Getting Pinoys back on more reading lists
There’s some interesting talk going on at different Filipino book blogs about local publishing, genres, marketing books via social media, and then some. Jump in via Tina’s post at One More Page and follow the links like breadcrumbs.
Their topics are things that have been floating around in my head for a while, especially in the past year or so, since I was first published, and since I started deliberately reading more work by Filipino authors. Others are finding it difficult to start the reading bit, because of a lack of variety in genres that interest them.
That’s true in my case too — I’ve read one generational epic (about oppressive landowners and oppressed workers and Martial Law and People Power), one drama about the immigrant experience and family, two classics about all our social ills, and the very modern-meta take on it all which won the Man Asian… so now I feel I’ve come full circle, and any books I find that are about any of those topics I wouldn’t read unless highly recommended.
I do like contemporary lit though, and the way it’s emerging in local publishing is via chick lit. I’ve voted with my wallet, and they seem to be coming out with more of it, so it’s not just me telling people to read this stuff. (I also LOVE ZsaZsa Zaturnnah and Trese to bits — buy them!)
In terms of new material, I do hope publishers explore this more. Like YA, which is the “gateway drug” for so many young readers (me included), and I’ve read a number of short stories that could have been their own cool Pinoy YA novel if someone just pushed and demanded more from the author.
For writers who encounter some resistance, please consider publishing for the Kindle. It’s work (on top of the work of actually writing the thing, I know), but getting it out there is such a wonderful learning experience. If you believe in your story that much, then give me the chance to “sample” it! And by all means, find a way to promote it online, via book blogs and online groups. Summit Books did such a great job marketing My Imaginary Ex when it came out, but it’s been a year, and if I get any new sales at all I believe it’s because of the community of readers who talk about it online. They’re a force!