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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. No problem. Yeah I just wish I could pull some the the passionate Black folks.
  3. @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.
  4. 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.
  5. Thank you @Wendy Jones - I guess I'm not amazon dependent as I thought... but I am also on goodreads.
  6. 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.
  7. Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    @Christy, welcome and thank you for joining! My condolences on losing your loved ones. <3 What are you selling in your online shop? Also how did you first become exposed to all those authors? Do you purchase from the author's websites, bookstores, online retailers book club, etc.? In addition to writing and publishing, we're also working to make it easier for readers to gain access to books by black authors. Any suggestions you have will be greatly appreciated?
  8. @Damani, that really was some introduction. Would you believe I had dinner with Paul just last night. He really is a great man. I'm glad he connected us and that you have connected here. I have responded to your email @Christy, I thoroughly convinced that everyone has an interesting bio. Now the individual, may not recognize this because they lived it. I'm so sorry to hear about you losing your spouse so young, but this is one of the reasons your story woud be interesting to others. We all must deal with loss, how you deal with it would be both interesting and helpful to others. Thanks for joining us!
  9. Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    Good Morning to all! Thank you for accepting me into this group. Unfortunately, my bio is not really interesting at all. I love to read books written by black authors. A few of my favorites are Zora Neale Hurston, Terry McMillan, Walter Mosley, Kimberly Lawson Roby , E Lynn Harris (only naming a few). Reading is my vice and my therapy. I was a widow at 46 and starting over after losing my spouse, mom and dad in the past 10 yrs. Reading is my peace. I work in transportation full time and I am working on starting my own online shop soon. Just glad to be here.
  10. Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    We appreciate that advice and the very kind words, My Sister. We've been seeking first hand referrals from those in literature and the arts for the very reasons you mention. In our careers, both my wife Ife and I were often acknowledged as good writers, but my background is in non-fiction and businees writing and my wife's was mostly in business and technical writing. However, Ife has written two published fiction works, so that is very helpful. We've had one in-depth discussion with an excellent and experienced Editor, but her schedule and existing commitments may not conform with our desired publication schedule. We have developed an exciting and amazing story and sub-plots based upon true historical events and the results of my Family Heritage research. We are looking for an Editor, hopefuly one with historical fiction experience, to help put some poetry to our manuscript and some music to our story-telling. I have already emailed Troy Johnson re: Edit 1st at the suggestion of W. Paul Coates, publisher-owner at Black Classic Press. Your mention of authentic dialogue is ON POINT. A tip for anyone else who may need it: There is a website devoted to U.S. slang terms as they emerged in various decades. This is not the one Iused. but it is similar: https://alphadictionary.com/slang/?term=&beginEra=1800&endEra=1930&clean=true&submitsend=Search Also, very helpful has been my search for the etymological and time origins of various specific words/terms on dictionary sites. We definitely want to avoid anachronisms in language, science, etc. An example of the latter: The "germ theory" of disease was not broadly accepted at the time of the Cholera Epidemic of 1850, so the precautions taken by our characters would need to reflect that. Again, thanks for your appreciative words and encouragement. As you know - as a published author - writing a book is a daunting task. Historical fiction, as you point out, puts another layer on top of an already challenging task. Damani
  11. Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    @Damani Wow! As I was reading your introduction, I felt like I was visiting the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Welcome! I'm not being facetious either when I visited the museum I actually took photos of the exhibits of some of the events you mentioned here. Powerful! Also congratulations on finishing the first draft of your historical fiction novel! Aside: Not sure if this is your first attempt at looking for an editor but just a heads up. Novels require a different type of editor than non-fiction. I suspect editors for historical novels are even more detailed because they will help out with authentic language from the period. So, please don't let just any editor work on your book.
  12. Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    TRYING IT AGAIN!! (May have been "user error!!!!!" LOL Sister Mel, that was quite an introduction!!! Impressive. This is my first post, so bear with me if I don't quite fit the format here. By way of introduction: Native New Yorker - African in America Slightly active in Civil Rights - picketing, etc. in high school Attended Howard University and graduated in 1966 Married college sweetheart US Air Force and found that Air Power and Black Power do NOT mix "Taught" a Black History class at McNeil Island Federal Penitentiary (Visiting Prof, though!!!) My 'students' educated me!! Ever grateful, Ron Ben jar, Leo 10X, Pep and others!! Graduate school at Cornell University (1970-72) - in the aftermath of the armed student takeover of the Student Union bldg Protested murder of Brothers at Attica State Prison Co-led Operation: STOP - the student-faculty divestment organization - to persuade Cornell to sell its Gulf Oil stock; succeeded in doing so. Returned to Howard to work in Student Affairs - 32 years, including 14 years as Dean for Residence Life (student housing) Active with African Liberation Support Committee and Ujamaa Shule and Watoto Shule Former Member of the All African Peoples Revolutionary Party Retired from Howard U in 2004 Relocated to the highlands of the Republic of Panama Conducted Family Heritage research and discovered AMAZING info about my maternal great grandmother Mariah Otey Reddick Was inspired to write a historical novel inspired by her life. My wife Ife, a twice-published fiction writer, is Contributing Author Finishing the first true "First Draft" and now seeking an Editor Glad to be here and to meet all of you. Sisters and Brothers!! Damani
  13. Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    @Damani , welcome. I don't see your introduction. Is this where you posted it?
  14. 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.
  15. 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!
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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!
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. @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.
  22. Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself.

    @Mel Hopkins it also worked in reverse. I woukd go back and read articles on magazines by authors i liked.
  23. 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.
  24. @CDBurns This ^ is the term I was trying to remember! Thank you! Yes, please share a video in strategies !
  25. 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
  26. 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