.”

As an organization that is celebrating  45 years of championing African American librarians and literature, the BCALA is excited to work with SELF-e in creating new avenues to foster relationships between libraries and indie authors. “Working with SELF-e is another way for the BCALA to continue our service as advocates for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services to the nation’s African American community,” says current BCALA president Kelvin Watson.

Watson also cites the #weneeddiversebooks campaign, a new viral movement championed by librarians in pursuit of books by diverse authors for diverse audiences, as an influence. “There has been a lack of diversity and equity in literature. SELF-e is an excellent tool to assist in connecting and being more inclusive,” he added.

The submission period began May 2015 and will extend through December. Final selections will go to a BCALA-appointed panel, which will select the winners of the Best Fiction and Best Poetry awards in January. Winners will be announced in January 2016 and formally recognized at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference.  (Submission Guidelines)

The official deadline for the contest is December 18th, 2015.

About the Black Caucus of the ALA (BCALA)

Established in 1970, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association serves as an advocate for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services and resources to the nation’s African American community; and provides leadership for the recruitment and professional development of African American librarians.

About SELF-e

self-e_logoSELF-e is an online discovery tool for self-published authors created by Library Journal in collaboration with BiblioBoard. Authors that submit to SELF-e may have their work chosen by Library Journal to appear in curated collections on BiblioBoard’s award-winning PatronsFirst™ mobile platform being used in participating libraries nationwide. The multi-user, waitlist-free eBook platform provides authors with an exceptional resource for expanding readership, targeting new audiences and promoting their work.

About BiblioBoard

BiblioBoard is the PatronsFirst™ mobile library. The folks behind BiblioBoard are a powerful team based in Charleston, S.C. They aim to transform access to information by providing a world-class user experience that thrills library patrons and is profitable for publishers. BiblioBoard is moving library content delivery into the future in a sustainable way. BiblioBoard, used by nearly 3,000 libraries and in three statewide eBook projects, reaches 30 million patrons. BiblioBoard has won numerous design and product awards including the 2014 Modern Library Award.

Bestsellers Lists, Authors, New Books & More – June 2015

Power List Spring 2015

Multi-Title Authors Find Success on Spring 2015 Edition of the Power List of Best-Selling African-American Books More ▶

Books published by Brown Girls Books dominate AALBC.com’s Bestsellers list for the period March to April of 2015.


Authors You Should Know


J. Ivy: Hip-Hop PoetJ. Ivy: Hip-Hop Poet

J. Ivy is a hip-hop poet, musician, actor, and speaker. He received a Peabody Award for his performance on Russell Simmons’s Def Poetry, as well as a Grammy Award for his contribution with Jay-Z on Kanye West’s The College Dropout album. J. has also collaborated with John Legend, RZA, The Last Poets, The Roots, Common, Mos Def, The Black Crowes, Bob Dylan, and many more.

He supports his community through his Write to Live Academy and the Dear Father Initiative, which encourages young people to explore careers in the arts. If you know a young man, or even an older, one troubled by a lack of a relationship with their father, share J. Ivy’s work with them. Check out our video of J. Ivy, at work, uplifting Black youth here ▶


Jaz Johnson: 21-Year-Old-NovelistJaz Johnson: 21-Year-Old-Novelist

Jasmine “Jaz” Johnson was born on December 13th, 1993 in Bridgeport, Connecticut and has been writing as long as she can remember. Jaz’s passions include art, writing, and graphic design. Her first novel, Sibling Secrets, was published in 2010.

This young writer is so very impressive. At 21, she has already published novels in several genres including, science fiction, and romance (or borderline erotica as she describes it). Readers of any age will enjoy her work. Writers of any age can draw inspiration from her example. She has a life goal of owning a bookshelf of her own books, and being surrounded by the lives and worlds she’s created. I’m sure she will realize that dream. More ▶


Regine L. Sawyer: Creator of Black ComicsRegine L. Sawyer: Creator of Black Comics

Sawyer is the founder of Lockett Down Productions and coordinator of Women in Comics NYC/International. We’ve published a video of Regine describing both her work and publications. She spoke with AALBC.com during the Bronx Book Fair. More ▶


Dr. Condoleezza RiceDr. Condoleezza Rice

Rice has authored and co-authored several books, including Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft, with Philip Zelikow; The Gorbachev Era, with Alexander Dallin,Uncertain Allegiance: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army and Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family, which we reviewed back in 2010.

