Is it harder to market novels globally, that use non western writing styles and feature a brown or Asian character?

I might be completely wrong here but my sense is that it is harder to break the glass ceiling of publishing success if you write young adult, mystery, thriller or romance novels which feature diverse writing styles and brown, black or Asian characters. I admit that there are writers like Toni Morrison, Langston Hughes R. K. Narayan, Kiran Desai, Amy Tan, Lisa See, and Yoko Agawa  who have created memorable non-white characters and have gained much international repute. There are also alternative writing styles like magic realism which are uniquely  Latin-American in conceptualization if not spread. Orhan Pamuk and Gabriel Garcia Marquez come to mind as practitioners; but these writers constitute a handful of success stories. 

There could be several factors responsible for this. Countries like India and China have a huge readership which is probably attuned to books in their own native languages. Many Asian and other children from the English speaking, elite families, often follow the tastes of their western peers which are set globally, as is evident by the runaway success of Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and the Twilight series. Lastly, and most importantly, there is a sense of a colonial hangover among Asian and African countries which gained independence during the early to mid 20th century. Many of their middle and upper middle class readers feel that literature that is uniquely from their own milieu is somehow inferior to novels coming out of the dominant culture. Witness the derogatory remarks made towards writers like Chetan Bhagat who have tried to create their own idiom unlike the very British style of writing followed by successful Indian writers like Arvind Adiga and Amitav Ghosh. I too am guilty of the same attitude of liking the tried and tested narrative style of the dominant culture rather than putting my money on untested writers who are daring to be different.

I hope bookblog members will respond with ideas about now the diversity of writing styles in minority cultures can change and how such a change can be supported by  readers who often do not want to take chances on new styles with their money and time.

Views: 18

Tags: India, Indian, Minority, styles, writers, writing

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