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Mel Hopkins

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Everything posted by Mel Hopkins

  1. Oh Snap!!! @Wendy Jones and @Troy I don't see it but I will keep looking.
  2. @Pioneer1 I never left! I decided it was wiser to spend my time on other areas on this website, where I could help and also learn what others are doing in the book world. I don't argue with supremacist folks of any shade and for a while this forum (culture, race and economy) was traveling that path. Calling people coons, uncle toms, ni--ers, colonizers, crackers, (dang there are'nt many derogatory names for Angles that don't include them being in a superior position over black folks, is there? LOL but I digress)- because of their differing life perspective doesn't help any of us. Black Supremacy is as hateful as white supremacy. Hate and fear are way too draining, divisive and mentally harmful. If we couple that with Alex Jones-type alternative theories especially the unsolvable theories then we're all doomed. I'm all for considering alternative theories but if they are not meant to help us evolve then what? For example, if coronavirus is engineered/modified. - SO WHAT? A lot of viruses are engineered/modified for health reasons - such as gene therapy. For years domestic animals such as cats and dogs have been vaccinated against the coronavirus . Are we talking about that modified virus? Anyway, if we're going to talk about solutions then I'm all in...but just talking about what somebody is allegedly doing to us - makes us victims...and I ain't got time to talk about reinforcing my victimization.
  3. @Troy yep! I only made the suggestion because I know you can get these web content management systems to "sing"... Sometimes, I wish I knew how to code. But because I have no skills it makes it easier for me to imagine what would be cool if it could be done. So, a wishlist on the profiles would also advertise the books in the aalbc.store . Even if we can use the wishlist feature in the store - then maybe adding a widget to the profile and even personal website would be a win for #readingblack.com 🙃
  4. @Troy thank you for the discount! I know didn't share with you all the recommendations I have for this forum/website but here's one. Is there a way to have a wishlist in the bookstore AND have those books appear on our profiles?
  5. @Wendy Jones "The Culinary Art Portfolio of Josephine E. Jones with Ready-to-Frame prints, where food and art intersect." You nailed it right here. I want to read, see and have this book on display in my home! So as you can see, just from this title and introduction; I already know I'm in this audience. I know there are others in the audience too. And here's why - #arthistory #africanamerican #womenshistory #chef #foodporn #gastronomy #oralhistory #pictorialhistory are some of the tags that popped into my head. I also believe "all art is political" ; so in the content I would expect to read about a change agent too. - Art is a movement. - Food is America's pastime and "Food Porn" as the young people call it today - is all over Instagram, pinterest and maybe even facebook as a club. In 2019 , We finally got our very first black woman Michelin star chef. In. 2019. So, imagine to learn there was black woman who was doing this way before social media was a thing! You are tying the past to the present and that would make this book hard to ignore. You've nailed this! Answering the rest of those questions just help you and your publicist to promote your brand in a way that secure you as an authority on Black/African American women history. While your mother may be the protagonist in the narrative you are still highlighting the journey of a group of black women and documenting the period for the annals of American history. Your brand is shining.
  6. It appears Ebony Magazine is no more. Sadly, there's a 404 notice when you go to EBONY dot com. If you travel to any of its posted links you're get a warning. It also appears EBONY social media presence is also dwindling down. In January, Tyler Perry announced he was going to be on the cover of March 2020 EBONY -so if you can get your hands on that issue - it will truly be a keepsake. I wrote two stories for EBONY magazine featured in the September 2018 Fashion Issue. Yes, I got paid. It breaks my heart that this may be the end of the iconic magazine that started back in 1945. The last time I contacted the Clear View Group, LLC , owners of EBONY MEDIA OPERATION, about their alleged lack of payment to Johnson Publishing and I didn't get a response. So, draw your own conclusion. As for me, I think it's a wrap. 2020 is shaping up to be an interesting year.
  7. @Chevdove YAAAY!!! More to come!
