The Man with a Million Dollar Smile and The Leading AFRICAN-AMERICAN Owned Book Publishing Company in the World. by Heather Covington They say people are drawn to success. Well, it is no secret that Mr. Tony Rose, CEO AND PUBLISHER OF AMBER COMMUNICATIONS GROUP, INC. (AMBER BOOKS, BUSTA BOOKS, COLOSSUS BOOKS, AMBROSIA BOOKS AND AMBER/WILEY BOOKS) featured at an equally leading site, WWW.AMBERBOOKS.COM along the lines of QBR.com, www.poetsandwriters.com,and AALBC.com, has courageously AND successfully paved the way for some of the most sought after celebrity BIOS and self-help books addressing current trends from weddings, make-up, hair, parenting and style to modern day love stories, and classy biographical books on some of the hottest entertainers to grace this planet from Destiny's Child and the late Aaliyah to Suge Knight and R.Kelly.The living legendary icon publishes books by some of the leading authors and compilers that are consistently in demand, still going strong, taking over bookstore shelves, gracing leading magazines like QBR: The Black Book Review and BIBR: Black Issues Book Review and readers are loving it.Tony Rose's books are sought after by teens, women, gift givers, journalists who want to find out the 411 on the latest celebrities, men who find books like only Tony Rose's publications can deliver and purchase at large chain book stores, and most of all, by those who appreciate the winning and eye-catching book covers that readers and bookstores look forward to placing on their bookshelves. Mr. Tony Rose's publications set the standard and by reading just one book from the many imprints, you'll be hooked on the diverse richness of literature to come along celebrating African American culture with trends and issues people want to read.We wanted to know more about one of the most respected African American figures of the publishing industry who owns an infectious smile that spells success, so we caught up with the mastermind behind books like, Aaliyah: An R& B Princess in Words & Pictures, Beautiful Black Hair, The African American Travel Guide, The African American Teenagers Guide, the Ebony Magazine best selling publication, Born Beautiful: The African American Teenager's Complete Beauty Guide, How To Get Rich When You Ain't Got Nothing-The African-American Guide To Gaining and Building Wealth and many more on Thanksgiving Day for a "Get PerSOULnal INTERVIEW. "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's smile, and his number one publishing company of African American books that we have been longing to share with the Disilgold Community. To enter the mind of a leading African American CEO of the millennium is what the Disilgold Community looks forward to for motivation, a source of strength and as a role model of excellence. You can personally meet Mr. Tony Rose himself at The YOUnity Reviewers Guild Awards Annual Gala Celebration in 2004, but for now, get to know the man, the genius, and living legendary icon. It's time to "Get PerSOULnal."
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, Amber Books' V.P. & Senior Editor, 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 were some of the obstacles you faced during the start up of your company and what success stories can you share that overcame these obstacles?
Tony Rose: I never considered my experiences with the start-up of Amber Books to be obstacles. As in any new business, it seemed like the financial obligations were insurmountable, but I had just sold my music business and had sufficient start-up finances and later I was fortunate enough to obtain investments from some of my supporters.
Disilgold: What are some of the current new releases that readers can look forward to or books that are still in demand that our community should know about?
Tony Rose: Some of our best sellers are: Aaliyah - An R & B Princess in Words & Pictures by Kelly Kenyatta; Beautiful Black Hair by Shamboosie and Afrocentric Brides - A Style Guide by Therez Fleetwood, The African-American Teenagers Guide to Personal Growth, Health, Safety, Sex and Survival, The African-American Job Seekers Guide To Succesful Employment and The African-American Woman's Guide To Successful Make-Up and Skincare by Alfed Fornay. Some of our upcoming titles include: THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN HANDBOOK & GUIDE TO ROLLING OVER INTO RETIREMENT…….. RICH by Denise Lamaute, THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL SELF-PUBLISHING by Takesha Powell, THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN GUIDE TO REAL ESTATE INVESTING - $30,000 in 30 Days by Larryette Kyle DeBose; THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHILDREN'S HAIR BOOK - How to Take Care and Have Fun With Your Child's Hair by Deborah R. Lilly, HOW TO DO AFRICAN-AMERICAN GENEOLOGY by Roland Barksdale-Hall, HOW TO BE AN ENTEPRENEUR: THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN GUIDE TO OWNING YOUR OWN SMALL BUSINESS by Paula McCoy Penderhughes, URBAN SUICIDE-THE ENEMY WE CHOOSE NOT TO SEE: CRISIS IN BLACK AMERICA, AND FIGHTING FOR YOUR LIFE: THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SURVIVAL GUIDE.
Disilgold: You are a quiet and what we call a silent giant in the industry, but one of the most productive people. At the same time, you are generous, recognized among many people of excellence. You have been awarded the Chicago Black Book Fair Publisher Of The Year Award, and The 2003 Blackboard Bestsellers Publisher Of The Year Award and you recently presented Mr. Max Rodriguez with The Glenn Thompson Award at The Phyllis Wheatley Awards in 2003 along with other top literary black presses owned by Haki Madhubuti, and Paul Coates. What has enabled you to find this balance in your life to continue to give and support other African American leaders of excellence. I am inspired by people with this tenacity and you continue to exude a powerful presence in the community that I must say leads people to emulate you. Now that we know this, please do not be humble here. Please share your sources of inspiration.
Tony Rose: I grew up poor and on welfare, living in a housing project in 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 are you from and 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 that you don't mind sharing with The Disilgold Community that perhaps no one really knows, but can equally match your abilities to run a top publishing company?
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 1996, 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: What events have you attended that were a major success for presenting your publications on a wide scale?
