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Mel Hopkins

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Everything posted by Mel Hopkins

  1. 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. Troy


      I see this is on Netflix. I will check it out when i get a chance

    2. richardmurray


      I have not seen ares, i don't have netflix... but the idea of what you want to get does relate to my recent little speech on mlk jr, i will private message you mel concerning that... to your question, what do you want and what are you willing to do to get it.  Historically, this has two phases for black folks, individual /collective.


      I think black people have mastered the individual,  individual black success in the usa is ever rising and going to be higher , but the problem is how does the black collective decide what it wants and then acts for it. Look at the black online world. The black online world in terms of black owned websites is weak. Now I can comprehend most industries having little black ownership cause they were started when black people were being denied water to drink. But black people had millionaires when the internet first arrived and not just one. Why didn't we go about owning more? the answer is simple, we didn't have a strong enough we to do something collective in the first place. I get off my little mlk jr day soap box and say, no black individual has any limits, depending on what they are willing to do... but the black community, I don't know.

  2. HA,HA!!! Great line... and accurate! They didn't know what they were missing - so much beauty, history and culture in this hidden gem.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. @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
  6. @Troy This is so true! I live over here by one of Tyler Perry's sprawling compounds and there's is no need for me to venture into Atlanta unless I go to the symphony. I do like Midtown but I don't care to drive there. If there were adequate transportation throughout Atlanta Metro it would be an ideal place to live but most counties don't want "Atliens" in their suburbs. So there's always a fight when it comes to funding public transportation. We currently have one bus system here in Douglasville and people protested that so I doubt it will be renewed. I'm not a "southern" woman - nor am I a "traditional" black woman. So besides my Sorors here - I've made two friends in the 7 years I've lived here. It is difficult to find women with the same mindset - (and even with our founders day tomorrow - I feel like an outsider from them). So, I feel lucky to have at least one or two people to hang out with here. By the way I learned the county I live in was founded in 1870 and named for Frederick Douglass. It was allegedly changed to Douglas for "Stephen Douglas" when the southern democrats rose to power. smh @FerociousKitty welcome back! I came to the board just as you left. I ran into Troy at our HS homecoming that year (2010) and I've been a "forum fly" ever since. I lived in Wheeling, WV for 10 years. And yes, I know what you mean about Pittsburgh. It felt like a weird climate to me. At times the racism was stifling then all of a sudden it's kum bah yah. I was fortunate enough to sign with Donna Belajac Casting, Docherty Model and Talent and got a record deal with Tom Cossie's Saturn Records. I spent a lot of time driving up and down I-70. I finally ended up as a News Anchor/Reporter for WTRF-TV (Wheeling Steubenville) . Some of my coworkers got a job at KDKA and WTAE-TV So, Pittsburgh felt like a second home. Much success on your upcoming release. I look forward to reading your author's page.
  7. @Troy The action is here! Some of Independent authors here seem to echo the same thing "I didn't know how to market my book." Except, they do. -It appears they're not strategic in their marketing practices. I was the same way with my first novel - I knew what to do but I didn't work my plan. I like how you call it a (book marketing )"clinic" because it is! We, independent authors, already know what's wrong - we just aren't consistent with our "outpatient" care. I'm writing this out for me too. I believe this is one the best places for original content on the subject. By the way, I like that I don't even have to repost it to my profile - the software keeps track of all my postings as long as I'm signed in. Oh! I'll check out @dtpollard. @Troy OMG @hen81 is my writing "hero"! He didn't come here to play with us one-book every 20 year folks !!! 65 titles according to his last post! 😀
  8. There’s only one way to become a bestselling* author. Get a lot of people to buy your book. - Simple, right? Yes, but it’s not easy for independent authors who must get their book in front of enough people to gain global sales. Well, at least it wasn’t easy before the internet and the growth of eCommerce. Back then, it was nearly impossible to make global sales without a prominent publisher. Now any writer can sell worldwide. So why do so many independent authors insist on selling their books exclusively on Amazon.com? And to their detriment. There are plenty of viable outlets available that will lead to better sales and robust revenue. Yet many stop there and then wonder why they can’t make a living as an independent author. Possibly some of the reasons for poor sales include lack of knowledge, not enough preparation, and not setting an initial sales goal. Fortunately, there are simple fixes for these oversights. For example, Setting a SMART1 ( Specific, Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-based) sales goal. i.e., Using several distribution channels, Independent author will sell 300-1000 units* during the first week of publication. You are identifying viable outlets to sell the book. Direct sales, eCommerce