In 1969, his first autobiographical novel was Pimp: The Story of My Life, published by Holloway House.
Reviews of Pimp were mixed; it was quickly categorized as being typical of the black “revolutionary” literature then being created. However, Beck’s vision was considerably bleaker than most other black writers of the time. His work tended to be based on his personal experiences in the criminal underworld, and revealed a world of seemingly bottomless brutality and viciousness. His was the first insider look into the world of black pimps, to be followed by a half-dozen pimp memoirs by other writers. Of his literary contribution, a Washington Post critic claimed, “Iceberg Slim may have done for the pimp what Jean Genet did for the homosexual and thief: articulate the thoughts and feelings of someone who’s been there.”
Pimp sold very well, mainly among black audiences. By 1973, it had been reprinted 19 times and had sold nearly 2 million copies. Pimp was eventually translated into German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish and Greek. Nevertheless, the book’s audience remained predominantly black.
Following Pimp, Beck wrote several more novels: Trick Baby, Naked Soul of Iceberg Slim (Los Angeles: Holloway House, 1971), Mama Black Widow, Long White Con, Airtight Willie & Me, and Death Wish: A Story of the Mafia. He sold over six million books prior to his death in 1992, making him one of the best-selling African-American writers (after Alex Haley). All his books were published exclusively as paperbacks. Iceberg Slim also released an album of poetry called Reflections in the early 1970s.
Iceberg Slim’s Catalog Of Books Are Currently Owned By Cash Money Content Publishing.