Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

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. Here is a good interview between Jenn Baker of MiP (Minorities in Publishing) and Tracy Sherrod from Amistad. Check out some of the titles published by Amistad on AALBC.
  3. Extraordinary Women in Publishing a Conversation Hosted by Tori. Tracy Sherrod, the editorial director of Amistad; Yona Deshommes, Associate Director of Publicity at Atria Books; and Cherise Fisher, a literary agent at Wendy Sherman Associates Literary Management. All of these Sisters are have been supportive of AALBC for years and provide keen insight into the publishing industry
  4. GoDaddy (AALBC's hosting company) is simply wrong for not allowing the use of the free SSL certificates. I'd go broke if I had to pay for SSL certificates on all of my websites 🙂
  5. You took the words right out of my head! 😆 I didn't want to give google or godaddy any airtime it would interrupt my flow. Thank you for the added information! (Quiet as kept, I counted on you adding it! lol)
  6. Search engines, like Google use also use this as a ranking signal. In other words, all things being equal the site that uses https will out rank a site that simply uses http (not secure). https uses end to end encryption, which means the communications between your device and the website you are visiting is scrabbled and unintelligible to the bad guys lurking in cafes looking at your data over an unsecured wifi network. As far as I'm concerned all of the websites on the Internet should use https. You can get a free SSL certificate from https://www.sslforfree.com/ unfortunately greedy website hosts, like GoDaddy, do not allows the use of this free SSL certificate on the websites they host.
  7. YOUR WEBSITE!!! First, thank you for updating and managing your digital platform. We book lovers, and avid readers enjoy visiting you and purchasing your books directly. We like finding out about your appearances and events. We appreciate your photos, videos, blog postings, and podcast. We especially like updates such as information on when you'll release your next publication. Those of us who don't use social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, etc., like knowing we don't have to sign in just to read your thoughts. We trust you with our email address, and we appreciate that you won't track us throughout the internet. Since we're on the topic of email addresses, did you know if you don't secure your website - you leave us, visitors, vulnerable? An unsecured site makes it easy for bad actors to get our information if we visit and purchase anything from your website. Now, before you say it, yes- big corporations are hacked all the time; this is why I'm asking you to secure your website. Visitors are hack-weary and if we see a not secure notice on your site - we may bounce. Let's make it easy for your supporters to do business with you. PLEASE SECURE YOUR WEBSITE with a digital certificate such as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate. More on Digital certificates from Verisign. https://www.verisign.com/en_US/website-presence/online/ssl-certificates/index.xhtml
  8. “The Authors Guild’s 2018 Author Income Survey, the largest survey of writing-related earnings by American authors ever conducted finds incomes falling to historic lows to a median of $6,080 in 2017, down 42 percent from 2009.” Read the conclusions drawn from the survey here. There are many additional reason for this decline, not mentioned by the authors guild, because as a bookseller I see the problem from a different angle. During the same period my revenue from the sales of books has declined as well. This is the reason there are fewer booksellers online, or offline, than there were 10 years ago. The major reason: Amazon. I sell books anyway they can be sold; I sell books directly; send readers to the author's, publisher's, and even other indie booksellers; and I sell books as an affiliate of Amazon, IndieBound, and Barnes & Noble. The vast majority of readers chose to purchase books from Amazon. Last year Amazon cut affiliate commission in half to 4%. Effectively cutting my book sales revenue in 1/2 overnight. Amazon also pressures authors, through their KDP Select program to give away free books for a period, to keep ebook prices below $2.99 (99 cents is not uncommon), and to give Amazon the exclusive right to sell their ebook (this would normally be laughable if Amazon were not a monopoly). Authors do this in exchange for some "promotion" and higher "royalties." As a result, I'm increasingly earning 4% on the sale of a 99 cent eBook. My commissions earned from Amazon, on the sale of books, have plummeted. A question for the author: What incentive do I have to sell an ebook that I will generate less than 4 pennies in revenue? What am I doing about it. I'm working to bypass Amazon completely and to ultimately drop all of my Amazon affiliate links. I've already turned down listing books of authors who have given Amazon exclusive right to sell. But I'm also working with some of these authors to sell their book through their own websites. I'm also working on a commission model that allows both the author and any bookseller to make more money on the sale of a book than we would if we went through Amazon. Let's be clear: Amazon has a monopoly on the sale of Black books. When we give a corporation that much power over our culture, we are all impoverished not just economically but spiritually.