sites, book distributors such as Ingram, hand sellers, independent bookstores, retail bookstores, specialty outlets, etc. Make sure at least one of your outlets is also a reporting agency to NPD Nielsen BookScan Delaying publication to prepare a sales strategy, and to solicit presales. Now that you’ve considered a plan to sell 300 or even 3000 books during the first week of publication, it’s safe to tell you the rest of the story. Determining where you will sell to your customers and how you will get your books to them is also known as Place. It is the 3rd P in the marketing mix. So, deciding Amazon as the exclusive Place to sell books is unwittingly using a marketing tactic that may negatively impact your book’s sales revenue. Note: although Amazon is referenced throughout the article it’s not the focus. It’s about getting you, the independent author, to consider a solid book sales strategy that allows you to make your book available in multiple locations. * (3000 -10000 books sold is the statistical count for WSJ or NYT bestseller, respectively.) ** Post inspired by @Troy 's Tweet (1/7/2020) ~Mel Reference 1. https://www.smart-goals-guide.com/smart-goal.html What is a smart goal? | acronym smart goals 2. https://www.publishersmarketplace.com/bookscan/stores.cgi (npd publishers marketplace BookScan stores reporting 3. https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/industry-expertise/books/ (NPD BookScan book market trends) 4. https://www.ingramcontent.com/publishers/distribution (book distribution worldwide |Ingram content group) 5. http://www.bowker.com/ (Connecting publishers, authors, and booksellers with readers)
  9. What is "perihelion"? I could search for it but no search engine would tell me why you wished me a happy one (smile) . MLK jr day isn't on my radar this year. Sometimes I'm moved by his message but this year I'm interested in other species - and how they are dealing with mother nature.
  10. @richardmurray Thank you! Happy New Year! @Troy LOL! You don't miss a chance to give facebook the boot LOL GOOD JOB!!! Facebook and anything it touches is anti-life...
  11. This was a made up example but Gladys (Brown) West is the "hidden figures" of the GPS. I don't think her biography is complete but I read her story recently
  12. @Troy See, this is what I'm talking about! Congratulations and more for you in 2020!
  13. So, you've finished writing your first book and after you've blown through your friends and family list; now, it's time to find your readers. You know, those people who don't know you but will want to read your book if they knew about it? In other words, it's time to market your book. If you haven't thought about marketing until now, that's ok. The first step to finding your audience is to understand why, who and how. To determine it, backtrack to why you wrote the book in the first place. Keep in mind, Marketing (promotion) doesn't dictate WHAT an author should write. It's just that the author should have a group in mind when they do. Determining "who" you wrote the book about helps you find like-minded people. For example, if you've written a biography (genre), the subject's characteristics will help to begin building an audience. Is the subject a black woman? Then those who interested in reading about black women's lives are a clue to uncovering your audience. Consider "why" you wrote about this black woman - knowing why you wrote about her will narrow down the interests to promote. Such as, this black woman is the mother of GPS. So how did she accomplish this goal? The "how" usually contains drama and conflict. A Black woman in Jim Crow south overcomes sexism, racism, and classism to design the prototype of the (GPS) Global Positioning System (computer technology). So, there you have it. The first step to marketing your book after you've written it is creating a one-sentence explanation sometimes called the logline or pitch. Now you can begin your promotional efforts. #bookpromotion Inspired by ReadingBlack.com club: Open Letter to Promoters
  14. The more I think about it, @Troy - those writers you mentioned are "the literati" too. I learned of them because they're admired and often mentioned writers who happened to be black. You are my alumni but my love of reading caused me to gravitate towards your project, AALBC, like it was cooked food. When I see your name and aalbc turn up in my google alerts, I'm never surprised its in connection to PWI literary sites. Further, It's not like PWIs gave you a "white" card. Instead. you're the standard and you're giving something most of us don't have access too. - So, as the authority and go-to expert, you're just famous (period) for your knowledge and contribution to the literary field.
  15. @Wendy Jones the three quotes I pulled actually illustrate what Troy and what most marketing professionals advise. Know your why, who and how. Marketing (promotion) doesn’t dictate WHAT an author should write just that they should have a group in mind when they do. You intuitively crafted a market and wrote your story for them. Your narrative indicates what you wrote, why it’s important and to whom it would matter. The through-line looks a bit like this: Oral History - African American Women - during early part of 20th century - with a hot button issue that is still relevant today - social security - and how one black woman over came an inequitable system meant to assist all americans - with a twist of mystery (because who knew it didn’t?!?!). If I were the script reader and wrote the coverage it would pass because its “marketable” .
