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Everything posted by CDBurns

  1. I say move on Troy and leave it alone. There is a whole group of people who value AALBC and are waiting on just the right time to begin interacting and writing. I've made an analysis, it always appears to me that those who are in the best position to bring about change, rarely do. The grassroots have always been at the forefront of the movement. That's just the way it is.
  2. I always think in terms of destinations because I always take the family with me. I do think a thinktank would be a good thing. If the coordination doesn't work, then a Hangout or Spreecast that's private would be just as vital. Anything that gets the ideas out there.
  3. San Diego State Writer's Conference and The Cave Canem Events are two that pop into my head immediately. Man that is an impressive list and definitely hard to coordinate. You will need a constant influx of info to stay on top of this, but it looks great. As far as the authors most of the events cater to women and that makes sense since women read more than men. Overall each event looks like it is being organized in connection to a particular school which means that it will have an academic lean. I'd have to take my time with it, but I'm sharing it so others can pass it around.
  4. The bottom line is we don't own any of the media outlets all of this information is being consumed on.
  5. I'm always big on the idea that art changes things. I also feel that when the art begins to reflect the reality that things get accomplished at a faster rate than just through the action of the people. I even had this argument with someone on the board here before about action being created from art and vice versa. I hate to use the word unfortunately because a white guy is going to be propelled, because it's not unfortunate, it's just the way things are that a White guy will get the press when there are countless Black artists creating content that will never be seen by the mainstream. Either way, I admire anyone willing to sacrifice the easy path in creativity and take on the issues. This looks intriguing.
  6. Atlanta is 9 hours from Memphis, and NYC is 19 hours. Memphis has the worst airline rates, but I think DC is kind of a midpoint. I think a conference would be really good and the amount of info we all have is pretty doggone good. The problem with anything like this is organization. I think if AALBC decided to do something similar to Boyce Watkins Financial Bootcamp online that it would probably do pretty well. I know Paul Brunson is organizing an event in DC and I think his goal is to pull presenters together so he could possibly be someone for you to reach out to. I'm always interested in reaching more people of course. Mel I think I will work on the Press This feature video tomorrow, but the Disqus Reveal will probably be a slow process since it's a new rollout program and they are probably going to approve bigger sites first before it "trickles" down to smaller sites like mine. It is really good info though.
  7. Mel, I can't tell you how many times I've told people USE YOUR BLOG!!!!!! I see these great detailed back and forths and the only platform benefiting is Facebook. It's so damn frustrating to witness. People have come to realize now that I won't get into a lot of back and forth on Facebook. I've even shared with people how easy it is to add content to their sites using a great Wordpress feature named Press This. One of the guys that writes on CBP I taught how to use it and we can easily update the site everyday if desired. I think I will do a video on that for people because it's so basic. Big news for both of you, because you know that's how the board rolls, Disqus has now monetized their feedback system. You both need to take the time to go to the new section and submit your sites that use Disqus. It's called Discus Reveal. I submitted my sites yesterday and I'm waiting on the response, but this is good. If everyone forced the dialogue back to their monetized platforms then change begins to happen and people become a bit more empowered.
  8. You know this is a good idea...if a book would make a solid college level reading selection maybe the time is better spent sending copies to professors who teach African-American Lit.
  9. You know I love to see the stats because numbers are hard to fudge when the data is clear. Great analysis and it only cements my position on social media. However, while I know that social media doesn't really translate to conversions, I don't think completely removing yourself from social is going to happen... unless what you mean is that you aren't promoting info on social outright. I stand by the idea that you have to be where the people are because the people don't search as much and Facebook is now showing up in search so - I just realized why you said you won't post there. By posting to Facebook directly from your account it builds a redundancy and Facebook gains preference in search for your site. By continuing to post through the AALBC site on Facebook that site gains preference in search vs your site. I would say there is a conundrum, but I know from my own experience how little traffic arrives to my site via social media outlets. The majority of my traffic is direct or search. It is more important to generate content than it is to share via social for what you do. I do think that continuing to use social sharing buttons is important because it is how other people tend to share your information. Definitely a good breakdown. I will have a new analysis for a Facebook Ad for CBP Music by next week. I'm waiting on the numbers from iTunes and Amazon mp3 and streaming, on sales for the first half of February to come in so I can do a direct comparison to the increase/decrease/no change in sales. This will be a true test since both of the artists are old cats in their 70s who aren't on social media at all. The majority of their sales and streams come from abroad. I will share it when the numbers come in.
