Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy 10 year anniversary to RAWSISTAZ!

Hello everyone.

I want to take this time to say Happy 10th Anniversary to RAWSISTAZ. Tee C. Royal is a force in the literary industry and has set the standard for others to follow.

My husband urged me to start a review website since I read like 8 to 10 books a month.  Seeing Rawsistaz website online many years ago prompted me to actually start my own review website. I want to thank Tee for always being there for helpful advice in regards to book events and reviewing books. Her knowledge and expertise helped Urban Reviews in more ways than one. If it weren't for the RAWSISTAZ website, there is a good chance that there wouldn't have been an Urban Reviews website.  And for that, I am thankful.  

Much continued success!

Radiah of Urban Reviews

Check out the RAWSISTAZ website.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How Do You Reach Thelma?

How Do You Reach Thelma?

Some of you may know that this month is the five year anniversary of our website. Last year, we started doing free book events here in Milwaukee. We’ve reached hundreds of people that I’ve never would have known before doing these events. Now we have an active email and Facebook list of people who have attended our events and we keep them informed of any other book events around our area. With more and more Af-Am authors out here vying for attention of readers, how do you reach Thelma?
Who is Thelma you ask? Let me introduce you to her. Thelma represents the average African American woman reader. She started reading contemporary African American fiction when Terry McMillan made her debut with Waiting to Exhale in 1992. She was in her 20s or 30s at the time and could identify with the characters. As the years moved on, Thelma gravitated to a lot of other contemporary Af-Am fiction authors that came after Terry such as Eric Jerome Dickey, Bebe Moore Campbell, etc. Fast forward to 2010 and Thelma is now in her late 30s and 40s, or even early 50s. She’s a wife, mother, and gainfully employed. She barely keeps up with her email account and is not really a big internet savvy person. Thelma may or may not be a part of a book club, but she still loves to read when she can. Thelma has also expanded her reading options to include erotica, street lit, mysteries, and Christian fiction. Her first love is still contemporary fiction.
The Thelma that I’m talking about in this example is not a real person. But there are readers out here who may have one or more of these characteristics.  

So authors I ask you...Do you even consider them in the marketing and promotion of your book?  How do reach someone like this? What things have you done in this effort?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Why We Do This

Why We Do This

This July will mark our 5th anniversary of the Urban Reviews website. When we started this journey back in 2005, I had no idea that the website would have grown as much as it has today. I’ve learned so much about the publishing industry over the years, and I’m still learning more each day. Our journey continues with holding local book events here in Milwaukee, WI. We kicked things off with the first annual Great Midwest Book Fest last July. We also did a private book event for author Velvet in October. Both events were successful and we’re going to have two more book events in 2010 starting with the Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant event on Saturday, March 20th. Some may question why we would add book events to our growing “to-do” list. The answer is simple…Milwaukee needs more successful African American book events and for authors to come here. Over the years, there have been some authors that come to do book signings here and there on a yearly basis, but those are few and far between. A lot of publishing companies like for their authors to hit the larger cities such as Chicago, which is just two hours away from Milwaukee which is understandable. When it comes to having authors come there, Chicago is considered an “A” city while Milwaukee is considered a “B” city. What people don’t realize is that one third of Milwaukee’s population is African American. Of that African American population, there are a lot of readers and book clubs that authors and publishers are missing out on. We can always go to different signings and book events in Chicago, which I have done in the past and will do so in the future. But it’s always good to have something local that readers can go to. It’s not just about Urban Reviews trying to brand ourselves locally but to bring authors here that the community can enjoy.

I believe in starting small and building slowly so that there’s a strong foundation to pull in the larger name authors and to have larger events in the years to come. But in order to do that, we need the community to continue their generous support of Urban Reviews and other book events held by local authors and organizations. The DeBerry/Grant event is a wonderful opportunity, and it is the culmination of months of behind the scenes work. This event is going to serve as a litmus test on whether Milwaukee is really serious about having book events for larger name authors. The publishing companies have already cut back on sending authors on tour, and it was really a miracle that DeBerry/Grant’s publisher wanted to take a chance on Milwaukee, especially since they will be in Chicago the very next day. We need to show the authors and the publishing companies that Milwaukee is a good place to put on their authors’ tour schedules. The Milwaukee community needs to also support other local Milwaukee and Wisconsin author events as well. We have a lot of talent here in the Milwaukee, Madison, and Racine areas and they deserve our support too. But don’t just go to these events to visit with the author or authors...buy a book. Even if the book isn’t something that you normally read, buy and pass it on to someone else as a gift. At the end of the day, it’s all about support and building a good environment for national and local authors here in Milwaukee.