Riverhead Trade recently launched Riverhead/Freestyle,
a new literary division of publishing giant Penguin Group. The new division will
focus on feeding a growing demand for books by "Hip-Hop" consumers.
The company just published the first title, "Blinking
Red Light." The book was first self-published by the author, Mister Mann
Frisby, former reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News.
The novel by Frisby focuses on man who's life
spirals out of control when he and his crew become involved in committing sexual
acts for cash.
"The incredible success of some of the self-published
titles in this category indicates that there is a hungry -- and probably under-served
-- readership for books that share the energy and themes of Hip-Hop culture,"
co-publisher Julie Grau said. "We see books that reflect this movement,
both fiction and nonfiction, as an area of growth," Grau said.
Riverhead/Freestyle will also release "The
Wu-Tang Manual," a book about the origins and story of the Wu-Tang Clan
by Wu themselves as well as two self-empowerment books from Tariq "K-Flex"
Nasheed, a former hustler and self-proclaimed
"Hip-Hop dating guru," has already various titles including "Play
or Be Played," "The Art of Mackin' and "The Mack Within."
"We believe that the Riverhead identity
is clearly defined, so by creating this line within the imprint, we can signal
to the publishing industry and to consumers that we are branching out into new
areas of the bookstore," Grau reflected.