Episode 298: Closing the Empathy Gap with Sharon Hurley-Hall

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Guest Info — Sharon Hurley-Hall

Sharon Hurley Hall is an anti-racism activist, writer, and educator. Firmly committed to doing her part to eliminate racism, she is the Founder and Curator-in-Chief of Sharon’s Anti-Racism Newsletter. In this weekly online publication, Sharon writes about existing while Black in majority-white spaces, and amplifies the voices of other anti-racism activists. She has written and ghostwritten articles for companies and non-profits looking to show up authentically with their DEIB and JEDI content.

Show Notes

Today’s episode is brought to you from an idyllic sun-soaked, palm-fringed shore and also a grey drizzly field—join Vicky as she talks to writer, educator, and anti-racism activist Sharon Hurley-Hall about her upcoming book. Vicky and Sharon talk storytelling and how it has the power to change the world; the empathy gap; and the sorry state of traditional publishing (and what needs to change apart from everything). Tune in and find out why storytelling is the answer to everything (and get a bunch of amazing book recommendations to broaden your reading horizons).

 Key Points

  • [02:50] A little bit about Sharon and the list of things she does.
  • [03:50] What prompted Sharon to write about diversity and anti-racism?
  • [05:25] Sharon talks about her book, I’m Tired of Racism and why she titled it that.  
  • [07:35] Writing a book vs writing essays. Sharon shares her book writing process.
  • [8:50] She talks about the different themes suggested to her by professional editors to draw out the commonality in the different stories she could tell.
  • [10:50] How was it like working with an editor?
  • [12:35] Telling stories can help people feel empathy. Sharon expounds on this further.
  • [14:30] The difficulty with white people in regards to the empathy gap is the white supremacy system.
  • [16:20] Sharon believes in the power of the collective and explains why she thinks that.
  • [17:15] Sharon is still working on the nitty gritty of her book and is excited to see when she can announce the pre-order!
  • [19:00] Why did Sharon decide to independently publish? She shares what her journey has been like.
  • [23:00] Vicky loves indie publishing. She asks Sharon what should change in the traditional publishing industry.
  • [24:30] Traditional publishing needs to recognize the other ways of publishing that are valid. Sharon shares that numbers don’t define success.
  • [27:20] Sharon talks about the Hollywood model being applied in traditional publishing and how indie publishing disrupts that.
  • [28:10] Writers should not wait for traditional publishing to decide they are worthy of being published.
  • [29:00] Sharon shares one of her pet-peeves around anti-racism writing.
  • [32:00] Sharon can’t find a go-to author because she has a lot of them. She shares her top list of books instead.
  • [34:20] Sharon also shares what she is reading right now!
  • [34:40] Vicky also asks Sharon what’s one of her favorite books, films and places.
  • [36:20] Sharon shares what she’s most thankful for and it’s about her podcast.
  • [37:00] Sharon has a lot to be proud of and she shares what they are.
  • [37:45] What is on Sharon’s bedside table?  
  • [40:05] Vicky shares what’s up for next week!

 Mentioned in This Episode:



Sharon on Instagram

Sharon on Twitter

Sharon on LinkedIn


Books mentioned:

I’m Tired of Racism by Sharon Hurley Hall

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch

The Wake Up by Michelle MiJung Kim

The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones

The Lincoln Rhymes Series by Jefferey Deaver

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Other bits:

March Content Calendar

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If you want to learn more about how to write, self-publish, and market a book for your business, snaffle yourself a copy of How The Hell Do You Write A Book? Then check out the blog and podcast for more articles and guides. If you want a little (or a lot) more help, find out how you can work with me.

About Vicky...

Vicky Fraser is the founder of Moxie Books and author of How The Hell Do You Write A Book and Business For Superheroes. She helps business owners write life-changing books, connect with readers and new customers, and grow their businesses. When she's not doing that, she's hanging from a trapeze by her feet.

About the Author Vicky Fraser