Jump to content
Troy

Documentary: About black authors and the publishing business

Recommended Posts

About the Documentary Black and Write: The documentary is about black authors and the publishing business. After 12 years and seven conferences, the Black Writer's Reunion & Conference will host one final conference. Black authors will share stories of successes and failures in the publishing industry.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFMjAgtikJE

The Structure - This film will be told in documentary form, by following the 3 types of authors attending and teaching at the BWRC. This includes:

  • The VETERANS- Authors who have published 25 or more books and/or have been in the publishing business more than 10 years.
  • The HUSTLERS -- Authors who are in the thick of hoping that their books will launch them into success. They have written 1-5 books and they trying to find the balance of working a professional job and launch a book career.
  • The NEWBIES -- Authors who have never published material before. They are attending the conference for the first or 2nd time but have yet to produce a book. Conference Director: Tia Ross shares the story of why she started the conference for black authors and why she has chosen to make 2012 the final conference.

The Resolution - Viewers of the film will be able to have a behind the scenes look at the challenges that black authors have faced in the publishing business.

Length - The film will be approximately 70-90 minutes

Visit http://www.cmikki.com/ to learn more about and to support the Documentary Black and Write

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this documentary, has the potential of being very interesting and would appeal to people unfamiliar with publishing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks very interesting. I'll share it. I had a talk with Steve Barnes a couple of days ago, and the difference in how we look at the publishing industry was striking. He's a long time veteran and a rare successful black science fiction writer. And I'm me. :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steve has much faith in the mainstream publishing system and he should. He's been successful in it. Not wildly successful, but he's making a comfortable living doing it so that's good enough. He's understands the challenges black writers face in the field and works hard to educate new writers about the business as well as sharing knowledge to increase their chances of being published. Based on our conversation I think he still doesn't grasp the opportunities independent publishing offers. Most mainstream publishers stay away from self publishing because of the stigma of it being 'less.'

At the end of the day I think we both left the table with a better understanding of what we do. There's an interesting dynamic developing in black speculative fiction between mainstream publishers and independent writers. Independent writers have the energy, mainstream writers have the 'pedigree.' I hope we learn to work together to grow opportunities for both groups. In the end it will be better for black writers and readers if we do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The distinction between authors published by major publishers and who are self published have blurred. Some self-published authors are indistinguishable from authors published by a large publisher. I can name a dozen authors published traditional who work as hard as anyone in the game.

In reality, an increasing number of Black authors obtain book deals after demonstrating commercial success on their own -- so much so, if seems as though self publishing success is a requirement to get a deal.

If is true all authors need to work together, but this is rare beyond very small groups, or cliques. Part of the ABLE mission is to facilitate this collaboration, but building these alliances requires a lot of work...

Steven Barnes and his wife author Tananarive Due are a fascinating couple.

tanariveandsteven.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In reality, an increasing number of Black authors obtain book deals after demonstrating commercial success on their own -- so much so, if seems as though self publishing success is a requirement to get a deal.

Aaaaaaah yes

The rap game all over again

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nah'Sun the parallels with Rap, unfortunately, seem quite valid. Oh, yeah I owe you a "Why Facebook an't sh-t rant". I'll probably blog about it when I find 5 free minutes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nah'Sun the parallels with Rap, unfortunately, seem quite valid. Oh, yeah I owe you a "Why Facebook an't sh-t rant". I'll probably blog about it when I find 5 free minutes.

Hahahahahahaahaha...I can't wait

I rarely promote my projects on Facebook

If anything, I promote myself

And just like rap, writing books is a new hustle...especially for heads coming home from prison or currently incarcerated

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Major publishers consider black writers and books a high risk because they don't think we jive with their major demographic. Even after multiple successes it's more difficult for us. That's why I started my own publishing company and will continue to do so no matter who approaches me. I believe by signing on with major publishers we gain financially but lose power. Once you work for someone you must do as they say. By keeping control we keep control of our image. I think that's much more important than 'celebrity.'

