The Man With A Million Dollar Smile
Most of the books I found, though, were not about us; and I learned that while I knew a great deal about European and European-American culture and history, European-Americans knew very little of African and African-American culture and history. As I grew older, I became more and more challenged by what I now believe is my fate. I learned very early in life how to have no fear, to stay focused, to accept a defining moment, and to walk through it; to know when your ship has arrived, and to get on it. I believe that one should never fear or hate success.
They say people are drawn to success. Well, it is no secret that Tony Rose, CEO and Publisher of Amber Communications Group, Inc., has courageously AND successfully paved the way for some of the most sought after celebrity bios and self-help books on the planet.
Mr. Rose publishes books sought after by teens, women, gift givers, journalists who want to find out the 411 on the latest celebrities, virtually everyone. Mr. Tony Rose's books are just as contagious as his smile, but when you read his interview, you'll see that there is more to Mr. Tony Rose than his smile.
Mr. Roseâ€™s most recent project is National Boox Expo America, one of the largest book trade exhibits in the world, provides independent African American book publishers, self publishers, authors, Black Interest Imprints at major publishing houses, distributors, literary agents, publicists, librarians and bookstore owners exposure to more than 80,000 book buyers and booksellers from across the globe. Organizers of the African American Pavilion at BookExpo America are finalizing plans for the event, to take place at the Washington, DC Convention Center, May 19th through 21st, 2006.
Heather Covington of Disilgold caught up with Mr. Rose to talk to the man behind the smile.
Disilgold: When did you create your company, and what was your motivation or source of strength for forging ahead to become one of the leading publishing COMPANIES in the world of Black African American literature and resources for the community at large?
Tony Rose: Amber Books Publishing, the corporation's first imprint, was founded in January 1998. After I sold my business and retired from my first career as a music industry executive, my wife Yvonne, ACGI'S Associate Publisher, and I wrote a book about modeling, and ventured into the wonderful world of book publishing. That May, we found ourselves at the Book Expo America with a Small Press Booth, two books - Is Modeling for You: The Handbook and Guide for the Young Aspiring Black Model and How to Play the Sports Recruiting Game - The Handbook and Guide for the High School Student Athlete. Almost immediately, Amber Books experienced phenomenal growth in a niche market that established the company as the nation's largest African-American publisher of self-help and career-guide books for African-Americans in the World.
Disilgold: What has enabled you to find balance in your life in order to continue to give back and support other African Americans?
Tony Rose: I grew up poor and on welfare, living in a housing project in Roxbury/Boston. I had a little sister, a beat down, depressed mother, and a father who was in jail most of the time. I was very lucky that I was able to form a personal relationship with God, very early in my life, as I would have to withstand many obstacles and challenges inside and outside our three-room project apartment. I began working at the age of six, selling newspapers, running errands and running numbers for the people in the projects; my earnings helped to feed and clothe my family. Hard work, discipline, a dislike of failure, a stubborn streak, a grandmother's love, an education through the G.I. Bill and God, are the steps that I took to survive and succeed in life.
Disilgold: Where do you currently reside? Is it difficult to stay stationary as a big publisher and do you feel that your upbringing has enabled you to get to this point in your successful career as a publisher?
Tony Rose: I was born in Roxbury (Boston), Massachusetts, raised in the Whittier Street Housing Projects; and attended the University of Massachusetts and the University of California in Los Angeles, graduating with a B.A. in Journalism and English Literature. I've lived in and have maintained offices in Los Angeles, New York and Phoenix for several years. My upbringing gave me the will and the desire to move on, discover the world and become a major voice in society. When I was a child, I fought my way through many combatants just to survive.
My best friend became the bookmobile that parked out front in the project once a week. As I grew older, I spent countless hours in public libraries, where I found hundreds of books written about the African-American culture and experience; I also learned that many of those books had African-American publishers. Most of the books I found, though, were not about us; and I learned that while I knew a great deal about European and European-American culture and history, European-Americans knew very little of African and African-American culture and history. As I grew older, I became more and more challenged by what I now believe is my fate. I learned very early in life how to have no fear, to stay focused, to accept a defining moment, and to walk through it; to know when your ship has arrived, and to get on it. I believe that one should never fear or hate success.
Disilgold: What was Tony Rose like as a teenager and are there other talents you possess that you would kindly share with us?
Tony Rose: As a teenager, growing up in the inner-city, I had to fight many battles. There were gang wars (which ultimately became the name of my first album released on my Solid Platinum Records label). In fact, I escaped the projects by joining the military at the age of 17. After I came back home, I was fortunately bitten by the travel bug, so I got out of the life that dragged down and killed most of my childhood friends. By the time I was 21, I was in Los Angeles in college at UCLA studying journalism and working part-time in one of Los Angeles' biggest Black-owned PR firms.
I also worked for RCA records and was a road manager with Cuba Gooding and the Main Ingredient which prepared me for my career in music as a producer, manager, music publisher and owner of my own record label. In the 80's and 90's, I founded and operated Solid Platinum Records and Productions, where I managed and produced, among the company's numerous acts, Prince Charles and the City Beat Band. I also recorded several other international acts, which included New Kids on the Block, in my Boston and New York City-based Hit City Recording Studios. Solid Platinum Records and Productions held production deals with Virgin records, Atlantic Records and SONY Records; and was the first African-American production company to have a production deal with Virgin Records. In 1995, I sold my music business to Unidisc Productions in Montreal and EMI Music Publishing in the United Kingdom and invested a portion of my earnings in Amber Books Publishing.
Disilgold: Where can people find your publications and what is in store for the future of Amber Books and the many imprints of the company?
