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About This Club

The mission of #readingblack is to encourage everyone to read quality books written by Black people and to purchase those books from independent booksellers. We strive to develop strategies that will make it easier for book buyers to support our mission.

  1. What's new in this club
  2. Hey @Damani congrats on your progress thus far. I did not know that free Black people, living in VA for more than a year ran the legal risk of becoming enslaved again.
  3. Damani

    Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    ASANTE SANA, @Mel Hopkins My wife and i are pushing hard to finish this phase of the project! Damani
  4. I intend to have the information I gathered about independent publishing ready by next week. For now, I want to share a link from the New York Public Library. Your state may have a similar program. Look on the website and see. The details of the submission process are outlined. I just sent my review copy and information in. As one would expect they want the usual: ISBN No., Publication date, and reviews. Although the guidelines state a desire for diversity, the preferred review publications are Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and the other trade journals that are difficult for even traditional publishers to get into. Foreword, a trade journal which reviews small press and independently published books, is not mentioned as a preferred publication. The decision process takes six months. They do not order books from Amazon or other online vendors. The preference is for Baker & Taylor and Ingram. As stated in an earlier post, these distributors only take books from publishers that have already achieved a certain amount of success. A new publisher or an independently-published author would not be considered. As a balance to their biased information gathering, I included the seven public libraries and the historical society (someone sent An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones to the Wisconsin Historical Society -- I don't know who, but I am grateful) that had already accepted the book. With the torrent of books published each year, many of them poorly written and edited, I understand the need for guidelines. But people are going to have to use a little more imagination if they are not to overlook the fine books that are in the 21st century slush pile. The Diary of Ann Frank was rescued from that slush pile. I was tempted to write a cover letter reminding them that we would not know the work of Walt Whitman, Virginia Woolf, Amiri Baraka, and Frederick Douglass if only traditionally published writers were selected for the library shelves. But I figured they were inundated with paper and wouldn't want anything they hadn't asked for. I'll let you know what happens in November. So here's the link: https://www.nypl.org/ask-nypl/author-submissions This link needs to be in plain text, which I don't know how to do. Try putting NYPL Submission guidelines for authors and publishers in your search engine. Enjoy the Memorial Day holiday!
  5. Mel Hopkins

    Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    Sorry? No, Thank you for sharing and getting "carried away" !!! This is awesome @Damani Congratulations!
  6. Damani

    Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    @Troy and All, Yes, it is an AMAZING story. Transportation for research has been the biggest expense so far - thousand$. Thankfully, there were three local historians/researchers who had already done tremendous work and they willingly shared the documents and information they had dug up. We are forever grateful Three examples of what they shared with us: photocopies and handwritten transcriptions of my great grandfather's trial record where he challenged the all white jury because it was not "a jury of his peers" - THIS WAS IN 1868!!!![/b] handwritten letter from my great grandmother's "owner" seeking a military escort to take his valuable property (enslaved Africans) from Franklin, TN to Montgomery and far from the reach of Union forces - IN 1862 a handwritten statement, decades later, from a founder of the local KKK Klavern listing the others present at their first meeting in Franklin, TN We are EXCITED!!! CLANDESTINE - The Times and Secret Life of Mariah Otey Reddick tells the story of my great grandmother's family. Family lore has it that she was a SPY when she - as is WELL-DOCUMENTED - worked in the household of President Jeff Davis in Montgomery before the Confederate White House was established in Richmond, VA. Out of concern for their safety, records of Union spies were destroyed after the war, so unfortunately we have no confirmation. However, you might remember that another African/Black woman - Mary Elizabeth Bowser - spied for the Union in the Richmond White House!! http://time.com/4350450/mary-richards-bowser/ I'm sorry, y'all!! I got carried away!!!! Damani
  7. Damani

    Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    Yes, @Troy, it was Edit 1st!!!!! Great job! Damani
  8. Hi @Damani, thanks for taking the time to share the good news. You can always mention AALBC's Edit 1st, when it comes to manuscript editors. Sounds like a fascinating story.
  9. Damani

    Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    Well, Brothers and Sisters, we've made some progress. Troy referred us to an editor who did a wonderful Manuscript Review. THANK YOU VERY MUCH TROY!! @Troy I don't know the protocols, so I won't mention her name, but she gave us positive feedback, some critiques and excellent suggestions for honing our 399 page (much more when double spaced!) manuscript into a book. VERY grateful to her!!! We are - and I hope it is OK to mention it here - now in the last phase of a crowdfunding campaign to help offset some of the pre-publication expenses. Check out our video and more information here: igg.me/at/ClandestineBook The backstory of how and why we came to write our historical novel is here: Clandestine-Life.com We WILL publish this year! Damani
  10. Oh God, I can't even think about the ramifications of the repeal of net neutrality. The cost of running a website can, and likely will, go up. As we will have to start to paying a premium for providing fast access to our websites. This will accelerate the move 0f people to social media as their primary web presences. The repeal of net neutrality poses an existential threat to independent websites, like AALBC.
  11. @Troy Yep. Google has gone commercial and eCommerce - happy. I just noticed that yesterday when I was looking for a aphorism about fishing poles. All I could find on the first couple of pages were places to buy fishing poles. Net Neutrality sunsets in June - so I guess google changed their algorithm to feature the sites that will be accessible. It looks like it will be old-fashioned marketing of websites again - if people know about your website - they will have actively choose to visit it - and hope it will load properly😐
  12. @Mel Hopkins this is important, probably one of the most important things to keep in mind and a good way to differentiate one's product and reach a new audience. You know what, "F" Google's tag manger and Google too. You know they are pissing me off now. recently I noticed AALBC dropped to age two of Googles ranking on the search term "african american books." I'm blogging about his now...
  13. @Troy Special Sales! Before Academic Marketing and Sales at Penguin USA - I worked in Special Sales G.P. Putnam's Sons... As a Special Sales Assistant, it was my job to do most of the customer service work for special sales and institutional accounts - such as catalogs, library appearances, specialty accounts and stores such as those that would appear at a yacht club etc. I learned how to sell books in nontraditional ways such as those looking for premium incentive products and of course retail stores that would also sell books on the side... You know, like those psychic tellers - who have spell books for sale .. All this to say, yes, it's a profitable business model for this type of selling... And you already have 2 coveted accounts. I remember Barbara O'Shea, my former boss, got so happy when she would land an account like a large book club - or McDonald's, who wanted to put one of our children's books in every happy meal. G.P Putnam had so many imprints, we had a book for every type of lifestyle. Anyway, she was quoted in the New York Times article talking about her role as President of a non-trade sales at Penguin. (Yes she also started at G.P Putnam's Sons) . This is also an excellent article for an overview on special sales. Oh! does this replace the google tag manager?
  14. I'm selling books directly again. The URL of the store can be found here: https://aalbc.com/store/ What makes the store viable again. First I have a group of people, the Go On Girl! Book Club who are committed to buying books, on their reading list, from Black owned, independent, bookstores. More importantly they recognize that I can not sell books at a loss they way "The Big A" can. But the are willing to do patronize AALBC, because they recognize that we need independent booksellers. Now I can offer Go On Girl! a decent dea deal, free shipping and in the most cases no sales tax (I operate out of FL). I also give a discount for bigger orders and I have committed to contributing 1/2 of my profits to their scholarship fund! It is win-win-win! I also sell @David Covin's upcoming title Raisins in Milk. David is selling his book for $10 ($5 off the regular price) to book clubs who buy his book before the June 1st publication date. Of course more books will be added along the way and alliances, partnership, and more creative strategies are developed. Thoughts?
  15. Mel Hopkins

    Strategies

    Any indies here who print through LULU.com? If you've signed up for their email distribution, you'll notice that LULU.com, the print on demand technology company, runs a sale on their print products practically every other day. At first, I thought because I was an author/publisher those discounts only applied to my account. Then, I caught a clue. I was receiving notification because ALL Lulu print products were on sale at Lulu's cost, not MINE! It was a boon for us who printed through Lulu to also advertise the Lulu sale to the public while promoting our books. And we'd still get our full royalty! In 2012, I created a QR code advertising the Lulu sale and, I posted it on my twitter account. The tweet looked like this: Yes, it was a tongue-in-cheek flirty ad-copy. At the time folks were sliding up in DMs on the regular. You can create any ad-copy to go with your QR code. You can also use it on your blog. However, this is yet another way to sell your book without amazon dot com. The bonus: your readers can get a discount too. I've since retired my book from online retailers so if you scan the code it will take you to lulu shop. Note: Here's a site I found on the web - https://www.the-qrcode-generator.com I have a QR Reader iOS app by Tap media on my phone. There are also desktop readers available too.
  16. Mel Hopkins

    Strategies

    Not sure how this author, Minerva Stewart found me but I'm glad she did or I wouldn't have heard of her book, "My Awfully Wedded Husband". I'm going to go out on a ledge here and suggest that she might have found my blog post through a search engine because in the post, I have the phrase "dark comedy". I didn't review a dark comedy - but still she found my post useful enough to leave a message. I'll most likely pick up her book because I happen to like dark comedies... Anyway, search engines can be another tactic to finding your book's audience. I'm not sure if there's software that will help you sort out your exact target but at least you'll find websites that may lead you to your market. Ms. Stewart found me - a black divorced woman who writes, is a media junkie who also enjoys dark comedies. If she hadn't left a message on my blog I wouldn't have known she or her book existed - but now I'm a "fan". Who knows, I could be easy mark - but it's worth a try to get directly to your audience.
  17. EVO Universe

    Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    @Damani Honestly, I have not. It is in one of my missions to do so.
  18. Damani

    Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    Good info, EVO!! Have you sold books to libraries? They have budgets to buy books and, I understand, they buy ebooks, too. Damani
  19. EVO Universe

    Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    @Troy Thank you. Currently my work is on Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes. Tantor Audio contacted me personally and extended me contracts to turn my novels into audiobooks. Although the revenue is pretty good in these channels, and gets me exposure worldwide, getting them into local bookstores in my main goal. One of the things that I realized is that although my work has been out for almost five years and my fan base is growing, VERY LITTLE people in the minority community knows about me. Something I intend to remedy by going to smaller conventions.
  20. Welcome to the movement @EVO Universe! Are your books in bookstores? If so, which stores, and how did you, as an independent author, make this happen (this question is open to anyone).
  21. EVO Universe

    Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    Hello, My name is Kipjo K. Ewers, I am the author, creator, and founder of the EVO Universe, a site dedicated to creating original, strong, and diverse characters in the realm of science fiction, superhero, fantasy, supernatural, and action adventure. The EVO Universe motto is "EVOLVE OR DIE." I wrote my first novel titled The First in 2014. I followed up with my second novel titled EVO Uprising (Book two of the First Series) in 2015. I wrote and published a spin-off novel series titled the Eye of Ra in 2016. That same year EVO Universe turned from a brand into an actual publishing company, and presented at New York Comic-Con for the first time that year as well in the small press section. I wrote and published my first supernatural romance novel titled Fred & Mary in the summer of 2017. That same year the EVO Universe also presented at Book Con and New York Comic-Con once again in the small press section. This year 2018 I just released my third novel titled Genesis (Book three of the First Series). I am currently writing two novels that I hope to have ready by the end of this year, one is my first fantasy novel, and the second is book two in my Eye of Ra series titled War of Mortal Gods. I also plan to participate in more conventions to get the word out about the EVO Universe, and make my third return to New York Comic Con 2018. My mission is to create powerful storylines and characters that our people can gravitate to and get behind that does not have a Marvel or DC logo on it. Don't get me wrong, I've been a fan of both since I was a kid, and Black Panther was a monumental achievement in diversity and representation shattering levels and kicking down doors. But at the end of the day the character was created and written by Stan Lee. I want to prove that I can write characters for us that are better than Stan Lee. So please feel free to check out my website and work, judge for yourselves, and if you like it, let your family and friends know about me. Thank you for reading.
  22. No problem. Yeah I just wish I could pull some the the passionate Black folks.
  23. @TroyThank you! I was hoping you used Yawatta's review. Not because of the stars but she really read the book and dissected it! Also, even though Amazon snatched up goodreads the authors and readers seem extremely passionate about books.
  24. Personally, I don't use Amazon any more I let my prime membership lapse back when I was collecting information on a proposed boycott of the Amazon bookstore. I read the article. I think it would have been better if it attempted to explain why we should stop giving Amazon all our money. From a business perspective, I still use Amazon by providing buy links to their website. Honestly if I were not an Amazon affiliate I would not make very much money selling books as crazy as that sounds this is the situation we are in today. Speaking of Goodreads (which Amazon owns). I reluctantly began a test of adding Goodreads reviews to AALBC.com pages. @Mel Hopkins here is an example for your novel, Sleeping with D-Man. I say reluctantly, because Amazon owns Goodreads, but I'm also trying to increase engagement on the book pages too, and I want to see if this will help. The crazy thing is that I have to pay people to write book reviews, but Amazon gets a deluge of them on both Goodreads and the Amzon.com site. Of course most of these reviews are not very good, are biased, or are sponsored (thought this is not made plain to the reader). If an authors asks I will post an excerpt of a reviews we've published on Amazon platforms but as a policy I don't gave Amazon, Goodread, or any massive corporate site content for free. Amazon (and the massive social media sites) make a bazillion dollars off the content we give them for free. They need to share the wealth, and they don't. This is how I define digital sharecropping. The problem today is that actual sharecroppers knew they were being exploited.
  25. Thank you @Wendy Jones - I guess I'm not amazon dependent as I thought... but I am also on goodreads.
  26. Here is a link with specific ways to unhook yourself from Amazon's tentacles. Remember, besides all the damage "A" has done to the book business, the company also allows the NRA to broadcast its wares. https://lifehacker.com/how-to-stop-giving-amazon-your-money-1823468097 Please let me know how this works for you. I was never hooked in, so I don't have to unhook, but I am on Goodreads, which is owned by Amazon.
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