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't knock the Brothers and Sisters coming out of jail and making in big in publishing -- there are so few opportunities I'm glad to see a few take advantage of this one. I bet the recidivism rate for formerly incarcerated authors who have published books is miniscule.

Na'Shun, I'm on Facebook because I have to be (for now). Sure I get business through Facebook, but I was getting business before Facebook came along. It is a big waste of time and contributing the rapid decline of our culture (reminds me, I did not do my daily "Author You Should Know" post, Maybe I'll do Steven Barnes).

Milton, I'm on the same page with you about keeping control. It is a daily battle I wage. Some days, shoot many days, I feel like I'm losing but I can't give up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Troy

I applaud brothers and sisters for doing something constructive in and outside the penal

However, it's like picking the lesser or two evils when they repeat their exploits on dead trees instead of resurrecting the paper they write on

It waters down the industry and devalues the art

Which means they won't eat by selling books because people are going to sooner or later get tired of the same ol war stories

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know Nah'Sun, folks never seem to get tired of the redundant beats, and the rehashed gangsta lyrics we now call hip hop. While we may tire of this stuff there is always a new crop of youngsters ready to consumer the music. It seems more and more folks never grow out of the music, made of children: sorta like grownups gettin' down to the theme from Barney and Friends. The same goes for books. The urban/street, erotica, celebrity stuff will dominate and the rest will struggle -- but again that is better than nothing (I think).

And yeah, you are right it is choosing between the lessor of two evils. But that is the real world. You have to make a choices between the lessor of two evils because those are usually the only choices available. You compromise, and make concessions through all the time. I wish all my choices were just between good and bad things -- life would be of so simple.

I think our biggest problem is our inability to distinguish between good and bad options; hence the f'ed up choices we make and our current situation...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It behooves us to be reminded that there are more black folks who are stressed out by their day-to-day struggles than there are those who have the luxury of tackling literary challenges. The former are people who are looking for a quick fix, preferring escape entertainment that will keep them in their comfort zone. Of course, there has always been a black literati, and there will always be one, but they are in the minority. Just like any other venue, there are the elite and the commonplace.

Discriminating reading habits have to be established at an early age, and nowadays it's becoming more and more difficult to lure young people away from the social media that is at their finger tips. They'd rather create their own drama and star in their own plots or live vicariously through reality TV.

Yes, "reading is fundamental" but more than ever, it apparently has to be relevant. Seems like mass readership prefers books that resonate with familiarity and reinforce lifestyles they can identify with. Quality, innovative fiction that stimulates the mind will be sought out by curious people who have an imagination, but imagination is something that has to be cultivated. (And prison frequently ends up being what fertilizes this seed. ) Public schools are not doing their job, and parents have to compete with outside distractions when trying to motivate their kids to expand their minds instead of exercising their fingers. An ongoing dilemma that does not bode well for the future.

And what does all of this have to do with the book publishing industry? This institution is like a factory that mints 2-sided coins for gamblers. You can go with your brand or with someone elses, keeping in mind that all that glitters is not gold.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not pessimistic about black books and black readers. The market has changed and so have the challenges. Reading among African Americans is up overall; a few years ago it was the only bright spot in the otherwise lackluster publishing industry. I believe street lit/urban lit created their own market. They hit the street and found a demographic that didn't read because there were no books that spoke to them or reflected their reality. The challenge has been the effect this phenomena has had on black literature in general.

This effect is not because all black people want to read urban lit. We don't. We are not a monolithic people. However, mainstream publishers think we are, or at least they think that other forms of black literature are not as important since they can make more money from urban lit. So they have switched their focus to what is more profitable. A couple of years ago I went to a presentation by Tina McElroy Ansa (http://www.tinamcelroyansa.com/). Ms. Ansa was among the group of talented black writers that rode the wave of success created by Terry McMillian. She talked about how she received six figure advances for her books at one time. Her most popular book was Baby of the Family. She decided to write a sequel to the book, sure that it would be published. However, her agent could not sell the book to any publisher. Why? The publishers told her, 'Black people are reading street lit now.' Ms. McElroy was forced to start her own publishing company to continue to sell her books.