Tony Rose: The first show I exhibited at was IBBMEC and I'll never forget when I sold my first case of Modeling books to Brother Nati, owner of Afrikan World Books. I've also exhibited at, and have had great success at the Harlem Book Fair presented by Max Rodriguez, Chicago Black Book Fair presented by Donna Beasley, the Black Caucus of American Library Associates, Faye Child's BlackBoard Book Fair, Book Expo America, American Library Associates, Black Expo, Circle of Sisters presented by Inner City Broadcasting, and numerous other local and national events. Last year we traveled 125,000 air miles around the United States, this Year we'll do 90,000. We do get to meet just about everybody.
Disilgold: Where can people find Tony Rose today or where have people possibly met you for our readers who may now have flashbacks upon seeing you on television or reading about you articles?
Tony Rose: As an in-demand moderator, panelist and speaker, I recently participated in a panel entitled "Legal and Business Issues in Book Publishing" at the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA) Conference. I was THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN BOOK PUBLISHER TO HAVE PARTICIPATED AS A SPEAKER AND PANELIST AT THE BOSTON GLOBE BOOK FESTIVAL'S "PANEL ON PUBLISHING". I know that we are the only African-American book publisher running television commercials which can be seen on The MBC Television Network. In addition, AGCI titles have been seen and featured on such diverse programming and publications, as: BET and The Today Show, The Travis Smiley NPR Show, Ebony Magazine, Essence, Black Issues Book Review, and QBR: The Black Quarterly Magazine.
Disilgold: Please share any reviews, awards or honors that your publications have received that will enlighten our community of the amazing success of your publications.
Tony Rose: I have won numerous publisher and press awards, including: The 2003 BlackBoard Bestseller's African-American Publisher of the Year Award and the Chicago Black Bookfair and Conference Independent Publisher / Press Award. The American Library Association's "2003 Reluctant Reader Award"
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 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. ACGI has completed a four-book co-publishing / imprint deal with John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and is in negotiations with JWS for several other titles set for publishing in 2004 and 2005.Black Expressions Book Club, the nation's largest African-American book club, has secured licensing for several ACGI titles, including: Beautiful Black Hair - Real Solutions to Real Problems by Shamboosie; Is Modeling For You? The Handbook and Guide for Young Aspiring Black Model by Yvonne Rose and Tony Rose; Pay Yourself First: The African American Guide to Financial Success and Security by Jesse B. Brown, The African-American Woman's Guide to Successful Make-up and Skin Care and Born Beautiful -The African-American Teenager's Complete Beauty Guide by Alfred Fornay, The Afrocentric Bride - A Style Guide by Therez Fleetwood and Langhorn and Mary - A 19th Century Love Story by Priscilla Stone Sharp. In addition, and this is an exclusive, we have been given the exclusive rights from Barnes and Noble to sell to 200 Barnes and Nobles directly, not through a distributor, but direct to B&N. I believe this is a first for any 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.
Disilgold: Tony, you are an amazing soul. We look forward to featuring our interview with you in The PerSOULnalities Chronicles very soon, as well as excerpts in The Disilgold Soul Literary Review Magazine. This segment of our interview entails "The Get PerSOULnal Interview." Mr. Tony Rose, this interview segment requires brief answers, is very personal and will be revealed to a large audience of avid book readers and writers. Anything you say will literally be glorified and represent you for the life of Disilgold.
Disilgold: Are you ready to "Get PerSOULnal?"
Tony Rose: As ready as ever! The Get PerSOULnal Interview with Tony Rose!
Disilgold: Do you write books and if so, for how long do you write daily?
Tony Rose: The first book I actually co-wrote was "Is Modeling for You?" Yvonne and I wrote our flagship book at the many beaches in California. Other books that I have contributed to or edited have been written in my office or out by my pool in Phoenix. I have no timetable for writing; my main interest right now is publishing other author's work.
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, 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: I'll be presenting at the Learning Annex in New York City in January. Other venues are currently being booked, but I have to choose sparingly because I need to focus on running the business.
Disilgold: What time do you awake normally every morning?
Tony Rose: Although, I'm always up by 5AM, I probably can say that I'm awake by 4AM.
Disilgold: What is your motivational fuel in the morning?
Tony Rose: Thinking about everything that I didn't get done the day before and getting masterpieces (manuscripts) in the mail.
Disilgold: What early morning rituals have followed for many years?
Tony Rose: Talking to God, working out and eating light.
Disilgold: What are your favorite foods to snack on while writing?
Tony Rose: I enjoy peanuts, fruit, crackers & cheese.
Disilgold: Do you watch television or listen to the radio when you're writing, and if so, what do you watch or listen too mostly?
Tony Rose: When I'm writing, I might listen to music, but usually I just need to be surrounded by my own thoughts.
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: What is your everyday outfit?
Tony Rose: Usually, I wear slacks and a loose shirt - I'm not a suit man, unless the occasion calls for one.
Disilgold: What is your favorite time to put your business agenda to rest and relax?
Tony Rose: I wish I could say, but, unfortunately, I just play it by ear.
Disilgold: Where have you traveled?
Tony Rose: Europe and the Caribbean. When I had my band, 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, stands 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: If you could leave one sentence of advice to people in general, what would it be?
Tony Rose: Find your passion and don't let it go.
Disilgold: Tony, we want to thank you for letting us "Get PerSOULnal" with you, and look forward to reading more of your inspirational and resourceful books. Please keep us informed of all new books features at www.amberbooks.com and enjoy your Thanksgiving Day.
Tony Rose: It was definitely my pleasure. Thank you, Heather, for all your kind words. You are an inspiration.
Upon interviewing Tony Rose, I got the sense that the man is larger than life, humble, focused, very disciplined, light-hearted and still owns one of the best smiles in the publishing and marketing industry. Take a good look, the man has gone Disilgold. Stay tuned for upcoming reviews, and definitely take the time to read LANGHORN & MARY this holiday.