Black stories matter. Write your book.

21. Black Books Matter

For hundreds and even thousands of years of history the people in power controlled the narrative. They controlled what stories were documented and what stories were largely ignored.

The news media does a necessary and important job. Reporters are frontline, in the moment, tellers of the story of the moment.

But they can only tell the stories their editors or producers or executives deem worthy.

And once a story is no longer news of the day, it disappears from the headlines.

If you’re a white person reading to this, stay with me. Stick with me.

So many of my white friends have said they want to be a part of the solution to racial injustice and inequity, specifically in the United States, but they don’t know where to start.

There are tons of resources online with lists of ways to be anti-racist.

At the same time, I suggest seeking to understand. Seek first to understand the black experience today and how we got to this place.

A great way to do this is to read books–fiction or nonfiction–written by black authors about their experiences or issues and events in the black community.

If you are a black person listening to this podcast—or frankly any person of color or person in a marginalized group—and you’ve been thinking about telling your story in a book, I highly encourage to stop thinking and learn whatever you need to learn to get your book written.

Trust me on this.

The world needs your story. The world needs your wisdom, your experience, your knowledge, and your expertise.

Whether it’s a story of injustice—and if you’re a black person in America, injustice is undoubtedly a character in your story—or a story of overcoming, or achievement, or success, this country needs your story. Even if the story isn’t your own but documents something you believe is important to your community, you have a responsibility to write that book and get it out to the world.

I’m not here to tell you that everyone needs to write a book.

But I am here to tell you that if you’re delaying writing the book you feel drawn to write you are denying the world your story and you are denying the world the difference that story can make.

Black stories have always mattered, but until recently, they’ve had to fight for a place on the bookshelf.

It doesn’t matter if you plan to write a memoir, a novel, or a how-to book, or a subject-matter expert book.

You have a privilege generations before us didn’t enjoy.

You can write your book right now and publish it on platforms where it will available to any and everyone to buy and read.

You can share your story with the world. You can share you knowledge and shine a light on black achievement, black excellence, and black humanity.

In doing so, you shine a light on truth.

By telling your story you claim a piece of history from the people who would tell it wrong. Don’t allow that.

We cannot complain that our stories are co-opted if we don’t take every opportunity to own them.

Take ownership of your story. Write your book.

Mentioned on This Episode

Harriet Jacobs – Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl – 1861

James Weldon Johnson – The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man – 1912

Richard Wright – Black Boy – 1945

Ralph Ellison – The Invisible Man – 1952

James Baldwin – Go Tell It on the Mountain – 1953

Toni Morrison – The Bluest Eye – 1970

Hattie Caldwell – Blacks in Science – 1977

Alex Hailey – Roots: The Saga of an American Family – 1976

Maya Angelou – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – 1969

Toni Morrison – The Bluest Eye – 1970

Percival Everett – Erasure – 2001

Jesmyn Ward – Men We Reaped – 2013

Tayari Jones – An American Marriage -2018

Short Books: Big Results, a group coaching program for authors who want to write great books.

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