Unfortunately many in the Black community have marginalized Dr. Rice’s remarkable, often unprecedented, accomplishments. A few weeks ago she spoke at my daughter’s college graduation. It was a excellent speech and an inspiration to many. While  ainstream media gushed over Steve Jobs graduation speech a few years ago,
Condi’s speech, arguably more impressive, was overlooked by the media. You may watch the speech here ▶.


Banke Awopetu-McCulloughBanke Awopetu-McCullough

Banke is a native of Rochester, NY. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Drama and African and African-American Studies from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Adolescent Education from Roberts Wesleyan. McCullough’s literary style has most been influenced by hip hop music and classic African-American literature.

Her latest novel, Always Want More (Mill City Press, October 2014), tells the story of Tracy Mitchell whose rise in the hip-hop journalism world was swift and fierce. Having secured a position at her dream publication, Real, she hopes to write stories that make an impact. You’ll also enjoy the book’s trailer and book club discussion video. More ▶


Book Reviews


Child, Please: How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked MyselfChild, Please: How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check
Myself Before I Wrecked Myself

Toya Graham was at home watching TV coverage of the recent Baltimore riots when she spotted her only son, Michael, in an unruly crowd of kids taunting and throwing objects at the police. Without giving it a second thought, the shocked, single-mother of six sprang into action and rushed right down to the scene to retrieve her misbehaving 16 year-old. Cell phone cameras caught Toya lecturing and slapping Michael silly as she dragged him away…

In Child, Please (Tarcher, May 5, 2015) author, Ylonda Gault Caviness, has belatedly come to embrace more of her mom’s supposedly-antiquated approach after becoming exasperated by the challenge of rearing her own three daughters. “Any fool could see, Mama had the whole motherhood thing down to a science,” she concedes. “Now, in my forties, I finally get it.” More ▶


Book Recommendations


The Ultimate Betrayal by Kimberla Lawson RobyThe Ultimate Betrayal by Kimberla Lawson Roby

AALBC.com, Power List and New York Times bestselling author Kimberla Lawson Roby is back with the 12th book in the Reverend Curtis Black Series, The Ultimate Betrayal (Grand Central Publishing, June 9, 2015)

It’s been four years since twenty-eight-year old Alicia Black, daughter of Reverend Curtis Black, divorced her second husband, the most womanizing and corrupt man she has ever known. Since then, Alicia has been dating her first husband, Phillip Sullivan, a wonderfully kind and true man of God whom she’d hurt terribly by cheating on him. Alicia has worked hard to prove herself worthy of his trust once more, and when he asks her to marry him again, she couldn’t be happier. Until Sunday 21st only, buy The Ultimate Betrayal for 33% off (less than Amazon)..


Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi CoatesBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

In the one hundred fifty years since the end of the Civil War and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, the story of race and America has remained a brutally simple one, written on flesh: It is the story of the black body, exploited to create the country’s foundational wealth, violently segregated to unite a nation after a civil war, and, today, still disproportionately threatened, locked up, and killed in our streets. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all—regardless of race—honestly reckon with our country’s fraught racial history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau, September 8, 2015) is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer those questions, presented in the form of a letter to his adolescent son. More ▶


Michelle Obama: A Life by by Peter SlevinMichelle Obama: A Life by by Peter Slevin

Michelle Obama has been catching a lot of flak again, this time for her remarks during a recent commencement address at Tuskegee University [another brilliant speech]. The First Lady has been under the gun ever since the 2008 presidential campaign, when her detractors playing “gotcha politics” quoted something she said out of context to suggest that she hates the United States.

But Michelle was making more complicated points than the simplistic sound bites she’s been reduced to. For that reason, it is appropriate that her biography opens with an in-depth analysis of a very emotional speech she delivered to Anacostia High’s graduating class of 2010. More ▶


Grant Park by Leonard Pitts Jr.Grant Park by Leonard Pitts Jr.