  10. While I'm not the biggest fan of Squarespace, I do love that the layout is very clean. Your old blog posts, all of that good stuff, can be imported into a Squarespace site. Here is the link here: https://answers.squarespace.com/questions/28921/import-website-from-wordpress.html On your project page you need to hyperlink your bookstore site to the page so people won't have to copy and paste the link. I bought hosting and a domain for a jazz musician I dig and he decided to use Squarespace. I really dig the way he is running his site. You should peep it here: http://www.brandonmeeksmusic.com B Meeks is playing Ron Carter in the new Miles Davis biopic. Thank you for the blessings and keep pushing forward. I try to add information when I can and when I visit someone's site. Especially when that person has a catalog of really dope writing. Definitely take the time to Export from Wordpress and Import into Squarespace so all of those articles are in the same place. I know you are attempting to separate the two projects, your blogging (not safe for kids) and your book, but in my mind that creates a fractured search. I may be wrong and I'd love for @Mel Hopkins to throw her ideas into the discussion and of course @Troy to add on. I think the more we help build each other up the better it will be for all of us. Each one, teach one.
  11. The local Oprah has never put me on the show! I would write LOL, but I think that gets my point across. On two separate occasions I've hired and used PR people, one who worked for the local newspaper and nothing came from that. The second was a beginner and I didn't expect much to come from it, I just wanted to help that person out. Let me add this and explain my writing style and why it isn't suitable possibly for "PR". Most of the writing I've done in regard to pitching has been in regard to query letters. While not a PR pitch, they are a bit longer and they deal with an overall summary of the person and the material. My experience in my own PR hasn't been exactly fruitless, but it definitely didn't gain the type of coverage I would have liked, but it's not from a lack of material and information. I do agree that I have so much to talk about that it's overwhelming and possibly hurts my placement, but the irony in that is amazing and it doesn't explain why the guy who created the logo and website for the local Memphis through her growth has never been invited to the show. It also doesn't explain the intentional removal of my name from various stories. I will look at your pitch and consider it when I'm in pitch mode. I'm not right now. I'm in biz mode and creation mode. I think your breakdown is great information for those who are reading and adds tons to the dialogue and it's great to have a professional give insight into this topic. That information is worth thousands of dollars.
