Sunday, December 22, 2013

Notes on the 3rd Filipino ReaderCon

Last December 7, readers, writers, teachers, publishers, librarians, bloggers, and book clubs gathered to celebrate the 3rd Filipino ReaderCon at the Rizal Library of Ateneo de Manila University. I was there with three hats on: first, as a speaker for The Digital Reader panel; second, as a writer since the #romanceclass chipped in to get a table and sell our work; and last (and more importantly), as a Filipino reader.

In keeping with its theme 'What Do Readers Want?', ReaderCon provided con-goers an opportunity to share their thoughts by placing huge boards on-site. I was excited to read what people had to say and how I could use this to gauge my own place in the industry.

Everyone had an opinion. Great way for writers and publishers to hear it.

So good to see people asking for more stories from outside Manila

One of the things that delighted me was seeing these posts asking for books set in other regions. My novella Cover (Story) Girl is set in Aklan, so this was good news for me. Don't get me wrong; I love romances set in Manila! It's the heart of all the action. It's crazy and cosmopolitan but it can also be quirky and quaint. But there's always room for romances set elsewhere. I believe it's a sign of a healthy publishing environment when we can offer reader diverse choices. And not just in romance, of course.

I'm trying to make one of these happen ;)

One of the suggestions here actually touches on one of my upcoming projects. :) I wish I could claim it so that I know I won't back out of it! But I've got so many things lined up that it's better for me to take it one day at a time -- I get writing ADHD. Even if I don't end up writing it, I will be very happy if someone else will.

'More YA' and 'more spec-fic' were common, but readers also asked for ethnic stories and poetry!

Another interesting aspect about browsing through the replies is that you really get a range of responses. You'll have people clamoring for one thing, and then see someone ask for something totally different. More evidence that the Filipino audience is eager for more. The challenge is up to writers to answer these demands as quickly and as substantially as possible.

Diverse tastes: Not everyone was a fan of romance...

...or of science fiction, either

Then you find the most unexpected requests. What else can I say? To each his own!

This was the clear winner of all the suggestions. 'Seriously.'

Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren's How to Read a Book has this advice to dispense to readers: Your first judgment will naturally be one of taste. You will say not only that you like or dislike a book, but also why [...] The better you can reflectively discern the causes of your pleasure in reading fiction or poetry, the nearer you will come to knowing the artistic values in the literary work itself. I think that ReaderCon constantly reminds Filipino readers to speak up and be heard, to voice their opinions, to identify what works for them and what doesn't, and to allow them a forum where they can interact with authors and publishers. It's another way to aid all of us discover the artistic values within the works we read and demand whatever our reading needs require.

Congratulations to the organizers of Filipino ReaderCon and to all Filipino readers, because really, this is all about you. Us. See you again next year!

BONUS: One of the other boards asked who your favorite author was.

Someone wrote down EL James of Fifty Shades of Grey fame. Someone else couldn't resist adding, 'Tigang ka daw po ba?' (Tigang means dry or barren soil, but is also used to refer to someone who hasn't had sex in a while). No judgment, but it definitely made me smile.


Tin said...

Seeing the quantity of post-its makes me happy! The Filipino ReaderCon might just grow bigger and bigger each year. :D

You have an upcoming project!? Time travelling! No, fantasy action! Don't answer that okay, it's just me being hyper. Haha. Also, dinosaur erotica! Lol! That is mind boggling. :D

Happy Holidays Chris!

Nancy said...

Fun post! I would agree on more literature from Southern Philippines! :)