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Thursday, 16 November 2017

On Why I Shamelessly Promote My Book

   It's been a month since the release of my book, and I find myself constantly promoting the book by whatever means I can think of, including social media. I do this, not just for selfish reasons, though I will admit to those, but because my publishing house, Mawenzi House publishes diverse voices.  Publishing is a tough business. All those books on bookshelves at your local bookstores get shipped back to the publisher if they do not sell, at the publisher's cost. Publishers will publish what they believe will sell, which is why not enough people of colour are published. Most people don't read books, and when they do read, they read for information (non-fiction) or entertainment (The Fifty Shades Trilogy). This is why non-fiction is an easier sell than fiction. Writers of genre fiction; science fiction, fantasy, romance, erotica, etc, have an easier time getting published than writers of literary fiction.
   Hardly anyone reads literary fiction. And practically no one, reads literary fiction, which features female protagonists. Even female readers for whatever peculiar reason prefer reading stories with strong, male protagonists. Nearly all of the people who bought Fifty Shades were women. Even within literary fiction, novels are more popular than short story collections.
   There were other publishing houses who showed an interest in my stories, but when the editorial board got together, the marketing team always shot my collection down. People do not like to buy short story collections.
   Put all of this together, and you have my book; literary fiction, a short story collection in which nearly all of the protagonists are women, and all of the stories concern Pakistanis/Muslims (a minority group in this part of the world).
  Add to that, my opening story is about a suicide bomber who I have tried to humanize, because while I hate violence of any sort, I also hate - hate. A thirteen year-old boy who becomes a suicide bomber is still a kid. He is a human being, and as sorry as I am, for the result of his brainwashing, I do also feel sorry for him.
  That my book got published at all is a miracle of sorts, except in my case, I know who is responsible for my miracle. Nurjehan Aziz, my publisher, is my miracle worker, and I do hope for her sake, as much as for my own, that this book sells. I do not want those copies shipped back at a cost to her.
  If I still haven't convinced you to get your hands on my book, that's fine (not really!), but do read and not just what's in fashion, but widely, stretching your net to the unlikeliest of spots and take time to tarry there for a bit.

 If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” 

Haruki Murakami

ThingsSheCouldNeverHave-Mawenzi House




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