I read a very interesting article today by Kristian Wilson (link below), that talked about the definite bias towards male authors in publishing and it really made me think about this issue and how it impacts on me as a female author and as a reader. A perusal of my bookshelves, both print and digital, reveal that although I have specific authors who I collect because I love their work, in general I am not swayed by the gender of the author if the cover / subject of the book have already hooked me.
There are a few exceptions to this. I noticed that almost without exception, my Chick Lit and Romance authors tended to be female and although I had bought a number of books in these categories that had been written by men, I still spent the money more easily on a new female romance author than a male one. Similarly, my Suspense and “Whodunnit” selection was populated by more male authors. Then there were the ambiguous authors, those using simply initials and last name, making it impossible to know at a glance if they were male or female. Even there, I tended to guess at the gender of the author based on the subject. Strangely, this is something that seems to be confined to fiction … at least for me!
I will say that I know that my reading habits have changed a lot over the past nearly two decades as I found myself working more and more in the media and publishing fields. So why is it that this article struck such a strong chord with me today? As a reader, my spending habits have changed and become more open to a less “gender defined” habit when it comes to selecting new books / authors, but as an author, I realise that the industry hasn’t changed sufficiently. There are a number of genre’s that are “traditionally male or female” and I realised while reading her post that it was making me more uncomfortable as an author. To consider my chosen profession and to be honest about the challenges facing me is something I do regularly.
Good writing, good editing, beautiful covers, marketing efforts, etc are all things that I’ve thought about and work on. My gender working against me with agents and publishers was not something that I had contemplated as clearly. I realised that we still have a way to go to resolve these issues in a real and meaningful way, but forewarned is forearmed!
To read Kristian’s original post, please click here.
My inner geek is yelling… “To boldly go…” And so, we shall!
Until next time…