Now of course the publishers' statement was not true. But as far as they were concerned this is the hot market so that's where they wish to go. This is why it is so important that we own our own publishing houses and produce our own work, much like many urban lit writers/publishers do. We have a tendency to be so negative on ourselves that it's surprising that we make progress despite that. Selling science fiction and fantasy to an African American audience has been challenging but it has also been rewarding and successful. If I had listened to white folks AND some black folks I would never had attempted it because 'black people don't read science fiction.' I sell on the average 50 to 60 books a month. It's not enough to make a living, but it's been enough to raise some eyebrows. But I still get folks telling me I would do better if I wrote multicultural books. They ignore that fact that I'm doing well doing just what I planned.

So to me there is a challenge being a black writer, but problems have solutions. I believe in my people and I have the privilege to see the effect of what I do in the faces of the men, women and children I sell my books to on a regular basis. I acknowledge the challenges and the negatives then I set them aside and continue to move forward, just as our ancestors have always done. Every argument you all listed are legitimate concerns. We can talk about problems all day. Let's talk about solutions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know Nah'Sun, folks never seem to get tired of the redundant beats, and the rehashed gangsta lyrics we now call hip hop. While we may tire of this stuff there is always a new crop of youngsters ready to consumer the music. It seems more and more folks never grow out of the music, made of children: sorta like grownups gettin' down to the theme from Barney and Friends.

True

And to add on to Milton's post...

The solution is to have more Black book stores and publications push OTHER genres like Science Fiction and Fantasy instead of staying in the comfort zone by banking on Urban/Street Lit

This one book store owner in Baltimore once told me at the Harlem Book Fair two years ago that he won’t sell anything UNLESS it was Street Lit

We discriminate against ourselves…LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nah'Sun, here is my personal Harlem Book Fair anecdote: In the late 90's people would come by my table and see titles from John A. Williams get excited and buy a book. The last year I exhibited people would come by see titles from John A. Williams and not recognize the name at all, nor care to check him out after I explained who he was. I doubt you could give away a John A. Williams book today... The demographics of the attendees has changed over the years. I believe this is cultural, the popularity of Urban Lit is a reflection of this not the cause.

Milton, you are obviously mission driven. You do not write books solely for fame and large amounts of money. You of course recognize that you are the exception not the rule.

While I believe in my people too, I'm clearly more pessimistic than you are :( But it is not in my nature to give up so I keep going. Tina is extraordinary too. We need more people like you, Tina, Nah'Sun, etc....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Troy

I’m pessimistic also

I’m capable of writing Science Fiction, but I’ll be a fool if I invest and lose money in that project

In fact, a few Street Lit authors write Sci-Fi, Fantasy and other genres under different names

They, like Hollywood, know that the Black audience won’t support those genres in large numbers…at least if it comes from a Black author

That’s where the “write in white” philosophy comes from; write as a white person to get sales for a general fan base

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I know K'wan is an example of "street lt" author who writes Sci-fi.

I guess the problem, in 2012, is that the primary focus is to generate money and that leads to a lack of diversity in what is published. There are many reasons for this, but at the end of the day readers have a lot less to get excited about. And what they do get excited about is quite mediocre (50 Shades of Grey, etc).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

50 Shades of Grey selling 31 million copies and counting convinced me that the media is more powerful than Jesus

Anybody who can convince a massive audience to think that a trashy novel that's so elemetary is good gets props from me

But that's another topic

Back to the subject...it's hard for a Black author to crossover whereas as someone like James Patterson can get Black readership with ease

Negroes are giving Sister Souljah hell for her Midnight series

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well Nah'Sun the oft quoted cliche; "We live in a white man's world" applies. If a Black person reads a James Patterson novel that is really not an example of "crossing over", no more than a Black person reading a Dan Brown novel. Black folks are just reading a novel written by and for the dominant culture which we are firmly entrenched.

