Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction => Fantasy Book & Author Discussion => Topic started by: Eclipse on November 25, 2016, 09:25:16 PM

Title: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Eclipse on November 25, 2016, 09:25:16 PM
I've read a blog by @stevenpoore  saying fantasy forum culture doesn't recommend enough  female authors it's always seems to be dominant by male authors if someone ask for a recommendation

I can't speak for other Fantasy forums but I think we do okay ( I might be biased to this forum)  we always seem to recommend Robin Hobb and Jen Williams, Rachel Bach.

I know that recent modern fantasy list we did didn't have many female authors on it.



Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: ScarletBea on November 25, 2016, 09:47:51 PM
we always seem to recommend Robin Hobb and Jen Williams
Funny you say that, because when I read the thread title, my immediate reaction was "but we always mention Robin and Jen!" ;D

And lately I'm also always mentioning N.K. Jemisin and Aliette de Bodard, my recently loved reads :D

I wonder if the lack of it is because we tend to cater our recommendations to what the person asking say they like, and they usually come with very 'traditional' tastes - and then usually the writers closer to that are male.
This for the forum newbies, because I notice that when of the oldies ask around, they usually want a more diverse choice (and I mean that in the sense of 'different to what they've been reading'), and then we can expand the type of books we offer.
Speaking for myself here, now...
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: The Gem Cutter on November 25, 2016, 11:02:52 PM
I wonder if it's not a symptom of a larger issue - fewer female writers write fantasy that makes it to the recommend-worthy level. When making a recommendation or looking for my next read, I have never, ever in my life stopped to consider a writer's gender, whether as a reader, as a writer looking for successful works to study, or anything else. I didn't know JK Rowling was a woman for a long time, and my complete absence of reaction is indicative of my lack of interest in writer gender.

Perhaps this is because, in terms of numbers of books, when I was a kid the biggest single author I read was Anne McAffrey's Pern books, which when lined up, were at least as big a chunk of my stuff (by numbers of titles, not thickness) as any other author, including Tolkien.

I wonder if people in the Romance genre lament the rarity of male authors?

For my part, I find the emphasis of writer-gender completely misguided. By contrast, I understand people's interest in works with a more realistic depiction of human sexuality and racial diversity, which do impact the reader's experience in important ways.  If a straight white American woman writes X, or a black, South African bi-sexual man writes Y, or a Chinese transsexual bear writes Z, I honestly don't look at them at all. It's all about what's in X, Y, and Z. I don't research the person who designed my car, or packaged my coffee, to determine their gender, political stance, or sexual tastes. I just buy what I like, what serves well. And if someone asks for a recommendation, I certainly wouldn't pause for a gender-check. It wouldn't even occur to me. What does occur to me is - will they enjoy the book?

Trying out my new acronym ETA (thanks @Lady_Ty ):  I certainly hope there are not other venues where some sludge of humanity actively undermines a class of writers based on their gender, male or female. Writing is, in my opinion, an endeavor that both sexes can perform equally well in, when given the chance. Humanity is finally moving past the idea of dominance in various areas by one gender or the other.

If I ever saw someone undermining an author for being female, I would definitely speak up, because that's just bunk. Jeese louise, I want to experience new worlds, and if the voice that brings me there is female with an English or French or Portugese accent, I'm all for it. My son is studying to be a nurse, a field I believe he will excel at. At 6'3", I think he'll be well suited to some tasks that can be physically daunting (moving/rolling patients, etc.). And if he encounters biased attitudes, from men or women, then they'd better beware. Because my wife will eat their face :)
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lady Ty on November 26, 2016, 12:41:34 AM
we always seem to recommend Robin Hobb and Jen Williams

I wonder if the lack of it is because we tend to cater our recommendations to what the person asking say they like, and they usually come with very 'traditional' tastes - and then usually the writers closer to that are male.
This for the forum newbies, because I notice that when of the oldies ask around, they usually want a more diverse choice (and I mean that in the sense of 'different to what they've been reading'), and then we can expand the type of books we offer.
Speaking for myself here, now...

@ScarletBea I believe you've hit the nail on the head perfectly for our Forum. It happens so often, a newbie tells us he/she likes   XXXX, it's nearly always older epic and so we recommend newer epic until we know them better.
 
The longer they are around and see what's being read and discussed, and also follow the Forum articles on the front page, they will widen their reading and include the many female authors we read about.

If any one asks for female authors  specifically we've got several pretty comprehensive threads covering the whole subject and giving lists. Such as

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/female-fantasy-authors/

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/the-best-female-science-fiction-and-fantasy-writers-you-should-read-now/

There are so many more than just Robin Hobb and Jen Williams - although Jen always deserves first recommendation because she plays with us here. ;)

Maybe if we also recommend the new people asking should read through our currently reading, or what we read in a month threads it would give them wider choice.



Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on November 26, 2016, 12:48:10 AM
Gosh, are people really this tedious? I recommend people by theme, interest... If asked which author blew my mind out the most, I answer thinking by books. Books which floored me, not running a gender equality answer!
I'd say Sanderson, Bennett, Harris, (Fowls), Tolkien and Martin - and then Sheri Tepper, Charlaine Harris, Rice and Chambers, (Austen, Bronte, Auel).