  9. Thanks! It looks like I have the infrastructure in place and now I just need to be smart about how to use these tools.
  10. One is all you need! I collect domain names but I really only need one. Something else to consider; use your website to post content, advertise your books and any other publications you have for sale. This way you’re your own “affiliate marketer”. This also allows you to claim the website as an expense on your taxes. BUT keep in mind you are also working to reach and engage a community with your work too. So, it’s the blog content that keeps them coming back read and to buy books . It also helps them share content with their friends too.
  11. Wow! That's a lot of valuable information! At this time I only have one generic website. I'm starting to get the sense that maybe I should create at least one other that is dedicated to just my books and other publications. I do use WordPress. That's all I've ever known but it is complicated and trolling through the plugins to find the right functionality has been a steep learning curve. I still haven't learned how to monetize the site with ads and affiliate marketing because I'm so adamant about keeping everything Black. I just recently signed up with Instagram but have not used it at all. I dislike FB immensely so with Instagram being associated with it, I have put more effort into learning how to use Twitter instead. I will have to go back in to Instagram and see what the possibilities are. I use MailChimp as well for the RSS feed when new blog articles are posted but I didn't know there was any kind of list builder in there. Something else to follow up on. Let me go back and look at my email contacts from my various online sources and accounts. This is something I have never done so I might need to take a step back and make sure I have done my best to utilize this resource. Once again, I truly appreciate your answering my questions. Your advice is very empowering! ✊
  12. Hi! My favorite platforms are my own websites. melhopkins.com; theleadstory.org;, the leadstory.net; and more …. I use either wordpress org (open source content management system) or wordpress.com for my websites. (wordpress.org is not for punks -It requires a lot of attention outside of blogging. I'm thinking about getting rid of it.) I use a mailchimp list builder and wordpress' "follow by email" button. I've also been active on the internet since 1995 and I've added to my contact list since that time. If you use, yahoo, gmail, outlook, hotmail et al ; you also have a contact list you can export into a email marketing management system - or you can just send out messages manually. Now to answer your question. You're in the process of building a community and it has to start somewhere. So, NO you don't NEED a substantial mailing list or subscription list to get started. Consider beginning with one or two people you can tell about your movement. Think about the content you want to send in that email to get them interested, i.e., make it exciting and shareable. Ask them to buy your book. If they show interest ask them why? If they show no interest, ask them why. Then build on the feedback. Update your content then ask them to forward the message to anyone who might be interested. Repeat this process in person too. My favorite social networking site is Instagram. I hate that its facebook property because it's so good. You can build a following; collect email, sell products, tell stories etc...If I were starting out today - it would be the only social networking site I'd use. It's important to choose ONE social network and get good at it. You'll be spending your time cultivating an audience and routing them to your email list... so pick the one that you believe you can send your message accurately AND collect contact information. Here's a link to the black enterprise article that featured me. They interviewed me because I sold my first book fairly easy (2006) because I used xanga, myspace and was beginning to sell on facebook too. But it all started with my radio buy button on my email. Every time I sent an email, -information about my book went out with it. That's how I sold my first book and built a great community too. I ended up giving my community away (for free) so when you build yours - don't let anyone have it. Even the IRS considers your community an asset...yes it's that serious. LOL https://theleadstory.org/newsroom/
  13. Hi @Mel Hopkins ! I would like to get more into Social Selling. The obvious question though is don't you need a substantial mailing or subscription list in place for this to work well? How do you attract people to your social media accounts? How do you create your network? Which social media platforms do you prefer?
