Friday, February 18, 2011

Get your free ebook of Wading Home!

The good news: Agate Bolden is allowing free downloads of Rosalyn Story's Wading Home. You can go here until the end of February to get yours.

The bad news: It's because the publisher is so discouraged with the lack of attention the book has received. Publisher Doug Seibold writes on Agate's blog:

Please note that I’m stressing the “attention” Wading Home attracted, as opposed to “praise”; while I certainly believe it praiseworthy, my first-order concern is the dismaying lack of exposure the book got upon release--even from places that had singled out Rosalyn’s earlier work for very high praise indeed. In fact, to its publisher’s embarrassment, Wading Home has gotten hardly any attention at all--despite the hundreds of advance reader’s copies we distributed months before it was published, despite the efforts of PGW’s excellent sales force, despite the author’s appearance at BEA, despite how the book’s publication coincided with the fifth anniversary of Katrina. And despite the fact that I’ve had a hard time finding any other such novels from trade presses--novels by black writers addressing this event, which had such a huge impact on how both black people and others think about the lives of black people in this country today. Next to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Katrina and its aftermath may have been the most consequential event of the last decade. You wouldn’t know it by the response of the book publishing industry***....

I was put in mind of this issue earlier this month when I noted all the attention devoted to the statistics assembled by VIDA about women’s representation in major magazines. Ha, I thought to myself. Wait til they look at African-American people’s representation in those places. Then I thought some more: Don’t hold your breath. Black writers and editors talk about this problem all the time, but that doesn’t appear to be having much impact on the gatekeepers at the major review media, or at the major book publishers and retailers. This is an even older story, unfortunately, than the fall-off in reviewing. What’s the effect? Less good work is published, and fewer people find out about the good work that does get out there. Even for a writer like Rosalyn ... whose first book seemed like such a solid start career-wise, in terms of both reviews and sales--this diminished attention can make it impossible to build on that initial success and reach new readers, or even the readers who loved her first book.

I said of Wading Home in my mini-review about books about Katrina:

I just finished reading Wading Home by Rosalyn Story. It's a novel about a young jazz musician who has left New Orleans seeking fame and fortune and goes back in search of his father after the hurricane. An accessible, uplifting story about family set against the backdrop of New Orleans immediately after the storm. It comes out September 1st. It's published by Agate Bolden and reminds me a bit of their novel Before I Forget.
But whether or not I liked the book or not is beside the point. The real issue is how much more "worthy" of media coverage (reviews, articles) does a book's subject have to be before the so-called mainstream media pick up on it? A book that takes place during Katrina released on the 5th anniversary of Katrina seems like a no-brainer. Why wasn't it? Read Seibold's entire blog post and draw your own conclusions. Then download the ebook and then go over to Amazon and leave a review. Post a review on your own blog. Tell your book club members. Maybe the buzz will help sales starting next month.

Hat tip to Agate Bolden for attempting a re-launch of one of their books. Most publishers would have sadly moved on and cut the author loose. Let's hope like that saying "it's never too late to have a happy childhood" that it's never to late to launch a book!

***Jewell Parker Rhodes' novel Hurricane is coming out in April and is available for pre-order now.

6 comments:

Jamey... said...

I just downloaded this to my Kindle last night. I'm going to link this post to my FB page.

Doret said...

I wonder where the 100 ARC's went

Since I review adult fiction at Color Online I try to keep up with what's coming out - reading PW, blog hopping etc, but this is the first time I am hearing about Wading Home.

With arcs its also a matter of where they go. When I am asked if I want a review copy of a book I'd never read it makes me wonder if the person asking has ever seen my blog.

Publisher would be better off sending arcs to bloggers, not major review media when it comes to novels by Black authors. Or at least a 50/50 split.

It is nice to see Agate Bolden has not given up Wading Home. That kind of support tells me it must be really good.

Rosalyn Story said...

Carleen,
There is already a marked difference in the attention given to my book, Wading Home, since the free download for Black History Month, and the resulting wonderful blog posts, like yours. Thank you again for your support!

Dusky Literati said...

I had seen Wading Home as a free download from a feed that I follow that highlights free Amazon books and games for the Kindle. Amazon UK had it free the day before it went free on Amazon US. Glad to hear it's helping with publicity of the book.

Thanks for sharing the cover of Hurricane, it' gorgeous.

Shauna Roberts said...

What a gorgeous cover for Hurricane! Makes me feel at home again. Thanks for letting us know this is coming out.

mikaeel said...

I am a black author who has not been able to get many white readers. My ebooks on kindle are "The Life,"; "Two wrongs Don't Make a Right" and my best seller to date but poorly edited, "God Helps Those..."

"God Helps Those is by far my favorite story. But the editing issues would probably be a turn off for most white readers.

Another issue that myself and many other black authors have is developing sympathetic characters that white readers can identify with.

Some would point to James Paterson's Alex Cross. The thing is, even though he is a black character in his physical description, Paterson has designed him to appeal to a white audience. Many black writers see the world through black eyes. And if they haven't done some SERIOUS creative writing on a college level their characters will lack that cross over appeal.

So my hope is that the white readers who are willing to identify with black characters who are inherently black will give my books a chance.

And by the way my books contain sex and violence; and don't usually end on happy notes. So if your looking for fairy tales with happy neat endings they might not be for you. I've never knew anybody who had a had an happy ending.