Is ‘multicultural’ my brand? If I have to position myself in the market, would that be it? Am I consigned to ‘right on’, ‘niche’ and box-ticking?
Few are the people who can sustain a living wage from fiction writing, so as writers, we must now learn how to promote ourselves. The problem is, the idea of ‘writer’ and ‘good business mind’ have not traditionally been seen as compatible – though thankfully, there are some very savvy/or well-advised writers who’ve bucked the trend.
I’ve thought hard about this. Why my compulsion to tell stories and what stories do I want to tell?
I am heavily influenced by my family, the older and the younger. The ‘Granny’ in my book ‘Granny Ting Ting’ is based on My Aunty Baby in Trinidad, who has been a strong presence throughout my life, even though she has only been to England once – three years ago, aged 80. When I became a mother, though, I wanted to find at least a few books that resembled our family. I wanted pictures that chimed with my daughter’s perception of the world, with stories that were strong, funny, lyrical and compelling. And preferably, set in the contemporary UK. Not much to ask for, was it? Was it?
We didn’t find many – most fit into the picture above. I’ll be giving a run down of some that we came across in the next few weeks. As the last Census shows, we are a country formed from many stories and if that’s what ‘multicultural’ means – I’m happy with that.