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Cynique

Wish list for black authors

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White James Patterson is one of the world's best-selling authors, and as such has done what no black writer has been able to pull off with any degree of success. He launched a popular series about a black law enforcement character named Alex Cross and has enjoyed enormous success with this venture.

Careful to avoid stereotypical charactors, Patterson has portrayed Alex Cross as a super negro, a brilliant, handsome forensic psycholgist who is indespensable to Washington DC‘s Metropolitan police department. Morgan Freeman played Alex in a couple of movies but he was too old to do so in the first place and has now been retired from the role. So who is our latest Alex Cross? Taking time off from his cross dressing conversion into a gun toting hell-raiser, settling for second best after a campaign to be the first black James Bond failed, Tyler Perry has snagged the role of the new Alex Cross. Cute Tyler Perry with his pudgy apple cheeks, cupid's bow lips,and twinkling eyes. Where's Blair Underwood when we need him. Nevermind.

Tyler is not only versatile and mega rich but he is a shrewd business man who is to be commended for not forgetting his roots and giving back. Now it's time for him to be a visionary. What better way to cap a successful career than to start a black publishing company that would liberate black authors from the whims of the big white publishing houses who focus on profit rather than quality. And with his good friend Oprah as an ally, he’d have a ready-made marketing tool.

Somewhere out there is a black James Patterson, who should be capitalizing off of books popularizing interesting black characters - that Tyler can make into movies. A win-win situation. No?

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No.

I never understood why there was never a Black literary equivalent of Motown. The talent is available but it is difficult to corral as the best and the brightest Black folks usually want to work for someone else.

Perhaps in todays world where some much of this talent is unemployed it will be more likely for a Black Motown Publishing company to emerge, but I'd be very surprised to see it happen.

I could have tried myself but was unwilling to make the financial sacrifice. Getting others of similar financial resources to share the load is exceedingly difficult.

Tyler as Alex Cross I guess we will see what his acting skills are like.

I never really thought of Tyler Perry as a box office draw (outside of a dress) -- let alone an action figure. But hey what do I know I felt the same way about Will Smith.

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:lol: I hear ya, Troy. MoTown was a black phenomenon, the likes of which we'll probably never see again in any medium. Barry Gordy had the advantage of having a product that was new and different: R&B music. A black publisher coming on the scene today wouldn't have anything new to introduce to the book world. A book is a book. What the orientation of the characters are is incidental. Back to square one.

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I don't know all that much about Tyler Perry's story so I probably shouldn't speak on this. But I will anyway. :P I'm just guessing here, but (and maybe those that know him personally can weigh in and let me know how close or far off the mark I am) I'm thinking that Tyler probably doesn't bother much about putting something together that would benefit black writers...even if it would put that much more money in his pockets.

The reason I say that is because the man was homeless, wasn't he? So he must have had to scramble his way out of that mess and do whatever it was that he had to do to finally "make it." After all that hard work, is he REALLY going to feel some kind of way for those who are still on the bottom (for lack of a better term)? Wouldn't he think that those people should just go ahead and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps the way he had to? I mean, the man was homeless.

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I think Tyler is pretty good at giving talented blacks a leg-up, writergirl. He financed and produced the play "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuff" so he could give overlooked black actresses a show case for their skills. He also built a big film studio in Atlanta which provided a lot of jobs for black folks. I think he is fairly empathetic to the plight of down and out people who just need a break. That's my general impression.

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Yeah I think Perry would be more sympathetic than not. I'm sure he realizes that despite his hard work he was truly lucky/blessed to be where he is.

A man in Perry's position knows more than most people that there is a ton of Black talent out there -- much of which will languish in obscurity. Beside there are not enough vehicles to showcase this talent. I think, on balance, Tyler Perry is doing his part. I also like what folks like Ava Duvernay are doing as well; going the independent route and making it work.

Hollywood seems to consider fame strongly when it comes to Black actors, so if you are a rapper, a comedian or Tyler Perry you are much more likely to get an acting gig than someone who is who is Black and only studied acting.

