After talking with book marketing coach Sue Campbell, I’ve decided to pursue traditional publishing, which is also something I never thought I would do. Being entrepreneurial and having experience with crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, I have been leaning towards self-publishing. But there is one important reason why I’ve decided to go the traditional route, and that is representation.
I recently finished reading Salvadoran author Roberto Lovato’s incredible book Unforgetting: A Memoir of Family, Migration, Gangs, and Revolution in the Americas. From it, I’m getting a better sense of how important it is for Salvadorans to tell their own stories. As Lovato points out:
It was the year 2000, twenty years after Salvadorans had arrived in masse in the US… and our voice was still missing in the telling of our story. With the exception of a few Salvadoran writers publishing with independent presses, Joan Didion and other white US writers were the only tellers of Salvadoran stories in the English language.
I’m excited by the potential for my book to represent the Salvadoran experience. Even though most of the story takes place in other countries, I think it gets to the heart of the fractured family structures that many Salvadorans live with.
Another critical issue for me is to show a side of our culture that isn’t rooted in the country’s violent past. Lovato continues:
In fact, the best-known English-language book about El Salvador is Salvador, written by Didion after spending a total of two weeks there—most of it in the air-conditioned company of US embassy officials. Her statement, “Terror is the given of the place, is arguably the best-known description of El Salvador in the English language.
While my story touches on and is shaped by the country’s civil war, it is not a story about that violence or “terror.” Instead, it is a story about a family that is trying to do their best with what they have been given. For these reasons think it’s worth pursuing the somewhat lengthy process of traditional publishing.