Another episode of “read and recommend your peers”
Sharing a thread I tweeted yesterday, which comes at the end of months of being in panels, watching panels, possibly being panel-fatigued. The point of the thread being, when people tell you that your book is a disappointment because it doesn’t have something, tell them about the books by your peers that do have that thing. Also, read your peers.
In fact: When asked for recommendations, have a list ready, and make sure you mention people in your community, writing the same genre, who’ve published within the last five years if not the same year as your book’s release. This is what brings the best readers to you, I promise.
An individual book won’t have everything everyone is looking for, so it’s good to always have recs to books that may have the other things. Just the act of recommending opens awareness that the stories and perspectives are many. It helps everyone.
When my first 2 books (pubbed 2009/2010) started showing up in classrooms, and I was invited to speak, I would hear a lot of what my books were not. (Not in the local language! Not about social issues! Where is ____ and _____? It’s set in Manila ugh.)
Back then if I responded I did say “what’s wrong with that? You’re not going to tell me how to write my story.” Not those words but essentially that.
Later I got it (sorry it took a while). All of that was privilege.
There’s a lot of privilege in getting chosen for nationwide distribution and happening to write cis straight mf secular upper middle class college educated set in Manila in English. Years later I met writers who didn’t want to, but felt they had to, write that just to get pubbed.
*Wattpad and the internet in general changed this, btw. Now we know what Pinoys really want to read. And it’s a whole lot of NOT what corporate pubs thought.
Writers like me who were given a shot because we happened to fit that preferred aesthetic: We can make choices. The easiest of which is recommending the books that have what our books don’t.
The next harder choice is deciding how to open the door wider. We should. Especially if we know what being on the other side of a closed door is like.
…And I should rec things. What my books don’t have, you can find here:
Big Filipino families – books by Carla de Guzman
Not Manila settings – C.P. Santi, Agay Llanera
Filipinos singing – Jay E. Tria, Tara Frejas, Six de los Reyes
Class conflict – Brigitte Bautista
Erotic rom in Taglish – Mandie Lee
Filipinos going to church – Ana Tejano
Teen characters (I have a few but I can’t do this anymore lol) – Ines Bautista-Yao, Angeli E. Dumatol, Danice Mae P. Sison, Catherine Dellosa, Clarisse David
Also, I still need and will support this
And this offer