Cynique, I'm not convinced a Black publishing company could not create something "new" in that is commercially viable in the literary market place.

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That's good to hear - the info on Tyler Perry giving back. That makes his story that much more interesting. I may have to read up on him.

BTW,

"Somewhere out there is a black James Patterson, who should be capitalizing off of books popularizing interesting black characters - that Tyler can make into movies. A win-win situation. No?" - Cynique

Totally a win-win situation! Would love to see this happen!

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Well, looks like Madea got the last laugh. Tyler Perry's attempt to banish the ol gal didn't translate into box office gold. The one review I read of his new movie "Alex Cross" panned it and early indications don't give it much of a chance to do nearly as well as any of Tyler's other openings.

One has to wonder if Perry's core fan base are people who are big book readers or are even familiar with the Alex Cross character. The advance trailers of the movie were dark and intense, not inspiring anything to laugh about. When it comes to totin a gun and making threats, Meadea seems to have kicked Alex's ass. :o

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Check out Lee & Low Publishers and Tu Books, one of its imprints. They have an annual competition for minority authors. Also the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators just established its "New Voices" awards. Details at their websites.

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LookAgainPress please feel free to share the links, photos, video of the business you are recommending.

Sometimes I follow up and do this on behalf of others I'm just too pressed for time nowadays....

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@ Cynique

You're giving James Patterson too much credit

JP has more dollars poured into his projects, and it’s hard for Black books to cross over to mainstream America without that infamous “co-sign”

He has the advantage because he’s white

The media promoted the hell outta The 50 Shades of Grey trilogy when Zane wrote books of that ilk for years

Gimme a break

It’s easy for whites to crossover to us, but it’s hard for us to crossover to whites in the book industry

@ Troy

Triple Crown Publishing was once considered the Motown of Black literature until they founder developed a bad reputation for jerking her authors

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@ Cynique

You're giving James Patterson too much credit

JP has more dollars poured into his projects, and it’s hard for Black books to cross over to mainstream America without that infamous “co-sign”

He has the advantage because he’s white

The media promoted the hell outta The 50 Shades of Grey trilogy when Zane wrote books of that ilk for years

Gimme a break

Why do you think I titled this thread "a wish list for black authors"? Black authors are relegated to wishing they had all of the advantages of white ones. James Patterson is an example of someone who capitalizes off of what blacks can only wish for. crossover success.

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Triple Crown, the Black Motown of Publishing sure, potentially. TCP's brand was bigger than that of their authors (save Vickie herself).

I wonder if Triple Crown really jerked their authors or if the authors had unreasonable expectations of what to expect from being published. Generally an agent would be their advocate but I hear about so many of the newer authors saying they don't need an agent. So I wonder how many had representation. In any case, the details are spelled out in the contract and if TCP did not live up to them they should be sued.

I don't much about TCP's business practices. I do know they were pretty large a few years back and Vickie presented herself professionally, despite the harsh criticism generally leveled at purveyors of street/urban fiction (including myself on occasion).

Strebor Books and Cash Money Content are pumping our a ton of books but they are tied to S&S (CBS) for distribution, marketing, etc.

Of course their are many other truly independent publishers, Ghettoheat, Augustus Publishing, Melodrama Publishing, Amber Communications, Life Changing Books, and so many others. Perhaps they are among our best hope. The challenge is support from our so called Black media.

I'll do an article about independent Black owned publishers and try to get it widely circulated.

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@ Cynique

I see you’re forgetting that Walter Moseley had written detective stories in the Easy Rawlins series, as well as Donald Goines in his Kenyatta series

Moseley’s books are also studied in colleges and universities across the country

A Devil in a Blue Dress was also flipped into a film

So once again, you’re giving Patterson waaaaaaaay too much credit

And to be honest with you, I don’t think a lot of Black authors care about crossing over…heck, you have white authors struggling to sell in their own demographics…so it’s not just a Black/white issue

In the immortal words of JT from The Five Heartbeats”Crossing over ain't nothin’ but a double cross!”

