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Mel Hopkins

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Mel Hopkins last won the day on October 18

Mel Hopkins had the most liked content!

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About Mel Hopkins

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  • Birthday September 8

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    Atlanta Metro
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    Jet setting, globetrotting, landlocked seafaring, book peddling recovering broadcast journalist wordsmith who dreams vividly and commits it to white space.

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  1. Yes, that was it @richardmurray ! I mistakenly identified audio with musical but this is what I was referring to when I mentioned you had extensive experience with Kobo. Thank You for the update!
  2. Hello Mel!


    I cannot find the thread where you offered my wife and I some suggestions re: an editor last year.

    I thanked you then and thank you again.

    We did find an Editor right here in Panama, where we live and she did a great job.

    Here's our website: Clandestine-Life.com

    We will soon self-publish as an ebook.  Very soon.


    Thanks to you and to Troy.  He was also quite helpful to us.

    1. Mel Hopkins

      Mel Hopkins


      @DamaniCongratulations!  We had our conversation in the readingblack club on this website -


      I would post the link but I keep getting a firewall block notice. 

        I'm glad that @Troy and I could be of assistance.  Also I got a chance to visit your website and it presents well on my mobile device!  Nice! Please don't be a stranger - at readingblack.com (the online club here on aalbc.com where we first met.)  I'd like to read about your book journey.  Much continued success! 

    2. Mel Hopkins

      Mel Hopkins

      Edit: I was able to post the link when I tried again.

  3. Hahaha! Get it together, @Troy ! But quiet as kept, I always go back and edit my comments for the same reason! 😄 Agreed! But you can see how enticing it must be. Amazon always provides the Easy Button. So, we independent authors/self-publishers must include an “Easy Button” in our sales repertoire. Now what would that “Easy Button” look like - is the question we need to answer and act on.
  4. @Troy Did you mean "work with ePub"... that's how I read it. So, I hope you did. And the truth in that statement makes the amazon deal bittersweet. And here's why. Again Amazon.com /Jeff Bezos really understands his market. He helps writers help him become even more wealthy - - Now, the following indictment may not be true of all writers but it must be true of most of us self-published writers or we wouldn't even bother with Amazon. Case-in-point. The last time I was in my KDP account was about two years ago when I decided to unpublish my stories on Amazon. So, today, I sign into my KDP account (long story - but I decided to remove my digital assets from most outside vendor digital platforms) and I delete two of the manuscripts I forgot about. And since there was no option to delete the other two, I thought, at least I could remove the files so CreateSpace couldn't print my book. (Not saying that they would, but "lead us not into temptation.") Anyway, as I was about to delete the file - I noticed KDP offers a free book formatting file. I emphasize "free" because most things free in commerce - come with a hidden cost. But I digress. Once you download this "free" formatting guide to your PC it promises to do the heavy lifting to design a beautiful book. See Images and the link https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/GYVL2CASGU9ACFVU Now, this format only works for .mobi . So, you have a beautifully formatted mobi file for an eBook that only works on Kindle readers. So once again, if you're writer with limited tech skills this is a godsend. All you have to do is upload your manuscript, manipulate the template and now you have a mobi file ready for publishing and distribution. All this to say, we writers/independent publishers must make it as easy for our readers to get our books; as Jeff makes it easy for us to publish them.
  5. @richardmurray thank you! I remember when you first mentioned Kobo to me awhile back. It takes me some time to digest all the information I take it - but I rarely forget who shared the information. This is excellent background on Kobo and now I see why Walmart joined them. I did sign up with Kobo using my walmart account. I'll be sure to share how the program works for me too.
  6. @Troy I'm sure you've seen this already - but I just checked my google alerts and saw this https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/81153-aalbc-cuts-buy-links-to-amazon.html "AALBC Cuts Buy Links to Amazon By Calvin Reid | Sep 12, 2019" 😳
  7. I recently updated a short story for digital readers called "Classified" - The political thriller is the first in the series of the small-town reporter Nicole Jettison aka Nicky Jett.  Nicky developed her supernatural gift during the first year in college.  Nicky's prophetic dreams transported her to the netherworld.  Once there, she gained abilities to see and battle shape-shifting drug dealers and a sorcery-wielding obeah priestess. She also recognizes nothing is as it seems.  When Nicky recovers, she hides in a journalism career.  She breaks news stories thanks to her all-seeing third-eye.  Nicky's gift is well-suited for news reporting but awful for her personal life.  Nicky morphs into a full-blown space-cadet once those preternatural abilities gain control. Check out Nicky Jett's riveting back story in the page-turner "Sleeping with a D-Man" available at theleadstorydotorg.


