ATLANTA (Cox) -- Until Terry McMillan proved them wrong with her
best-selling Waiting to Exhale, most New York publishers ignored the
African-American market as basically a non-reading audience. Authors
such as Tajuana "TJ" Butler and former Atlantan E. Lynn Harris had
to resort to publishing their own books. Harris sold copies of
Invisible Life out of the back of his car and in beauty parlors.
Butler, whose novel Sorority Sisters was published this year by
Villard, peddled copies of her self-published books to black-owned
"When I first started publishing myself, I was advised against it
because I was told the industry frowned upon it. But within the
African-American community I saw lots of sales," says Harris, a
Doubleday author with 2 million books in print.
With Harris and fellow author Eric Jerome Dickey now regularly
landing on the best-seller list, more doors are opening for black
writers. This month, Kensington Publishing will launch a new line of
fiction and nonfiction for African-Americans, and next winter Random
House will follow suit with its Strivers Row imprint.
"After Terry McMillan's success, blacks were buying books (by
African-Americans) just because of the novelty. Taste wasn't really
involved," says Manie Barron, publisher of Amistad Press, an imprint
of HarperCollins that publishes fiction and nonfiction by blacks.
"Now, a decade later, readers are more discerning."
Wildfires disrupt vacations
NEW YORK (NYT) -- The wildfires that have swept through parts of
a dozen Western states this summer, destroying homes, businesses and
millions of acres of recreational land, have also disrupted or
ruined vacations and crippled businesses dependent on the tourist
"It has been an absolute disaster for campers, hikers, rafters
and other outdoorsmen over a big portion of the West," said Dorothy
Maitland, the owner of Travel by Maitland, a tour operator in
A major entrance to Yellowstone National Park was closed for
several days in mid-August, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming was
shrouded in smoke, and fear of wildfires kept visitors away from
Glacier National Park in Montana. Mesa Verde National Park in
Colorado, a trove of ancient cliff dwellings and ancient Anasazi
artifacts, was closed twice for a total of almost three weeks before
reopening Aug. 14.
Although small businesses near recreational areas have suffered
and individuals have had to change camping and hiking plans, tour
operators in the affected states had surprisingly few cancellations.
They juggled schedules; when the south entrance to Yellowstone was
closed, some went in via the west, said Keither Griffall, chief
executive of Western Leisure in Salt Lake City. "It took another
three hours or so, but by staying in close touch with the Forest
Service we were not badly affected." And as long as visitors do not
think they are in danger, he said, many of them enjoy what he
described as "a little spice" during their tours.
While Mesa Verde was closed, Tauck Tours of Westport, Conn.,
rescheduled tours to Aztec Ruins National Monument in New Mexico.
"We had a lot of people calling to inquire," said Phil Otterson, a
vice president, "but we had very few cancellations." Maitland, a
former president of the National Tour Association, said that there
was a falloff in early August, but that tours picked up when her
company stuck to most itineraries and rescheduled others. "But it
was definitely a challenge," she said.
The United States Forest Service's Web site for checking fire
conditions is www .fs.fed.us/fire/news.shtml.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Fluctuations on Wall Street seem to have caused
greater insecurity in people's personal lives. Although non-
scientific in nature, a survey of 319 adults conducted by the
financial services company MoneyUnion found 53 percent of
respondents feel less secure in their jobs as a result of recent
stock market gyrations, and 41 percent said they have less
confidence in their financial security as of late. …