Black-Owned Book Seller Reaches Out for Help
BUY NOW, please!
At Cascade Publishing House (CPH), a small Black-owned publisher, we have been stoic during the COVID-19 shutdown, not wanting to reach out for help, hoping that the virus would leave us alone and that we could get back to safely gathering in public spaces. CPH relies on book sales to sustain its business model. Book signing events in churches, libraries, schools, private homes, and museums are the hallmark of this niche publisher.
Ninety-five percent of our book sales occur at public events. We began 2020 booked through June. We had a full calendar of events during February’s Black History Month observances. By mid-February, we canceled the remainder of the month because we could not get any useful information from the federal government about the severity of the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control would issue one proclamation, and the President would contradict them. Both principals in CPH, my wife, and myself, are of a certain age and have one or more risk factors that will not allow us to appear at public gatherings.
In March, we canceled all book signings through June 30. Salvaging the last half of the year became the goal. We believed we could limp the rest of the way to 2021 and would not be the worst for it. Throughout March and April, we did not receive comforting information from the federal administration in charge of developing a plan to navigate the country through the pandemic, so we did not feel confident in scheduling any events beyond July.
Since mid-February, we’ve had to rely on online book sales, as noted, in the past, just five percent of our sales. We currently have two new books on the market, Freaknik Lawyer: A Memoir on the Craft of Resistance and The Duke of 18th & Vine: Bob Kendrick Pitches Negro Leagues Baseball. We donate ten percent of the sales of The Duke to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.
Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System, published a couple of years ago, is still an important book, especially given the recent rash of police killings of Black men.
We need your help to keep our publishing house alive. We need you to buy our books online.
Freaknik Lawyer is my life story up to 1999. This fast-paced memoir shows what it is like to be an African living in America from 1847 through 1999. This tale starts the day before my birth and moves back in time to my maternal grandmother’s grandfather standing on the slave auction block in Hawkinsville, Georgia, in what at the time of publication we thought was 1850, but evidence uncovered a few weeks ago suggests it was most likely 1847. Then it springs back into the mid-20th century with twist and turns that a little Black boy born on a farm in middle Georgia took to overcome the resistance placed in his path enroute to equality under the laws of America.
The Duke is a COVID-19 inspired writing project. I hope to write a screenplay and a couple more books during the pandemic.
This book came about when Atlanta, Georgia, issued a “shelter in place” order a few days after I attended a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues. I was a guest of the Atlanta Braves at The Gathering Spot. During the ceremony, I chatted with my long-time friend, Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. He was part of a panel discussion about the Negro Leagues. Before going to the event, I had agreed to write a piece in The Black College Nines online magazine. When I began to write my story, I sensed there was a book in there, so during the first few weeks of “shelter in place,” I wrote The Duke, the fastest I have written any of my four books.
Thousands read our blog and social media posts about CPH and our books, but only a tiny percentage will buy our books online. Frequently, a person will come up to me at a book signing and say: “I follow you online. I’ve wanted to read your book, and I’m so glad you are in town this weekend.”
And while we are happy to make the in-person sell, we desperately need our readers to buy our books online. Please stop now and click the buy now button for one or more of our books. Your purchase is via a secure encryption site.
Independent Black businesses and Black writers are not favored by American culture. We are judged by higher standards than white small businesses and writers. Yet, we are dedicated to our craft, to putting out a professional product with content that is valuable for the country.
BUY NOW, please.