i’ve read a couple of precious hearts romance books. by “a couple,” i really do mean two. that was during the time i was in between jobs. and i was thinking of maybe turning to becoming a fiction novelist for the time being. it seemed fate didn’t think it was a good idea, because a week later i was working somewhere else.
good thing too, ‘cos now i know i have a problem with writing romance.
but that’s way off-tangent from what i wanted to write about, and the reason why i attended the book signing event of precious hearts romances.
the reason is simple: i wanted to see the reading public. you always hear things from “learned” people that filipinos don’t read filipino books. look at the inset picture. these people purchase filipino-authored books by the dozen! and not just because they’re cheap! which they are — literally speaking. from overhearing a conversation earlier between a reader and one of the staff, some of the books they are selling are already reprints!
there is a market for filipino-authored books!
now, before you tell me that this is a different genre, a different target market, etcetera. i want to say one thing: books are written to entertain the masses. if you want a certain market to buy your books, you have to give them the stories they want to read. most filipinos are romantics, they like books where the girl gets their guy in the end. now, if you want your books read by the geek market, you have to reach them–through sci-fi conventions or cosplay competitions, etcetera.
precious hearts romances has employed a wonderful marketing campaign wherein they take their writers on tour to meet with the readers. this allows the readers to get in touch with the authors, effectively building a loyal fan base who will buy anything the author churns out. on the flip side, the readers see that the authors are regular people too, and it makes the love stories the authors’ write all the more reachable for the readers.
i admit, that’s a bit of a generalization. not all the readers think like that, but some do. some readers think that if something is written, then it must be true. just because they read doesn’t mean they think everything through. some people read to escape real life.
i do that.
of course, except for the escaping-reality part, that way of thinking doesn’t really apply to fantasy readers. unless you’re mentally unstable and believe that you can fly.
at the end of the day though, a thought keeps bugging me: are the blogging public ignoring the readers who read books from precious hearts romances? is there an elitist thing going on wherein book bloggers think what they’re reading is not literature? okay, those are two thoughts.
but think about it: these precious hearts books are not the classics we would like filipino literature to be. but they are written works that has the public reading. what should we take from this: is it because the books are cheaper? is it more readable? or is it the publishing house’s marketing strategy?
most importantly: how can we use the relative success of precious hearts romances, and apply it to marketing other filipino-authored books?