  14. My pleasure ! We have to get our stories into the mainstream and make a living too!
  15. Thank you so much! I do see what you mean about raising the price of your eBook to discourage unauthorized distribution. A person would be less likely to do that if they had to make a substantial investment to acquire it in the first place. Selling my book from my website, except for the Amazon link, is something else I haven't quite figured out yet. Neither have I gotten the hang of ordering my own books and figuring out distribution from there. Right now I lack a viable marketing plan. That's what I'm trying to learn how to do. You have given me a number of excellent suggestions, and I plan to follow up on all of them! Thank you again for everything you are teaching me. I am an eager and grateful student.
  16. One thing you can do with a PDF is prepare a summary of your book for distribution. You can include a call to action to purchase the full book. It can be like advertisement with benefits. Addendum If you make it at least 3000 words you can offer it free as a "kindle" and have readers purchase the print book directly from you. Note: AALBC also prints books too.
  17. @E.equals.dtb Human behavior. I always go back to this story - when I was in Beijing, I noticed all the "bootleg" designer products were "real". The sellers got the parts and fabric from the haute couture designers to manufacture for sale state-side. It cost those sellers nothing to assemble those products on the side and sell them for practically nothing. No cost or overhead to them was the goal. Nothing but pure profit. Folks who are considering bootlegging aren't interested in spending a lot of money. If they can get a pdf for free.99 it cost them nothing to charge others for it. However, we tend to value what we have to pay for. The more we pay the less likely we're to share. That's my theory. *** By the way, going forward I'm considering to not sell eBooks. Since I wrote that post, I also learned from a pew research study that readers purchase more  print books than eBooks - so charging less for print book just might allow me to sell more books overall.
  18. I had a very bad experience with this when my book was new. My inexperience led me to send a "complimentary" pdf to someone not realizing that all she had to do was email it to everybody she wanted to see it. I have no idea how many sales I lost that way. I know she did it because she genuinely wanted to share the information but once I found that people who might have otherwise bought the book got it for free, I've never done that again. Would you please elaborate on how making your eBook cost more than the print version helps discourage bootlegging?
  19. (I edited my last message for clarity) I actually thought about doing flea market or other events to sell some of the books I have and to promote the business. But I need to find one visited by my tribe. I used to do the Harlem Book Fair and did really well there selling an even buying books, but that was 20 years ago and times have changed.
  20. I've toyed with the idea of only selling books directly, but like you said people prefer Amazon for the most part. I think it would work, but it would mean fewer book sales but probably higher profit. I currently work with a brother in Baton Rouge who I sell books to directly at a discounted rate. He does events during the weekend and sells books and comics from me and other creators. He does very well. I wish I could find more people like him.
  21. @Milton that is a great deal and definitely worth it! There was a time, not too long ago, when an indie author found it very difficult to get distribution for their titles. I get most of the books I sell directly from Ingram. A long term goal I have to to either sell books directly or through indie authors directly and drop the Amazon affiliate program altogether. The challenge to achieve this goal is today many indie authors sell their books exclusively through Amazon, and the general public prefer to make their book purchases through Amazon. But I suspect this will change, over time, as everyone becomes more sophisticated about book sales and companies like Ingram step in and provide services to indie authors that are competitive with Amazon.
  22. I signed up for Ingram's distribution service. It's costs me $12.00 per book annually. It's been worth it for me.
  23. Hey @Milton how did you get distribution from Ingram and get you books into the B&N and Books-a-Million catalogs?
  24. My books are available from my website and most all book venues due to my distribution with Ingram. If it's not on the shelf, which it most likely isn't, you can talk to the manager and ask them for the title. I know for a fact that I'm in the Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million catalog.
