Writing fiction is real work
If you’re a Filipino writer, reader and/or publisher do head on over to Charles Tan’s essay “Fiction, Speculative Fiction, and the Philippines.” It’s a buffet of issues related to writing and publishing fiction in this country, and at some point he mentions my books. (Spoiler!)
From his essay:
“…but there’s also a point where I wonder if the author and the book is getting attention locally precisely because it’s not published here (the premise of the Manila International Book Fair panel after all is “Life of a Novelist: How to Get Published by the World’s Largest English Language Trade Publisher”). That raises a lot of questions: Do local authors have similar opportunities? Another is how local readers are receptive to books published locally vs. those published in the US/UK, as one of the questions posed by Filipino Reader Con was whether local readers read Filipino Literature.”
I attended the MIBF talk featuring Alexander Yates and Samantha Sotto, and am glad that their published novels are now examples of a) an American writing about the Philippines and b) a Filipino not writing about the Philippines (strictly speaking).
My experience as an “indie”/Kindle/Smashwords publisher is different, because my question is not “Will this be published?” Publication is a given, as long as the book is finished, and properly edited. The effect on me of not having that burden is that I can concentrate more on the story, on creating something that I myself would want to read, and that my circle of editors will think is worth working on.
If I have a concern, it’s more of “Will people buy this?” Since most of my sales from the self-published books are coming from outside the Philippines, I don’t just worry about being accepted by Pinoy readers, I have to think about everyone else too. And that’s when I put the publisher’s hat on, and tell the writer part of me to look at reviews of previous work and study what people liked and what they didn’t. The process involves some analysis, some psych profiling, and lots of outlining, so it’s not just me sitting by my window waiting for inspiration to come. (Although that plays a part too.)
Anyway, I guess my answer is — yes there are opportunities for local authors. Even more so if they’re looking for opportunities to be read, and not just to be published.