So what if there are more males than females in the people who wrote the books which influenced me the most?
If people asked for specific recommendation, like works on dragons or interesting sci Fi, then maybe I'd recommend more females than males? Who knows.
How do you recommend equally if you don't read equally to begin with? I'm not sure my goodreads has a 50-50 in author genders to be honest. I just never think about such things!
People should focus on encouraging female authors in all fields, rather than nagging at fans.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: cupiscent on November 26, 2016, 01:01:59 AM
Some thoughts in this area:

Male authors tend to have more "stickiness" - we continue to recommend Eddings and Feist and Jordan, but where are the female authors who were writing at that time and were, honestly, just as good as their male counterparts? (We're not all as assiduous as Nora in remembering the Sheri Teppers.)
 - Tansy Rayner Roberts spoke very eloquently about this in her guest of honour speech at Melbourne's Continuum a couple of years ago. Her speech is available online (http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2015/06/guest-post-tansy-rayner-roberts-fantasy-female-writers-politics-influence/). In this speech she also noted the tendency for "recommendation lists" to include a token woman - usually Ursula le Guin (or Robin Hobb). Smurfette syndrome in real life.

There's an argument to be about whether fewer female writers write fantasy of the same quality, or whether male authors are more likely to be published at a lower quality. I remember reading some of Lindsay Buroker's work, and finding it at absolutely the same level (for me) as, say, Brent Weeks. (That is, imho, engagingly readable, pacey, but ultimately kinda meh.) Weeks is a bestselling trad-published author whose name gets bandied about a lot. Buroker is successful, but indie, and way fewer people know her name.

It's all very well to have personal disinterest in matters of author gender (or race, or sexuality, or...), but if all the market ever gives you is white males, your reading is necessarily going to be skewed towards white males.

I recall hearing that Mark Lawrence ran a poll on his blog asking whether people would have read his books if they were by Mary Lawrence instead. A significant number of people answered that they probably wouldn't have.

So it's not that people actively undermine female authors. It's (perhaps) just that they have to be twice as good to get half as much attention in the first place. People don't denigrate them for gender, they just leave them off recommendation lists. So there's no big stand to be taken, just that we need to keep asking "Where are the women? What are they writing? Who can you recommend?" because very often the default position is what we're fed, and what we're fed is 75% male (at least).

Some women writing really interesting high fantasy and arguably underrepresented on recommendation lists: Amanda Downum, Rachel Hartman, Lois McMaster Bujold, Kate Elliott, Patrician McKillop, Megan Whalen Turner, Juliet Marillier, Ellen Kushner, Jennifer Fallon... and these are just the ones who appear on my GR shelves. :)

We here at FF have a whole pinned thread about female authors (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/women-write-fantasy-(the-giant-'women-in-fantasy'-database)/), so clearly we're aware of the issue already. But I think it's good for us to also remind ourselves now and then, because it can be easy to slip back into not thinking about it, and the problem waxes and wanes, but hasn't gone away.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Mehman on November 26, 2016, 01:44:32 AM
I know that I recommend almost 100% women authors to people looking for what I read because almost all of them are women that write in that field. Should I be worried that I'm not giving people more male names? They don't appear very often but I don't think I should go out of the way to mention one just because of what chromosomes inhabit his body.

If someone was to tell me my favourite authors were actually the other gender, I wouldn't care. I DNF because of story, not sex or anything else. If a man writes a good romance novel that moves me then by the gods he'll get mentioned just as quick as the women that are so prevalent in the field that get me to remember their names.

In the fantasy genre, I'll say this: I DNF a Jemisin trilogy. I put that thing down almost as quick as I picked it up. That has to be two months ago, maybe three. The POV and writing style just didn't jive for me. I didn't know the sex of the author until a few days ago but I guess that's no excuse. Here's the thing, though: I started reading Sci Fi / Fantasy books written by white male authors. This must be why I didn't like her writing - she's not a British, white male author writing about the grim darkness of the far future. Neither are the women writing my beloved Fantasy Romance / Romantic Fantasy yet that's my favourite genre. The wires must have been crossed somewhere!
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on November 26, 2016, 02:05:59 AM
Don't credit me too much with Tepper, I discovered her in 2016, but she deeply impressed me with her storytelling powers. The stories are great, lengthy yet not revelling in worldbuilding, and the themes are serious and very well woven through. She manipulates the readers in the same way she does the characters, and Grass/Raising The Stones are two door stoppers I will re-read in my quest to publication.

Female authors I read a long time ago who truly influenced me would be Anne Rice and Jean M. Auel – I forgot to mention her earlier, I was thinking SFF instead of general fiction – and in historical fiction, Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen. They are HUGE influences to me as a young reader and until recently. P&P by Jane Austen is the book I've re-read the most. I think I read Jane Eyre thrice, if not more.