  16. @Troy this is so true! Sadly, those authors could probably sell well if marketing wasn’t an afterthought. In fact, there’s an article I think you posted here about “black book marketing matters” even in big 5 publishing. Unfortunately those authors - (writing while black) even when they’ve received the guidance of who they are writing to and for, the marketing and publicity departments still don’t know what to do with them. The reason is they don’t have black marketers. In fact, I was the only one at both Penguin and Putnam back in the day. Probably none or one today. This is solid advice - period. There’s no getting around it. It would be malpractice for any promoter to consult or advise otherwise.
  17. I’m unsure. I think you and AALBC are literary famous. Which is an even more exclusive club - The Literati.
  18. @Troy Kim Coles is black famous too lol... and as you know she has published a few books - "I'm Free but it will cost you" and "Open Your G.I.F.T.S." I love that you mentioned our alumna because it reminded me that "Friends" was a rip off of the "black famous" "Living Single". Kelsey Grammer, "Frasier" had Kim in a reccuring role Self-help guru "Dr Mary"... I really wished that character would have spun off into its on show especially since life imitated art and Kim is also a Life Coach too.
  19. And @Troy Speaking of the Root's Michael Harriott - he allegedly landed a Seven-figure, two-book deal with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt this past weekend. That’s right: after an understandably competitive auction fielded and negotiated by Tanya McKinnon at McKinnon Literary, Michael Harriot has closed a two-book, seven-figure deal with publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt—and as we celebrate the ascension of yet another of The Root’s shining lights into the publishing world, we are thrilled to be relaunching our It’s Lit! section with this incredible announcement.
  20. @Troy If you have the talent - BUT if you don't have the time - send them to me! (can you just hire me already!) I'd love to talk to them about their contributions. I do know Kwame Alexander - and I'm just waiting to get in the same room with him again so I can borrow 15 minutes of his time. I met up with him when he visited Chicago back in 2012 (I think) to give a talk at convention his mother was hosting. This was before his recent success and the imprint. He brought me to tears with his passion. If I can I find the little piece I wrote about his speech, I will share it. It was pure raw emotion. His talent was real and seriously there wasn't a dry eye when he finished speaking. Although my photos from the event were lousy , I will share them too. By the way, shame on them! Posting on social media will never compared to editorial content. A journalist can trigger memories and emotions that just don't come through in a facebook post. smh Also, I've always love the chitlin circuit - but my mom hated when I used the term, so I stopped. I guess the PC term now is "Black Famous" Root Journalist Michael Harriott was just talking about black famous on twitter ... by the way, did you know Bobby Caldwell (what you won't do for love) is a white man? I didn't. But Caldwell is black famous too! lol
  21. @Troy et al , recently discovering and uncovering the success of Kennedy Ryan speaks volumes of how important it is for black writers to continue to do their thing - but also participate in PWIs (Predominately White Institutions) in an effort to get the notoriety. It would be nice if we could remain self-contained and eventually get our recognition in "the establishment." But I see, once again we have to work twice as hard to get half as far. Where as people of Angles descent only have to promote to one gatekeeper - those of us of the African diaspora must first promote to the black community and then go out to mainstream. I'm thrilled I found that article but I wonder if she didn't win the RITA award would she have even landed a story on NPR? Think about it. Ryan had a 4-book deal with the Hachette Group and I never heard a peep. Now that she's chosen the self-published route - she wins a coveted award and we get to learn that all along, she's been writing about the black community and the controversial issues we face. In addition, I'm even more excited that a place like AALBC.com exist for me to post Ryan's story. I didn't even post her story on my website - I came here first to share it. I'll share a review here too once I finish reading her award-winning book.
  22. You're welcome! I just learned of her too. The article mentioned she wrote 16 books including a few collections too. http://kennedyryanwrites.com/books
  23. LONG SHOT isn't the odds of an African American winning the coveted 2019 RITA award; it's the winning title of the Romance Novel that landed Kennedy Ryan in the winner's circle. Ryan is the first African American to win the award in the 37-year-history of the Romance Writers of America organization, and she also self-published the romance novel. "Long Shot" takes on the controversial subject of domestic violence in professional sports. The Charlotte, North Carolina resident, told WFAE she didn't expect to win. Ryan says she entered the competition to challenge the organizers' belief that black writers didn't enter their work. She said when they announced her name, Ryan said it felt like there was a collective, "we did it." Ryan began her writing career with the Hachette Group after landing a 4-book deal - but once it was up, she said she turned down subsequent offers to self-publish instead.
  24. @Troy all looks good again! I signed in with my phone and now commenting with ease. Thank You!
  25. Perfect! At least you can sit back and watch if Ethos Capital keeps its word. I agree - no for-profit organization should be able to hold an extension hostage that supposed to be available to the public. And ICANN held a public comment period and most of the people requested to keep the price cap.
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