  12. This is a great exchange. Mel, everything you've written I've done. The difference between what you've written is that my pitch included this information: Chris founded a basketball website named Center Court Basketball in 2004. Through this website he assisted 100 high school and junior college players to attain scholarships to play at colleges throughout the country. At the same time that Chris was running this site, alone, he left his position at an HBCU which later led to bankruptcy in 2007 which was discharged in 2008 and in 2009 he launched ARCH Footwear on his own dime and took a position as a high school instructor where one of his students won the NAACP ACT-SO competition, his students shot two indie films and published two books. His skills as an educator earned him a position in Ashland Mississippi where he staunched the 4 year decline of state testing and increased the scores in one semester which led to each student in that class actually passing the state test. Ashland is one of the poorest counties in Mississippi. In 2011 Chis launched the ARCH Online Shop and by the end of 2012 he had launched his ARCH Footwear Olympic pack, and his online business netted him half a million dollars. Now Mel, I wrote this or something very similar to it to almost every local media person and then I began submitting it to websites. I didn't include the fact that I developed the websites for our local Oprah, helped to develop programs for the YWCA Women's Shelter and the list goes on and on. The first time I got coverage was with an online blog, and then PSFK, but none of this happened until I stopped using my own money and launched a Kickstarter in 2014. So I could now add a successful kickstarter campaign to my resume and the fact that I've grossed close to a couple of mill without any investors, after being bankrupt and having cars repo'd. I definitely commend you on your hardwork, but social and sales don't go hand in hand. Notoriety can follow and possibly attention, but a person like you is definitely critical for reaching the right people. The unfortunate aspect is most people can't afford a service. Why hasn't my story popped or been picked up? I've reconciled that it just isn't my time. I'm okay with that. Troy is right about the cosign..., but remember I said that the cosign has to be consistent and over time. Someone has to literally decide to mentor you ala the local Memphian Mo's Bows and Daymond John. Notice Daymond's cosign of this kid is consistent and ongoing. So I need to clarify what I mean by cosign and influence. My definition is that an important person of substance has to be willing to take the spotlight off of them and place it onto you for more than one tweet or mention. It has to be a dedicated and consistent thing. In some instances the masses will get behind you(a normal person) in social, but the thing they get behind has to have a real social quality. That social quality is found in music, and art, but is definitely found in an item like Troy's "100+" tweet. Mel, like you I've probably launched more projects and created more coaches and small businesses than I even know, but my "glory" or coverage hasn't arrived. My job now is to simply be prepared for when it does and have all of my projects in order so I can benefit from that moment. Troy is also right in the frustration aspect. Locally I've witnessed several companies get on air and it's never the pitch, it's always the connection to someone. Nepotism is often the culprit of many morning news segments. I've witnessed this enough to realize I would rather spend my time fixing problems than pursue the spotlight. While I wouldn't refuse the spotlight, I don't chase it anymore. I also realize that to invite a person like me is like inviting a person like Mel and Troy... it's a threat because of the amount of information and experience we have. People who are threats are often overlooked especially when they are Black men. (I don't say this lightly. Note the majority of bloggers and small biz people in the Black community are women and as it stands women tend to gain more ground in many instances.) The exchange here is good and to add on to it I want to write that I was just kidding about looks. When I speak about social media it is based on my own research in regard to ARCH. I always tell people to do their own tests. When I talk about my lack of coverage that's me, not the world. My thoughts on social media is that it is an option because that is where the people are and at the end of the day you have to be where the people are, so pick a platform and don't try to be on all of them because you simply can't do that and run a business (unless you automate and that is far too impersonal).
  13. I could tell you stories about this process of media and gaining media interest, but doing so would make me sound bitter. I have to say that you are a very interesting subject, but there are more instances of failed social media approaches from the average person than successful approaches. Let me give you one story. I set a guy up to win the Miller Coors Urban Entrepreneur Grant. When he won, my name was completely wiped from the stories. I can't tell you how many times this has happened. Like I said I don't want to sound bitter, but me owning a sneaker company is unique because I am the only Black owned shoe company in the US actually selling shoes with verifiable evidence, so the story in itself is groundbreaking because the only other Black owned athletic shoe company in the last ten years was the sister that ran Dada, and another local company that failed (a documentary was shot on that company), and she was able to garner millionaire support from Chris Webber. My book writing, I don't even push that at all. It's what I do because it's what I do. I have yet to really put a full on effort into it because I focus on the money maker which is my