Vickie StringerThe Real Vickie Stringer

by Seth "Soul Man" Ferranti
October 2008

Triple Crown Publications is the first name in street lit, it’s product—raw, gritty, urban fiction—is sold everywhere, from street corners to small African American bookstores to Barnes and Noble. Vickie Stringer, an ex-con and former drug dealer is the founder of Triple Crown. The publishing house she started to self-publish her semi-autobiographical novel that she wrote in prison, Let That Be the Reason, has grown dramatically and has become a major presence in the publishing industry as has Vickie Stringer herself. Publishers Weekly declared her “the reigning Queen of urban fiction” and Newsweek ran a story on the Essence best-selling author in June 2004 titled “It’s Gangsta Lit.” Vickie Stringer has come a long way since her release from the feds.

Triple Crown Publications went international in April 2005 when her novels were translated and released in Tokyo, Japan. She is also a successful literary agent who is an inspiration and motivator to aspiring authors and self-publishers. Her first book, Let That Be the Reason, sold over 100,000 copies, her company has moved up to a million books, and has published over 35 titles by 26 authors. “People in the streets buy these books like its crack,” Vickie Stringer said. She follows the maxim, “Do you,” to the ultimate extreme.

Still in her 30’s, after having been a millionaire in the drug trade, a federal prisoner and a millionaire again in the space of a decade, Vickie has plenty to smile about. One Detroit Metro writer wrote, “She is beautiful with soft apple-butter skin, inquisitive brown eyes and a coy flirtatiousness that speaks volumes about her confidence. Most people can’t stop smiling when they meet Vickie Stringer because she can’t stop smiling herself.” Getting out of that life sentence and doing only five years in the feds and then making millions off some gangsta shit when you violated every gangsta code in the book will leave you smiling. Like you fooled the world, like you have a big secret, but we’re here to expose that secret. There is a back-story to this story.

Stringer grew up on Detroit’s eastside, the youngest in a struggling middle-class family. According to those that knew her, she was prim and proper, a church-going girl who went to Ohio State University and fell in love with a street hustler. “The first time I laid eyes on Chino, it was a wrap,” she said. “I loved him. I wanted to be with the bad boys.” Vickie started hustling too with her boyfriend’s gang, the Triple Crown Posse in the early ‘90’s but when she fell out of grace with Chino she didn’t fall out of the game. With the contacts she made through her boyfriend, Stringer continued to sell drugs and became the Columbus connection for an interstate cocaine and heroine trafficking operation that moved $6 million worth of narcotics a month from New York to Ohio. Her Dominican supplier shipped her 20 – 30 kilos at a time using a fleet of special vans configured with hidden stash boxes to transport the drugs safely without detection.

In 1994, one of Vickie’s couriers got busted and snitched her out. Agents found 26 grand in marked bills the informant had paid Stringer. They also found $320,404 in cash, 22 pounds of coke, and one pound of heroin, and on September 16, 1994 police and federal agents, intent on smashing the local drug trade, arrested Stringer. They accused her of running one of the cities largest drug pipelines and supplying the notorious Short North Posse and its associated gangs who terrorized Columbus.

Stringer was branded the “Cocaine Queen” of Columbus and her face was plastered on the nightly news. She faced a maximum penalty of life in prison. Police said her ring smuggled large amounts of coke to Columbus from New York over a three year period. From the jump Stringer and Ramon Diaz, another member of her ring began giving law enforcement officers details of their supplier’s network.

Stringer, 27 at the time, pleaded guilty to one count each of money laundering and conspiracy. In prison Vickie decided to write her story and penned her first novel that would go on to become a bestseller and trendsetter in the genre. “I was so angry sitting in prison all those years. I had put so much shame and disgrace on my family name. I told myself your legacy has to be greater than this,” Vickie said. Federal prisoner #63752-061 learned a lot too.

With her book written Vickie left prison with a goal to get a book deal, but she found it rough. Triple Crown was started after 26 rejection letters for her first novel, Let That Be the Reason. According to Stringer, more than 90 percent of her book is based on fact. “I tell my son all the time, the same story that made us sad now pays our bills.” In her book she outlines the lessons of the streets—Rule #1: Get Paid, Rule #2: Don’t trust anybody, not even yourself, Rule #3: Stay Free.

Out of prison armed with a dream, Vickie printed up her book and sold it on street corners in the hood. And the book sold and sold and sold. She found other aspiring street lit authors, like Kwan and Nikki Turner and put out their books too. Within what seemed like a blink of an eye, Triple Crown became a major player in the burgeoning urban lit industry.

“When I was a hustler I used to put packages in shorties hands and I thought I was giving them a chance but really I was dealing them death.” Vickie said. “There’s people that I gave packages to that are doing life in prison, people who wound up getting murdered trying to sell drugs I gave them. So now, when I’m able to give someone a book deal, I’m giving them life. God gave me a second chance, so I use that opportunity to give others a second chance too.”

Visit Vickie Stringer's Personal Blog.
Visit the Triple Crown Publications website.
Visit Triple Crown TV.

Seth Ferranti is a contributing writer for The Urban Book Source and accomplished journalist having written articles for Don Diva, Slam, King, Feds and many more. View more of his articles at:

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