@ Troy

According to Shannon Holmes, co-founder of Triple Crown, Vicky had tricked him during a court procedure in order to steal the company away from him

Whether true or false, that situation makes an interesting scenario to learn from

I wonder if Triple Crown really jerked their authors or if the authors had unreasonable expectations of what to expect from being published. - Troy

I wonder as well

A lot of newbie authors are too wet-behind-the-ears with grandiose ideas about the book game until they find out it’s not all peachy and cream

The book game, especially nowadays, is not as easy of a come up as most people like to think

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What is it I am I giving James Patterson too much credit for, NAH? Suggesting that he's more accomplished than Walter Moseley? No. I singled out the opportunistic Patterson because he was savvy enough to broaden his audience, increase his sales and command the support of his publisher, by infringing on an audience that should belong to a black writer. Walter Moseley doesn't need a rival. James Patterson does. And I don't think any black author, including Moseley, would reject "crossover" success. Not only does it mean more money but it also frees them from the restrictions of being labeled a "black" author instead of simply an author, a status black writers are constantly wishing for and complaining about.

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@ Cynique

Side A

White James Patterson is one of the world's best-selling authors, and as such has done what no black writer has been able to pull off with any degree of success. - Cynique

Don't you read or remember what you typed!?

You act like Patterson invented the wheel and is doing something that Black writers are unable to do, which is a false

Zane is just as renown, saavy, and successful as Patterson

Is it hard for Black authors to cross over?

Yes

Can it be done?

A double yes

Side B

Who wouldn't want crossover success...what I'm saying is that the Black authors I'm familiar with aren't sweating whether or not white America accept their work

Side C

A lot of authors are "wishing" for a success like Patterson, doesn't matter if they're Black, white, green, purple, etc

The starving artist syndrome is color blind

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Well, you did go dig this post up from way last year, NAH. Whatever. But I stand by what I said about James Patterson. Is Moseley a zillionaire and has he amassed a white reading audience by writing about a white detective? Furthermoe, Walter Moseley whose writing I really like, writes in a lot different genres. Patterson pretty much limits his output to thrillers and half of those he collaborates on. He's a franchise. James Patterson is in a class by himself whether you like it or not. His success begets success. That's why his publishers do for him what they won't do for black writers who are left to wish things could be different.

And who are these black authors who you suggest have gotten rich from crossover success? If it's so doable why hasn't a dedicated self-assured author ike you done it? I hesitate to assume that you are on your way.

Zane's passport to success is sex not race. It doesn't take any great amount of savvy to figure out that sex sells. and it's a hell a lot more easy to peddle than stories about black detectives.

Yes, there is a starving artist syndrome which is why if your black colleagues aren't sweating the prospects of increasing their income through crossover success, then they should be if they like to eat well.

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@Cynique

Side A

I see you don't pay attention to detail.

I did not "dig" up this post from last year. This post was automatically booted up on the forum because of LookAgainPress's recent response. Nice try, though.

Side B

I don't think either of us know of Moseley's or Patterson's bank account. So that point is moot.

Secondly, all I'm saying is that Patterson didn't invent the wheel, neither is he doing something that Black writers, or anyone else for that matter, are incapable of doing

Not to mention that he has the machine behind him to further push his work

Side C

Not all sex sells. If that was the case, every erotic author would be living in mansions right now or at least quit their day jobs to write full-time

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Here we go again, beatin a dead dog to death. I question whether anybody other than you thinks I was crediting James Patterson with something comparable to inventing the wheel, But that seems to be an expression you love to use. I didn't invent the idea that James Patterson is a powerhouse in the publishing business. It's common knowledge. And you apparently don't pay attention, because I said twice that his super star status earns him all the perks from his publisher that others don't command because they don't generate his kind of sales. I also suggested that where black authors are concerned, racism is a factor in this situation. I didn't say that black authors were "incapable" of having a strategy for success.

I think if we'd check Forbes we could conclude that James Patterson is a lot wealthier than Walter Moseley and Zane,too, for that matter. So who is the richer is not a moot point.

Not all of anything sells. But sex is a better commodity than murder mysteries.

So "all you're saying" adds up to "all you're misconstruing".

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