Serving your needs since November 15, 2006!

Welcome to For The People Productions Official website

Thank you for visiting the website of For The People Productions. We are the newest marketing and public relations firm in the state of Mississippi, but we are making sure our presence is known. For more information, contact Stanley Clark at sclarkpickens@aol.com 872.232.1144 or 601.832.0673.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

For The People's Client REAL DEAL ENT. hosting upcoming events

During the 4th of July weekend in 2009 For The People Productions' client REAL DEAL ENTERTAINMENT will be hosting events with blues great The Love Doctor in Mississippi.


For more information, contact Stanley Clark at 601.559.3463.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The TRU Story of How Conversations Partnered with Platinum-selling Recording Artist /Bestselling author C-Murder

“The TRU Story of How Conversations Partnered with Platinum-selling Recording Artist /Bestselling author C-Murder”
by Herschel Dixon with Stanley Clark of For The People Productions

Part Two of For The People Productions' Three-Part Series Celebrating The Six Years of Success of Cyrus A. Webb's Conversations Brand. Missed part one of our three part interview with Cyrus A. Webb? Visit this link: http://forthepeopleproductions.blogspot.com/2009/06/king-of-conversations-celebrates-six.html


I got a call from Cyrus on the afternoon of Monday, June 1, 2009 telling me that he was on hold to talk with Martha Stewart on her radio show. That’s right: Martha Stewart. And as you can imagine he was excited. I didn’t know it at the time, but he had seen a tweet from Martha on Twitter inviting people to call into her show during her “Ask Martha” segment. That was all he needed.

That is the Cyrus Webb I have gotten to know over the past decade since we first met. He sees something that he wants, and he goes after it with no thought of what can’t be done. The word “No” doesn’t exist in his world, at least not when directed towards him. Obstacles just mean “Not right now.”

The month he was celebrating as the six year anniversary of his Conversations Brand is really a celebration of the growth Webb has experienced not only within himself and his audience, but the number of walls he has brought down because of just wanting to bring people together to promote the very best of themselves.

I have heard Cyrus joke with people that he has a split personality: the everyday Cyrus Webb and the more public alter ego C. A. Webb. I believe at some point that might just be true. From what I have seen, however, over the years it has been hard to tell when one ends and the other begins.

“I run my life just like one runs a political campaign,” he says. “My typical day begins between 4-5:30a.m. 7 days a week with a very deliberate routine. I get dressed, put on the water for my coffee and check email before updating my websites and going through my daily schedule.” That’s right: a schedule. Before going to bed each day he makes a list of things he knows he wants to get done when the next day begins. “The list may change some throughout the day,” he admits. “Some things are added or even moved to the following day, but there is an effort made to make each day count.”

Failure to best utilize the hours he is given can sometime lead to a side of Webb that is not as flattering as the calm persona he likes to show. He is a control freak. This is not something I have heard, but something I have seen firsthand over the time since we met. Cyrus Webb does not like for outside forces to sway him in any way. Time is precious, and he doesn’t like to waste any of what he is given. “I have a saying that I tweet everyday,” he says. “It’s very simple: ‘YESTERDAY is gone. TOMORROW is not promised. All you have is TODAY.’ That is not just true of me, but everyone.”

For Cyrus time is not just money, but a priceless resource that can’t be wasted. It seems that is the reason why he has done his best to make his brand, especially Conversations, something that is not limited to one group.

“One of the things that frustrates me the most is people assuming things about me and what I do based on what they think they know or what they see,” Webb says. During this conversation on the phone he paused as though trying to make sure he made his point the best way possible. “I am a young black male, but this doesn’t mean everything I do is based on my age or my race. My world is so much bigger than black and white. I don’t see this argument having to be made by those who are my white counterparts and friends. I don’t want to be put in a box.”


(Photo above courtesy of Jackson Advocate Newspaper)

As Webb continued to grow Conversations, it became clear that his vision was not going to be a one note. From the radio or television shows to the magazine and then to the book clubs, there was something for every group. What impressed me the most about the way the brand was constructed, was the fact that Cyrus had an invested interest in every aspect. He researches every guest, reads every book and personally writes them an electronic Thank You note afterwards. “It’s called Conversations,” he says, “so it stands to reason that I would have to be personally involved with every aspect of it. In order for all of these parts to work, I have to know what I’m talking about, especially if it is something that takes me out of my comfort level.”


***
This became clear in December 2006, just a couple of months after Conversations Book Club was formed and began operating. A friend of Webb’s told him about a book called Death Around The Corner by rapper Corey “C-Murder” Miller, Founder of TRU Records and TRU Publishing.

