Do Too Many Publishers Traffic in Stereotypes?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Today’s feature story by David Unger discusses his circuitous path toward publication, writing in English and being published in Spanish.

One of the complaints foreign authors have who have failed to find publishers abroad is that publishers often have a narrow, if not limited view of a culture. The argument often heard is that readers expect books that delivers works that fit pre-conceived ideas about a place.

For example, in our own pages writers have lamented the dearth of books about Africa that depict middle class life and issues; and Latin American writers have complained that books that lack “magic realist” touches are harder to land at publishers. Likewise, Europe is rife with American novels that depict a violent, gun-toting Americans.

So, are publishers selling readers short? Or is it simply a fact that readers are more likely to pick up a book that offers a familiar portrait of a culture, one that reinforces rather than challenges cliches?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.