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.

Radiah

3 comments:

Adrienna Turner said...

Thank God. We need exposure here in Milwaukee, that is only 2 hours from Chicago, IL. I am from North Chicago, IL and lived in Milwaukee, WI nearly half of my life...and would like to see the same for us authors here. We have talent too and need to see authors who are best sellers and so forth step into Milwaukee by taking us seriously as the others! I am glad Urban Reviews is taking this risk and the community of readers and people need to support!

I am featured in stage play, "Are you Ready" and hope that people will come out to support this too. We have a fan group of Facebook and check out www.edwardcookjr.org. Easter weekend is the next one at New Restoration Church 114th and Mill Rd.

James W. Lewis said...

Sounds like Milwaukee is the place to be! I hope to promote my book "Sellout" there one day!

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