"I'll always be independent!" For Teri Woods, having the freedom to do, say, write and publish whatever she damn well pleases has lead to riches and acclaim for her eponymous publishing company. As the author of such street classics as True To the Game, Dutch, Dutch II and the publisher of B-More Careful and The Adventures of Ghetto Sam, Woods has generated over $10 million in the urban book market. "We're selling books like crack," she says.

And to think her success almost didn't happen. After writing True to the Game in 1992, Woods was turned down by every publishing house she took it to, including Holloway House, which had been the late, great Donald Goines' house. "I just knew I was going to get published by them," remembers Woods. Dejected, Woods let the book sit in her closet and collect dust until 1997, when she let a friend read it, and, she says, the friend loved it. With newfound interest and encouragement, the Philly native was determined to get the ball rolling. Shortly thereafter, Woods says, she met a man named Brian Murray at a red light and gave him a copy of her book. What happened next was just shy of a miracle. "He gave me like $3,000 in less than a week and never asked for anything; he just loved the book. I sort of knew the power of my pen game at that point," smiles Woods.