Publishing/Marketing Collective--AFrican-American Book Fair Week

Okay, everybody. We discussed this a bit on the race and culture line, and then it kind of dropped. I want to pick it up again. I have been doing some research on the Jewish Book Fairs and how they work. I'm going to start contacting people to try to start a conversation about how to create an National African-American Book fair week.


What questions would you think we should ask?


What would you most like to know?


What would you most like to see in such a Book Fair Week?


What are your biggest concerns or worries about creating such a week?


What organizations or people might help in creating such a Book Fair Week? Who would make natural allies for this? Financially? With feet-on-the-ground? With publicity? (Denzel Washington and his crusade for Black literacy, perhaps?)


Or anything else you can think of. I do not want to go off half-cocked.


Sara Selznick

  • Great idea.

    Establish some links with some of the other groups that are already working to promote black books. For example, the National Book Club Conference. They do an annual gathering -- next year's will be in Johannesburg.

    Get folks with festival organizational skills/experience would be perfect. A few names come to mind but I'd prefer to ask them first before I make them public.

    Other stakeholders - bookstores, agents, publishing houses/people, churches, community groups, libraries, etc.

    Start locally, create and perfect the model then duplicate.


  • Hi, Carleen,


    What I have read (during my research on Jewish Book Fairs) is that not only do non-Jews attend, but it is considered outreach. People still have crazy ideas about "the Jews." Someone non-Jewish might not walk into a synagogue, say, but they might attend a Jewish Book Fair, and learn a bit more about the scary or awful or just plain different "other."


    Sound useful? The question is, how do they outreach? Advertising? Picking one author who is bound to be interesting to people out of the community? These are questions we could ask of the people who set up the Book Fair

  • At one time a writer friend was considering contacting the Unitarians to back something like this. So like the Jewish book fairs use Jewish communities centers and synagogues, maybe Unitarian churches could host.


    I am in touch with Lou Gossett Jr. who has a foundation called Eracism, and part of the purpose of his foundation is to promote books by black authors.


    Question: do non-Jews attend the Jewish book fairs? I ask that because I believe something like this would probably attract black readers (which would be great!), but I wonder if there's a way to make it clear that it's open to ALL people.