Tony Rose: Amber Communications, Inc. (Amber, Busta, Colossus, Ambrosia, Amber Books2 and Amber/Wiley) Titles can be found in every African-American bookstore in America, as well as Barnes & Noble, Borders, Tower Books & Music, J & R Music World, in the nation's libraries and online at CushCity.com, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com WWW.AMBERBOOKS.COM, to name a few.
In addition, and this is an exclusive, we have been given the exclusive rights from Barnes and Noble to sell to Barnes and Nobles directly, not through a distributor, but direct to B&N. I believe this is a first for an African-American publisher ever.
Disilgold: What is an average day like for you from start to finish?
Tony Rose: There is no such thing as an average day at ACGI. I start with prayer and exercise and end with a prayer of "Thanks" for getting me through the day. Everything else in between consists of meetings, phone conversations, travel, negotiating contracts, correspondence, promotions, publicity, editing, production, manufacturing distribution, shipping, re-printing etc. My day always begins at or before 5AM because I know that "The early bird catches the worm". One must begin the day early to succeed in life.
Disilgold: What advice would you give to the community at large of aspiring writers who want to get published or start a publishing company?
Tony Rose: Don't procrastinate. If you want to do it, do it. If you think you can, do it. There is nothing standing in your way but you. Also, very importantly, if you are an African American publishing industry professional â€œauthor, publisher, self-publisher â€œseeking out new resources for your business in 2006, these suggestions are strongly recommended:
1. Become a member of the Black Caucus of Americans' Library Association (BCALA). It is the oldest organized African American book industry organization in the nation. You can find out more about how to become a member at WWW.BCALA.ORG;
2. Participate and exhibit with us in the African American Publishers' Pavilion at Book Expo America. You can make excellent contacts and connections that will help your publishing endeavors. You can find out more information concerning the AAPP by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Disilgold: Do you have a favorite location for writing or working?
Tony Rose: My New York office overlooks the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty; my Phoenix office has a scenic view of South Mountain. How can I go wrong, wherever I'm at.
Disilgold: How do you organize your day?
Tony Rose: Despite the outcome, I do have a pattern. I'm up at 5AM, exercise, eat a light breakfast, check my emails, check banking/finance, return correspondence, check phone messages, return calls, from which point on, no day is the same.
Disilgold: What three words best describe your CEO personality?
Tony Rose: Creative, cautious, caring.
Disilgold: What other hobbies do you pursue when you aren't working?
Tony Rose: Traveling - I love to drive or take the train across country, and cruises are a big hit with me. More than anything, I'm a big movie buff; and my passion for music and books is ever present.
Disilgold: Are you touring or scheduled for any live venues?
Tony Rose: We are always touring and have just returned from a 13,500 mile Publishers Cross Country Book tour across the United States, our touring season usually begins right after the Book Expo America. Other venues are currently being booked, but I have to choose sparingly because I need to focus on running the business.
Disilgold: What early morning rituals have followed for many years?
Tony Rose: Talking to God, working out and eating light.
Disilgold: Do you have an exercise regimen to suggest for busy CEOs?
Tony Rose: I believe you have to make your regimen personal. It's whatever works for you. whatever feels good.
Disilgold: Where have you traveled?
Tony Rose: Europe, Japan, Canada, the Caribbean. When I produced and managed bands we used to tour throughout Germany, Amsterdam, Belgium, Holland, France and the UK.
Disilgold: Where is your dream vacation?
Tony Rose: Venice Beach in California has and always will be my favorite place to go. It's so full of life, newness, art and of course it's always been one of the great beaches of the world.
Disilgold: What do you particularly like about the literary world today?
Tony Rose: Now, that little boy in me, who dared to dream, and stands in the warm embrace of success, lifted up and up, on the shoulders of those great African-American Publishers - men and women, who in our two hundred years of African-American publishing efforts, from the colonial to the present, have given the world and especially, the United States of America their greatest and most accurate description of human anguish, oppression, love, life, joy and plight. We can now publish works of fiction and information that celebrate life, not just the struggle.
Disilgold: Tony, the spotlight is yours. Is there anything more you would like to share?
Tony Rose: I would like to thank Black Issues Book Review, who has joined with Amber Communications Group, Inc. and other African Americans in the book industry in a drive to send books to those displaced by the Gulf Coast Hurricane. That effort, now called the Katrina Literary Collective, has put more than 70,000 books into the hands of those who need them."
The organizers urge independent publishers, book clubs, authors, literary services, libraries, editors and major publishing houses to continue to donate books for the survivors. Finally, I would like to thank the Katrina Literary Collective and all the Circle of Friends, who, through their time, energy and finances, donated and got those books to the Hurricane Katrina survivors. God bless all of you.
Disilgold: Tony, we want to thank you for sharing with us and we look forward to reading more of your inspirational and resourceful books. Please keep us informed of all new books features at Amber Communications Group, Inc..
Tony Rose: It was definitely my pleasure. Thank you, Heather, for all your kind words. You are an inspiration.
For further information on the African American Pavilion at Black Expo America or Black Expo America, in general or the Katrina Literary Collective, contact: AMBER COMMUNICATIONS GROUP, INC., 1334 East Chandler Boulevard, Suite 5-D67, Phoenix, AZ 85048: Phone: 480.460.1660 or 602.243.3144/Fax: 480.283.0991/E-mail: email@example.com or visit: WWW.AMBERBOOKS.COM
To check out Tony Roseâ€™s complete catalog, logon to www.amberbooks.com
Heather Covington is founder of Disilgold Publishing Company www.disilgoldsoul.com
Brenda Wyche, who edited the interview, is CEO of Winning Strategies & Associates, a public relations company in New York City. Contact Brenda@blackstarnews.com