  8. @Chevdove Thank you for asking!!! (I'm so excited)...ACCESS = LOCATION and refers to where people are most likely to get information about something that interest them. Example - If you are interested in creole cooking - you're are likely to show up to a location that either serves creole food or teaches creole cooking. You will most likely search for creole recipes and even find a creole history club to join locally or the internet. You may even show up here AALBC to look for books on the origins of creole culture or if experts post here. You might even start your own thread about creole culture. NOTE: business owners provide what customers need so the customer can get what they want. Your interest in creole cooking means either you or loved one wants to eat it. So business owners fills the need - by selling a cookbook, opening a restaurant or inviting you to take a trip to the source. So, someone who is promoting, lets say Louisiana travel tours, will make sure they share their information at all those access points where you are likely to show up. They will be at the places where you might look for information creole cooking. It may be advertisement or even information about authentic creole cooking spot on the tour - or even the best dish and include a recipe... Now they have your attention you may even jot down their information for future reference - and remember them when you plan your trip so you can get some good food. This is how the best marketers are getting noticed in today's marketplace. EDUCATION = A MOVEMENT A lot of independent authors think they don't know their audience. My suggestion is to start of movement of one. Ask yourself, "what do I believe needs changing?" I did something similar when starting this blog. I believe Marketing = Change. Marketing is a force that shakes up the status quo. I believe independent authors are unaware they use marketing in the course of their daily living. Therefore, my mission is to help authors realize they can create change through intentional use of the marketing techniques they unwittingly use daily. I was the first person in my "marketing is a four-letter word" movement. I was the first one in the audience. I'm so passionate about this topic, I just want to spread the word to anyone who will listen. I believe, "If you don't believe in your movement or are passionate about it - no one will be." Creating a movement of one is the first step. It will help you clarify what you intend to change. Then, you will be able to identify the people who are interested in your subject matter. You'll notice there are "followers" who will agree with your mission. (note: it might not happen immediately - that's why you have to be patient and passionate.) These people are your core audience. Don't waste your time trying convert anyone who is not interested. Focus on those who are interested. -These "followers" will become your ambassadors who will bring other like-minded people to the movement. How to start a movement: Now, the best thing about being a writer is ideas and words are our movement. We just have to educate others and lead them to the goal we he hope to accomplish. If we didn't believe in changing something we wouldn't write in the first place. And the best way to help others make a change is by sharing information (Education). So when you start your movement answer "Who, what,where, when, why and how." from there you will understand what information you need to share to build your audience.
  9. @Troy thank you! @richardmurray I don't see it -here in either. I sent a message to @Wendy Jones for assistance too. It's a great feature to follow the topic.
  10. Freethinker - open-minded intellectual who never stopped learning.
  11. @Troy how do you add tags? I noticed there is a book promotion tag on this thread.
  12. @Milton I apologize if this a duplicate message. Would you edit your message to include your website link? I've noticed including your website link to your store is like adding an #easybutton. Thank you. @Troy , here's more information on the widely read ePub format. Dropbox dot com launched an ePub viewer. I formatted one of my short stories in ePub format and sent the link to my dropbox and I could read it!
  13. I don't have a Valentine's album per se, but I do have a collection on apple music called "bittersweet soul." I like soul music which I've recently learned is secular version of gospel music. I kind of knew that though. "This must be heaven" performed by Brainstorm and written by Lamont Johnson is less romance and more like a love song to THE ALL.
  14. @Troy OMG! Yes, most stories written by black authors aren't free of another ethnic group's influence. This is why I don't read most black books and rarely watch black dramas. And no, I haven't seen Black Panther - but I did watch Netflix's "Raising Dion." Some parts were "laugh out loud," and I did appreciate the message. But mostly, in either medium, we as an ethnic group are reactionary instead of responsive to our environment. When I read, I look for someone I can relate to in the pages or screen. My personal struggles rarely, if ever, have to do with racism. Although I subscribe to "intersectional feminism" beliefs, it hasn't been my struggle either. In fact, being a black woman has afforded me more opportunities than if I were a regular white man. So when I read or watch thrillers, mysteries, horror, sci-fi - it's usually written by a white man. Although I've recently found Film producer Ben Watkins, Victor Lavalle, two men who identify as black, which both speak to me on several levels.both speak to me on several levels. I think because they both write strong ass, black women, with an agency in their films and stories. I'm also looking forward to reading N.K. Jemisin. But I digress, white men have different struggles but struggles that most black people face in addition to racism, misogyny, sexism, etc... So, I read them to learn how to solve conflicts that exist outside of the "ism" schism. So yes, please battle other conflicts that are also pertinent to our existence on this big blue marble. We've spent 400 years fighting racism... I'm not sure I want to escape into a book that also battles it too.
  15. stone-heart11.jpgHOLD ONTO LOVE. 

