Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hello, Great Unknown World Out There,

Have you missed me? Two things on my mind. The Quill Awards, sponsored by PEN which gave out awards for it's best books? Floored when I heard Tyler Perry's book won Book of the Year. I later found out the award is similar to the People mag award for film and television--it 's a popularity thing, Quill Award honors popular books.
Well, of course, I had to pay attention. Tyler Perry is a one-man marketing operation and is a genius at it. He has catapulted his Ma'deah character to popularity among many types/backgrounds/ethnicities of people and made a bunch of money while doing so, and kept control of his product(s). Wow. God Bless the Child That's Got His Own. Amen.
We should all take lessons.
Speaking of popular books---I had the honor of participating in the success of another African-American author--not that I was responsible or anything, just a part of. Lalita Tademy wrote a highly successful bestseller-Oprah-pick fiction book based on her family's history, called Cane River. She wrote a second book, Red River, and I got to read one of the character's for the second books-on-tape version. First time I've done one of those. But as an actress I really like reading aloud--I would love to read many more books on tape--for fun and profit--including my own. I was so surprised how fast the Red River tape/CD version was put together. Seemed like the next week they were advertising it. I ran across it by accident--trying to track down copies of my first book. I don't believe it will be released until early next year, but it's on pre-order status. Damn. Wish my books would get all that hoopla. Someday. Soon. Ver-r-ry soon.

Re: my first book, A Landlord's Tale. I just don't understand the publishing business. For six months from the date of the release of my mass market version of the book, Hard Luck and Trouble: A Landlord's Tale (won't be out until Feb., 2007) it has been very hard to find my book, yet the publisher says it's not out of print. I've been doing my thing, still promoting at various venues and have a hard time getting it for bookstores, etc. You'd think the company'd keep some around--especially when a second book in a series comes out. New readers invariably want to read the first book in the series. At least that's what people have told me--don't you agree? Of course you do. That's why I talk to you.

At Bouchercon I met a first time writer who had the guts to stamp his/her feet and argue about the choice of his/her cover. In the end, he/she got his/her way. I thought that was pretty ballsy. I have felt so powerless. I've seen a system operate in a way that's not particularly related to any business acumen or practices, but the publishing industry seems to "jest keeps rollin', jest keeps rollin'--along... with the way they do things, whether it makes sense or not.

Kudos to those writers who are starting their own companies. I don't quite understand they way some are set up--they hook in their own line to already established publishing houses. Wonder what the percentages and the agreements between the two are?

Arrgh, why am I even involved in gross speculation about money, finances, business, etc. ?
Art, art, art is what we writers should be concerned with. N'est-ce pas?
Enough. Signing off. Comments?



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