sneaker store (not shoe company because that is a constant struggle). I love your story, and think it's dope, but it's the exception and not the rule. Would I be wrong if I said you are leaving out vital info about your career in pitching stories? Who did you work for? Did you own your company that pitched stories? Or was it just a freelance job you had? The reason I ask this is because it's important to others who are reading to know if the company you worked with had leverage or was your leverage your own? To gain the ear of media companies, your resume has to be strong or the company has to be strong. I'm really intrigued by your ability to gain ground, so I am going to start asking you for stats, lol. These are the stats I'm interested in because these will really tell the tale of social media. How many unique visitors per month does your website get? How many books per month are you selling. Do you have real evidence of Social boosting your sales? I will say this. I do have an aversion to social and using it as a tool because of all of the studies I've done for myself. I won't use Medium because I can't monetize Medium. I won't use Facebook Notes because I can't monetize that either. The only social media site that can be monetized is Tumblr. The rest are basically looking to convert people and there aren't any guarantees on conversion. Do I think you have to have a presence? Yes, because that is where the people are. You have to be where the people are. But if I use my shoes as an example social doesn't do much for me at all. The fact that I have a brand on Amazon has helped me. The majority of my sales are from referrals and because of Amazon ads. The same goes for the books that I sell. Because my work with other people is getting to the point where it can't be ignored, I'm getting sales. Social does introduce some people to the books, but I'm seeing an increase in traffic due to Youtube. YouTube is social, but YT is monetized so I don't mind working on that platform. The honest truth is had I listened to my wife 12 years ago and launched my basketball site through YT, we probably wouldn't have this dialogue. My basketball site got over 1 million uniques per year. It was huge. I made a lot of mistakes, but I definitely say without wavering that an investment into social when I look at the numbers just doesn't pay off. This kind of rambled which supports your jokey joke about my longwindedness, lol. Also, you becoming an on air personality had an added bonus. You're not hard on the eyes ;-) (just kidding).
  14. Mel, you're an on-air personality, lol. I think if you couple your tv experience and diverse background you get a pass and you also get extra points for that in the world of media. What you are saying is a lot more difficult for those of us who don't have that connection to media that actually opens doors. I've written countless articles about my experience and this isn't just in regard to my books, but also my footwear company. Social only works with an influencer involved or with those who already have the legs to run with it. For every person that you give as an example of social media I almost guarantee that I can track down their connection to an influencer. This is not me being negative, it's just the reality. Now, I've seen musicians effectively use social to grow without the support of an influencer, but I will say on any day that music is a social creation and it is much easier for people to get on board with a new musician than it is a writer. Writing and reading are solitary actions for the most part. Sharing your emotions about a book (unless it's popular) very rarely gains any legs on social and that's because the words on the page don't translate into the soundbite that a song, or a picture/video can do. Do I think social is critical? Only in that the potential for connection is greater because that is where the people are. BUT and this is a serious BUT, social does not sustain traffic to a website in an organic manner. You will have to continuously produce content for social to keep the traffic and even when you do this based on my stats, the traffic doesn't stay very long when it arrives from social. Search produces visitors that will stay on the site longer than 1 minute. Take a moment to read this post I wrote. Once again, I've been keeping these type of stats for a very long time and this one simply solidified the countless articles about how effective social media is for the regular person. http://www.cbpublish.com/business-how-long-does-a-facebook-visitor-stay/ Now at the same time I do have a post that shows how effective a post or retweet on social media is when it's done by an influencer and this to me proves my point: http://www.cbpublish.com/business-the-power-of-a-tweet/
  15. I actually liked Mad Max Fury Road... but I was always a big fan of the series. I don't get to see the movies in theaters unless they have a family theme because of the kids. I tend to wait until they are streaming as well. When I see any of the films you mentioned i will definitely write about them.
  16. Your musings are dope! You should definitely update when the time comes and get rid of that free weebly site and get your a real hosting service. Your blogging would get pretty good attention. I really like the Summertime post and of course the food post. A lot of your posts are just really good. I know that being an educator you don't have a lot of time, but your blogging should create more interests in your books. You should definitely have a yourname.com though. I shared the post above and I hope it helps.
  17. Looks cool, but you didn't leave your personal website or more samples and information about you. Leave your website and information. Also on the Amazon page the description is one sentence and doesn't give any details about why I should buy the book. Just some observations. Good luck with this.