P.S : I wonder if somewhere on the web there is a PR fans forum with a thread about how PR fans don't recommend enough male writers....
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lady Ty on November 26, 2016, 03:06:33 AM
Nora's comment reminded me that so many of the early fantasy I read and that kept me in the genre were in fact women writers apart from le Guin and Hobb. I certainly read some male authors like Feist and Eddings but many by *Katherine Kerr, Melanie Rawn, Janny Wurts, Anne McCaffrey and Patricia Keneally plus others.  @cupiscent is right though we do tend to forget them, possibly because many of those names went out of print at times and are still hard to get new or as complete sets in a series.   The men writers like Feist, Eddings, Jordan have always been available so those other ladies slipped away for long stretches of time unnoticed. 

I just checked and have read books by ten different modern fantasy women writers this year but wasn't really aware of it as any kind of statistic.

I believe most of us here choose as Gem Cutter and Nora suggested on content, characters and the appeal of the outline without consciously noticing or choosing by author's gender. What is preferenced for publication is a whole different ball game and a complex controversy, we've been there a few times here in the past.

ETA *How could I forget Margaret Weis of Weis and Hickman- sin, shame, so embarrassed.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: The Gem Cutter on November 26, 2016, 04:16:15 AM
"Let the word go forth, from this time, and this place, to all women in all nations everywhere - if you will create characters with life and passion, find for us places and events worth seeing, if you will but capture a story in words worth reading - we shall read them. And if you will but move us, we in turn will move others. This much we pledge--and more."

Since we have spoken of JFK recently, I thought his words might serve to capture the positive sentiment I think we all share.  :)
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Peat on November 26, 2016, 04:19:06 AM
I did a recommendations thread here not that long ago (and on two other forums). I encouraged people to be broad and the only restriction was in the last ten years or so.

I got back relatively few female authors and most of those came from a handful of people. Remove the handful and next to none.

I cannot agree with the idea that fans should shrug and say "That's just how it is, I'm just reading and recommending what's good, not my problem". The reality is male authors get pushed harder. Maybe there's less women writing to the level as well, but certainly male authors get pushed harder because they're easier to push. I don't think that's right. If fans don't push to make sure people know of female authors, who the hell is going to do it and why should they? Publishers? Publishers want their paycheque. If fans are happy to go along with paying more attention to male authors, that's what they're gonna do.

I'm not saying recommend female authors regardless of whether they fit a request or not. Actually, I'm not recommending anything. Everyone's got their own idea on how big a problem this and how to fix it. Me, myself and I though, I like looking for obscure gems. I will take a moment to remember from time to time that given how the genre works, there's a good chance there's a lot of female authors out there.

Edited to add the TL:DR version -

Nobody's making decisions because of how they pee and ideally nobody should but since the publishing world does and pushes a lot more men than women, there's a lot more memorable men than women and we recommend more men than women.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Ryan Mueller on November 26, 2016, 04:28:52 AM
It's really a difficult issue. You may look at certain sub-genres of SFF and see very few female recommendations. But if you look at PR, the recommendations are almost entirely female. If you look at YA SFF, the recommendations are almost entirely female.

Could there be some sexism involved? Sure. But it's difficult to say because there are many factors at play.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Rostum on November 26, 2016, 07:24:34 AM
I find the question nonsensical If there are no criteria I will recommend what I like and what I think the person asking will like. Sex or anything else is irrelevant. 

If I recommend Susan Cooper's work over Joe Abercrombie's It won't be because I have compared the works an decided that the Dark is Rising is a better read than Heroes. It will always be apples and oranges but a book may be more suitable for an age group or more likely to appeal to a certain taste regardless of the position the author pees in.

You could remember Julian May (and her dozen or so pseudonyms) whose 10 books of science fantasy, starting with the many coloured lands I recommend to everyone.

Quote
It's all very well to have personal disinterest in matters of author gender (or race, or sexuality, or...), but if all the market ever gives you is white males, your reading is necessarily going to be skewed towards white males.

The people you want to represent you as a writer, edit your books, determine the cover art and stock them in book shops seem to be predominately female. Yet this keeps coming up. I see no evidence that women authors have a harder time than male authors. Just that it is startlingly hard to get published for anyone.
The market certainly does not only give you only white males and hasn't for longer than you have been alive, but my reading is skewed in favour of reading books written by white males perhaps because I like what they write. Sorry should I be apologising for that?
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Yora on November 26, 2016, 09:14:03 AM
I recommend books that I enjoy. I don't recommend writers.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: cupiscent on November 26, 2016, 09:52:39 AM
...we do tend to forget them, possibly because many of those names went out of print at times and are still hard to get new or as complete sets in a series.   The men writers like Feist, Eddings, Jordan have always been available so those other ladies slipped away for long stretches of time unnoticed.

So very much so! When I think of how much I adored Katherine Kurtz (not to mention how clearly the work she did paved the way for later historical fantasy, like Game of Thrones), but the vast majority of her back catalogue is only available electronically, and that's a recent development. Has Eddings ever been out of print? (Don't get me wrong, I adored Eddings too, but he's charming froth.)

