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Novels Set in Asia: Selling Them Overseas

As I sit in my hotel room during the lunch gap at the AFCC between sessions, I think about all the things that I'd planned on doing during this event that didn't go the way I'd hoped.

First, I brought with me bookmarks showcasing my books. I imagined myself the social butterfly, mingling with my peers and handing bookmarks out the prospective readers. Basically, putting myself out there. Having choked on a number of occasions involving the need to be social, I can say I'm familiar with my shy self. Beyond my control, my inner introvert decided to get out of bed today. I feel my self-promotion plan slipping through my fingers. Maybe I can remedy this in the afternoon stretch of sessions.

Second, I'd planned on live blogging during this event. Sadly, I couldn't access the WiFi. *le sigh* Hence my afternoon lunch of mint cookies while I type like a mad woman.

Instead of wasting more of your time, lets get right to it.

There are several sessions happening simultaneously during the first day of the Writers and Illustrators Conference part of the AFCC. I've carefully planned my day around the sessions I believe will benefit me as a writer.

The first is titled Novels Set in Asia.

Summary: We need more books in the mass market that are set in Asia.

The keynote speaker for the session is HOLLY THOMPSON (Author).

MODERATOR: R RAMACHANDRAN (Executive Director, NBDCS)

Here's a little info about the session:

Novels set in Asia face certain challenges when marketed abroad in non-Asian cultures. What can we do to give our Asia-based stories their best chances of success overseas? Author Holly Thompson, winner of the APALA Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, will examine the challenges and offer ideas for solutions.

What I took away from this?

As a Filipino writer living in the Philippines, I must challenge myself in writing a novel that is set in my own country or at least have a character from my own country. I may have a novel like that already in my head. I'm just waiting for the right time to listen to my character.

Is it really that hard to sell a novel set in an Asian country? Jay Kristoff doesn't seem to think so. His Lotus War trilogy is definitely a book to be read. Memoirs of a Geisha is a wonderful novel that brings the readers into the secret world of a Geisha. My knowledge of books is very limited. I certainly read less than a fraction of what's out there, so maybe there are more books set in Asia that I don't know about. Surely, there has to be more.

At the end of the day, the setting can enhance the novel, but it's really the story that holds everything together. Write a compelling story. Something the readers gravitate to and it doesn't matter where it's set. Sounds easy, but totally not. Although, I do agree there should be more novels set in Asia.


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