In much the same way a Black person is taught western white culture, religion, history, literature, music, heroes in order to graduate from school -- this is not crossing over this is just being "American". However Black people who want to learn anything meaningful about Africa, will need to do that on their own -- white folks don't need to know anything about Africa -- other than that is were their slaves came from.

White folks don't have to cross over. The only time they do is when money can be made. But then we call that co-opting.

It is really difficult for a Black author to write a book with Black characters and garner a large non-white readership. Foreign born Black writers seem to have better luck nowadays. The days of "cross over successes" like Morrison, Terry McMillan, Walter Mosley are waning.

It would be nice to access to actual data...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good points, Troy

And the main reason why those 3 authors you named had crossed over was because they got co-signed by the white man by the way of Hollywood and college/university English departments

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Troy

I’m pessimistic also

I’m capable of writing Science Fiction, but I’ll be a fool if I invest and lose money in that project

In fact, a few Street Lit authors write Sci-Fi, Fantasy and other genres under different names

They, like Hollywood, know that the Black audience won’t support those genres in large numbers…at least if it comes from a Black author

That’s where the “write in white” philosophy comes from; write as a white person to get sales for a general fan base

I disagree. I just did a State of Black Science Fiction panel at Dragon Con, one of the largest Fantasy cons in the country. Our room was filled to capacity; they had to turn people away. We ran 30 minutes past our 1 hour time limit and they had to run us out. One sister at the panel said she's attended Dragon Con for 20 years and never had she seen so many black people there in one place. Every speculative fiction event I've taken part in at the local libraries has outperformed the average event the library has held. And our audiences are always majority black. I believe there are two reasons black people don't read more science fiction; 1). They don't know that black people write science fiction, 2). They have not come across science fiction with black characters. Oh yeah, one more, 3). Much of the black science fiction they have read has not been very good.

I see independent black speculative fiction in the same place that street lit was 20 years ago. We're just getting started. Every person on our panel, all black writers, are very optimistic on the future. It may not be a profitable move now and it may not get as large as street lit, but black speculative fiction will take its place as a major genre.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Milton

I hope you're right

All it takes is ONE book to change the game...just like how Sister Souljah did with The Coldest Winter Ever to reshift the focus back to Street Lit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

isn't there room in the black literary spectrum for all book genres? Why does one type have to usurp another? When one genre becomes "hot" does this extinguish interest in the others??

In the white publishing community, trends come and go but best-selling authors still retain their popularity. "50 shades of Gray" has not diminished the James Patterson or Danielle Steele or John Grisham or Stephen King demographs, it has simply established its own target readership. Helloooo.

Has black street lit made that big of a dent in Zane's erotic domain? Once an author has created their niche in the market, then putting out a good product is what will secure their fan base. No?

The problem with the book marketplace is that it is glutted because it is the only arena where anybody can create and produce what they hope to sell. But obviously everybody who writes a book is not a good author. Bad books that sell if they get into the hands of profit mongers who don't care about the quality of what they promote, are a fluke. Duh.

To me the bottom line is not about the writers, it's about the readers. Until black people become discriminating readers, mediocrity will rule the day when it comes to black books. Ooooh, well.

Furthermore, white authors don't fare that much better than black authors when it comes to making big bucks in their profession. Writing can be a thankless pursuit. Just like every athlete doesn't make it to the pros, becoming rich famous in the literary world is a long shot. Unfortuately it takes more than big dreams and ample ambition to be successful. Name of the game.

MIlton seems to have the best of both worlds. He's making money doing what he loves to do as a sideline while apparently earning a living wage elsewhere. Incidentally, certainly sounds like his books would make good movies.

