This is a tale of two African-American writers who published their own books, sold them strongly and then, as we like to think happens from time to time, got mainstreamed into big publishing. One is the monosyllabically named Zane, who is active on the Web from her Washington, D.C., base and has published several titles there. It was her erotic suspense thriller Addicted that received strong attention when she published it herself, selling 50,000 copies in the first six months. This naturally caught the attention of an agent, Sara Camili, who in turn sold it to Pocket Books senior editor Tracy Sherrod as part of a two-book deal that includes a second novel called The Heatseekers. Pocket will bring out Addicted in trade paper this fall and the second book in hardcover next summer.
Meanwhile, another black author, Nicole Bailey-Williams, whose self-published novella A Little Piece of Sky, sold 7,000 copies a year ago, was taken on by agent Kate Garrick at PMA Literary, and became her first sale when Janet Hill at Doubleday's new Harlem Moon imprint picked it up for trade paperback publication next summer. The book is about a girl in Philadelphia torn between the poverty of her single mother and the suburban life offered by her married father.