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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. Thanks! It looks like I have the infrastructure in place and now I just need to be smart about how to use these tools.
  3. 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.
  4. 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! ✊
  5. 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/
  6. 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?
  7. My pleasure ! We have to get our stories into the mainstream and make a living too!
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. @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.
  11. 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?
  12. (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.
  13. 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.
  14. @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.
  15. I signed up for Ingram's distribution service. It's costs me $12.00 per book annually. It's been worth it for me.
  16. Hey @Milton how did you get distribution from Ingram and get you books into the B&N and Books-a-Million catalogs?
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Welcome @Gibran , @Audrey Jones ! Thank you for joining us!
  20. 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
  21. 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.
  22. 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
  23. 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. 🙂
  24. @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.
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