UBM: You have a long impressive resume writing novels. In 2010 in an
interview with The Urban Book Source you stated you were retired. Can you elaborate why you retired?
OT: I smile right now as read this, but I never said I retired as a
“writer” I only spoke about my retiring from writing “urban fiction.” At the time,
I was very much interested in writing international thrillers and other
content, which I was able to with the children’s book “12 Brown Boys,” the epic
business novel “Pecking Order” the nonfiction book for entrepreneurism with
“The Equation” and the erotic short story book with “Dirty Old Men.” So I
was still writing, just not writing urban fiction anymore. So folks took that
“retired” word and ran with it without really looking at what I was saying.
I was also trying to go into film and television at the time.
UBM: Why the comeback?
OT: Well, now that you realize that I was never retired in the first place,
the so-called “return” is all about alerting the public marketplace that
I’m back active with new and interesting material again. But I’ve been in the
lab over the last 2 years trying to see what new directions to take.
UBM: Can you tell us about your latest project Corrupted?
OT: CORRUPTED is a fictional/factual account of all that’s going on in the
current book publishing industry, particularly with black authors and black
books through the eyes of one popular and successful editor, “Vincent
Biddle.” The book has a dozen main characters in it, and every move that they all
make is all real. I wrote the book to make a timely assessment on the
struggles that the current crop of African-American authors are going through to
continue their writing and publishing careers, where it basically comes down
to doing ANY and EVEYTHING that you need to to stay active.
UBM: What do you want readers to take away from the book?
OT: As the summary says, the readers will get to see the full dark side of
the publishing industry, where it ain’t all nice. Believe that! It’s a real
stressful struggle to remain successful in any audience-driven arena. When
you’re hot, you’re hot, but when you’re not . . . things can surely fall
apart on you. Now they get to see that.
UBM: Who is your favorite character in the novel?
OT: Good question. But as an author who is still writing this “serial”
ebook, week by week, to post one chapter at a time every Friday, I can’t take
any sides with the characters. I have to love ALL of them to give them each
justice. So that’s what it is. I like all of their perspectives, and each
perspective is very important to understand the full industry.
UBM: A lot of your books are about issues. What is the issue in Corrupted?
OT: You hit the nail rigt on the head with that. I LOVE to write about
different subjects for each and every book, and CORRUPTED is about the real deal
of human industry. Decisions amd sacrifices are always made in industry
that people often don’t understand. And in a hard American economy like this
one, every industry is going through tough times, including professional
football, basketball, music, film, television, you name it. So now you get to
really read about the publishing industry and how the economy effects those who
are in it. Ain’t not just books and writing. It’s about business. And don’t
you ever forget it!
UBM: Corrupted is being sold by subscription or by chapters, how did you
come up with such a unique pricing structure?
OT: Easy. I was not finished writing the book when I came up with the idea
for the summer. But with the ebook idea, I figured, why not publish a
chapter at a time then and sell it for $1. And if I write 25 chapters, it would
be like the price of a regular hard back. In the meantime, a new reading
audience would stay with me for 3-4 months of reading about the same characters
in the same book from the same author, like watching their favorite
television programs. Then my manager came up with the web site idea for folks who
maybe don’t have ebook technology, or may not want to keep downloading
chapters each week. And there you have it, a new publishing model to build and
maintain a dedicated audience.
UBM: What is your opinion on ebooks? Will they be the end of the paperback
or a new period in publishing?
OT: I’m using the ebook technology to my advantage right now, where I can
sell a chapter as soon as I finish it instead of having to wait for a full
book to be complete. But ebooks can only phase out traditional books when
everyone has the new technology to read them. So that may take a while to
happen. In the meantime, I still love the packaging of traditional books myself.
To write and publish a new book and then hold it in your hands is still
special feeling to me, but we’ll have to wait and see how special that process is
to everyone eles. So we will see in the next 5 years.
UBM: How has the industry changed since your last novel?
OT: More self-published authors. Less attention to mainstream author with
names. Less excitement for new book releases. Less money each book. Less
sells each new book. Less book stores to sell from. Less tour and marketing
money. Less confidence from editors and publishing houses. Less genres to read
black books, outside of urban street lit, black erotica and your tradictional
relationship dramas. And we still can’t get the black film deals that white
books can get. So there’s a lot less than more for black books. And for
white books, there are more film deals, more ebook sales, more paranormal
writers, but less money accross the board for them all as well. I mean, the whole
industry is a part of the overall American economy of less.
UBM: Does race play any issue in the industry?
OT: Oh, you already know it. And I talk about all of the race factors from
the first page to the last page of CORRUPTED! It’s all up in there!
UBM: What authors have influenced your writing or business?
OT: Richard Wright, Chester Himes, Iceberg Slim, Walter Mosley and Toni
Morrison have had the biggest impact on my writing styles. And Terry McMillan,
Michael Baisden and Zane have the biggest impact on my business models.
UBM: How can readers learn more about Corrupted and your other titles?
OT: Simply view my web site @ www.OmarTyree.com, Twitter, Facebook,
Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or Google CORRUPTED by Omar Tyree and wham! You have it!
That’s the speed of the information age in year 2011.
Omar Tyree, a New York Times best-selling author, a 2001 NAACP Image Award
recipient for Outstanding Literature in Fiction, a 2006 Phillis Wheatley
Literary Award winner for Body of Work in Urban Fiction, and a 2010 HBCU
Legends Award recipient, has been cited by the City Council of Philadelphia for
his work in Urban Literacy, and has published 19 books with 2 million copies
sold worldwide that has generated more than $30 million. With a degree in
Print Journalism from Howard University in 1991, Tyree has been recognized as
one of the most renown contemporary writers in the African-American
community. In the Spring of 2008, he founded the Urban Literacy Project (ULP) to help
fight the lingering issue of illiteracy within the urban American
community. He is also an informed and passionate speaker on various community-related
and intellectual topics. Now entering the world of international business
and seminars, urban children’s books, stageplays, feature films and
songwriting, Tyree is a tireless creator and visionary of few limitations. For more
information on his work and titles, please view his web site @