Only one Latino is listed as an author on the 35 books on the Sept. 29 New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list. The literary world needs more Hispanic authors, but the writing industry requires time, discipline and a tough skin to handle rejection.
But a few people are hoping to make things easier.
Corina Martinez Chaudhry created a website, The Latino Author, to encourage Hispanics to pursue a writing career. The website covers everything from the elements of writing a story to getting it published.
“A reader can actually read the articles and get a good sense of how to get started in the business,” she said.
Chaudry has always loved reading and writing, but couldn’t find many works by Latino authors as a child because many of them were not promoted in schools or the book market.
“It’s important that this ‘new’ generation of Latino and Hispanic writers get the same necessary tools and breaks that all other groups have acquired,” she said, “and I want to do my part to help with this effort.”
Arnaldo Lopez Jr., author of ChickenHawk, also tried to do his part by organizing a Latino Authors and Writers Conference, scheduled for Oct. 1 in New York City, but had to cancel it due to lack of interest.
“I wanted to do this because I have been to many writers conferences over the years and have always found there to be almost no Latino agents, editors, publishers, or aspiring authors,” he said. “I wanted to give aspiring or self-published Latino(a) writers the same information and opportunities that writers at these other conferences were getting.”
While the writing field can be difficult, Chaudry encourages Latinos not to give up. After all, she succeeded in the technical engineering environment field – making decisions and overseeing $300 million in contracts every year for an Orange County, Calif., government agency – with a business degree and a minor in English.
“I truly believe that we all have the ability to do anything we want to in this life – it’s just moving forward and understanding that failure is how we learn to get to the next step,” she said. “It is this failure in life that will make us successful in the end. It is never giving up no matter how many rejections we get or how many obstacles are thrown our way.”
Here are some other resources for Hispanic writers:
• Hispanics have formed writers groups, such as the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio and the Latino Writers Collective in Kansas City, Mo.
• Writer’s retreats are also available, including the Macondo Foundation created by Sandra Cisneros and Las Dos Brujas workshop founded by Cristina Garcia.
• Ecuadorian Marcela Landres, a former book editor, offers advice on her website.