What This 6-Figure "Black Lives Matter" Book Deal Taught Me
About a month or so ago, a young lady by the name of Angela Thomas managed to start a bidding war between 13 publishing houses for her debut novel "The Hate U Give", something that's pretty unheard of for a brand new author. Not only did Thomas secure a 2 book, 6-figure deal according to Bustle, but this young lady is writing about and inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
While still attending university and enrolled in a creative writing program, she started writing what was at first only going to be a short story. Variety Magazine recount that Thomas was inspired by the 2009 fatal shooting of Oscar Grant, an unarmed 22-year-old black man, also depicted in the 2013 movie Fruitvale Station, when she penned her story of a 16-year-old girl, Starr, witnessing the fatal shooting of her best friend.
Just yesterday it was announced that the young sensation Amandla Stenberg will portray Starr in the movie adaptation of the novel as the film rights were purchased by Fox 2000. The Hollywood Reporter has more on the making of the movie.
I share all this to make 2 points that I learned from this story. First off, if someone ever tells you that you can't get a publishing deal (with national distribution at that) as a first-time author, politely and quickly put an end to that convo. Here's clearly a black lady who's not only getting her book published, but she started a bidding war.
A mentor I often refer to as it pertains to writing is Tiphani Montgomery. She's a 7-times Essence magazine best-selling author who always warns that you're NOT to pay anyone to get your book published, THEY pay YOU. Similar to the modelling industry, if someone wants to charge you for being a model rather than pay you, in the words of Tiph, "run for the hills."
Secondly, I need for us all to be bold and comfortable with sharing our story. Whatever that may be, whatever it looks like.
Don't worry about fitting in when you were made to stand out. [Tweet This]
I often encourage on here that you should share your story because you're the only one who can tell it. Just the other day I shared how 15-year-old Akilah won Google's national competition "Doodle 4 Google" by being what some might think "too" Afrocentric. But that is her truth, her story, so it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks. And look, she ended up winning.
And so can you my friend. You'll win in this life when you stay true to who you are and share your story without holding back. I know it can be uncomfortable, and we don't want to offend anyone, want to be politically correct, so on and so forth. But clearly the Black Lives Matter movement is getting attention, so if anything, take advantage of the fact that you can now actually be heard and seen.
Thomas' Novel "The Hate U Give" is slated for a 2017 release.