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About This Club

#1 - Encourages reading books written by Black writers and purchasing those books from independent booksellers. #2 - Developing strategies to uplift the business and professionals who support #1.

  1. What's new in this club
  2. I completely understand. If I had to write code for the site I would lose my mind. I'm sure you're using php which is quicker and easier, but still the idea of updating so many pages would prevent any progress, but you said you've made it an easier process so I can't wait to see what happens when you can focus on creating content. As you know the more there is the greater the search results. Which is all that matters now since people no longer browse the web and discover new sites. You are relying solely on converting people who discover your content via search. On the shoes vs books, there isn't even a competition. Kicks by a thousand miles. I wouldn't hesitate to say guys have a minimum of 10 pair of kicks and maybe half a hardback. They may have some paperbacks, lol. I make it point to prominently display books in all of my videos. I used to have my whiteboard covering my office book shelf now it's in every video. I think it's important people see that stuff. Let me know if I can do anything in my daily updates.
  3. I believe if could happen in the book world to @CDBurns Sneakers are a lot more popular and sexy than books (to many people). I'd be willing to bet the average Brother owns more pairs of sneakers than hardcover novels (man that sounds so cynical, and it felt bad to write it, but seriously I would not be surprised if it were true). Historically I could not attract the content the way huff post could, but this is changing and the new site will probably make this even easier. I have also been able to take my content in repurpose it in new ways that I was impossible with the old site. My event page is is more popular than ever -- same content, but now it is in a database so it is easier to maintain and can be greatly expanded. I've spend the two years upgrading the site and now there is a light at the end of the tunnel --- checkout the revised version of your page: http://chrisdburns.com/ I just, this instant, put this in production -- The Enhanced AUthor Profile pages are the first pages to be upgraded. I still have a lot of work to do converting page types but once they are done I can change literally thousands of pages on one shot -- this would have been inconceivable before I started the upgrade. Oh once I can get past this upgrade and focus solely on content watch out baby!
  4. Troy you already have this platform, but people would have to be willing to submit articles to you. Which is probably the hardest thing for people to do if they don't think you will give them Huffpost type publicity (which we all know isn't really publicity). Since people won't submit, you have to take it upon yourself, as always, to aggregate the data. In other words begin compiling the videos you find on your site with short posts and links back to those people. Then when you share it out to social (which honestly doesn't really drive traffic but people think it does) then tag those people. They may not reciprocate, but they will share it because it's their stuff. I subscribed to The Tea on YT already. As far as sharing the process that's hard. It's an ongoing thing. The most critical thing has been catering to what people want to read, while also creating the articles that people need to read. I know that I'm a sneaker elitist. I like discussing things from a business perspective, but sneaker culture really doesn't care about that. They want to know how to tell if their shoe is a real shoe. I decided to do a video for every shoe I carry (not every size, style). That has generated more traffic than I have with really poignant articles. However, the really in depth posts have garnered me an appearance on Marketplace Morning Edition and in prominent investment sites and on various news sites like Portland Business Journal. There has to be a fair mix. Most important there has to be time. I've lost everything taking the year off from selling (not self imposed, I closed my Amazon store cold turkey and lost half a million) and that year off allowed me to build the network. I knew years ago that my time had to be invested in my own platform, but doing so isolates me which is miss so much here. It's a sacrifice and it's difficult, but in the last year or so, sneaker blogs and networks have pulled in over 100 million in investments... yep sneaker blogs. I gotta hit that magic number of 1 million visits a month and I can get some of that action. I think ultimately you would have to take over design of the sites. I do all of the updates and layouts of WP for all of the network. When there is an issue I fix it. I have taken on that responsibility but my partners are willing to let me in their dashboards... I have to wonder if that can happen in the book world.
  5. Yes at @CDBurns, that would be helpful. I have been working with a video production company who have committed resources to develop video content for Black books. The Primary platform is The Tea, who have a YouTube channel. They produce high quality videos and are trying to build their audience. The are a cadre of others who create Black book video content on Youtube as well. Collectively they call themselves "Book Tubers." I've been trying to figure out way for all of us to strengthen our network.
