As anyone who has tried publishing books will tell you, in the current market it’s difficult to get readers without some degree of marketing. That’s why, though marketing is not one of my strongest areas, I try to spend at least a little bit of time on marketing for each release to make sure I at least give it a fighting chance. And it’s not just about pushing copies; to me, getting some kind of feedback on each project is nearly as important as actually making sales.
Around a year or two ago I stumbled upon the website Books on Asia, which (as you can guess from the title) focuses largely on books from Asia––although I was pleasantly surprised to see there is a noticeable emphasis on works that come from Japan. In addition to reviews of both fiction and non-fiction books, Books on Asia also has some articles on various topics, such as “How to read 100 books a year”. There’s also a podcast that is being actively updated, with a total of 12 episodes at this point in time. I found it nice that this site touched upon a diverse set of topics, everything from robotics research to Japanese gardens to thoughts on translation.
I sent BOA an inquiry asking if they would review one of my latest books, and their editor, Amy Chavez, responded that she would consider publishing an excerpt of one of the stories from my book. While I thought it would take me a long time to figure out what passage to use, one of the last stories I translated had really stuck in my mind because of some of the touching descriptions used by the author, so I ended up deciding on that story in only an hour or two.
A few days later the details had been worked out, and I’m happy to announce that the excerpt is now live. I chose to use the first part of Hayashi Fumiko’s story “The Tryst”, which was the highlight of my latest book (and my first paperback), “Days & Nights: Stories of classic Japanese women’s literature.”
Although this didn’t involve having BOA explicitly reviewing my book, I consider it an achievement just to have a website of this caliber publishing an excerpt of one of my books. It probably helped that their editor was already familiar with Hayashi Fumiko; in fact, she wrote an article about Hayashi Fumiko that was published in the Japan Times in 2018 here [Note: subscription is required to read the article].
I wanted to thank Books on Asia again for this opportunity to allow more people to experience what Hayashi Fumiko has to offer.