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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. I signed up for Ingram's distribution service. It's costs me $12.00 per book annually. It's been worth it for me.
  3. Hey @Milton how did yiu het distribution fron Ingram and get you books into the B&N and Books-a-Million catalogues?
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Welcome @Gibran , @Audrey Jones ! Thank you for joining us!
  7. And I just made it a feature photo on one of my posts on my website and plan to add it to other relevant posts lol. I think it's a campaign that hasn't fully developed yet
  8. I think the issue is getting a critical mass of us on the same page. Because you and I can't do anything alone. Figure out how to get enough people thinking about the issue and the solutions will some easily. Interesting, just yesterday I dropped the #readingblack hashtag from the social media sharing buttons for books on this site. Maybe I should add them back.
  9. TRUTH!!! This is why I like the concept of readingblack.com - the goal is to make buying books by and for black people -fastfood/microwave easy... Now I just have to figure out how to achieve that goal lol
  10. True, but people (authors and consumers) are, for lack of a better word, "lazy." People are not sufficiently motivated to seek out or exercise options -- even if they are superior. There are many products that Amazon actually charges more for than going directly to the vendor's site, but people can't be bothers to open up another browser tab and create a new account on a different website. It is why people are more than happy to treat social media as if it is the entire internet as long as they can get some facsimile news, entertainment, and contact with friends -- why bother going anywhere else? It is why fast food thrives. Everyone knows it is shit, but who can be bothered to cook? We live in a fast food culture... We have a fast food political system with a fast food president.... but I digress. 🙂
  11. @Troy Thank you for PB co-sign! I'll put together a short post here in readingblack.com about pressbooks. The beauty of PB - is it offers a few book formats and book covers that writers can use for POD books too. The fully formatted PDF is $79 . Writers don't even have to use PB beyond formatting their novel or book. There are so many tools for self-published / indy authors to use today, that amazon should be the last resort for publishing.
  12. @Mel Hopkins the book is listed for sale at $62, actually it is listed at almost $500: https://amzn.to/2MpHAqe but that does not mean it is "selling" at that price. I believe 3rd party sellers are programmatically listing books at outrageous priced artificially inflating the "value" of books unavailable directly from Amazon. If they get a few people to buy the books these "booksellers" can made a ton of money. The Amazon is rife with so many gimmicks to separate people from money it is absurd. Some 3rd party sellers pirate physical books -- Amazon knows this too. The problem with alternative ebooks formats is that the kindle reader/software is the defacto standard and Amazon is the only one who can sell these ebooks. An increasing (alarming really) number of authors have opted for Amazon KDP Select program which gives Amazon the sole right to sell these e/books. I have chosen not to add these titles to my database moving forward. I like Pressbooks, but your typical author will go with Amazon because kindle ebook creation is free. They will then option for the KDP select because they earn slightly higher "royalties" -- even though Pressbook is more flexible and is actually more profitable after a few sales. Also I think you'd want to lower your ebook price to discourage pirating. Few will risk pirating an ebook selling at the Amazon minimum of 99 cents, but they would a more expensive title.
  13. Yep! Except those 3rd party sellers would still have to purchase the book (s) which is another reason why I'm selling eBooks direct too. I'm considering making my eBook cost more than my print so folks will be hesitant to attempt to bootleg my pdf. Another way to protect your digital files is to offer it directly through a web reader service like pressbooks. By the way, my novel is currently selling on amazon.com for $62.65 and of course NONE of that goes to me - because I'm not the 3rd party seller. smh
  14. I've soured on the associates the commissions are now negligible. As a monopoly for online booksales Amazon does not have competition to worry about a competing bookstore paying affiliates more. I guess the data is valueable -- what little Amazon shares. There are others not willing to sell on Amazon. But third party sellers easily subvert the author/publishers desires which Amazon encourages.
  15. Thank you @Troy ! No, I'm trying something else ...I figure if folks feel strongly enough about the content they will share it. Right!!! I like that you mentioned to one of the members - to become amazon associate. As an associate there's more customer insight available. I don't think I'll sell my books on amazon because to them, it appears books are like "giveaways" to them. I do appreciate the associates program. It allows me to see customers in a new way.
  16. @Mel Hopkins you don't allow comments on your site? The difference between Anazon and everone else is that Amazon does not have to generate profit from the sale of books. But it does mske sense to use Amazons data and tactics whenever the possible i know i do 😉
  17. Book Selling in the Amazon Age (blog post) Independent book selling is hard in the age of Amazon. But if you think you can’t be profitable, think again. Amazon provides customer-centric tools booksellers can use to build their own community of readers. You just have to know where to find them. Visit me at theleadstory.net for more tips.
  18. In this world, as a woman you must employ both ... and if you're a black woman you must use both as weaponry. Welcome, @Gibran Thank you for joining us ! I hope you will also share your talent with the rest of us who #dothewritething !