Slow day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cynique

Black authors won't be encouraged to write in different genres when:

A.) Black fictional readers generally don't read outside their comfort zones

And

B.) Non-Whites won't accept a Black face to write anything other than Urban/Street Lit

The demand has to show its face before you see the supply

Because not for nothing, die-hard Urban/Street Lit readers GO HARD for their authors

The same needs to occur for fans of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Thriller, etc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're making assumptions again, and it's those kind of assumptions that lead to stagnation. 20 years ago no one could have every imagined a street lit market, now we talk about it like it was always there. Everything has to start somewhere. It's very easy to talk yourself out of making a change. The odds are usually always against you. But that's why not everyone can be an entrepreneur.

Cynique is right. Since I have the luxury of a steady career I can take more of a risk and be more patient for the reward. All my experiences over the past four years tell me that myself and other writers will eventually be able to make a living writing black speculative fiction. I'll admit the market we create may not get to the level of street lit, but it doesn't have to. Such general statements that begin with 'black people don't....' just irk me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Milton

I’m actually agreeing with you

I’m not making any assumptions…”Black people don’t” because the numbers and product placement speak for themselves

Octavia Butler and LA Banks are the only contemporary well known Black authors in the Sci-Fi genre

The publishing industry doesn’t think that Black authors writing Sci-Fi is profitable, which is why you have authors who write Urban Fiction take up pseudonyms when they write in other genres that’s not “Black author friendly”

You’ll be a fool to ignore that fact

The only reason why Urban/Street Lit took off after the turn of the century was because they hit the streets and led an underground movement which snow balled into an avalanche

You also gotta take into account that Donald Goines and Iceberg Slim were already popular before the resurrection of Street novels

Science Fiction on the negro side of things has no predecessor

Another difference is that a good number of Urban/Street Lit writers were HUSTLERS before they wrote books and business savvy when it came to effectively marketing and promoting…they didn’t have problems with hitting the streets instead of waiting for the industry to accept them…they took matters into their own hands

Are Black Sci-Fi writers willing to do the same???

The question remains

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I for one don't read sci-fi because I don't think about it - that is...until today.

I watched the video today that Milton posted and now my curiosity is up a bit. I recall how much I enjoyed the few sci-fi books I read as a child. The two that come to mind are The Handmaid's Tale and A Wrinkle in Time. Thought they were both great books. To that end, I wouldn't mind getting back into reading works from this genre.

All it takes is ONE book to change the game...just like how Sister Souljah did with The Coldest Winter Ever to reshift the focus back to Street Lit

Great point Nah'Sun. The Coldest Winter Ever is one of my all time favorite books. But I never would have thought to start reading it had someone not passed it on to me and said, "Trust me! You MUST read this!"

As a matter of fact, that was many years ago and so far not nan nother (couldn't resist) book has been as entertaining - except for White Lines (big ups to Tracy Brown) - in terms of bold, in your face, oh-snap!, drama.

I think that more than the genre, it was the writing itself that made me a fan of the books I mentioned. A good book is a good book and can sometimes draw the reader into a new type of character or storyline that he or she otherwise wouldn't have thought twice about. So I do believe there is hope for black science fiction to take off. We just need the right book to fall into the right hands and get the word out. I hope that happens because diversity rocks!

p.s. Most of the people I talked to about Sister Souljah's Midnight Series were disappointed because they wanted another Coldest Winter Ever. I think she should take that as a compliment...Like, wow! Coldest was SO GREAT that more than a decade later, people are still crying out for more. And those who like the story line for Midnight can develop into a new fan base for a new type of writing for her. So she'll be okay, I'm thinking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it’s unfair for Sister Souljah’s fans to pigeonhole her when she wrote the Midnight series

You shouldn't expect a cook to bake the same cake over and over again

That’s another reason why it’s hard to grow and do something else besides what people are used to

A lot of people cannot accept change even when the vote for it…LOL

Edited by Nah'Sun

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems that her fans weren't so much fans of Sister Souljah as they were that particular book. I'm guilty of that. I read the synopsis for Midnight some months ago and simply wasn't interested. Wasn't something I'd read. That's not to say it isn't a good book. Hopefully it'll find its audience sooner or later.