I find this sort of discussion particularly interesting because of just how female-heavy the Australian fantasy boom of the late-nineties/early-noughties was. Sara Douglass, Jenny Fallon, Trudi Canavan, Fiona McDonald, Traci Harding, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, Kate Forsyth, Glenda Larke, Jane Routley. At the time, I didn't even notice. It's only looking back that I go, oh, hey, I don't see that gender balance on the mainstream shelves anymore.

Anyway, read whatever you like. No one's saying otherwise. The original post that prompted this discussion noted that he'd had a discussion specifically asking for female authors and got recommended Mark Lawrence. Peat's noted his observations in asking for general recommendations. It's not necessarily something we do, but it's something worth bearing in mind - if for no other reason than it does us no harm and may prompt a recommendation that helps the career of a female writer whose work we admire.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: DrNefario on November 26, 2016, 12:32:07 PM
I think there's a related problem that the recommendations all tend to come from the same small pool that keeps recirculating. They all tend to be fairly recent and fairly middle-of-the-genre, with maybe the odd "classic" thrown in.

This is kind of understandable. If a book is recommended here, I dare say quite a few of us will check it out, and probably like it, so it's self-reinforcing. Also if other people are recommending a thing, that will (a) remind you it exists, and (b) give you some confidence that it is actually good. I know there are books I read a long time ago that I don't mention because I'm not sure they still stand up.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: ultamentkiller on November 26, 2016, 02:34:49 PM
I read whatever I want. Yes, I have more male authors on my shelf than female authors. Okay. One day I'll find a female author that I like as much as Brent Weeks or Brandon Sanderson, but I'm not going to intentionally look for them. For me, that would be like someone reading my book because I'm blind, and not because they're interested in the story. Sure, it might help me get sales, but at the same time, it feels more condescending than anything else, and I wouldn't want that. So I'm not going to feel sorry for female authors and read their books out of sympathy. Whenever the next one catches my eye, I will pick it up.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Peat on November 26, 2016, 05:17:35 PM
Going back to the time I asked for recommendations, let me share the numbers. These are the recommendations I got, listed by how many separate nominations each got:

5 - Mark Lawrence, Scott Lynch

4 - Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, Naomi Novik

3 - Brian McClellan, Peter Brett

2 - Adrian Tchaikovsky, Brian Staveley, R. Scott Bakker, Ben Aaronovitch, Allan Batchelder, Steven Erikson, Django Wexler, Chris Wooding, Michael Fletcher, Jen Williams, Neil Gaiman, Erin Morgenstern, Patrick Rothfuss, Daniel Abraham

1 - Nnedi Okorafor, Kirsty Logan, Kameron Hurley, Sarah Pinborough, Julia Knight, Emma Knight, Robert Redick, Miles Cameron, Michael Sullivan, Den Patrick, Kate Elliot, Robert Jackson Bennett, NK Jemisin, Alex Marshall, Jo Walton, Christopher Buehlman, Michael Livingston, Tad Williams, Jeff Salyards, Stella Gemmell, Laura Resnick, Ilona Andrews, T.O. Munro, J.P. Ashman, Matt Colville, James Cormier, Barbara Webb, Graham Austin-King (last 6 all SP)

I got these off 21 different people; some here, some SFFChronicles, some BestFantasyBooks.

There's 49 total. 16 of them are women - a third.

But only one woman in the top 5, only three in the top 20 and if I removed the nominations of just three of the people I got them off, then 18 different people would have given me a list of 34 names to check out of which only 5 were women.

Its not like the community gave me a list that was made up of a third women. The community gave me a list with not even a fifth made up of women and a few very knowledgeable, very helpful people gave me 15 nominations - almost a third of the list - of which just over half were women.

To isolate it to here - I got recommendations from 6 people (not counting GR Matthews' SP recommendations as I'm too lazy to count them properly). I got 25 different authors recommended. 8 were female. 3 of the female nominations came from Arry (out of 9), another 3 came from magisensei (who gave me an all female short list). Remove them and I got 13 recommendations from 4 people of which 2 were women. One is Jen Williams, who has a very high profile here for obvious reasons (and who I see barely mentioned elsewhere), the other is Naomi Novik.

That's just one small not particularly scientific sample of course. But it is evidence that female authors are being forgotten/ignored by the community.

And, of course, there are other bits of evidence. Like Mark Lawrence's poll (http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.com/2014/02/whats-in-name.html), as pointed out by cupiscent.

Or we can look at the poll we did for The Gem Cutter (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/here-it-is!-the-5-best-modern-fantasy-poll/), in which 18 names made it through nomination with only 2 women included. Or some of the book battles - 5 out of 32 in favourite series written by a woman.

Lawrence's blog is particularly interesting though as there's a guy in the industry pointing out that, despite the fact the publishing industry is female dominated, the perception is that women sell less well. Hence the push for androgynous names on the cover. Robin Hobb picked Robin deliberately for a pen name because its androgynous (and her career was not plain sailing as Megan Lindholm). Joanne Rowling writes as JK Rowling - gender neutral - and Robert Galbraith - straight up male pen name. It would be interesting to see a count of  new fantasy authors from the major publishing houses by gender.


