Thursday, August 12, 2010

ABBE: ATL Budding Book-Writers Emerge

I love festivals.

There's something about a festival/conference/expo that excites me. I think its the possibility of getting free t-shirts with cheesy logos, attending workshops lead by motivational speakers, and visiting booths with people selling their work that makes me love them. So when I discovered that the Atlanta Black Book Expo was this past Saturday I made sure I was there.

The 1st Annual Atlanta Black Book Expo (ABBE) was held at the Georgia International Convention Center. The ABBE was started by writers and business professionals who felt that Atlanta authors, publishers, poets, screenwriters, printers, bloggers, and playwrights could benefit from promoting their work together.

As I walked around the Expo I noticed the different creative avenues that the participants used to market their work. I saw everything from

Spoken Word CD's
Raffle Gifts
Elaborate Displays
Business Cards

While I was there, I met some very interesting writers and publishers who were eager to answer my questions about their work:

What genre do you usually write?
"Murder Mystery" "Erotica" "Poetry" "Chick Lit" "Motivational" "Historical Fiction"

What's your motivation for writing?
"Entertainment" "Inspire the readers" "Educate about issues" "Arouse/Excite"

What form of publishing do you use?
"XLibris (Self Publishing)" "CherryMoon Publishing (Self Publishing)"
"Blue Water Press (Small Traditional Publishing)"

How long have you been writing?
"I've been writing for 40 years since retiring from the service." (I was impressed by this answer)

Do you attend a lot of events like this in Atlanta?
"As a poet/performer, I get hired to perform at Spoken Word events around Atlanta."
"No, I just started attending events like this."

The last response surprised me. It should not have (this is only the 1st ABBE) but people have yet to realize how many avenues they have to market their work in Atlanta. I heard this response from nearly every person I talked to at the Expo. I decided to talk to the authors/publishers that I met about Written Mag's Mary B Morrison event, how I look for similar free events on Access Atlanta, and how I review literary events on my blog. Hopefully the writing community in Atlanta will become a little more connected now.

The Expo featured interviews of several authors on a main stage in the center of the exhibition hall so that ABBE attendees could learn more about how these writers overcame the struggles of the industry. They also had several awards that participants won based on the appearance of their displays/marketing tools.

I decided that the ABBE participants deserved some ScatterBrained Writer recognition as well. Here are the winners of my awards:

Best Display
African Violet Productions LLC

Danyel A. Edwards - author, poetess, spoken word artist
Display by Facets of Love
Lakita Garrett - atmospheric consultant

Best Gimmick
I'deyah Books
- 7 year old author!
I'deyah Ricketts wrote her first book at age 4 and now travels around the country promoting her work.

Best Collection of Past Work
Yusef Poole, Esq.
- lawyer/author
Yusef has written several articles in newspapers and local publications which were displayed at his booth. His book Road to Barrister: An Urban Monologue is about his journey as a person who came from a disadvantaged background and ultimately became an Ivy League educated attorney.

Impressive Resume
Roland S. Jefferson
- author
The Damaged Goods author has several reviews from prestigious publications and New York Times Bestselling author Zane on the back cover of each of his novels. I am particularly interested in reading White Coat Fever which is a crime drama set on a black college campus during the Civil Rights Era.

Best Takeaway
Langston John Blaze
- author
I was drawn to this author's table because of the poster for his book The B.E.D.: The Bold, Erotic, and Dangerous.
Check it out, it is racy and intriguing.

Best Promotion
Felicia Coley
- author, shoe blogger
At her table, the first thing you notice is a fabulous pair of shoes! Anyone who purchased a copy of her book How to Stylishly Fall From Grace: Revelations From My Perfectly-Flawed Life was entered into a raffle to win their very own custom-designed bedazzled high heel pumps.

Best Pitch
Cherry Moon Publishing
- self publishing company
Two seconds after I walked up to their booth, I was already asked if I was a writer and how I would like to publish my first book. They market themselves as the self publisher's self publisher helping writers produce copies of their book in order to work towards getting a larger distribution deal in the future. Cherry Moon provides several services including editing, critiquing, and affordable writing classes (which I intend to check out).

Now that I have given out my first set of ScatterBrained Writer Awards, I must encourage you to support the writers who came out to ABBE this year. I am already interested in reading their work and I look forward to seeing more from them in the future.

Leave a comment if any of the writers mentioned in the blog spark your interest.

Jessica Ebony


  1. Great post & thank you for the "Oscars" lol

  2. Jessica,

    Thank you for the award! It was truly a rewarding experience to see and hear how customers react to my book's cover art and title. Feedback extremely important to a first-time book author.

    Keeping It Real In My Heels,

    Felicia Coley
    Author of, "How To Stylishly Fall From Grace"