  6. This right here is helpful @CDBurns ! And when ever you get a chance to map and share the process -that would be helpful too! Thank you!
  7. Now I have to be clear in stating that it's the network that's garnered that growth which is still considerable. The funny thing is the primary site that has grown considerably in the network (Housakicks) when I first started working with him he was barely getting 1000 visits per month and he has since crushed my totals at 300K+ per month. My site suffered from my stupidity. I accidentally deleted it and it killed my sitemap and indexing with Google. I finally updated my sitemap and my traffic has started growing again but I'm only up to about 25000 visits per month. The other two sites are about the same. It's taken almost two years to grow the network, but long form content is actually making a big come back. I don't have a video because it hasn't been a straightforward process. It's primarily content. That's it. Combined we write between 20-40 articles per week as a unit. Creating the network has been vital. I could definitely do the same thing with Troy if I worked on CBP enough and you Mel, but the AHN takes up so much of my time and it's the money maker so I stay in that space.
  8. https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/course/5 Google Tag Manager Fundamentals Course Overview Managing multiple analytics and marketing tags for your site can be a challenge. Redundant or incorrect tags can distort data measurement and reduce your site performance. In this self-paced course, you’ll learn how Google Tag Manager can simplify the tag implementation and management process for marketers, analysts, and developers.
  9. @Troy I agree it would be better for the long term. In fact it would allow every independent book publisher, self-publisher of books for and/or by African-Americans to become a sustainable distribution network. Imagine #readingblack.com becoming a large independent book distribution network. In fact, if you or someone would show us how to track our books for sales, distribution and dispensing advertising fees we all in the blackbook eco-system could actually sell each other’s books too. Not only would each make money we will support true independent distribution network. 1- we'll have a mechanism to get an advertising fees for books we don't have to stock - and 2- we, independent publishers and self-publishers will have learned another piece of code that will allow us to track the books we sell through other websites. Btw, this comment also belongs in -->and it will definitely be welcomed in #readingblack.com Strategies <- and if you can help me understand this process will help readingblack.com become a distribution network.
  10. Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    @Mel Hopkins it also worked in reverse. I woukd go back and read articles on magazines by authors i liked.
  11. Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    @Delano I find a lot of my books through mainstream and alternative media too! This is yet another strategy, many authors should put into their marketing - media relations activity for books.
  12. @CDBurns This ^ is the term I was trying to remember! Thank you! Yes, please share a video in strategies !
  13. It is actually great that you are visiting a network of other sites related to your business! I agree with the premise of everything your written. Brands are already know they are at an disadvantage when there are less than a handful a places to promote their products. Content rich websites are the way to rich a specific audience. I've know this for years by simply comparing ad engagement on my website versus what I see on social media. Plus, social media ad engagement over time has only gotten worse and more expensive. 3,000 to 400,000 visits a month is incredible growth -- congratulations! Have created a video or article describing this success? If so please share it in the Strategies section of #ReadingBlack
  14. Man we all appreciate whenever you pop by! Man that is great we should talk on the phone, assuming you are keeping the same design (interior and covers), this will not be a big deal. But we should have a conversation. Drop me you phone number troy@aalbc.com and we'll catch up. Do you have any new books in progress? Any updates for your site: http://chrisdburns.com
  15. Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    @Mel Hopkins it was probably in my 30's. Troy its a list without the bullet points. There are a few ways I find books. I read about Dorothy Parker because of the Prince track. I read the autobiography of Malcolm X because of the Spike Lee movie. Found a few through The New York Press newspaper. A couple of book clubs. Recommendations from people or celebrities. Anthologies. I would also puvk authors because i felt i should have read them . I was interested in the following topics or genre. Mythology Jungian Psychology Numbers Astrology The Occult. Sone books happened to be in a section when i was looking for something else. A few people gave me books. Sometimes it ess a friend or someone i didn't know well. Lastly by accident.
