Sunday, July 17, 2016

Comp Titles for a #DiverseBook

"Who is your target audience?"

That's another question that I was too lazy to answer. Until this week.

Because now I'm getting ready for book launch [tightening my shoelaces and carb-loading] and with a 2-year-old kid to raise, I have to be wise with my time in approaching people to read an advanced copy of Trixi Pudong and the Greater World. It is fascinating how it stands out to me now who will read my book. And who won't.

I've been to writer's conferences and I've seen the kind of people who won't give my book the time of day, not in a million years. Here they are:

- YA readers
- Sci-Fi readers
- Dystopian readers
- Romance fans
- Western/Victorian historical fiction fans
- Vampire and zombie folks... nope nope nope.

But who do I think would love Trixi? Some key words: world literature, Asian fiction, multicultural family saga, magical realism.

My target reader probably loves the same books I do:

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoeby David Mitchell
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

See? Multicultural books!

And then there are the books that I not only love, but studied in great detail to build the various voices in Trixi Pudong:

The Song of Everlasting Sorrow by Wang Anyi
Lust, Caution by Eileen Chang
The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
The Sailor Who Fell with Grace from the Sea by Yukio Mishima

There you have it, more multicultural fiction. (Including The Shipping News; Newfoundland exists in its own dimension). 

My target readers tend to be -- but are not limited to: travelers, expats, adult kids of interracial marriages, baby boomers. Holders of university degrees, or even people who are just incredibly outgoing and make lots of close friends from different countries. It's a pretty big description cloud, but one thing is for sure: my target reader isn't afraid of a blast of... color.

Maybe you know what I mean.

There is a subtext to this post, which I had the pleasure of hitting face-on as an Asian writer: The publishing industry is dominated vastly by people who don't relate to the titles that I just named. If the big players in an industry don't relate to certain books, they also don't think they can sell them. I'm not blaming anyone and, believe it or not, I'm not even offended. This is just how things are.

Fortunately, writers of #diversebooks have an excellent tool at their disposal: self-publishing. My author buddy Quanie Miller put it well with her usual rib-aching humor in her post "Don't Even Get Me Started: Self-Publishing and the Need for Diverse Stories."

Do I think everyone should self-publish? No, absolutely not. I don't think everyone should write a book, either. But more on that later. 

Wait!!! Before I forget, here's my BOOK that I'm talking about: Trixi Pudong and the Greater World, now in ebook available on Amazon (paperback coming in August).

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