Act Know Less Meants

by Jarold Imes
Urban Book Source
August 2007

I have penned my tenth novel… and before I could get a grasp of the pen to write the "Shout Outs" as I called them, a voice inside of me spoke.

"Who the hell was I thanking?!"

"Why are they getting props?!"

Yeah, ya'll know what I'm talking about…the traditional one to three page opus where authors give other folks shout outs. Jesus forgive me PLEASE…but this is some bullshit!

As I read through mine and other peoples act-know-less-meants (that's what I'm going to call them from now on), I began to question the sincerity and the art of these pages that authors and publishers put in their books. Those of us in the industry know that so-and-so don't like so-and-so. This person has never met that person in person. Yet we feel compelled to include these people in our books. Why?! Is it because it's the polite thing to do or is it because we want to show the world that we can name as many authors as we can to put in our books?

I've been taught that giving props where it is due is a sign of respect and there's nothing wrong with that. And I'll be the first to say that I've thanked some people I shouldn't have. I got caught up in the "glitz" and "glam" of being published. Most of you authors who are reading this article have too. After we make that error on our first books and even our second, we learn not to do it again.

Shannon Holmes' Never Go Home Again has proved to be my all time favorite. I've even told him so when I met him a while back that he said a lot of the stuff I wanted to say at the time I wanted to say it. Whether I agreed with everything or not, I still liked the authenticity of it. I felt like I was watching a master poet captivating an audience on "Open Mic Night." Little did I know that when I first read this section while waiting on the attendant at Borders to bring me a copy of another book, that reading this would begin to change how I see this industry. As a young student growing in this field, this would serve as a textbook for many of the things I would learn about various people over the years.

So as I struggle still to come up with some words for Book #5 of my teen series, Runnin' Wit No Breaks which is coming out December 18, 2007, I'll start with this draft if you get my drift.

To my Father in Heaven and Jesus…I know I keep the Holy Spirit busy with all the mess I keep up down here. I'm not going to tell how I won't do this again or I'm going to change. I will say that I appreciate that you recognize that I am a work in progress and a soul worth saving. I'm glad to know that ya'll are doing this for me so that one day I will be the man you guys want me to be. I'm not sinless but each day I find an opportunity to sin less and to not do everything I think about doing.

To my family… I love you.

Winston-Salem State University my second home, for being the first to give me a book signing. No hassles, no mess, no backbiting cause I attended another HBCU, just showing a young black man with a dollar and a dream some love.

To every author who has taken time to answer my questions and participate in any interview for, thanks a million. I hope that I represented your views and that I have exposed you to other readers of the growing black teen market.

To Noire magazine, Black Men 4 Now and Urban Book Source, thanks for being the three publishers bold enough to publish any thought I ever felt should have been in print. I wish the print magazine publishers and book publishers could be so real so that this industry would be a better place.

Omar Tyree, you and your uncle were the first to look out for me when I was a teen scratching the door trying to get in the industry. I have not always taken your advice as I should but thanks for letting me learn some things the hard way and NOT rubbing it in when you found out that I found out that I was wrong. A lot of people like to talk shit about you but you still give more than most do and you're one of the few that hasn't let your success change you. The truth is, you and E. Lynn Harris have made it possible for many of us to have literary careers and have helped changed the way the publishers thought about us and our books. The next time we talk, I will take more notes, follow more directions, and be less of a hot head so I can be where you put everyone else.

I want to thank KaShamba Williams, Wahida Clark, and Eric Pete for showing a brother love in your books. I appreciate that a whole lot.

Trustice, K'wan, Nikki, KaShamba again, Deja, Joylynn, Darrell King, Jason, Tracy, TuShonda, and Victor for treating me like family even when I was not signed to the label. Ya'll have supported me in my attempts to take on book clubs and literary groups head on for having the audacity to call the works we write "trash." Ya'll have encouraged me to keep writing and not once did you look down on me because I didn't have a deal or because of the fact that I have not sold as much as you, yet. Even though I don't work with your boy no more, I appreciate ya'll not turning your backs on me because of a personal difference. I also want to acknowledge new editions like Leo and T.Styles who also show me love.

To the former Vic Mar Publications management and staff, even though I don't own the label no more, I do appreciate the five and a half years I have been allowed to build the label to where it is and for learning to get stuff right. In spite of what may be going on behind the scenes and in public, I have been and will continue to be here when you need me. To my former authors, I am proud of you: some of you have deals with major labels, some of you have your own jump offs, some of you need to get on the ball and stop being lazy and start being serious with your works. Wherever you are at, I am proud to have had some part in your success. To those of you who left for "bigger and better thangs" I wouldn't have let you go if I thought you were getting in a situation that wouldn't elevate you. To the current staff of the company formerly known as Vic Mar Publications… everything that has been in the works is almost complete… I can't wait until everyone sees the new you.

Bro. Nati and Massamba for carrying my books and making sure I was getting noticed in the streets. And to my dedicated readers who remember when the original book cover of Never Too Much was just a map of the place I wanted my world to be. Thanks for buying all of my books, even two or three copies of my books.

Mark Anthony… for taking a few minutes out of your day take to take my calls, return my emails, give me advice AND NOT treating me like a step child cause I wasn't signed to your label. I wish more blacks who have leadership positions in this industry (or claim to have them) would take time to nurture and REALLY support younger entrepreneurs and aspiring professionals so that this industry can be run the right way and not just by trial and error alone.

Zane… for defending me against the infamous numbers of haters no matter what subject matter I decide to talk about in those groups we belong to. I am looking forward to seeing you again.

Lastly, I apologize for being gone so long. When I said I was going to write teen fiction and commit to a series of books, I underestimated the amount of dedication it was going to take to commit to making the only current series of books at the time of this publication for young black men the best it can be. And I also apologize for all the readers and haters who feel I should shut the fuck up… no, I can't go for that. That's right… Jay is back and I can't wait to WRITE ALL MY BOOKS and a few other peoples so I can prove my critics wrong… one word at a time.

The SHOUT OUT 2007

Jarold Imes is a contributing writer for The Urban Book Source and author of Hold on Be Strong; he is the creator of online soap opera: Hold on Be Strong (, send emails

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