Your gift shall make room for you.
That was something my paternal grandmother always said to me. It’s from a verse in the Bible.
It has taken on new meaning for me lately. As a writer, I have always thought success was when mainstream, i.e., white society, acknowledged my work. On this road to becoming self-published, I have learned the exact opposite is true.
My success is defined by ME. I chose to self-publish my novel because I was tired of being turned down by white agents and publishers who kept telling me that my story “wasn’t for them at this time.”
Every book isn’t for everybody. I know that. However, many black authors would never even get a chance to share their words with the world if it wasn’t for self-publishing… and there are a lot of great stories out there.
In fact, that is the reason I started my podcast, to spread the word about books by black authors, because, except for a select few, they aren’t getting the publicity they deserve.
As I go through the final stages of publishing my book to release to the world, I hear my grandmother’s words ringing in my ears more frequently than ever before. I am using my gift to make my own table, and I’m inviting who I choose to share this space with me.
The first “table” I built was my podcast. It started off as an idea to help authors spread the word about their books. I wasn’t sure who was going to listen. After only 7 months, my podcast has an average of 58 listeners a week… and is steadily growing, with more and more authors finding me and asking me to be on the show each month. I have shows booked all the way to November!
An unexpected blessing from this table I have built is that some of the authors I have interviewed now want to support me as I launch my own book at the end of August.
The second table I built was with my writing. I not only have this blog and my future books, but I have taken my gift of writing and turned it into a valuable service for other writers. I offer affordable proofreading services for aspiring writers who may not be able to afford editors as they begin their writing journey.
So, my gifts are not only making room for me, they are the tools that I am using to help my fellow black brothers and sisters so that their gifts can make room for them, too.
So, thank you to my Grandma Mattie, for seeing something in me before I even saw it in myself. Grandmothers, Black grandmothers, are special like that.
So here’s to gifts, and here’s to not worrying about if there’s space at the table, because we are making our own!