“I hadn’t heard of the book,” Webb says, “and I honestly knew very little about C-Murder at the time. I dismissed the idea of reading it, because I didn’t think there would be anything that would interest me or those I was serving through Conversations. “

Webb went on about his business and had forgotten about the book and its author until another friend asked him about it. “’You have to read this book,’ they said to me. Trusting them, I went to Wal-Mart, purchased the book and read it.”

The book changed his life. It told the story of a young boy named Daquan who because of internal and external forces became a part of a world that eventually destroyed him. Within the storyline was also a compelling story of relationships and the power of dreaming big. Though fiction, C-Murder had written his family into the book and allowed the main character to learn from the mistakes and decisions that they had made. There was even a supernatural aspect to the book which showed the range and skill of the author.

“As soon as I finished it the first time,” Webb says, “I knew three things: 1) I would be reading it again, 2) I would be scheduling it for a discussion through Conversations Book Club and 3) I wanted to interview the author.” Webb found out quickly that the first two things would be a great deal easier than the third.

“What I knew about C-Murder was that he rapped, that’s about it,” Webb admits. After reading the book, however, he discovered more that had been written about the author as well as about some of the legal woes he had experienced. This didn’t change the way Cyrus felt about the project at all. “I know firsthand that not everything written or said about you or that you are accused of is the whole story.” After searching the internet, Webb found C-Murder’s Myspace page and wrote him. To his surprise within 24 hours, he had a reply.

Death Around The Corner was published by Kensington Publishing, one of the country's leading publishers. It kicked off the Street Lit imprint Vibe Books, and tens of thousands had been sold directly from C-Murder's personal Myspace page.

Going into 2007 C-Murder and Webb communicated regularly. “I found out that he was on house arrest and not able to travel, however, he was open to doing an interview with me,” Webb relates. Through Conversations Book Club book lovers and interested parties came to meetings at the Medgar Evers Library and later the Richard Wright Library, Waldenbooks Metrocenter and Barnes & Noble Bookstore to listen to discussions with authors (either via telephone or in-person) as well as ask their own questions. All events were free to the public, and Webb promoted each event to groups he thought would be interested in that week’s particular guest author.

When C-Murder was scheduled for an interview/discussion via telephone to discuss his book, Webb promoted it on Myspace to those in the Hip Hop community and to recording artists that he knew. He also made flyers. The day of the discussion, over 80% of those in attendance were in the music business, and even the state of Mississippi’s largest daily newspaper, the Clarion Ledger, was there. Webb’s sense of success was overwhelming.

“What other reading group is able to bring these groups together and attract the press,” Webb says with an obvious smile in his voice. Those in attendance had heard about the discussion, went out and bought the book and actually had questions. “I knew then that I had to get C-Murder to Mississippi for a visit. What he did by writing this book was going to have far-reaching effects for not only the urban community, but unite groups that otherwise would not be together.”

It was in talking about C-Murder and his plan to host the author that the more aggressive side of Cyrus Webb appears. Remember, he was talking about hosting an author who was on house arrest awaiting to be re-tried for murder and was seen by some as not the best of influences. But this is not what Cyrus saw when he looked at Corey “C-Murder” Miller and the book he had written. He saw someone that young people in urban communities would listen to about the life they were living and who could encourage them to do something that those like Webb might not be able to do: He could let them know it was okay to read.


***


As 2007 went on, Conversations Book Club picked up steam and garnered attention from the press as well as respected authors across the country. Through this channel Webb was also able to conduct interviews with authors that were personal favorites of his, including Andrew Neiderman (author of The Devil’s Advocate/ghostwriter for the V. C. Andrews franchise), John Saul (author of Comes The Blind Fury), Stuart Woods, Evie Rhodes and countless others. With each event more attention was brought to various genres and authors, and it became clear that Conversations Book Club was going to be a force that could not be denied.


It was the clout of his growing brand that made Cyrus believe if anyone could host C-Murder in events it would be his organization. “I try not to think of my business or Conversations as just me,” admits Webb, “but I understand that for some I AM Conversations because of being the face of the brand.” When it came to Operation: C-Murder, it was that fact which would bring the mission to fulfillment.

“I talked with C-Murder about his coming to Mississippi, and he was excited about the idea,” Cyrus says. Since the book had been released in late 2006, he had only been able to do one event, and that was in his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. “A book needs publicity to survive, however, the one thing Cee wasn’t able to do is actively promote his project. He had the name recognition, and that helps a lot, but people needed to hear the story.”