    Shit happens — no need to immortalize it.
    If you survive it, internalize what's left.



    Happy Valentine's Day.

    1. Troy


      Happy Valentine's Day Mel and everyone!

    2. richardmurray


      Happy valentine's day to all

      @Troy what is your valentine's day album?


  16. @Troy Great minds think a like lol..that was my goal. I didn't want to assume you or others didn't know about it - so "phrasing" to showcase works best :D
  17. I blogged about him in 2014. In 2016 Casey Gerald gave a tedtalk "the gospel of doubt" that npr says went viral then today I noticed Penguin Random House published his memoir in 2018... He was on my radar because of a new post I was writing -what I didn't know is he's on the world's radar too.  I wonder what they have planned for him.


    1. richardmurray


      do you believe in the hero's journey as a structure? @Mel Hopkins

    2. Mel Hopkins

      Mel Hopkins

      Happy Valentine's Day @richardmurray !  

      I don't believe the hero's journey  conforms to all stories.  Children's books come to mind - I just wrote a story about my grand"pup" and communication. And that story is more of a fable and doesn't follow the path of the hero's journey.  

      NOW my novel, "Sleeping with a D-Man" follows the Hero's Journey's format at every step.   So, I'd say most novels loosely follow the structure.

      Now here's where my personal belief comes in. Whenever, I'm experiencing and going through a particularly stressful period in my life.  I take a step back and map out the points and highlights on the Hero's Journey plotline to see exactly where I am in the journey. I want to see if the prize is on horizon.  :D

    3. richardmurray


      Happy Valentine's day @Mel Hopkins :)


      tell me your valentines album https://aalbc.com/tc/blogs/entry/261-black-hearts-day-art-or-text-craft-parade-good-news-blog/


      good point, fables do not fit the hero's journey or any story that does not involve a guide or a maturing lead hero character


      Interesting insight into the life of Mel:)

  18. I'm not reading any books by black authors right now - but my next to last purchase from AALBC.store was Here's another book I thought about today but it's not available here. I suspect this young man is one to watch. He's a yale/harvard graduate but says he has no interest in politics. I wrote a blog post on him in 2014...when he was on the cusp of launching his nonprofit, MBAs Across America that placed business people with nonprofits to help them achieve their goals. He says he believes in purpose over profits which is definitely not the American way. And this is what made me think of you @Troy because you mentioned in a post on here, that black people tend to "give" their talents away to big corporate. Anyway, I wanted to link to aalbc for this memoir but it's not here. I'll link to penguin for now.
  19. "No one wants to pay for distraction, but they will pay if it's packaged as help." (me) How help is defined is tricky. It depends on the client/customer's wants. If your prospective customer wants to escape their environment, then consider if you, the independent author have the skills, resources, and experience packaged in your book to help. If your book is the solution, then show them how it can get what they want. In this case, adventure, exotic destination, and as a bonus, a mental place where they will experience something new. If your book doesn't qualify to assist, then recommend one that can and sell it to them. Note: selling is an exchange of goods and services for currency. (Currency could be signing up for your newsletter because they value your judgment.) You can increase your market to gain their trust and sell them what they want another time. This marketing mix relies on the SAVE* strategy. When marketing your book, consider a promotion campaign that features Solution, Access, Value, and Education. S = solution - show us how your product helps us solve our problem. A = access - consider how your readers decide to make purchases and provide product info along those channels. Remember, following customers around a store doesn't work - so don't cyberstalk your prospective buyer either. Think about affiliate marketing - advertisers want to appear where they know prospects are receptive to their solution. It's soft promotion because there's no one aggravating them, allowing the candidate to seek out information for themselves. V = value - ask how does this product (book) benefit your reader. Every book is not for everyone. So first find out who reads your type of books - and then share with them how your book fits their desires. E = education knowing who your readers are allows you to share information on topics they enjoy. If your book is a romance - then romance readers would be thrilled to learn the latest - like a romance industry gossip website will bring them to you - and you can engage and build a community around mutual interests. And this how you can position your book, product/service, in a way that helps them help you. "You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want." ~ Zig Ziglar (salesperson, motivational speaker) *Eduardo Conrado, who was senior VP and the chief marketing officer at Motorola Solutions, allegedly came up with the SAVE marketing mix framework.
  20. "Who owns the land?" It was either my youngest or middle daughter who asked me that question when they were still in elementary school. My answer disturbed them -because they instinctively knew no one SHOULD own the land - and we should have freedom of movement. With freedom of movement it would be impossible to starve on this planet. There's enough vegetation for everyone who wants to eat. Now, I have no evidence that this concept of owning territory began with those of anglo-descent ...because Africans were first of the modern humans - and it appears there were "kingdoms" and "queendoms" long before journeying out of Africa ...Possibly the practice of owning territory began with us - but now we are out. I just read a list of the largest landholders in the world - and it included queen elizabeth II, nicole kidman's family and king abdullah who are at the top -list dated 2011. I agree we shouldn't behave as our predecessors but unless we wake up or something shakes us up...we (the 'nonlandowners' ) are at the mercy of those who own the land. This is why MLK was on the right path to talk about economic freedom - but he was taken out before he could actually lay a solid foundation.
  21. ARES"ARES" stars 26-year-old Dutch actress Jade Olieberg who plays a multi-ethnic character that advances the original series plot in ways that are not obvious in the beginning.  My initial reaction was the .5 % wealthiest of society will not be happy.  But then this portrayal of secret societies targets any of us who "belong" to one.  Cutting to the chase without spoilers;  this series asks "What do you want" and what are you prepared to do to get it.  I'm still thinking  about this show today. It revealed a lot to me about myself ...and has me giving the side eye to friends, family and folks I see on the street.  I couldn't binge watch the series - it was a little too intense for me.  What did you think about ARES?

