So yesterday was pretty huge. This beautiful Thursday September 24 marked the official publication day for Bringing Up Race: How to Raise a Kind Child in a Prejudiced World. The book I poured my heart, head, humour and a whole lotta tears into (seriously, like when I thought I’d lost my manuscript!) for months. The book I finally got to hold in my hands last week. What a moment.
It’s funny though, to think about how all that work winds up in such a tiny package, as I said to the fabulous Natalie of Style Me Sunday (are you following her? If not, why the hell not? Get thee to Instagram, biaaatches!).
Natalie and I had a good old natter on Tuesday via her Instagram Live. We spoke about our experiences of growing up in a prejudiced world, dealing with issues like people touching your hair because it’s ‘strange’ or what to call yourself if you identify as more than one race. It was such an enjoyable and open session. Go check it out.
The Night Before
The night before publication day, I was a whirlwind of butterflies. I can’t explain why I was so nervous apart from maybe the million and one thoughts flying around my head. Like: ‘Oh my God, this book is actually coming out. Now people are going to read it! What if they hate it? What if they hate me? What if nobody buys it? What if, what if, what if?’
As a Black woman and a mother and a creative, I reckon I suffer from a triple whammy of imposter syndrome. The early feedback around the book has been amazing and yet it’s hard to settle those voices of doubt within. The trick is to remember the flip side of anxiety is possibility. The engine that drives all creativity, those two words ‘What if?’ opening up the doors to your imagination and so much more. You have to turn it around from ‘What if the worst happens?’ to ‘What if your wildest dreams come true?’
What if you move somebody to action? What if you help somebody, heal somebody, even change someone’s life? Seize the power of What If and make it work for something bigger than you.
Publication day was a dream come true, seeing the book in people’s hands. And not just friends and family but real life readers (sorry friends and fam, I know you guys read too, but you know what I mean)! Two days before publication, some people were getting the book early and then a lady I follow on Facebook came across the book in Waterstones. Woah mama. This. Is. Happening.
The first people I spoke to in the morning were my older brother and sister who were almost more giggly with excitement and anticipation than me. We talked about what my Mum and Dad would have been like if they were alive to see me become a published author. They were always supportive of my writing and knew that this would come to be. I’ve felt their loving energy and guidance throughout the writing process. Just imagining how much they’d have been smiling and trying not to burst with pride made me super emotional.
What also brought a (happy) tear to my eye was this wonderful illustration by Lou Hamilton, author and illustrator and host of Brave New You Tribe podcast. She’s featured me on this week’s episode and I highly recommend you tune in if you want to hear more about the book, as well as our discussion on kindness, courage and learning to trust your voice. She was inspired by what I said about how boring the world would be if everything was the same colour, like a garden with only one shade of flowers. I absolutely love how she’s captured me with the book here. Tune in to our podcast episode on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
A huge thanks also to my brilliant agent Rachel Mills who sent such a gorgeous note and flowers, my friend Jolade who had cake and fizz delivered to celebrate my Book Day, and to all the lovely folk who Tweeted, shared Instagram Stories, posts, comments and messages showering me with well wishes.
Special thanks to the publishers Yellow Kite and the larger Hodder & Stoughton/Hachette family. To everyone who’s been working so hard behind the scenes to help bring this book (and countless others) into being, even in the midst of a pandemic. You can spot my editor Carolyn holding our book baby on this sweet photo shared from the Hachette rooftop.
Big shout out to the amazing Natasha Randall, author of the much-praised novel Love Orange and my fellow #3rdSeptembers (my original publication date) whose kindness and camaraderie have been invaluable to a debut author.
Thank you to everyone who has bought the book and to those of you who have been reading my blog all these years. This is your moment too. Let’s have it.
BUY THE BOOK
The book is available in hardback, Kindle and audiobook format throughout UK/Commonwealth regions. (USA release currently slated for Spring 2021).
NB: For my Nigerian readers, you can now order the book via Roving Heights bookstore!
INTERNATIONAL ORDERS FOR SIGNED COPIES
I will be signing copies for nationwide and international sale (Europe & Americas) via the wonderful London book barge Word on the Water. They can deliver your orders overseas, so long as you cover the postage and packaging fees. More details on this to come.
I would also love you to support Black, diverse and independent bookstores so I’ll be posting a list of options soon.
If you have a copy of the book (or you see one out and about), please take a photo and tag me on social media @BabesaboutTown using the hashtag #BringingUpRace
And please, leave a review on Amazon if you’ve read it. Would love to hear your feedback!
Thanks Babes x