Cyrus also knew that his discussing the book would add a different dimension. “No one would expect me to be with C-Murder, let along endorsing his book.” But endorse the book is exactly what Cyrus Webb did: on his website, at events—wherever he could. During the summer of 2007, Conversations Book Club was named “Outstanding Program” by the Jackson-Hinds Library System in Mississippi. Webb decided to use the results of his brand and his own name recognition to move forward with his plan to bring C-Murder to Mississippi. “I contacted Cee’s lawyer, telling him what I wanted to do. He said it was a long shot, but told me to write the judge with my request as well as what my plans were for the trip.”


After that, the only thing to do was wait. The wait, however, wasn’t long. C-Murder contacted Webb in late September 2007 telling him that the visit had been approved. “Though I had gone through all of that to try and make it happen, I was a little surprised that it actually did happen,” Cyrus said to me. At times I believe he feigns modesty so not to appear cocky or over-confident. With the C-Murder project, though, I do believe he was genuinely surprised at what his brand had accomplished.

Now that the trip was a go, Webb went about making the schedule for his special guest. “One thing I don’t think people know is that Conversations Book Club is truly like no other book club out there,” he tells me before going forward. “Conversations doesn’t charge any membership fees or require anything financial from its guests. I absorb all costs when they happen, and since it is a co-ed group of people from all over, there is no board or staff to take care of logistics. All of that goes through me.” And no matter how tiresome that sounds, I don’t think that Cyrus would have had it any other way.

On Thursday, October 10, 2007, C-Murder and Cyrus Webb met in person for the first time. The next couple of days, Webb guided the recording artist/author through over a dozen events and in the process over 200 books were sold, including at a special visit at Hinds Community College in Utica, MS. The weekend was like nothing Webb had experienced before. At each stop there was a media frenzy, including coverage by Fox News, the Associated Press, Times Picayune, Clarion Ledger, The Mississippi Link, Jackson Advocate, NBC affiliate WLBT Channel 3, ABC’s affiliate WAPT Channel 16 and others. Because he was under a gag order, Miller was unable to do interviews. Webb spoke on his behalf and on the behalf of the visit. He was also allowed to be the first person in five years to do a television interview with Miller which was taped for Conversations.

“The press coverage was incredible, but at the end of the day what stood out to me the most was how so many people gave Miller a second look and were willing to give his book a chance. I shared with them how the book had affected me after I had originally wrote it off, and people were willing to trust me.”

At the end of the visit there was some talk about what Miller was accused of and if it was appropriate for Webb to not only be associating himself with the embattled artist/author but bring him into schools as well. One thing that was discovered—something that Webb had not publicly discussed—was the letter he had written to the judge to ask for the visit. The Times Picayune broke that aspect of the story, and some in Mississippi thought that only added to the view of Webb’s thinking he could just present a reasonable argument, smile and do whatever he wanted. “That was a chance we all took,” Webb says, “but it was a chance that I was willing to take, and I don’t in any way regret it.”

That chance for the most part seemed to have paid off. The visit led to Webb forming the C. U. T. Society, with C.U.T. standing for Conversations Urban Teen Society with books geared at the Hip Hop generation. The first book it read and discussed? Death Around The Corner.

The relationship between Webb and Miller grew in 2008 when a chapter of Conversations Book Club was started in New Orleans, LA. In January 2008, Death Around The Corner was the first book the group discussed, and the meeting was covered by MTV News, Times Picayune, Get The Daily Online News and even The Chicago Tribune. At that first meeting there were over 40 who attended, all but five were young men.

The two then arranged a series of discussions called “Tru Conversations” online where they would take callers from across the country about Death Around The Corner and C-Murder’s message for the youth.

The last public event that the two did together was in May 2008 with Webb’s Hip Hop and Books project which allowed recording artists to come together and promote reading among their fans. Through Miller, Webb also gained a sense of street credibility that he has used in order to continue his project geared toward the urban community.


“I owe my success in that area to C-Murder and those who allowed me into their inner circles to help tell their story,” says Webb. If not for the backing of individuals like C-Murder it would have been nearly impossible for him to penetrate the urban community--especially the Hip Hop generation--with his mission of encouraging reading. A similar relationship was formed in 2008 with rapper/author Jacki-O who had Cyrus coordinate the tour for her debut novel Grown & Gangsta (published by C-Murder's TRU Publishing).


