Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pre-pub buzz

Float like a butterfly, buzz like a bee! Books are sold more like movies these days: it's all about the pre-publicity buzz and "opening" well. So here's a partial list of 2009 books that y'all should start talking about and consider pre-ordering.

For their contributions to this list, my thanks to Yasmin Coleman, APOOO Book Club (which is currently featuring a 12 Days of Christmas book giveaway); Martha Southgate, founding member of Ringshout, (new web site to launch soon!) a nascent group whose mission is to promote ambitious, skilled literary work by African Americans; and Doret Canton, of the Happy Nappy Bookseller.

If you know of other upcoming books, please let us know in the comments! Especially if you have a release later in the year. I'll try to keep up with a list of releases for each month. (Hint: Those that get the most ink make it easy for me by supplying all necessary info. When I have to go hunting for it, sometimes I don't find it.)

Donna Grant and Virginia DeBerry write as a team and consider themselves one author. Their latest novel What Doesn't Kill You comes out in January, and it's a book for these times. Says Tee, the main character: “I really thought I had a handle on life—then it broke off.” (Check out their blog for the Your Best Broke Story Contest)

The Black Girl Next Door is a memoir by Jennifer Baszile. In the Jan. issue, Essence magazine says, "Her account of living in exclusive Palos Verdes Estates in Southern California will move you, enrage you, and ultimately empower you."

Something Like Beautiful by asha bandele is a memoir about being a single mother.

Bicycle: Love Poems by Nikki Giovanni.

Best African American Essays, Vol I, edited by Debra Dickerson and Gerald Early. This exciting collection introduces the first-ever annual anthology of writing solely by African Americans, and includes writing by Malcolm Gladwell, James McBride and Jamaica Kincaid.

The Someday List a novel by Stacy Hawkins Adams asks the question: What do you do when you realize you're not who you want to be? Authors Adriana Trigiani and Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant say this is a keeper.

Nikki and Deja: Birthday Blues, written by Karen English and illustrated by Laura Freeman, is a 2nd in a series published by Clarion Books. They say they started the series in response to requests from booksellers, teachers and librarians for multicultural books where race is not an issue, just an attribute of the characters. (Sounds good to me!) Kirkus said of this book: "Likable and independent African American girls are a rare find in early chapter books--let's hope these two [Nikki and Deja] can start a trend."

Up to No Good by Carl Weber.

I Heard God Talking to Me: William Edmondson and His Stone Carvings looks at the life and work of the first African-American to have a solo show at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art.


The Book of Night Women by Marlon James.

Mitchell Douglas' debut poetry collection, Cooling Board: A long-Playing Poem, will be published by Red Hen Press. It's a book of persona poems written in the voice of the late soul legend Donny Hathaway, and the voices of those who knew him best Roberta Flack, Curtis Mayfield and Hathaway's widow, Eulaulah.

That Devil's No Friend of Mine by JD Mason. When Bishop Fontaine passed away, he left behind more than a list of good deeds. He was known as a caring friend and doting father...but he was also manipulative and controlling, especially to those he loved. His death begins to unravel deep secrets and shocking desires among the people he cared most about. Five very different people whose lives are only connected by Bishop suddenly find themselves up close and personal as desires, dreams and passions collide.

Vegan Soul Kitchen: A New and Healthy Way to Cook African American and Southern Fare by Bryant Terry reinvents the traditional cuisine without the use of animal products. Sounds yummy!

A New Kind of Bliss by Bettye Griffin. Griffin writes "contemporary stories today's women can relate to." Her website describes A New Kind of Bliss as: a first-person story, funny, poignant, and with plenty of attitude, about a woman who returns to her hometown after the death of her father. She wants to help her mother - who's never even written a check - adjust to the loss. A friend introduces her to a widowed oncologist with sexy bedroom eyes, and he thinks she's a fox. Is this her reward for being a dutiful daughter? Suddenly the hometown doesn't look so shabby after all . . . except there's a catch.

Like '80s "crap culture"? Stuff White People Like says you do. Colson Whitehead's new book Sag Harbor about growing up in the '80s comes out in April. Book trailer is here.

Sisters and Husbands by Connie Briscoe. This novel is a follow-up to the best-selling Sisters and Lovers.

Keeping Secrets and Telling Lies by Trice Hickman.


The Ultimate Test, a YA novel by Sheila Goss.


Goss also has His Invisible Wife hitting stores in July.

My 2nd novel Children of the Waters comes out in July. The blurb off the back cover: The author of the #1 Denver Post bestseller and Essence Book Club Pick Orange Mint and Honey explores the connection between love and race, and what it really means to be a family. You can read an excerpt and pre-order here.

A partial list of African American books for 2008-2009 from Publisher's Weekly.

Other books I'm excited about:

Martha Southgate tells me God Says No by James Hannaham, a novel about a black gay Christian who undergoes "treatment" for homosexuality will be published by McSweeney's in 2009, but I couldn't find any link to the book being available for pre-order yet.

Tayari Jones is finishing up her 3rd novel, The Silver Girl. Read an excerpt here.

Terry McMillan is working on the sequel to Waiting to Exhale.

Anybody have anything in the works that's likely to be published in the next couple of years? Let's get the word out.


DeBerry and Grant said...

Thanks for the shout out Carleen!!

Doret said...

Thanks so much for the mention. I just started a YA book that comes out in Jan. The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon. 13yr old Sam must choose between passive resistance for change like his father or the Black Panthers like his older brother. Its very good so far.

Shauna Roberts said...

I hope someone gives me lots of money for Christmas, because I see several books in this post and your best of 2008 list that I want to read.

Carleen Brice said...

Shauna, Don't forget about the library! Hopefully, libraries will be carrying the books you're interested in.

bettye griffin said...

Carleen, I'm delighted to be mentioned. Thanks so much!

Tyhitia Green said...

Great list, Carleen. Thanks for sharing it. :-) Congratulations on the great books, ladies.

Anonymous said...

Hi Carleen!! Thanks for the mention about my upcoming novel (it's actually coming out in June). I loved your article that appeared in the Washington Post and the movement you're starting to incorporate our books into everyone's reading collection! Hope to see you again at BEA this year!!

Trice Hickman, author of Unexpected Interruptions
Keeping Secrets & Telling Lies...coming June 2009!