    1. richardmurray


      will share in my newsletter and about the everse:)

    2. Mel Hopkins

      Mel Hopkins

      You are so good too me! Thank you so much!!!

    3. richardmurray


      always the village

  8. @Troy Exactly! We continue to tell authors not to let AMAZON use them, so this is the logical next step. I think sharing my book publishing journey and asking questions like this well help all of us. I do know, once I formatted my eBook for mobi (kIndle) I was able to read it in my kindle for pc. So I didn't need to publish through amazon to use its digital reader. It is literally a standalone file on my pc. I created the mobi file and the ePub file two different ways. I uploaded (import) my manuscript (microsoft word docx) to pressbooks.com. I formatted with front matter(copyright page and introduction), chapters and back matter (about the author, about the series). Export the document in .mobi, .epub, and pdf (for digital). There's a pdf format for print but I didn't use that one because its a short story. downloaded those formats to my pc. I opened the mobi file in my kindle for pc and it was perfect. I open the epub file in my microsoft edge browser - and it was perfect! I created a ePub file of my eBook by: first formatting my microsoft word docx - for ePub/Mobi conversion. This time I used lulu.com to convert my microsoft word document. Because I formatted the word doc correctly, the conversion was successful. You can see by checking out the preview <-This is the ePub file. When I launch it - it opens in microsoft edge. Others might have different results. I haven't used Kobo but I know who is an advocate - @richardmurray ! I believe RM's books and music are available on Kobo. EDIT | A little more about Kobo... "In January, Walmart partnered with Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten on online grocery in Japan, as well as the sale of audiobooks, e-books, and e-readers in the U.S. Today, Walmart is capitalizing on that relationship with the launch of a full e-book and audiobook catalog on Walmart.com, alongside its assortment of physical books. The new site, called Walmart eBooks, includes a library of over 6 million titles ranging from NYT best-sellers to indie titles and children’s books. And similar to Amazon’s Audible, Walmart will also now offer a monthly audiobook subscription service. However, Walmart is undercutting Amazon on pricing. While Audible subscriptions start at $14.95 per month for one audiobook, Walmart’s subscription is only $9.99 per month for the same." From TechCrunch - Walmart and Kobo launch Walmart eBooks, an online e-book and audiobook store August 18, 2018
  9. @Troy Correct! On this eBook, I have a standard copyright notice - "all rights reserved." All copies should come from me. Yes, the eBook is created in a EPUB format.
  10. @Troy thank you! Ok 1. A shopper decides to buy a digital book from my woocommerce website store. 2. She completes the purchase. 3. Now can access her purchase (digital book) through the download radio button. 4. When she executes her download she can now save an ePub or .mobi copy on her pc. This now means unlimited distribution. How do I DRM (digital rights manage) my ebooks?
  11. They are so evil lol! Fixed it! https://theleadstory.org/newsroom/ I really have to get better at remembering when I move stuff around! Thank you for the heads-up! In other news, I just re-edited a short story for mobi and ePub format and it worked! The only reason why I direct to lulu is because I haven't figured out where to the store the file for download. Anyway, I'm so excited because I have a lot of manuscripts I put on-hold because I wanted to to teach myself how to format properly. By the way, I also learned that lulu charges for hosting now. I rank it right up there with amazon charging a delivery fee for digital books. smh. Anyway, like I mentioned, now I have to figure out how to store my ePUB or mobi files for one time download without saving a copy. Can you help @Troy ?