After Hip Hop and Books ended for the year, Webb used his newfound relationship with the urban community to host quarterly discussions based on issues in books they could relate too. He hosted panels featuring community leaders, those in the hip hop community and even ministers. They were free to the public and individuals of all ages and races attended. One of the last discussions was even covered by reporter Chris Joyner for USA Today.



By the end of the summer in 2008, Webb was ready to get back to what had begun Conversations in the first place: radio. But times had changed quickly. With the national attention he had garnered since taking off 2007 to focus on his book clubs, being on one radio station was not going to be enough. Webb also knew that what he had done to encourage reading and promote authors was preparing to be taken to the next level as well.


Little did he realize, though, that having a routine dinner at Cici’s Pizza in Brandon, MS in October 2008 would end up taking his life and his literary clout to a level far beyond his wildest dreams.

NOTE: On Monday, July 6, 2009 we will conclude our three-part series with what Cyrus A. Webb is doing now and where Conversations is headed in the future.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The King of Conversations Celebrates Six Years of Success

The King of Conversations Celebrates Six Years of Success, Part One
By Stanley Clark with Herschel Dixon

(NOTE: This is Part One in a three-part series of our interview with For The People Productions' Chief of Staff and Conversations founder Cyrus A. Webb about the creation of his omnimedia organization and his reflection from the past six years. In what is by far his most revealing interview to date, he addresses his beginnings in the spotlight, some of the challenges and controversies he has overcome and what is next in his growing organization.)
On Monday, June 1, 2009 Mississippi native Cyrus A. Webb aka C. A. Webb marked six years since he had packaged his love of thoughtful discussions into what would become known as The Conversations Brand. What began in 2003 as a radio show called Conversations with C. A. Webb talking with the movers and shakers in his home state has expanded into a national platform where people in the all areas of the arts and entertainment world can be united with their fans and supporters through a radio and television show, magazine, forums and book clubs—lots of book clubs. Under Webb, Conversations has been talked and written about in regional newspapers and magazines such as The Clarion Ledger, The Record, Mckinney Courier, Hype Magazine, and Times Picayune and in national outlets such as The Chicago Tribune, Associated Press, MTV, VH1, USA Today and more.

Since its inception, literally hundreds of guests have talked with the host and his audience and tens of thousands have tuned in to the conversations. By 2008, Webb’s Conversations Book Club was considered one of the leading literary reading groups, boasting 10 chapters in five states covering all genres, cultural backgrounds and interests. To date the book club has arguably hosted more authors than any other in the country. In 2008, Webb was honored to have his radio show, Conversations LIVE! Radio (formerly "Conversations with C. A. Webb), be considered the “It” place for some of the biggest names on television, getting exclusive interviews that were not found anywhere else!

“I knew that God had blessed me with gifts,” says Webb,33. “I just wasn’t sure to what extent those gifts would be utilized.” Before 2003 Webb was mainly known as a spoken word and visual artist as well as someone who shared his talent with the youth, but from an early age those around him knew there was more to come. “I go back and read some of the articles where those I’ve worked with talk about me and it seems almost surreal,” he says. “Who would have known that my mission to be heard would lead to this?”


***



Considering his beginnings, Webb’s success would automatically seem unlikely. His father died when he was young, and his relationship with his step-father was not one that has always been smooth. “I was only 6 when he came into our lives,” Webb recounts, “and I didn’t like him. I’m not sure exactly why. I mean, he wasn’t perfect, but neither were my younger brother and I. I think a lot of it was that I felt he was trying to fill a place that wasn’t his.” Today Webb and his step-father are closer. “He has been great to my mother, and even for me. When I host events that are local, I can look for him to either try to attend or make sure to ask how they went.”

Another aspect that makes Webb’s journey seem impossible is that he made the decision in high school not to go to college. “That was hard for my family to understand and took some time for them to accept,” he says. “I am not going to sit here and say that I always made the right decisions, but I wanted to follow my heart.” There would be some things that would test Webb during that time, however, in the end he stayed true to what he thought was right. Incidentally, for the past 7 years he has spoken at colleges about the importance of following one’s dreams.

”I don’t tell them to follow my path or that my path is right for them,” Webb insists, “but I do tell them how important it is to make each day count.” It is that lesson that would become the underlying message of Conversations.