People say we read what we like - how do we know what we like? I'm guessing there's very few people here reading multiple reviews of every new book coming out. Virtually no one here knows what manuscripts are getting rejected at the final hurdle as they're seen as good but difficult to market. Our choice of what to like is filtered before we ever get to make it.

And its filtered by an industry that is wary of pushing female authors in certain subgenres because they're seen as harder to sell and by a community that's putting up the numbers I've just pointed to.

Who knows what's out there that we'd like if people just gave it that push to find our attention?
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Quill on November 26, 2016, 05:34:05 PM
I think @Peat hits the nail, really. The issue (in whatever form or shape or size there is an issue) is not necessarily whether we recommend female authors, because I think most of us care only about the story, not the gender of the author. The issue is whether the publishing industry allows us to read female authors that we can subsequently recommend.

Good news is, with indie publishing, that's a major barrier potentially removed. Of course, that leaves new female authors in the same situation as us male indie authors; trying to get attention so readers will recommend us, and so we may not have progressed much further; but at least indie publishing allows women to compete on more equal footing with men (not entirely equal, but more equal than traditional publishing).

As a personal note, I had my name written with initials on my book cover just to poke fun at this ridiculous practice of hiding the author's gender.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Eclipse on November 26, 2016, 07:51:49 PM
Biggest surprise to me is Yora post so short just when you think you know someone there surprise you! I love you Yora.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on November 26, 2016, 08:26:01 PM
But what if there simply aren't that many female authors interested in those sub-genres as compared to others?

We may not have information of how many got rejected, but neither do we have about how many submitted. And even if we did, to know if they were good or not to be published, we would have to read every single one ourselves before saying it only got rejected because it was from a female. And then there's that very subjective thing called personal taste.

And even if we all agree some stories were really good or even found success later, we can find various similar tales from male authors too.
Rowling made a test with Robert Galbraith pen name and it tanked. Only when it was "leaked" that he was Rowling that people got interested in the book. And mostly agreed it was average. So male name did nothing for her.

It's like when someone says there aren't many women working on area X without stopping to consider if most women even want to be working on area X.

Seeing fewer female authors on Epic Fantasy, Military Fantasy or Dark Fantasy might simply be because most female authors don't feel much (or any) appeal for those genres, while they clearly do for Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance or YA.
Few submissions means there's less chances of finding something good. And if the publishers wants to publish X amount of books in those genres and there are only Y number of female authors, then that means some male average or crap works might pass through.

Same way for UF, PNR and YA. They are clearly dominated by female authors and the output is high, which means a lot of crap also pass through.
 
If we divide Fantasy by sub-genres, we are obviously gonna find some of them with disparities between the genders and others may be more balanced. Simply a matter of interests and tastes.

If we just group Fantasy in one big group (like in GR), I believe the genre may be pretty balanced. Actually, I think I'm willing to bet money that just because of UF, PNR and YA that women vastly outsells men...

Anyway, the question has been raised, but how to answer it? I'm not seeing any other answer than going for a male-authored book, then a female one, checking author profiles instead of blurbs or some kind of checklist.
It may work for some, but for me I think it would make reading feel like an obligation and that would be un-fun.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on November 26, 2016, 09:30:39 PM
Lol @Peat someone recommended Okorafor to you? Binti? I thought it was one of the worst short story I read in years.

10/10 would not recommend based on how toxic plot was.

That's the thing though. Your stats don't come from a background of people who read 50/50 authored books.

How do I know what I like? Because I skim huge amounts of books. I DNF a ton of stuff, by men and women alike. I only read what catches my eye.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Peat on November 26, 2016, 11:14:03 PM
But what if there simply aren't that many female authors interested in those sub-genres as compared to others?

Rough stats again, but -

The Speculative Herald lists 3 books in Epic its search by genre (probably needs updating). Two of them have a female author or a female co-author. They have 123 under Fantasy - its a grab bag, but plenty of the names are familiar as being in the rough genre people look for - and 54 of them have a female author or co-author.

Note - I haven't gone through the list in fine detail but there is a separate category for Urban Fantasy. I don't think there is particular overlap and in any case it only has 14, of which 7 are by female authors. That fantasy list is not being changed by Urban Fantasy. I don't read every SH review but I can't say I see much PR there ever.

Further rough data - we've got a database of 338 female authors on this forum in the google docs spreadsheet - http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/women-write-fantasy-(the-giant-'women-in-fantasy'-database)/. 72 of them have a genre tag. The most of them is for Epic with 37. Urban is next with 26. Paranormal turns up 4. Given the biases of this forum and those mostly contributing to the list, I think its more likely than the majority of those names listed without a genre tag are closer to Epic/High/Heroic etc.etc. than Urban/Romance etc.etc.

Going through that thread and picking out a few things the posters were then talking about that are relevant here -

"It's hard to get statistics on the actual number of publications of SF and fantasy by gender. It's even harder to break it down into subgenres, because there is a certain amount of subjectivity and disagreement about these. But approximately 40% of the members of the SFWA are women. Of course, there are plenty professional SF and F writers of both gender who are not in this organization. No idea if the numbers are representative or not.