Grant Park (Agate Bolden, October 13, 2015) is a page-turning and provocative look at black and white relations in contemporary America, blending the absurd and the poignant in a powerfully well-crafted narrative that showcases Pitts’s gift for telling emotionally wrenching stories.

Grant Park begins in 1968, with Martin Luther King’s final days in Memphis. The story then moves to the eve of the 2008 election, and cuts between the two eras as it unfolds. Disillusioned columnist Malcolm Toussaint, fueled by yet another report of unarmed black men killed by police, hacks into his newspaper’s server to post an incendiary column that had been rejected by his editors. Toussaint then disappears, and his longtime editor, Bob Carson, is summarily fired within hours of the column’s publication. More ▶


$$ The Twenty Million Dollar Race $$ by Vincent Armstrong$$ The Twenty Million Dollar Race $$ by Vincent Armstrong

The kidnapping of a precious six-year-old girl by the Mafia leads to an outrageous ransom demand of twenty million dollars. With only six weeks to deliver the high price ransom and save the girl’s life, an unprecedented race to attain the money by the abducted girl’s family quickly ensues. As the days tick down to the deadline for the ransom to be paid, a vicious crime spree on an unimaginable scope and level evolves as the entire country becomes glued and riveted to this mega media story (Magic Rainbow, April 19, 2015). More ▶


Events


9th National Conference of African American Librarians - August 5-7, 2015 - St. Louis, MO9th National Conference of African American Librarians – August 5-7, 2015 – St. Louis, MO

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association is excited to return NCAAL to it’s original biennial conference schedule. New to NCAAL 2015, is a Wednesday through Saturday schedule, allowing conference goers to take advantage of lower transportation rates typically available on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The new schedule also provides a wonderful opportunity for attendees to stay over and explore the city of Saint Louis once the conference concludes Saturday afternoon.

Exhibitors are invited to participate in the 9th National Conference. The association continues to work to make its conferences relevant and enjoyable for the hundreds of librarians who attend Learn more about their biennial conference ▶


Wade HudsonIn Search of Diverse Book Buyers Panel Discussion at Book Expo
America

You may watch the video of the “In Search of Diverse Book Buyers” panel discussion, which was held during Book Expo America. The panel took place, May 28, 2015, in New York City, and was recorded by Clyde Davis of Fathers and Sonns.

The panel participants were Wade Hudson of Just Us Books; Marva Allen of Hueman Books; Troy Johnson, webmaster of AALBC.com; and Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati of the The African-American Children’s Book Project. Lloyd-Sgambati, who organized this panel, has also launched the Preserve a legacy, buy a book! campaign. More ▶


Film Reviews


Bass Clef Bliss (★★★★)Bass Clef Bliss (★★★★)

Directed by Patrick Scott, Bass Clef Bliss is an alternately heartrending and uplifting biopic chronicling the tight bond between a mother and son as together they confront an assortment of daunting challenges associated with autism. Scott makes a most impressive debut here, as he oh so delicately balances the access he was afforded to his subjects ‘daily lives with their plausible concerns about personal privacy.

Besides focusing on Terrence and Therese’s trials, tribulations and ultimate triumphs, this informative documentary features a cornucopia of facts and figures about autism, courtesy of both experts and anecdotal evidence. Did you know that in 1985, 1 in 2,500 babies developed the disorder, and that today the number is about 1 in 68? More ▶


Watch the full movie; “Finding The Funk,” a Film by Nelson George, Narrated by QuestloveWatch the full movie; “Finding The Funk,” a Film by Nelson George, Narrated by Questlove

Did you miss Finding The Funk’s network debut? You can now stream Nelson George’s exploration of the funk bloodline for free via VH1.