  25. THE GIBRALTAR WRITING STYLE THE WRITER’S EDGE 1 PRELUDE 2 WRITING Let’s take a moment to deal with what I call “the blank page syndrome”. Just what is this syndrome, you ask? Well, it is the transition your book takes from being an actual mental byproduct into becoming an actual physical product, but before you jot down a single, solitary word on paper, you must understand how to bridge this gap between the mental and the physical; this yawning chasm where you will be compelled to make bricks without straw. What process do you employ to fling open the floodgates of your inner creativity? More importantly, how do you defeat the writing demons that lurk outside the gateways of your ongoing originality? Even more important, how do you maximize your writing potential? One word pops up: DISCIPLINE. You must be disciplined to get the best out of your writing potential. In addition to being disciplined mentally, there are “externals” that must be put into perspective, and though they may vary from individual to individual, they exist. You must select the ideal workspace. Seems simple enough, but the truth is that certain environments possess a better ambiance for writing than others. Find your nest. You must choose a best time to write. You must learn how to develop ideas as they come even if it is not your best time to write. Above all else, you must enjoy your own company. Only then can you hear your true inner voice. So, let’s say that you’ve done all this, then what? You then move for the conscious to the subconscious, that ever-lasting fountainhead of ideas and inspiration which brings us to a thing called “COGNITIVE FITNESS”. Just how important is cognitive fitness? Well, cognitive fitness is to the writer what physical fitness is to the marathon runner because it is via your cognitive fitness factor that you will develop your writing strategy. Can I let you in on a little secret? You can develop a winning writing strategy by tapping into either one of two sources. Well, actually only one is a source. The other is a resource. And there is a difference. Remember that in the literary world, a source has limits whereas a resource has none. Okay, but how does this apply to writing? Here’s how. When you write, you do so by tapping into a writing foundation that is either a source or a resource. Now, about these foundations. One is what I call “Train of Thought” writing. The second I call “Stream of Consciousness” writing. One provides ideas. One provides inspiration. Also keep in mind that ideas and inspiration are as different as the sources from which they are drawn and no matter how tedious it may appear, you must decide which one will better suit your literary aspirations. Odds are, you’re in this for the long term so I dare you to disturb the writing universe. However, if you are content to write beneath your potential, then be patient, failure will soon come. What I would like to do right now is to have you examine what I call a “writing event”. In a short term writing event such as FaceBook, Twitter, texting, and personal letter writing, it would be your best bet to tap into your Train Of Thought “TOT”. Why? Because the psychic costs are low. Always remember that TOT writing is discount writing where your greatest investment will be emotional, and that is exactly how most writers approach short-term writing events—with their emotions. This is great for FaceBook and the other above-mentioned venues because it can be done without a lot of mental sacrifice. Don’t get me wrong because even with TOT writing, you have a lot of info at your disposal and it may even provide you with a sense of literary control and power, but the truth is that it is not sustainable as a long-term writing tool. Why? Because of its superficiality. It is due to this superficiality that TOT writing is invested or possibly infested with what I call “universal literary fatalism”. This is because the ideas come and go. They don’t gather much mental dust. Basically, the ideas don’t belong to you. Now, let me expound briefly on the merits of SOC writing because this is the key to your long-term writing strategy. In fact, you will extend your writing career by employing the SOC method. Trust me, the SOC is the sweet spot for writers. Why? Because SOC provides you with a certain literary leverage, but even with this new-found leverage, you still must think outside the box and to take certain calculated literary risks. Let me offer a quick word about SOC writing which I also call “Alpha writing”. When you become an expert at this type of writing, what you will discover to your utter delight is that you acquire a definite mastery and control over the reader. SOC writing will allow you to get into a reader’s head to disrupt his/her plans. The reader may have every intention of going to bed at ten, but your book is so good, that he/she can’t put it down until two in the morning. Now, that’s power. That’s control. And this may be the only time during the course of your entire existence that you deliberately set out to control another person’s life, so you have to ask yourself: Am I ready for this? Am I big enough and bad enough? Can I handle this? I say you can! But for the sake of argument, let’s say that you’re not cut out to be the quintessential SOC writer and for whatever reason, you find the domination of another human’s senses unappealing, then I’m here to tell you that another option exists. It is also Alpha writing ,but it is where you write with such exquisite lyricism that your every word is savored for its immense beauty. It is where you write with the velvet glove rather than the iron fist, where you fuse each word with such vivid charisma that the words virtually jump off the pages. Understand that in Alpha writing, there are only two styles: Impulse writing and compulsion writing. In impulse writing, you go for the reader’s mind. In compulsion writing, you go for the reader’s soul! If you would like to read more of to study my “Gibraltar Method” of writing, please follow my blog for more.
  26.  

×
×
  • Create New...