  18. Yeah, I agree more people read what we are writing than we know. Troy has his numbers on lurkers and I'm sure one of the reasons he continues to run the site is because of the ad impressions and clicks by lurkers. You should have done a blog post and shared it. Interestingly enough this author of the article does what everyone does when they discuss the "success" of a book that goes from blog to film, or something that goes "viral". Everyone avoids the real point is that almost nothing goes viral without an influencer of some kind sharing the information. Without an influencer we can all keep pounded away but our job is that much more difficult until we get the cosign. Once you get the cosign and that person is willing to promote what you are doing beyond one moment, then you have the potential to go viral. The only people who break through are often doing something so corny and ignorant that people share it because it's so absurd. While I think everything has value, it seems the less value something has, the more likely it is to go viral. Which brings us all back to square one, how do we reach a bigger audience without devolving into idiocy?
  19. I'm almost always amazed at what goes "viral". Note the quotes. Nothing goes viral. Almost everything is planned or will have one connection to an influencer who pushes said info into the spotlight. The only thing for us normal folks to do is keep generating content, throw it against the wall and hope that something eventually sticks.
  20. For both of you to look at, this is only sales chart for a particular year. This was a pivotal year because it's when Borders declared bankruptcy: http://www.fonerbooks.com/booksale.htm I present this because it shows the sheer volume of books sold and if Blacks at one time made up a larger part of this market the book stores would have relfected this. Now Sara states that Blacks were reading all books to counter the idea that the Black book section was never more than 2 rows in large bookstores. There were however more indie book stores. The next link is the chart for general readers broken down by education and class from 2012 (Now your discussion is based on the 90s. Numbers and statistics are pretty firm for every decade and there is never a seismic shift that makes one time period jump considerably. The natural progression for growth or decrease is always about 1% per year in the negative or positive. If you look at this chart and apply the 1%+-, Blacks would still not make up the majority of the readership in America simply because the amount of Blacks in America is a 1/6 of that of Whites (Whites are 75% and Blacks are 12%). This is just logic and not based on fact. It would be very hard to discover the actual facts from the 90s via the internet and it would have to come from an industry book, but here is the chart: http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2012/04/04/part-2-the-general-reading-habits-of-americans/ Troy's point is valid based purely on numbers and the breakdown of the country... but Sara's assertion has legitimacy and can be argued if there is real documentation because in this Pew document it states, " Additionally, blacks (42%) are more likely than whites (34%) to read daily or almost daily for work or educational purposes" Which stands to reason that Blacks indeed read more than Whites and if you skew these numbers for growth over the last 20 years with the boom of Sista Lit in the 90s you would possibly have about 50% to 38% rate, but even then based on the numbers of Whites in the US this would mean that Blacks were consuming 6 times as many books as Whites and that just isn't logical, but like I said it can't be verified because neither of you are willing to dig in for the stats to back up what you say. Based on logic and common sense, it is almost impossible to look at numbers from 2012 and say that those numbers could be completely inverse for the 90s. As a final insertion (yep I said insertion because I just put myself into this discussion, lol) logically if we look at the height of the Sista Girl Lit movement in the 90s none of the books show up on the top books of 1995 (random year in the middle of the decade). http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/enter/books/leb182.htm While Sara makes the argument that blacks were reading more books in a variety of genres, this book list can't be deciphered by race, but if Blacks were reading there would be an appearance of a book like Waiting to Exhale on this list simply because a movie almost guarantees a book a second life. The book was published in 1992, but there were a host of books released that year. Anyway, I know how futile it is to ask for facts, but I thought for anyone dropping in to this they might want to see stats and make up their own conclusion.
  21. Neither of your links are working. You should definitely post direct links to your books also. Good luck!
  22. Troy it's not just you. This week alone I had several people go to my Amazon store because they kept getting kicked back in Square. It typically happens with prepaid cards and when the address and name of the card doesn't jive. It has definitely been happening a lot lately.
  23. Followed you on both Twitter accounts and subscribed on YouTube. I'm getting better at Twitter, but I definitely need a tag or something to actually check it. I am doing the YouTube Bootcamp right now, but I will check out the videos as well. This is all really good networking.
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