If you write it, I will read. Many of my author friends know that. I am a voracious reader and enjoy nothing better than curling up with a good book. I also tend to be a loyal fan. If I like your writing style and content, I will buy every book you will ever write. While I read many genres and am loyal to many authors, there is nothing that makes my heart smile more than a good book written by a Latino.
I recently attended an author panel titled Upside and Downside of being a Latina Author. The participants were Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa, Linda Nieves-Powell, Marcela Landres Michele Carlo, Raquel Ortiz, and Caridad Piñeiro. Some of these authors’ books already have a home on my bookshelves; the others were purchased at the event. The panel moderator, Elizabeth Llorente, asked each author to weigh in on one question, author vs. Latina author.
Each woman expressed their pride in being Latina, yet there was an undercurrent of not wanting to be pigeon-holed. Those who write fiction, use Latina characters in their books; yet they found that when they “Latinize” the titles, their sales actually went down. One author shared that she enjoyed sales of forty thousand books a month, yet when the title had the word “Chicas” she saw only two thousand books sold. Another author was browsing in a bookstore and overheard two Anglo customers discussing a Latina author’s book as “not for them.” Another shared that chic-lit has seen such a decline that she has decided to concentrate on young adult books from now on. There was no conclusion to the debate as both sides of the arguments had valid points.
Marcela Landres, who is a former editor at Simon & Shuster and is now an editorial consultant, shared how publishing companies set small budgets for marketing. Many authors have no say in the cover art nor in how their books are marketed. Once the book is written, many authors have no say in anything related to their own book. One panelist spoke about how she used her own money to market her own book. She used thousands of dollars to send books to librarians knowing that they make recommendations to library patrons.
With the holiday season right around the corner, I would recommend the gift of a book. A book with the power to take you out of your everyday life, the power to teach you something new, the power to make you laugh. Support your Latino writers with the same fervor you reserve for other causes. Reading is fundamental.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.