The documentary film, Finding the Funk (2013), is narrated by ?uestlove and features words from D’Angelo, George Clinton, Sly Stone, Bootsy Collins, Nile Rodgers and scholar Michael Eric Dyson, and many other visionaries and performers who help us navigate through the tangled bloodlines of musicians and showmen which have defined the lineage. More ▶


Related Articles & News


Pros and Cons of Mainstream and Self-Publishing by C. Liegh McInnisPros and Cons of Mainstream and Self-Publishing by C. Liegh
McInnis

There are two basic routes to getting published, mainstream and self-publishing. Mainstream is when one submits one’s work to journals/magazines and publishing companies to be published. Self-publishing is when one decides to publish one’s own books. They both can be equally effective although the mainstream manner is the most respected because it allows one to reach a larger audience more quickly and it has an aura or illusion of validation. Although self-publishing does not offer the validation from the establishment, it offers a satisfaction of artistic and economic control of one’s work. Yet, the most effective manner of publishing is to use various aspects of mainstream and self-publishing simultaneously. More ▶


Cynique's Corner - Culture, Race & Economy Discussion ForumCynique’s Corner – Culture, Race & Economy Discussion Forum

“Screw all these dysfunctional, self-absorbed, narcissistic, exhibitionist idiots who make up the freak show carnival of celebrity.”

For daring to share with the world her angst about being a woman trapped in a man’s body, “Bruclyn” has become the anathema of the Religious Right, the poster child for the LGBT community and an enigma for ex-wife Kris Kardashian. But, since “she” had the money to remedy this mix-up via plastic surgery and hormones, she has earned the honor of appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair, flaunting her new identity, all glamorous and feminine, skillfully made-up, sporting long hair extensions, implanted boobs, not to mention her big feet and the tucked-in penis she couldn’t bear to part with… Cynique is just getting warmed up. Read more and join the discussion ▶


Our African-American Literature Discussion Forum is Now Mobile!Our African-American Literature Discussion Forum is Now Mobile!

Join the conversation and talk about books you’ve written, or books you’ve read. You may exchange views with authors, avid readers and those who wish to learn more about Black literature and publishing. You can also share rich media content without worrying about being bombarded with ads, having your privacy invaded, or having what you see be determined by efforts to maximize revenue.

Thumper’s Corner, the name of our African-American literature discussion forum, was started in 1998 and has been continuously running ever since. Historically, Thumper’s Corner has been a very special and popular area of our web site. In recent years however, participation has waned as social media gained in prominence. I hope this recent upgrade to our platform will encourage more participation. Join Us ▶


An On-line Advertising Primer for AuthorsAn On-line Advertising Primer for Authors

For a book, several factors determines the effectiveness of a online advertising campaign; (1) the reputation and name recognition of the author; (2) the quality of the book cover or banner and; (3) the potential reader’s interest in the subject. In general, an advertisement for a book with an ugly cover, by an unknown author writing about a subject no one cares about will perform worse than a book with an attractive cover, by a well known author writing in a popular and timely genre or subject.

Notice I did not mention anything about quality of writing. One can not determine the quality of a book’s writing solely from the banner or book cover. That information is best conveyed on the landing page; where readers who click the advertisement are sent. More ▶


A Tribe Called NewsA Tribe Called News

A Tribe Called News was founded on Howard University’s campus and seeks to be the voice of millennials of color.

They cover everything from culture to feminism. They believe the voices of millennials are timely and valuable to the conversations happening in communities of color. To contribute please emailatribecallednews@gmail.com.


Obama’s BookshelfObama’s Bookshelf


Waiting to Exhale
 by Terry McMillan, Richard Wright’sBlack Boy, and W. E. B. Du Bois: A Reader is on President Obama’s Bookshelf. What’s on your bookshelf? ▶

DMessage from AALBC.com Founder Troy Johnsonear Reader,

As always, I encourage feedback on our eNewsletter. Most months I experiment with different types of content in an effort to better serve you. This month I’ve recommended a couple of books, from brilliant writers, that do not come out until the fall. Does notification of books, that far in advance, interest you? Let me know what you think about that, or anything else, by emailing me or posting a comment on our discussion forum.

As always, remember to show your support for the writers and institutions we cover, with your paid subscription to our newsletter.

Peace & Love,

AALBC.com eNewsletter – June 9, 2015 – Issue #226

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