***



By 2003 Webb had been written about in various publications and covered on television in Mississippi for the past 4 years, talking about his personal story of dealing with his own demons and using that to help others through his poetry and artwork as well as his visits to schools and with community groups. He was told of an opportunity to have his own 1/2 hour show on WMPR 90.1 FM in Jackson, MS for a reasonable price. It was an interesting opportunity, he thought. “You could pay the fee for the time slot and basically run it the way you wanted to.” Webb also saw it as a way to branch out to a larger audience because the station reached 4 states on the radio dial and was heard live online. “It was a big opportunity, and I saw it as a way to branch out and see what happened.” He was 27 years old.

The first show was called “Let’s Talk”, and Webb admitted he was a nervous wreck. “I had this whole script written out,” he says with a laugh. “I took it as a way to tell the listeners about me, what I did and what I hoped the show was able to accomplish. Remember, this was a 30 minute show, and because I was reading so fast because of nervousness, I was done in about 15 minutes.” Webb knew he had to do something, so he asked those listening to call in and tell him what they wanted to talk about. At first there was nothing, and then a call came in from his friend Angela “Urban Rose” Sarton, an artist who lived in Biloxi, Mississippi. She had been listening and called in to tell Cyrus congratulations on the show.

What happened next, would set the stage for what would become Conversations.

“After thanking her for calling in,” Webb recounts, “I then told her to tell the listeners about herself and about the art she created.” The back and forth went on, and that completed his first show. “I knew from then on that it was important to have guests that others could relate to and feel as though they not only knew but wanted to know more about.”

“Let’s Talk” became “Conversations with C. A. Webb” and with the name change also went the script. “I could tell that as long as I knew about the person I was talking to, I didn’t need to try and read a script. A conversation is real. I wanted my show to be real.”

The show quickly grew a following. “Over the next two years I was able to introduce not only Mississippi but listeners all over the world to guests that were making a difference,” says Webb. “We had all ages, races and backgrounds on: visual artists, poets and spoken word artists on the program as well as ministers and those who were working with non-profits. As the show went on, recording artists got involved, even breaking their music first on my show.” Such artists include Duane Scott, Martha Simpson, The Patrick Smith Band and Tim Collins. “Conversations was for everyone,” he said, but it was obvious that it was his style that kept guests coming and his listeners tuning in.

The fee Webb paid for the time on the radio station was simply an investment, because before long he was having advertisers come to him, paying to have their businesses, services and events mentioned on the show. The opportunity then became a means of revenue as well. “I wish I could take credit for the show’s success,” Webb says. “The gratitude definitely goes to God. I am just using the gift he has given me.”

Webb was asked about expanding that gift on television in 2004. “I found out that you could basically get a paid programming block of airtime on television as well,” he says, “and so I went to the ABC affiliate in Jackson and pitched my idea. The price for a Sunday morning show was reasonable, so I went to my advertisers and before I knew it ‘Conversations with C. A. Webb’ was then on television.”

Before long it became clear that people outside the state of Mississippi were seeing Webb as a viable force. “I began getting letters and emails from publicists wanting to have their clients on my program when they had events going on or were going to be in the Mississippi area,” Webb says. The first author to be on both Webb’s radio and television show was bestselling author Brandon Massey in 2004. “He was so down to earth and approachable. It was after his visit that I began to really see how what I was being allowed to do was making a difference.”

The author and Webb have kept in touch and are friends to this day.

Among other things, “Conversations with C. A. Webb” also became a forum to discuss topics that were in the news. Webb hosted discussions on everything from how to build your Brand, the effect of sex, drugs and violence in entertainment as well as addressing issues of faith.

In 2005, however, the television version of Conversations took Webb into the political arena. Something that he has tried hard to remain neutral in. “I believe that what Conversations represented was not my personal feelings, but the thoughts and ideals of my guests. Whether I agreed with them or not, it was my responsibility to let my guests express themselves.”

That year was an election year for Jackson, Mississippi’s mayor, and Webb decided that he was going to invite the Mayoral candidates on his show and film the interviews in front of an audience. He reached out to the camps of the three (3) major candidates. Mayor Harvey Johnson(D) and Rick Whitlow(R) agreed to come on and talk about their ideals. Democratic candidate Frank Melton(D) declined the offer.

“I was nervous,” Webb relates, “but I was nervous with every interview. In fact, I still am, but I had done my homework on them, and was fair to them both. The interviews were done separately, and I believe in the end, the audience got to see another side of them.” That year Mayor Johnson would lose to Frank Melton. (Note: Mayor Frank Melton passed away in April 2009 while still in office.)

That same year, Webb began writing columns for The Mississippi Link under Conversations as well, focusing on his guests and some of the topics the shows would focus on. Now on radio, television and in print, Webb wanted to his influence to help others in more public ways such as contests and awards shows. And it was with that decision that he was taught the hard way that all that glitters is not gold.


