by Mina V. Esguerra
When I started writing fiction, I had the impression it was going to be a hobby, something I would do when I had an extra few minutes a day, and maybe I’d finish writing one book and be done with the entire business of it. Many writers feel this way, but maybe they don’t realize why it’s worth it to write more.
This month, Bookbed is celebrating its fifth anniversary and I’d like to join the fun and share why, as a Filipino romance author, there’s a lot to be excited about.
1. Romance is still a big deal.
The romance genre has had a huge readership worldwide for decades, but we weren’t so sure of the Philippine composition of that readership until lately. Romance is huge for Philippine readers. Books in this genre written by Filipino authors dominate the shelves, in local bookstores and online ones, free or paid. Readers of romance consume so many books per year and are so welcoming of new authors.
2. Publishing is easy, once you’re ready.
Full disclosure: I’ve self-published my books, and I teach others how to do it. It’s easy, once you’re ready and have an edited manuscript and everything else you need. Once you’ve self-published a book, you can do it again. We’re meeting and discovering more awesome editors and cover artists and they’re helping make the books better, more competitive. If you write in English, you’ll have access to readers through Amazon and other sites. If you write in Filipino or Taglish, you’ll have readers among the many, many, many Filipinos abroad.
3. The world is reading us, too.
I was nervous about the first book I ever put up for sale on Amazon. I noticed that based on author bios, many Filipino authors who were available on an international bookstore likely weren’t living in the Philippines. At the time I wondered if it was an unspoken rule, that I not mention I was still actually living here. But I decided to just be upfront about it in all my author information online.
The great thing? So far, it hasn’t held me back. In general, romance readers will read romance. Some of them will seek out my books precisely because of where I live and who I am, but I do feel that the story still comes first, when someone decides at that crucial moment to read or not to read.
4. Readers are looking for more—and there’s always room for a writer with a story to tell.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but some authors and I are trying to expand what readers know of Filipino romance books. A few years ago there weren’t a lot of English-language romance being written and published, but that’s all changed. Today, there’s a new release every month or so! (Go here to check them out!) We’ve been encouraging authors to write what they want to, never mind if that particular category never existed. Now we have Filipino romance authors writing YA, NA, paranormal, steamy contemporaries… and they’re also willing to write older-adult romance, romantic suspense, and more.
If you read romance and like supporting Filipino authors, there’s a lot to be happy about! ☁
Anything to share? :)