Denene Millner, Bestselling Author and Publisher: Elevating Black Storytelling


Denene Millner, author, journalist, and publisher–

Elevating black storytelling

Denene Millner is a bestselling author and owner of her own publishing company,

Do you have a passion for the written word?  Do you want to be a writer?  If so, this could be your story too.

While reading the back of a Stevie Wonder album, nine year old Denene Millner fell in love with the written word.  From that moment, she enjoyed writing essays in school and eventually earned a Bachelors of Arts in Communication at Hofstra University.   She says she found success in her first job as a journalist for the New York Daily News by earning the reputation of working hard and meeting deadlines.  She considers herself a disciplined worker. This first job as a journalist led to her first book.

So how does a journalist become a bestselling author?   Denene considers it as just a chance event. Perhaps doors open when you are following your heart.   Her heart was in telling the black stories, especially stories of black women and girls. Here is her story:

Denene wrote a feature article in the Daily News as a response to the The Rules, a bestseller book on how-to-get-a-man-to-marry-you. The article, Rules for the Sisters: Can Black Women Find True Love? by Denene Millner. proclaimed in her article how ‘the rules” would not work for black women.  A publisher called her the day after the article ran and proposed that she turn the article into a book.  One month later, in 1997, Denene Millner completed The Sistahs’ Rules. Denene was on her way toward becoming a bestselling author.  Her other books include co-authoring I am Charlie Wilson with R&B performer Charlie Wilson, Miss you, Mina, The Angry Black Woman’s Guide to LIfe, No Chaser and Think Like a Man. The Vow became a movie renamed as With This Ring shown on the Lifetime Network.

But motherhood refocused her writing in another direction—to embrace books for black children.   She soon realized that there was not a plethora of books for children, that were outside of the themes of slavery and civil rights.  That became her mission–writing for black children.

“I firmly believe that if you don’t see it, then you have to create it!”**

So Millner created, a critically acclaimed and popular parenting blog with a focus on multicultural families. She also created Denene Millner Books, her own line of black children’s books partnering with Agate Publishing.

What lessons can we learn from her story?  Successful writers  offer this advice: write about things you know— things drawn from your own experiences and passions.

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