  12. @Troy Agreed! I tried to explain - but he seemed to believe that Amazon could stop bootleggers from stealing his book. But with Amazon taking 30- 65% sales commission and charging a delivery fee on digital books. I think he’d do better with bootleggers. At least , the bootleggers would have to pay for copyright infringement. - Here’s a snippet of the law -for all copyright holders “the copyright holder will be entitled to seek statutory damages of $750 to $30,000 for that infringement (as op- posed to having to prove actual damages, if any), and will also be entitled to seek an award of attorney fees. “ I’m on a writers’ rights crusade, It’s our time - and we shouldn’t be “starving!” Thank you for supplying the additional website information. Every writer needs to have eCommerce platform.
  13. I sold a book on Sunday (Sept 15, 2019). No promotion. No strong-arm selling. Simply, PayPal notifying me I had cash. Here's how it happened. A LinkedIn acquaintance messaged and asked if I would consider purchasing a short story he was selling on Amazon dot com. It would cost me .99 cents. But he'd know if there was activity on his amazon kindle account. I messaged him back and asked if he had one available in print. He said he'd have to do a collection of stories for the minimum print pages. I told him I understood. I want to make a short story available for sale on Lulu.com, too. But I need to do some creative packaging to make it 32 pages. He asked where was my story on lulu.com. I told him I believe in direct sales. But I'd also consider working with distributors who give me the best deal. Amazon doesn't qualify. So, I shared with him a link to my website store to show him how easy it is to sell a digital book direct...and bam he buys one. I thought more about the transaction when I read Seth Godin's blog post, "The relationship with the customer." (Sep 1, 2019) It's worth a read. But here's my takeaway. My associate and I met through a professional networking site, providing us a way to connect. I prepared my digital platform (a website) for such interactions allowing people to engage with me and buy directly. My associate asked me to buy his book. I did. Sadly, the request reinforced my commerce relationship with Amazon dot com. BUT his book-buying relationship, with me, is direct. He said dealing with amazon means they have "skin" in the game. Ultimately, amazon dot com's skin in the game allows them to benefit the most from an author's copyright license. Amazon dot com takes a 65% sales commission on books priced lower than $2.99 and above $9.99 Bottom line: I offer independent author-publishers this insight for their revenue model. If an author-publisher maintains their own basic wordpress website complete with security certificate from godaddy; it would cost less than $200 a year. A WooCommerce plugin and MailChimp mailing list plugin is free (for a small customer list). [not an endorsement - for description purposes only] My royalty was $4.99; which is the price of my digital book. PayPal took .44 cent in transaction fees. I purchased his book for .99 cent. I gained a new customer while he sold a book and earned .35 cents royalty.
  14. I thought it only fitting to leave a departing message since I've contributed a lot comments to the culture, race & economy forum. It appears the conversations here have deteriorated into hateful and fearful rhetoric, zero-sum comparisons and nothing good comes from those ideas. So, I bid this forum adieu. I'm signing off here but not AALBC's readingblack.com ✌️
  15. @Troy no. I thought I already mentioned, I'd have a problem with children on a steady diet of violence; bullying, name calling, "cursing" (not to be confused with cussing), consumerism, especially Cardi B & Nicki Minaj and most new school emcees videos because they promote consumerism, spectator sports -(unless it awakens the child's warrior spirit and inspires them to discipline their minds and bodies), and proselytizing any religious beliefs. There's probably a few other social engineering activities that I haven't mentioned that would inspire a teaching moment too. BUT there's no way I'd have a problem with children watching performers express themselves through music, dance, song, and acting. I like Normani's music video. She gave a good performance at the recent MTV music awards too.
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