  16. I haven't been logging in as much because I've expanded my network of websites to 4 sneaker and sports based websites. You are exactly right Mel. We have given away our power by living our lives via social media. Having your own site and building old school webrings is the way to go. I've done this with AHN and now my site and network in the course of a year and a half have grown from around 3000 visits a month to 400,000 visits a month. The sites generate income and sales and when we hit 1 million visits a month we will be in the rare air of sneaker sites that generate considerable interest. Several sneaker sites have gained investors with amounts ranging from 2 million to 50 Million dollars. As long form content becomes more important those with their own platforms are the people who will benefit. Social and search continues to change requiring paid engagement. It's not the way to build a long term business. 3rd party should be used in support of, not primarily.
  17. I'm willing to close my Kindle account and remove my books from Amazon Createspace and publish with you Troy. Just tell me what to do. (I need to remember to log in more often.)
  18. @Delano, man you better familiarize yourself with the use of commas. I was like what does a "Psychic Bartender" do -- have your drink ready when you step to the bar? I don't read as much as a bookseller should, but I probably read more than most webmasters, and certainly most people -- but that is not saying very much. I have been running AALBC.com for over 20 years now. The activity is so completely different in 2018 than it was in 1997, it might as well be two completely different jobs. The only commonality is a love for Black people and desire to ensure our stories are told. In fact the job would be impossible without it. While money is definitely a motavator, I don't know anyone who does this type of work solely for money. Over the years it seems people who work solely for money, whether it is for themselves, or for a corporation usually have no problem exploiting others.
  19. Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    @Delano Welcome, my psychic brother! Thank you for joining this one! How do you find books to read? Or if they find their way to you - how does it happen? @Delano And this one... how long did it take you to stop being self-conscious?
  20. Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    I am an avid reader. I don't generally join groups. I will list some of the jobs i have done. Cashier Messenger Tax Collector Tutor Bookkeeper Nude Model Statistician Psychic Bartender and Security Guard.
  21. "People are very convenience-motivated,"

    @Troy Thank you! Sharing thoughts with each other is the only way we are going to get the best into action!
  22. I have not written the reply to this message yet because it is so meaty and so thought-provoking. I feel like a off-the-top-of-my-head response would not do the subject justice, so I have not replied. When I get a minute I'll just reply to one aspect of what you've shared here.
  23. I shared this on social media, but all the replies were posted on the social media platform themselves. I'll add this to an upcoming newsletter and make it clearer the responses should be posted here
  24. The plan is to produce more videos of this type to promote the books of publishers and authors who have demonstrated a commitment to #ReadingBlack. To keep videos like these and more coming please subscribe to The Tea's YouTube Channel. Also subscribe to AALBC.com's YouTube Channel as well.
  25. says, Jeff Bezos in the CNBC article How Amazon founder Jeff Bezos went from the son of a teen mom to the world's richest person I'd agree. We want someone to make and serve up something to us even before we know we want it. Just the other day, I was wondering how to get a server that's cheap and easy to operate. I don't want to worry about a platform like Myspace deleting all the blog postings. I have a Google alert set for black philosophers. Or how about a catalog of business books written by black authors? Bottom line: I need a personal shopper who will cater to my consumer whims minus unsolicited pitches. Junk mail is annoying because the proprietor sends me what s/he has which may or may not have anything to do with my desires. I want someone to take the time to know what I like and offer a curated selection. Bezos intuited that we have thousands of thoughts like this in a day. He built an online business to offer whatever comes to mind. What I find exciting is we also pay for his research and development. Bezos says, in the article, he's not afraid to be wrong. You can't beat a fearless man. There's a saying: The quote, in this context, doesn't mean work with or for Amazon. Or sell your books on the website. It means to emulate the competition. And from And from Bezos own words, he runs a customer-centric business. Everything Amazon does serve the whims of the customer. Amazon has access to every book in print. If it's not in the warehouse, they will print-on-demand and send it to you and waive the shipping and handling fee. If they can't print it, they'll send a digital version to your Kindle (if you own one) or your PC. It will be lickety-split at a price that's easy on the wallet. So, how can we as independent authors, self-publishers, engineers, etc., become the reader's advocate? How can we become reader-centric booksellers? How can we help them help us help them? Can we make it easy for book lovers to acquire our books? Please post your suggestions, ideas and comments. Update: I wrote an article to discuss this post in detail. Link: melhopkinsdotcom: 5 STEPS TO FINDING A COMMUNITY FOR YOUR BOOK