Since 1970, women have won nearly 40% of the Hugo awards for best novel, and 34% of the Nebulas. In the past twenty years, 40% of the Hugo winners and 50% of the nebula winners have been women.

I don't think women who write SF and F are that few and far between. Strange Horizons magazine participates in something called the count (an analysis of how literary coverage is affected by gender of the author), which suggests that SF and F novels written by women are less likely to be reviewed or discussed on book blogs."

"There are more male writers represented on display tables in bookshops, and in promotional emails (Juliet E. McKenna has done a lot of work on this) so when you're thinking of books to read, well, more books by male writers will tend to pop into your head."

This is rough quick research but I'm simply not seeing a lack of women writing the type of fantasy we talk about most here. I'm willing to believe there's not equal representation in terms of people who want to write this, but not the sort of disparity you'd expect with lists of recommendations where female authors make up 10-20pc.

Lol @Peat someone recommended Okorafor to you? Binti? I thought it was one of the worst short story I read in years.

10/10 would not recommend based on how toxic plot was.

That's the thing though. Your stats don't come from a background of people who read 50/50 authored books.

How do I know what I like? Because I skim huge amounts of books. I DNF a ton of stuff, by men and women alike. I only read what catches my eye.

Not Binti.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'people who read 50/50 authored books'. Nor do I know how you can be certain about the people who gave me the recommendations.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on November 26, 2016, 11:27:55 PM
I meant that none of us have viable statistics on the authors we read. Aka, the certainty that we read 50% male and 50% female authors.
So if, say 70%, of the people who recommended you books have a rough 60-70% male inclined authors history of reading, the fact that these people recommend of majority of male authors is normal.
Someone who only reads female authors would be loath to recommend you any guys...

That's what I meant. And since we don't even know our own stats...
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on November 26, 2016, 11:38:53 PM
Yea, that data is very rough and very small, it's hard to make a conclusion.

Regarding SF and F in general, there isn't a lack of authors, but there might be on certain sub-genres.
Lack in one sub-genre may be balanced by an overflow on another, for both genders. Even if it looks like there isn't a lack of authors present it doesn't mean there is a lot either regarding compared proportions. And that might be to other inclinations.

Hm, I will see what I can dig up later.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on November 27, 2016, 01:10:02 AM
Spent some time doing some searches today. It's harder to find data for this than I thought and I didn't exactly find what I was looking for. Still got some interesting results.

First, a Reddit list of favorite books/series written by female authors. It doesn't say the sub-genres, but probably more complete or better recommended. Since a lot of people directly search for this, here it goes:
 Fantasy Reddit Top Female Authored Series Books - Results (https://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comments/3g6azg/rfantasys_top_female_authored_seriesbooks_results/)

I actually managed to find some data from a big publisher (Tor.com). Full article here: Sexism in genre publishing: A publisher's perspective (http://www.torbooks.co.uk/blog/2013/07/10/sexism-in-genre-publishing-a-publishers-perspective#more-10359=)

The interesting part is this:

Quote
I'm just one of a fair few female editors in this particular area. My colleagues (and competitors) are a set of brilliant, intelligent and hard-working women, who have loved genre since they were kids, have fought their way through the ranks, have extensive lists, love their jobs and don't compromise on the quality of fiction they publish. To name but a few there's Bella Pagan who works with me at Tor UK,  Gillian Redfearn at Gollancz, Anne Clarke at Orbit, Jo Fletcher at Jo Fletcher Books, Jane Johnson and Emma Coode at Voyager, Cath Trechman at Titan and Anne Perry over at Hodder.

That means that every genre publisher in the UK has female commissioning editors and 90% of the genre imprints here are actually run by women. So you can imagine there's a slight sense of frustration each time I see yet another article claiming that UK publishers are biased towards male writers. And I do wonder if those writing the pieces are aware who is actually commissioning these authors?

The sad fact is, we can't publish what we're not submitted. Tor UK has an open submission policy - as a matter of curiosity we went through it recently to see what the ratio of male to female writers was and what areas they were writing in. The percentages supplied are from the five hundred submissions that we've been submitted since the end of January. It makes for some interesting reading. The facts are, out of 503 submissions - only 32% have been from female writers.

(https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/18tkbrf5ked5ujpg.jpg)

And Gollancz said pretty much the same thing:

Quote
A slew of responses to Crisp's post revealed that the gender gap extends beyond Tor UK. Gillian Redfearn, Deputy Publishing Director of Gollancz, a second major UK-based publishing house, said in a tweet, "I am looking at the sales for the past year in SF/F. Only 25% of the top 20 titles are by women. In the top 50 and 100 titles, it's 23%."