    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. richardmurray


      @Mel Hopkins black voices was sold but not black planet, black planet was bought by tv one, probably the largest black owned media enterprise in the usa. Black planet's problem is twitter and facebook, paid for many top accounts originally and then the rest was entropy.

      Good points, I am fine with being Black Famous too:)

    3. Mel Hopkins

      Mel Hopkins



      Black planet's problem is twitter and facebook, @richardmurray

      How is twitter and facebook a problem for Black Planet?  I assume you mean competition.  Am I correct? 

    4. richardmurray


      You are correct,  I meant a problem in fair competitiveness. Facebook nor Twitter have any straight concern to Black planet or AALBC :)  To be fair, facebook/twitter/youtube do a lot of backdoor attacks to each other. And, any website that becomes very popular will have to deal with that ewar reality. I must end with something you know already @Mel Hopkins but I feel must be said,  financially, many firms view the existence of competition as a problem, meaning monopoly is their goal. 

  22. HA,HA!!! Great line... and accurate! They didn't know what they were missing - so much beauty, history and culture in this hidden gem.
  23. LOL! I know it seems weird right? But yep! I lived in Brooklyn at the height of the crack epidemic and I sadly, but daily, stepped over pools of blood and brain matter to get the subway station. I don't think I've ever been more uncomfortable than those days. It wasn't until after I got married that I actually packed up and left NYC . And only then because my exhubby- got his plumbing contractor's license and had a close relationship with the chairman of the marsh cigar factory in Wheeling.
  24. OMG! I read about #EBONYOWES ! Did you get paid? I wrote under Johnson Publishing and then again for EMO . I adore my editor. She wouldn't let me write until she knew the money was available. Under EMO I got paid shortly after submission. It felt good to see my articles and know they had already paid me. My rate was decent too. We haven't worked together since 2018 . Her last issue was December 2018 and she mentioned we can't work for them unless the money is already there. I do appreciate it but dang! I have so many story ideas but not enough editor-relationships. I had a chance at a commission with BE but when I told her how much EBONY paid for my cover and features- I think they ghost me. lol. I told them I'd work with their budget. I think they really didn't want to pay my rate. I can't see writing for pennies when they makes tens of thousands $$$ on ads. Welp You're welcome! I used to do well with securing orders for book adoptions at the conferences, conventions and seminars. Penguin gave us a generous budget to travel the country to pimp their books too. Thank you! I must get out of this heat. My body isn't used to it and I'm miserable in the summer. I'll probably end up back east in NJ. My oldest lives in NYC -works in NJ... and my twins live and work in Chicago, and Cincinnati respectively. I just got to have a reason other than discomfort to move lol
  25. @FerociousKittyExcellent! When I worked for Penguin USA (now Penguin Random House) I worked the academic market! Very cool. May your book be adopted in many university classes! Not as an employee any more - but I'm always opened to commissioned features. Before EBONY Magazine "went missing" I had a few bylines including an Issa Rae cover story September 2018. I still pitch magazines but haven't had a hit in a minute. As for ATL, nothing is really keeping me here. I need a destination to pick up and go. :D
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