I think it's unfair to expect a reader (or fan, I guess) to automatically read the next book just because he/she liked the first one, regardless of the genre, subject matter, or synopsis of said next book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really don't think Sister Souljah had the readers of Urban/Street Lit in mind when she wrote The Coldest Winter Ever considering she constantly denies writing in that genre

It seems like she's targeting the international market with the Midnight series

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree w/you on both points.

Speaking of genre, I still get confused about what urban/street lit is...at what point does a book become "street"...does it happen when in a character sells drugs? Prostitutes herself/himself? Curses a lot? Fights, goes to jail, drops out of school? Uses lots of slang? I wrote a book w/tons of that stuff in it, but I wouldn't call it street lit. I suppose it could be, but I just never thought it was. If somebody else called it that, however, I wouldn't be offended. I wonder if Sister Souljah shies away from the category because, like me, she's confused as to what criteria must be met in order for the label to fit. :D

One thing's for sure, she did such a good job with The Coldest Winter Ever that I will keep her on my list of favorites and will pay attention when she releases new books. I'm confident that eventually she will write another winner in my book. :ph34r:.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Street has anything to do with the criminal underworld of the ‘hood

I don’t necessarily think race is an issue…Seth Ferranti is white, and he considers his fiction “Street”

Urban Fiction is a broader genre which Street Lit falls under

I don’t think Sister Souljah was confused…she just wanted to write a cautionary tale which accidentally pulled in another set of audience

You gotta remember that the publishing industry didn't think there was an audience for novels that came AFTER The Coldest Winter Ever

She breaks down The Coldest Winter Ever in later editions of the book which may answer your questions for her purpose of writing the novel

She’s a part of Public Enemy which was/is a revolutionary rap group…I seriously doubt she’ll write another novel in the same vein of The Coldest Winter Ever just to satisfy the audience’s thirst for another book of that kind...unless the constant demand pushes her to do so

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Urban/Street Lit writers were HUSTLERS before they wrote books and business savvy when it came to effectively marketing and promoting

This is true.

You also have to consider the commercial environment. We had authors like E. Lynn Harris, who was a true hustler, but also had first mover advantage. E. was a hustler with little competition. The same was true for Omar Tyree.

I used to to call Omar the "hardest working man in publishing". He had boundless energy with an ego to go with it. Again with relatively little competition Omar did very well for himself. Over a decade later I can name a dozen authors who make Omar look like he was sleep walking in the 1990's.

Authors like Relentless Aaron (14 book deal from St Martin;s Press) and Wahida Clark (NY Times Bestselling Authors) are a couple of examples.

Today, hustling authors, are a dime a dozen -- the self publishing phenomenon has increased the pool of of these types of authors exponentially and the books to go with them -- competition in urban space is very fierce today. Anything above a marginal level of success will require a great deal more effort than E. Lynn or Omar needed to expend.

Writing a really good book might help, but even that is not enough... (click images at the end of this post for more information on my thinking).

Of course the same is true for sci-fi authors. The problem sci-fi authors have is that they have a smaller audience than Urban authors have, but one advantage is that there, at least in the Black space, is not a lot of competition. (Milton are you familiar with Kiini Ibura Salaam maybe I'll focus on Sci-fi Authors You Should Know after I'm done talking about married authors - can you email me your bio for an author's profile page). I assume Milton knows the demographics well enough to know if a reasonable living can be obtained by a writer in this space...

