As many of you know, NaNoWriMo has a special place in my heart. My debut YA novel Hollowstone is the result of my first foray (and a victorious one at that) into the annual event.
NaNoWriMo is important because it encourages bards to share their stories and it boosts comradery among writers fledgling and veterans alike.
But I especially think NaNoWriMo is important for marginalized writers like POCs and LGBTQs because it’s an opportunity for us to pen our tales and share them with the world. And now more than ever, we need our stories told.
We’ve witnessed how publishers and agents have attempted to erase queer protagonists from stories. We’ve lost count of the number of times that POCs have been whitewashed from book covers (as well as the narrative).
How often do we see trans heroes & heroines as the main protagonists and actually portrayed with respect?
Queer males have lost count of the number of times that our stories and identities have been exploited by fetishists.
It’s been well documented how often black women have been demeaned and attacked in the media.
We can’t wait for the publishing industry or mainstream media to get its act together. The fact is, if they had any intentions of doing so, they would’ve already done it. We have to get proactive.
We have to lift our own voices and share our truths. If you’re queer and/or a storyteller of a color, it’s a safe bet that you have a keen insight and a story worth telling.
Getting published is not easy, I know that better than anyone. And this taught me that once you get published, your work has only begun. But it is possible.
But what’s more there are resources out there, be it online kickstarter funding and indie presses who are actively seeking marginalized voices: Parker Publishing, Lethe Press and Middle Child Press just to name a few.
So if you are a POC and/or a queer storyteller with a story to tell, please, do tell. We need that story.
Good luck this November.
I look forward to reading your stories.