|锴 angry fishtrap 狗 (kaigou) wrote in tevere,|
Either try harder to find a way to present our culture to your audience in a way that is acceptable to both your publisher and to people from the culture which you are depicting, or stand aside and let someone else do it.
But the problem is that no one else will even get to try, unless we have forerunners upon whom the cabbage-like editorial/marketing crew is willing to risk spending the money. It's entirely likely there are a host of good Asian-related stories out there, written by savvier folks with a defter touch, and they've been passed up over and over because the word is, "this doesn't sell, no one would ever want to read about a Chinese detective in China!"
Someone does have to break the barrier, and sadly, that someone is -- more often than not -- someone who doesn't get it right, who is writing from within the audience's mainstream population, who cabbages to some degree because of the author's own missing-the-nuance and to some degree because the author or editor or marketing says "this can be culled or dumbed down or skipped because the audience won't know better, and we're being risky enough as it is".*
Basically, in what I've seen of publishing, first you have to have a sacrificial goat (even a scrawny underfed misshapen goat) that can be slaughtered on behalf of the marketing/editorial biases, yet still manage to demonstrate the audience does have a taste for goat, even if all the markets swear that chickens are all anyone's ever bought and thus all they'd ever want. Once you get that first goat past, then it's easier to push for better-quality goats. Not because the first goat creates the subsequent goats -- but because the first goat proves to the damn money-people that goats can make money, too.
I don't mean the author gets a pass on offenses to the culture depicted; but I am willing to give the first book in a series a bit more leeway in its screwups, so long as the author tries, and if s/he falls short, to swallow the humps and try harder the next time. That, for me, is where Williams really failed. I'm willing to forgive idiocies in the first book -- but once it's been enough of a monetary success to warrant a sequel, then I'd expect the author to be able to start flexing some muscle, and give the copy-editor or main editor a bit more what-for on the intrusions.
So it was the second book where I came to the position you hit with the first book, because it seemed almost like she tried less hard, rather than more hard. Hell, like she stopped trying altogether about halfway through!
* I wouldn't necessarily call that 'white' privilege (unless you mean 'white' as default) but an even broader 'western/anglo' privilege -- because what's driving the dismissal isn't (only) skin-tone/racism but the greater issue of culturalism, with a touch of imperialism. Yes, that's racist, too, but I guess they're hard to separate; it just seems to me that it's not enough to stop at racism, but that the issues encompass that and a lot more.