Then I found this one which shows percentage of male/female reviews, but it's in Australia, but it provides some interesting comparisons (plenty of graphics - but important to say it's about all genres, not just Fantasy): Data That Shows Female Writers Don't Get a Fair Run (https://www.crikey.com.au/2012/03/09/the-data-that-shows-female-writers-dont-get-a-fair-run/)

The article says "Fair Run", but if there are less submissions by female authors (with even less getting published), then most publications having more reviews of male authors is an expected consequence. Again, it's a curious comparison, but at the same time the data doesn't cover only SF/F, and it's on another country.

Then found this one with extra observations: Literature's Gender Gap (http://www.salon.com/2011/02/09/women_literary_publishing/)

Quote
Franklin, who was chagrined to find that only 33 percent of the books she reviewed last year were by women, concluded that “magazines are reviewing female authors in something close to the proportion of books by women published each year. The question now becomes why more books by women are not getting published.” Since publishing a book tends to burnish the reputation of a reviewer or essayist (just as publishing well-received reviews and essays in journals can lead to a book contract), the two situations are certainly intertwined.

The imbalance in books published is indeed a puzzle; book publishers, like any other business, want to make money, and multiple surveys indicate that women buy and read far more books than men do. (This fact has long been established within the book business, but since some Salon readers have questioned it in the past, please see the National Endowment for the Arts “Reading at Risk” report.) If women were only — or even primarily — interested in books by women, the logic of the marketplace would dictate that publishers should release more titles by female authors.

And here’s where we have to get anecdotal. There’s really no hard data on how many books by male authors are read by women readers and vice versa, nor are we likely to ever see any. But try this: Ask six bookish friends — three men and three women — to list their favorite authors or favorite books, without explaining your motivation. Then see how many male authors the women list and whether the men list any female authors at all.

I wish I could find more publishing houses data like this, or at least from Tor US, since the market there is the biggest. And one article is from Tor.UK, the other from Australia, all three from different years (and A LOT changed in 4-5 years).

I'm pretty damn sure there was a thread in Reddit about data of 2014 or 2015 that showed women outselling men (and that UF wasn't so heavily female favored), but I can't find it and I'm too tired. Anyway, happy hunting for those interested!
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on November 27, 2016, 01:13:22 AM
Okay, so what about Goodreads, the home of book lists, voted on by fellow readers by the hundreds of thousands? Don't we all go there sometimes to look for a catchy blurb?

Of all places, the Dystopian and post Apocalyptic list ( https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/47.Best_Dystopian_and_Post_Apocalyptic_Fiction ) has 6 women authors out of the first 15.

I tried to count, and found 36 female authors, out of 89 total authors (I counted each repeat author as unique, male or female, that outed a lot of Stephen King).

I reckon that's an impressive number, given the genre. Yet, I would not read some of these women, mostly because the blurb of some of their work doesn't appeal to me at all.
But then again I can't stand Stephen King.
Consider! There is also the matter of productivity. King wrote SO many books (like a tidal plague), he's voted for on every list. If you appeal to the masses and they have a hundred works to pick from, you're bound to unbalance recommendations.

Anyway, I'm sure each list has its own balances.

Now, the Best Paranormal Romances list, which annoys us all every years since it sometimes falls under fantasy : https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/397.Best_Paranormal_Romance_Series

Do you know how many are female authors in the first 100?

100

Not a single male author.

I went on and looked on page two. First male author is number 134. Obviously many women are cited several times, so we can be super generous and say that maybe, there is one male author recommended in a hundred, in a list where 11,763 people voted. AND that guy published under an ambiguous name, Pittacus Lore, and has a gender-free picture on his profile and no author information on his website. I had to google the name to ascertain it's a pseudonym belonging to a guy.

Who is out there taking care of that injustice? Who cares? Who wonders how hard it can be for a guy to be taken seriously if he tries to publish PR? Is it? Or is it assumed that men can't write PR as well? Is it like with nurses, who suffer from sexist discrimination in favour of women (9/10)?

Should we make efforts in recommending more men in the fields that see few of them, or only focus on women?

What about Self Pub? Can anyone (amazon??) get data on the genre of the new SFF author who go self pub each year? Because wouldn't that be the best way to establish a form of stat based on people who "finished a work", "decided it to be ready for public eyes" and also didn't have to go through traditional publishing houses?
What should we do as SFF fans if it turned out that 70% of self published SFF authors on amazon are dudes?

[Thanks Lanko for covering all of that above]

I'm not asking this sarcastically. I'm a 100%, non-laughing serious, because author gender equality is something I think about 0% of the time. I hardly know the name of a writer when I read his/her first book after seeing a catchy blurb. I often have to use goodreads to reference names when I want to recommend a work.
I'm not bothered by the whole topic, at all. So my queries are honest. I'm curious as to what people who are bothered by this think of such eventualities.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Rostum on November 27, 2016, 01:54:50 AM
@Lanko I wish I could like your post twice! I was slowly gathering up the same information as this line of thinking annoys me.
If I pay money for a book or invest time in reading it surely I have some entitlement to the best experience possible and do not need to be guilt tripped into second thinking myself as to whether I am in some way not being fair to female authors. Likewise if a publishing house gets only a third of submissions from women authors they are under no obligation to publish a greater percentage of those submissions than those they receive from male authors to balance this up.