  19. For most of my life, I was the guy most wannabee thugs wished they could be. Officially declared a "menace to society", I was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for my role as mastermind of a series of daring bank robberies in the 70s. Two involved shootouts. One with the police. The other with a citizen in a bank parking lot where I narrowly missed being killed. While confined, I took part in an even more daring prison escape. Despite this seeming penchant for violence, I consoled myself with the notion that I was merely a poet trapped in a gangsta's body and oddly enough, this wasn't far from the truth as I had evolved from a family of teachers, four of whom taught English. As such, I learned, early on, to respect and to appreciate language since my grandmother was very strict and would not tolerate improper grammar under her roof. From the start, there appeared to be a household conspiracy to convert me into a writer. By the time I was ten, I possessed a private library fit for a scholar, had a new typewriter, a big desk, and plenty of blank paper. By 11, I had mastered the dictionary, was a whiz at Scrabble, and was a honor roll student in school. At twelve, I had completed my first novel. By my 13th birthday, I had discovered hustling and I immediately dropped out of school and adopted "the streets" as my home. By 14, I was in reform school for assaulting a police officer. While there, I was a star journalist, the first black deemed smart enough to work in the print shop and on the in-house newsletter. I served one year and a day. Upon my release, with hardly any delays, I embarked on a personal crime spree, and at the age of 15 years-old, I was sent to prison where I was the youngest convict there. While in the Youth Center, I acquired my high school diploma at 16 years-old, wrote my first play, turned militant, and when released at 19, went to New York to join the Black Panthers. In New York, I discovered heroin. Writing and the revolution would both have to wait as a drug habit left little room for anything else. When I tired of being a junkie, I kicked my fascination with getting high, but years later would emerge as the "alleged" kingpin of a notorious heroin distribution ring. Finally brought down by the FBI and DEA in 1997, I again was sent to federal prison. This time I would be gone for a decade, but once more I turned back to what I had turned my back on: writing. I studied journalism, started a writer's colony, mentored other aspiring prison writers, four of whom are now published, one a bestselling street-lit author. I edited and founded various newsletters, performed freelance editorial services for outside writers while quietly perfecting my craft. Hailed by some as one of the greatest prison writers ever, I was interviewed by numerous tv and print outlets. My writings have even been studied in an English class at an university where I was invited to lecture. While in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, I published two novels, but soured on traditional publishing after a deal gone bad with a well-known publisher. I also developed two programs. One, PROJECT UPLIFT, which deals with drug-dealer addiction. The second, GIRLSMART, a community service program concerned with at-risk, teenaged, black girls. This program is a counter to the BET-inspired video vixen syndrome where sisters opt to employ their booty rather than their brains. At last, I have finally gone from wrong to "write"
  20. This is precisely what is happening. The only difference is the government was willing to break up Standard Oil. Amazon is a monopoly in multiple industries without any indication they will be constrained by the government at all. Their are plenty of people who have a better understanding of Amazon'd dominance than I. I can speak to the Black book ecosystem, but Amazon's dominance extends way beyond this...
  21. Wow, brotha Troy, I 'm absolutely convinced that if anyone understands the problem of Amazon's dominance, it is you. I imagine that Amazon's business model was conceived from the same type of greed and selfishness that propelled the "robber barons" from decades ago who put the squeeze on the oil and steel industries. Man, I wished there would have been more like you trying to wake up those like me who had no idea what was coming.
  22. @Gibran Amazon has already won man. It is over. Even the amount of money I make as an Amazon affiliate has dropped substantially over the years. I could see it coming years ago -- I just could not do anything about it. Amazon is the greatest hustler there ever was. Rather than being locked up, they are rewarded. They have even convinced us "marks" to believe they are good. Again, authors, the ones with the most to gain, were the harshest critics against boycotting Amazon. No, the KDP consolidation was far from seamless there are countless articles by writers complaining about this, but again there was nothing any of us could do about it. Amazon is a monopoly for online sales of books and they are a monopoly in eBook production and sales -- they are even a monopoly in the eBook reader hardware and software sales and manufacturing. Collectively Black people are not sophisticated enough to see the problem. We are not dumb, but it is something we don't know enough about to have an opinion. See everybody feels they can have an opinion about, say, the game last night, but once you start talking about monopolies people eyes glaze over. It is not only Black people who are being effected, but we suffer more than other group as a result of Amazon's dominance. The other problem we have is that we do not have have the platforms (websites, newspapers, TV, Radio) with the resources, ability, or consciousness to teach enough people why Amazon's dominance matters. Sure, they can cover the antics of Cardi B or Kanye West, but when it comes to stuff that really matters which requires a bit of explaining -- forget about it.
  23. Wow....Brotha Troy, I see that you are 100% committed to the mission of exposing Amazon. Continue to teach. I remember clearly when you first informed me personally of Amazon's penchant for dealing from the proverbial bottom of the deck. That was many years ago before I stepped away from writing and all related activities. It was you who told me how authors leave money on the table when dealing via Amazon, and that got my attention because as a hustler, I never enjoyed the thought of someone taking something from me. Being that I considered your advice valuable, I even managed to open my own online bookstore for a while. I, currently, am embroiled with the company in question over certain of their practices. For a fact, the transition from CreateSpace to KDP was by no means seamless. During the conversion process, the interior of some of the books were disfigured. In some places, there were blank spaces between sentences, In other places, entire sentences were squeezed together as if a single word. One book that was previously printed is now blocked. Herein lies the problem. Writers, such as myself, who are not tech-savvy are eager to turn over the reins to someone else, especially when the major publishing houses are seemingly out of reach, and writers, such as myself, viewed Amazon as the McDonald's of the self-publishing world so the lure is practically irresistible. To a rookie in the game, such as myself, finding a One Stop Shop for all my publishing dreams was better than getting "fries with my milkshake. Man, this was Wal-Mart! I don't care what the industry may be, but any time a single business entity can make you believe, whether by clever advertising or by brute force, that they are the future, then total control is there for them to seize. In any event, writers, such as myself, are mortified at the notion of having to do more work after finishing the book, and Voila, there is Amazon, the "too-good-to-be-true" babysitter for your book. Yes, brotha Troy, you need to teach! Writers must be educated to know that success in writing a book must be accompanied by the success of getting the book into the hands of readers.
  24. Yeah James is an iconic figure in the Book industry. It is hard to believe it is the ONLY Black owned bookstore in Los Angeles, CA -- a city of more than 400K Black people.... Then again NYC have 5 times that many Black people and only has one general interest Black owned bookstore too (if you don't count church book stores). @Cynique james was the Black Pack Party in Chicago that you attended.
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