Reviews

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

With publishing house conglomeration, bestsellers and the bottom line occupying agents, editors and others who used to have more time to shepherd writers through the publication process, handbooks increasingly fill the gaps. In one of the first targeted specifically to the burgeoning numbers of African-American writers, Fleming provides not only basic information but also the historical context surrounding the publication of books by black authors, profiles and interviews with writers and industry veterans, and genre specifications. During the 1990s, African-American publishing shifted from an emphasis on literary fiction and nonfiction to commercial fiction (e.g., Terry McMillan's Waiting to Exhale) and inspirational nonfiction (e.g., Iyanla Vanzant's spiritual self-improvement books). Journalist, critic and author Fleming (Wisdom of the Elders) succeeds in his goal of arming new writers with tips about effective query letters and proposals, dealing with agents and editors (including working with black and white professionals), self-publishing and electronic rights. Ranging capably over a wide field, he gives advice about self-promotion that will educate even a seasoned author, although he doesn't clearly discuss how to work with a public relations consultant, nor does he mention independent editors as an option for writers in need of extra attention. Surprisingly, he refers to the Internet mainly as a research tool, giving less attention to its potential as a vehicle for publicity or electronic publication. Despite these quibbles, the rich context and down-to-earth advice he brings to the publication of books by black authors is well worth the price of this comprehensive guide. Agent, Victoria Sanders. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

YA-In this cross between an almanac and guidebook, Fleming assists aspiring writers with an eclectic assembly of subjects related to the writing life. He discusses the basics of manuscript submissions, tools of writing, and the publishing world. He speaks of issues that many African-American writers must deal with in producing and marketing their books. He also reveals the importance of self-promotion. In subsequent chapters, Fleming entertains book lovers of any race with a tour of the African-American literary world. He pays homage to outstanding writers, offers a brisk overview of genres, gives a nod to reading groups, and mentions the Internet.-Connie Freeman, Ivy Tech State College, Fort Wayne, IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.