The 5th Filipino Reader Con took place a few weeks ago, and as always it was a great deal of fun. No local convention truly feels like :coming home” to me like the ReaderCon does. The theme of this year’s activities was “Toward a Reading Revolution” — you can feel that readers are starting to influence local publishing more, but the revolution, in the sense of a radical change in how things work, isn’t here yet. What we do have are a lot of discussions about where we should be headed and how readers can use their newfound power. As has become customary, I was the emcee of the event and moderated a pair of panels, which I’m sharing with you all here.
READERS TAKE THE REINS
This panel was basically meant to be a power fantasy, with the panelists replacing the Powers That Be — any powers necessary to make their bookish wishes come true! It’s primarily a way to talk about being a reader in the Philippines — in general and for the panelists and audience specifically — and in the process of checking off things from a big wishlist, we get an idea of what can be done to make readers happier. We touched upon a wide variety of topics here, including the type of books we wanted to see, the role of libraries, the Filipiniana section, and the need to get books and bookish events outside Metro Manila.
Eriele Japsay is a 19 year old book blogger and cosplayer. She loves bringing book characters to life, thus making her cosplay debut as America Singer from the Selection Series during Kiera Cass’ first book signing event in 2013. She is now taking her degree in Marketing in University of Santo Tomas.
Blooey Singson is the owner and author of Bookmarked!, a blog for book reviews, author interviews, and other things book-related. An administrator of the book club Flips Flipping Pages, a member of the Filipino Book Bloggers Group, and organizing chair of the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards for the annual Filipino Reader Conference, Blooey reads over 250 books a year and cannot leave a bookstore empty-handed. Blooey is also a published children’s book illustrator and a partner in a public relations firm in Makati.
SUPPORTING AUTHORS WE LOVE
The panel’s goals were two-fold: to detail a variety of ways that different kinds of readers can help different kinds of authors, and to inspire readers to go out and support authors in a variety of ways. The feeling I’ve always had is that readers would be more than happy to do more to support authors (within their individual comfort zones) if they felt that their actions truly mattered to the authors in tangible / important ways. The ensuing discussion was very lively — any panel with bebang usually is — and touches upon where authors earn the most money, how to spread the word about a good book, and “shelving problems.”
Mina V. Esguerra writes contemporary romance and young adult novellas. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communication from the Ateneo de Manila University and a master’s degree in Development Communication from the University of the Philippines. Her contemporary romance novellas won the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards for Chick Lit in 2012 (Fairy Tale Fail) and 2013 (That Kind of Guy).
Kimberly Joy Villanueva started writing when she was in high school. She daydreams most of the day, thinking about what ifs, and scenarios for her stories. Music helps her in creating plot outlines. Before becoming a writer, she was an avid reader. She’s a bibliophile. Time is irrelevant when she’s reading. Her first book, The Bet, became a major motion picture this 2015. Just the Way You Are was produced by Star Cinema, starring Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano. Her other stories are posted on the online site Wattpad. She hosts the yearly Wattpad meet-ups as Wattpad Filipino Ambassador. She took up Marketing Management in Holy Angel University, and now, she works as a Marketing Officer at Jocson College.
Tepai Pascual is a Fine Arts graduate of the University of the Philippines, Diliman and worked as an Art Director in a top advertising agency, now creates storyboards for TV commercial / movie directors. She is co-founder of Meganon Comics and one of the organizers of Komiket. She’s best known for her National Book Award Nomimated graphic novel, MAKTAN 1521. Tepai also produced three more comic book series: Mark 9Verse47 with Maika Ezawa; Noodle Boy and Buhay Habangbuhay (Life Afterlife) with Paolo Herras and has a comic strip series in Adobo Magazine called Krokis.
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