***



Though Webb had been riding a way of positive energy and press for almost six years, 2005 and 2006 would prove to hold the first public dents in his armor.

“I don’t consider myself a celebrity,” Webb says. “Yes, I am in the public eye, people know me and I do a lot of things that get attention, but I interview celebrities. That’s not me.”

The view that Cyrus A. Webb has of himself is not the view that others sometimes have of him. There have been accusations that he is on a mission to control the world as he knows it, making the decision of what makes it and what doesn’t. Others have said that Conversations is just another way of making him rich and famous, not to help others. In 2005 and again in 2006, Webb was involved in two events that were meant to recognize talent in the state of Mississippi, however, the end result was a financial loss and accusations that Webb was completely responsible and a fraud.

“That was a hard time for me,” Webb reflects. “I don’t talk a lot about that time, because what hurt me more than what some saw as a failure was how quickly those around me scurried to cover themselves and add insult to injury.” He then pauses and adds: “You know, one thing I haven’t talked a lot about in this interview is my group of friends. The reason is that I have learned that your friends are not always who you think they are. Yes, I was at the head of projects that didn’t go exactly according to plan, but I was hurt, really hurt at how even those around me—who I thought knew me—weren’t there for me. But I was true to myself in the situation. I didn’t go pointing fingers at others. I took responsibility. I stepped up as the leader, and that is what I will always do.”

What did those setbacks teach Webb? “I learned that at the end of the day, you can’t rely on others to step up and do all they can to make things work. You have to be able to shoulder the weight of the burden, not just relish the success. That was a big lesson for me. Look at what celebrities go through everyday. Every move they make is critiqued and analyzed. Some of them are ripped to shreds every week. Surely I could handle a two newspaper articles. And that was all it was: two newspaper articles. I learned something about myself during that time. I could handle not only the praise, but the criticism as well.”

This attitude would prove Webb well as he entered another ambitious endeavor in 2008.


***



At the end of 2006, Webb was ready to move on to the next phase of his brand. It involved a love of his that had existed since he was a child: His love of books.

“I had experienced success talking with authors on the radio and television shows, and I knew that a book club would be ideal,” Webb says. Finding one he could fit into his program, though, proved to be easier said than done. “It was the funniest thing to me. I did research on book clubs all across the state of Mississippi and there were none that were set up to include men.” What made this extremely odd to him was that the state had the highest illiteracy and high school drop out rate in the country at the time. “I knew that in order for this to work, I had to create my own book club, but it couldn’t just be about a book that was discussed once a month.”

Webb then had an idea. “I reached out to the publicists and authors I had met and asked them how would they feel about being guests during an interactive discussion of their books with readers.” The name of the book club? Conversations. The response was overwhelming. He then reached out to the Medgar Evers Library in Jackson, MS about staying open an hour later twice a week for the discussions to take place. The librarian, Ms. Laura Turner, agreed and the book club began with 3 members, a speaker phone and the author discussing the book with the group. Just one month later, thanks to Tricom Publicity, Webb was hosting New York Times Bestselling author Carl Weber in his first visit to Mississippi for literary events.

“Since that first meeting in November 2006, Conversations Book Club has hosted more authors than 100 authors in actual events, and I’ve held phone discussions through our book club with over 200 since then,” Webb says. “We have something for everyone: groups that read teen books, non-fiction, inspirational... anything you could want. I think that is the draw of the club.” That and all of the events being free to the public and open to other book clubs has truly helped Conversations’ popularity. “We don’t exclude anyone. All are welcome.”


Because of the work put into the book club, Webb took a break from his radio and television shows in 2007 to devote his time primarily to promoting literacy. That year allowed him to bring attention to books that he wanted others to know about, and introduce popular and new authors to audiences they hadn’t been with before. It was also in 2007 when he formed "Conversations with C. A. Webb Magazine", a 32 page bi-monthly opportunity where some of Webb's favorite interviews with movers and shakers could be shared along with columns from guest writers with affordable advertisers. (Today the magazine has about 300 subscribers and in 2008 was renamed "Conversations".)

One of the most talked about and controversial events of 2007 with Webb and his book club was his hosting of platinum-selling recording artist/bestselling author Corey “C-Murder” Miller. Incidentally, this would also open up a new audience for the brand: the hip hop community.


***

NOTE: Part Two of this exclusive interview will be posted on Tuesday, June 9, 2009.