National Black Book Festival


Monday, May 20, 2013

Black Kindle - SC Book Festival

As usual, I had a great time at the South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia, South Carolina and as usual, I volunteered.  What was more important, was that I did not work at either jobs for four days.  That was sooooooo exciting!!!!  Time off for me to just have fun.
I drove up early Saturday morning to help set up authors, book sellers, vendors and anything else they wanted me to do.    Usually, I would drive up the day before on Friday, but got lazy and enjoyed my first day off and walked my dog until he pooped his heart out!!!!  I wore that dog out.  Figure I needed to make up some exercise time for him and me.  
Many of these books fairs are filled with so many great authors and I try to attend as many as I can, but this year, the SC Book Festival was not as exciting as I had anticipated.  I guess it’s me and I wanted to see more African American authors, but I also forgot, this is South Carolina.  They barely get visits from African Americans authors, like they visit New York or DC.  Charleston is a beautiful place and it has lots of readers, just not enough black readers to persuade black writers to visit.  I saw Jackie again, she is the Books A Million representative who has tried very hard to get  black authors for signing.  She managed this year to get Carl Weber, Eric Jerome Dickey and Sister Soujhan and I am grateful to her.  She asked at the Carl Weber signing in February to please write to your local radio and TV station and anyone else you can think of to get these authors to Charleston.  She stated it has been a struggle and at this signings, it became an indication that it is.  It was very small compared to last year.  Only his die hard fans were there and I’ve heard a few of his book stores and kiosk have closed due to low sells.  
Folks, if we don’t support and buy as many books as we can, we are not going to make an impact.  You know it’s hard for all writers and it’s even harder for black writers.     

The SC festival last year had Zane, Eric Jerome Dickey and Kimberla Lawson Roby.  This year did not have any big name black authors, but the few there I was glad to see.  I was happy to see TYORA MOODY of "WHEN RAIN FALLS," "WHEN MEMORIES FADE" and a new mystery series arriving in June, "DEEP FRIED TROUBLE".  Now, don’t get me wrong, I like and buy other writers because I just love to read, but this year it felt different.  It was OK, not exciting.  There was no one in particular I wanted to see.  
I’m sure their books are great and you may think the partial list below is great, but it just did not move me.  I left early because they did not need my help any more and strolled over and paid $15.00 at Black Expo.  That was not any better.  One guy was selling a very small selection of used black books and I already had them all.  Walked around and saw that mostly junk was being sold.  Yes, junk! and the usually “mafia bank” scams greedy groups - Wells Fargo, Woodforest, some guy selling a package to start your own business in cleaning (you need some capital.  I’m sure it’s a great business if you can get enough customers and I’m not sure how many people in this recession have enough money to pay to have your house clean, I know I don’t)" hair products that they claim are organic (read the back label folks, they lying too!!!), paintings that cost hundreds of dollars, and of course, every color of weaves.  It is me or have you noticed everyone trying to look like Beyonce with long hair.  At least, damn it, get it done professionally and not let us see your scalp that you have not washed in while and fix your damn self up and stop wearing tight ass clothes looking like you are 9 months pregnant and walking around thinking you are the best when you are jeopardizing your health.  
I need to shut up and not judge, I’m still trying to stop smoking, so I say, "do what you want, because I guess in the end, you don’t care what others think and that’s fine, until you need to find a decent job, husband, boyfriend or girlfriend, get out of debt, become healthier, etc."  We sometimes don’t learn until it’s too late.  I’ll keep on praying for myself and others and keep on buying and promoting books to at least do my part to change some one’s life some where.
Here are some pictures of some of the authors and a new volunteer I met at the festival,Kelly.  

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Pictured left is SANFORD GREENE, the illustrator of AN ARMY OF FROGS: A KULIPARI NOVE BY TREVOR PRYCE - Pryce was a NFC player as well as a graduate of Clemson (my daughter's college) - $9.99 - An Army of Frogs: A Kulipari Novel

DINAH JOHNSON of - LITERARY DOGS & THEIR SOUTH CAROLINA WRITERS - $9.99Literary Dogs & Their South Carolina Writers

C. HOPE CLARK - Lowcountry Bribe - Lowcountry Bribe - $9.39
BETTYE COLLIER-THOMAS - JESUS, JOBS, AND JUSTICE: AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN AND RELIGIONJesus, Jobs, and Justice: African American Women and Religion - $21.99
RICHARD PAUL EVANS - A STEP IN FAITHA Step of Faith: A Novel (Walk) - $9.68 - Some one just gave this book.  They know I like christian and always recommended a book to my Church book club. 
JONATHAN GREEN - SEEKING: POETRY AND PROSE INSPIRED BY THE ART OF JONATHAN GREEN - $9.99 Seeking: Poetry and Prose Inspired by the Art of Jonathan Green (Palmetto Poetry Series)
The one author I was really interested and got a chance to see was HERMAN PARISH - AMELIA BEDELIA UNLEASHED.  He is the nephew of Peggy Parish, the original author of the Amelia Bedelia series that I brought and read to my daughter for years and years.  Hardcover - $9.99Amelia Bedelia Unleashed