Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Interview With Author Jaiden Baynes



1.      What inspired you to write this book?

A general dissatisfaction with the kinds of minimal coverage that black history received, especially during black history month. Initially, I wrote daily articles to be shared with members of my family and friends about a different person or institution related to black history around the world. On weekdays, I wrote about an important black historical figure and the context of the world they lived in (as well as how it influenced the present). Those articles received some feedback; however, readers were much more captivated by the weekend special articles called “Enemies of Africa” which focussed on anti-black institutions and people more broadly. Seeing that there was an interest in these larger writeups I re-edited and fixed them up to be presentable to a general audience. The hope was that the readings could both entertain and educate people.


2.      What exactly is it about and who is it written for?

This book contains a collection of people, institutions and power structures that have opposed, oppressed, and enslaved Africans both in the continent and abroad. These are the Enemies of Africa. It is written for general audiences, specifically those that wouldn’t normally read academic papers or scholarly articles. The book hopes to remove the barrier to entry for everyone to access reliable historical information about African history. While the book is for everyone, it is obviously most marketed towards people who have an interest in learning more about African history. Hopefully, once people understand black history well enough, it can finally be regarded with the same clarity and accessibility as the rest of history.


3.      What do you hope readers will get out of reading your book?

I hope readers will gain a greater understanding of the historical trends that led us to today. Specifically, I want to highlight the parts of black history that are either overlooked or not sufficiently understood. People know what the KKK are but seldom understand their influence on suppressing black political power. Ideally readers will go from merely seeing history as a collection of people, institutions and dates to rather see it as an interplay of competing forces with different interests. Once that is understood, the descendants of past trends can be identified and fought against. My biggest hope is that by understanding the past and seeing the successes and failures of black people and black allies, modern people can improve upon successes and avoid common mistakes. The book is not merely to edify but also to empower and motivate people to push society forward.


4.      How did you decide on your book’s title and cover design?

The book’s title was decided on a whim. Originally, I wanted an attention-grabbing name to increase readership for the weekend editions of my daily articles in order to maximize readership on those days when people would have more free time. Basically, as a joke, I chose Enemies of Africa, and nobody stopped me.


5.      What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers – other than run!?

Write what you care about. I was able to churn out a full-length article every day for a month, specifically because it was on this topic of black history that is near and dear to me. I probably still would have gotten burnout if I went for too long, but I will note that this important topic kept me motivated and writing much more effectively than a lot of my other projects. It wasn’t even what I normally write, but this side project motivated me either way. Additionally, the knowledge I gained and the facts I learned did ultimately contribute to improving my other writing projects later on. So, if you find it difficult to include your topic of interest in what you normally write maybe give a side project about it a try. Who knows what could come out of it? Never be afraid to experiment or try something new and write about what you care about.


6.      What trends in the book world do you see? 

I haven’t really been keeping up with trends in the book world. From what I’ve seen there’s been an uptick in topics about AI. More specific to this book, many more books have a lot to do with topics of race. So, while it isn’t the most pronounced next to AI books, hopefully this book can join in that trend.


7.      Were there experiences in your personal life or career that came in handy when writing this book? 

As a black person myself, I’ve long considered a lot of the unseen factors involved in the history of racism. An interesting thing I noticed were the internal explanations and historiographies of racism a lot of other members in the community had, no matter which parts of the world they are from. The common cultural trauma produced (sometimes) shockingly accurate understandings of institutional problems without needing a historical background. But occasionally, the community understanding would be completely wrong about some aspects or follow certain trends. Discussions and fact checking people on black history revealed several blind spots that I felt needed addressing. My goal was highlighting topics many members of the community feel strongly about but did not have evidence-based explanations for. My hope is that the factual ammunition will bolster confidence and ability to argue against racist narratives. I like to sneak in counterpoints to some pet peeve misinformation with the community so I can win arguments with relatives. Also, educating people about misinformation is important, I guess.


8. How would you describe your writing style? Which writers or books is your writing similar to?
I write how I talk. It’s very casual laced with unfunny quips and sarcasm to try and liven up all the raw data readers sift through. It isn’t very academic, but my hope is that the content itself is factual enough that my more emotive and casual tone makes it more approachable rather than reduces the content’s quality. I don’t know if I’ve read any writers with an exactly similar style. Rather than writers, people that use a more casual diction to make academic papers more approachable is more at home with the style of Youtube video essayists such as Shaun, Hbomberguy or Three Arrows. I doubt my skills are anywhere near their skills, but they were huge inspirations that I strive to approach in quality some day.


9.      What challenges did you overcome in the writing of this book?

The final book’s writing was easy to do because most of the content was written long previously. The daily articles were difficult because they were daily. But more than that, the most difficult part of the process was editing. On account of the originals being written on a daily basis, they had ATROCIOUS spelling and grammar errors. Additionally, there were frequent references to other articles not in the book that had to be removed. Reading and re-reading it over and over to edit was a nightmare. Even after pro-editors looked at it, I was way too nervous about errors and so continued combing it for errors past the point that any sane person should. I greatly appreciate the glowing reviews that claim that readers have read the book over and over again. I suppose reading for the intended purpose is different than reading to edit though. Either way, the editing process was agony. Writers beware!


10.  If people can buy or read one book this week or month, why should it be yours?

Enemies of Africa is both entertaining and important because while its messages are about the past, it really highlights how the past affects our present. There has been a society wide uptick in awareness on racial politics and the haunting presence of systemic racism. For people who want to know more, this book gives that kind of information. For those who aren’t interested, maybe knowing the scope and horror of the problem will motivate them to care. I’m unaware of every individual reader’s morals, but society’s ethics at the very least point towards desiring a more aware and progressive population. This book is an excellent and accessible start for people hoping to be a part of that.


 Jaiden Baynes is an award-winning author from Canada, known for his thought-provoking writing that challenges the status quo. He won the Literary Titan Gold Book Award in November 2022 for his debut title, “Enemies of Africa: Second Edition,” a non-fiction work that challenges conventional narratives about the continent’s past and present struggles. In his free time, when he is not busy writing, Jaiden enjoys exploring new ideas and interests, including drawing and programming. For more info, please see:


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Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.3 million pageviews. With 4,400+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult:  




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