Writegirl, I read The Coldest Winter Ever and do not really understand the love affair with this particular novel other than it's iconic nature. It is generally held up as one of the best written of the Urban fair, but Treasure Blue writes arguably better, as does many others in this space.

It is far easier to Publish a book today, but more difficult, on average, to make any money with it.

troy_traingle.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She’s a part of Public Enemy which was/is a revolutionary rap group…I seriously doubt she’ll write another novel in the same vein of The Coldest Winter Ever just to satisfy the audience’s thirst for another book of that kinda...unless the constant demand pushes her to do so

Like you, I doubt that she'll write another book along the same lines as The Coldest Winter Ever. But, I do think she'll write another book that I will love. I can hope at least.

Thanks for clearing up the difference between Street Lit and Urban fiction.

You also have to consider the commercial environment. We had authors like E. Lynn Harris, who was a true hustler, but also had first mover advantage. E. was a hustler with little competition. The same was true for Omar Tyree.

Writegirl, I read The Coldest Winter Ever and do not really understand the love affair with this particular novel other than it's iconic nature. It is generally held up as one of the best written of the Urban fair, but Treasure Blue writes arguably better, as does many others in this space.

It is far easier to Publish a book today, but more difficult, on average, to make any money with it.

I heard about how E. Lynn sold books out of his trunk and peddled them in beauty shops. I also heard about that first book, Invisible Life, around the same time I heard about The Coldest Winter Ever. As a matter of fact, the same woman insisted that I read both. I can't comment on why I liked the book so much, other than it was the first time I'd read ever read anything like it (that goes for both books), AND to this day, I remember the characters names and their struggles. Raymond, Kyle, the green-eyed foine man named Basil...Winter Santiago, her dad, her boyfriend. I normally don't remember those types of details ten, fifteen-plus years after the fact. So to me, The Coldest Winter Ever remains in my mind as one of the best books I've ever read, right along with To Kill a Mockingbird...Scout, Atticus (sp?), the dog, Boo Radley...and a few other books that stayed with me over the years.

I am going to read The Coldest Winter Ever again (and some of my other favorites). I'm doing this mainly because I'm curious to see how my perception has changed over the years concerning what is a great read and what is simply "okay."

I also agree that it is not very difficult to publish a book today. With the self-publishing industry sparing writers the slamming doors of agents and major publishers, a person can literally throw anything out there and nobody can stop them. But that doesn't mean they are going to make any money. My advice is for an aspiring author to hold on to your day job, write on your free time, and learn everything you can about the publishing industry & decide which route to go. If possible, save up enough money so that you can quit your day job and at some point focus solely on your craft. If you do that though, you should make sure you are prepared to live as a starving artist for however many years it takes for you to start making real money, because I doubt that the big paychecks will come over night. And be aware that there is a chance that you will never get the payday you dream of. Hopefully you'll make it, but if not, there's always the nine-to-five, I suppose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Coldest Winter Ever was multi-layered…you won’t appreciate the story if you take it for face value

If you read the break down of the novel from Sister Souljah in a later edition, you’ll see why I think it’s the best contemporary street novel

In my opinion, I haven’t read any Urban/Street lit novel released in the 21st century that can compare to The Coldest Winter Ever

The scene where Winter had knowing sold drugs to her cracked out mother while living with a boyfriend who had something to do with her kingpin father’s downfall brings forth an interesting discussion ALONE

The book is pretty much about how materialism and superficiality can destroy the fabric of a family structure

THAT’S why the book is so dope to me…I hardly read fiction because I rarely get anything out of them

It’s more than sex, drugs, money and criminality once you analyze the interactions of the characters

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nah'Sun, all sure respect to The Coldest Winter Ever nothing you've described is particularly unique, or revolutionary. Indeed "multi-layered is a characteristic one would expect from any half way decent book. Check out a one conversation we had about the The Coldest Winter Ever back in 2004.

Bestselling author Zane, who started that conversation would seem to agree with you Nah'Sun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoticons maximum are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×