@Nora As for PR I would expect at least 90%+ of the readers are female as well. I wonder if any of your hundred are male authors using female pen names? It sells well and seems to be a good way of recycling the same story and selling it several times over as romance books did for years. prolific but not necessarily talented writers can make a very good living out of producing pulp.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on November 27, 2016, 02:00:34 AM
@Rostum, we could click on all the author profiles and see. Most of them have portraits of the author and almost always it'll be a blond lady (jokingly stereotyping, plenty of brunettes as well...)
I'm sure there are men, and quite a few men write regular romance with success. Then again, it's a vote based list, not a sales based list.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: cupiscent on November 27, 2016, 10:39:07 AM
If people recommend few female authors, then fewer female authors have big hits, so publishers get a little warier on female authors because they don't sell fantastically, so fewer female authors are published, so fewer up-and-coming female authors see themselves represented in the genre, so fewer women submit their novels (or they go off to write romance), so fewer are published, so there are fewer to recommend, so...

What I find particularly interesting about this:

(https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/18tkbrf5ked5ujpg.jpg)

...is the almost exact same numbers reversed for SFF and YA. And I wonder if that's because fantasy featuring a female coming-of-age is likely to be sold as YA, whereas a similar male coming-of-age is likely to be straight SFF. For instance, Blake Charlton's Spellwright and Paul Hoffman's The Left Hand of God were both basically YA, but not published as such. Whereas, say, Miriam Forster's City of a Thousand Dolls was published as YA, but has precisely the same crossover audience big fantasy appeal. Never mind the Belgariad, or Magician, or all the other classics. A young man's journey to manhood is traditional fantasy territory. A young woman's is YA. (And I wonder if that, in turn, might be because women of all ages will read YA, but men mostly won't. I don't know, I'm just speculating.)

First, a Reddit list of favorite books/series written by female authors. It doesn't say the sub-genres, but probably more complete or better recommended. Since a lot of people directly search for this, here it goes:
 Fantasy Reddit Top Female Authored Series Books - Results (https://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comments/3g6azg/rfantasys_top_female_authored_seriesbooks_results/)

That's a fantastic list. Regarding sub-genres, 50% of the top twenty are epic fantasy, and at first glance I'd say the rest of list is at least the same percentage, and a substantial portion of the rest of it is historical fantasy, urban fantasy mostly of the no-sex-please-we're-british variety (surprised to see Anne Rice on there, I would've called her horror), and other speculative miscellany.

Should we make efforts in recommending more men in the fields that see few of them?

Yes. If you read romance and make romance recommendations, it would be absolutely fantastic to see more attention being paid to male authors in the genre. Maybe if we can get a little gender parity in that genre, the severity and frequency of people talking down to it and its readers will reduce.

But the question here is: do we consider female authors enough when making recommendations in spec fic?

And yes, I care. Then again, I'm biased: I'm a female wannabe author. I hope that if I write a good book, I will have an equal chance of getting word-of-mouth sales traffic, and not just from the forums where I'm a member.

I still honestly don't see what's so onerous about taking a moment, when making recommendations, to consider whether there are also/more ladies whose works might be appropriate for the list. If that leads to you considering or even reading more female-written fantasy, that's a bonus! But seriously, read whatever you like. No one's saying otherwise.

Though if people do want to extend their reading, we could offer recommendations for female authors based on other favourites?
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on November 27, 2016, 12:27:35 PM
Interesting idea, the thought that coming of age stories for girls are seen as YA instead of F.
Back in the day, a girl's coming of age story was likely to be a fairytale (a word that annoys me, since in French we have a clear distinction between "un conte" and "un conte de fées". So little red riding hood is a "tale", not a fairytale to us) and nowadays fairytales would fall into horror, no questions asked.
However things like Carey's Girl with all the Gifts seems to be put in horror, rather than SF or F. Isn't defining genre a thing done by publishers?

As an aspiring female author myself (though publication still has some fuzziness in its concept since I'm still to finish a piece to properly submit) I fail to be concerned, but maybe that's also because I'm not into coming of age stories, or stories that end well for the main character, or high fantasy in any form.
I assume female authors suffer in grimdark and horror as well, but publishers seem to be keen to receive more female authored work. Also we're talking about recommendation ratios, not reading. Are the female authors less read than the male ones?
Because as far as I'm concerned, recommendations are a small part of what I read. But from personal experience, quite a few female authors I've read came from recommendations here, with Becky Chambers, Naomi Novik, whoever wrote the Labirynthe of the Drakes, etc.


One thing I'm wary of is the idea that women would actually "give up" writing Sff and go on to write romances. How passionate are you, if you'd give up for the easy way out? I mean, it all depends on the people, but I'm here to write the dark stories I like, not just any pulpy thing that'll get published.
Maybe some people want to be authors, and have a list of fields they prefer, and will go do some PR if Grimdark doesn't welcome them, but I think I'd be rather offended if anyone hinted that I might ever do that myself if faced with adversity.
I mean, especially nowadays with self pub made so easy.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: stevenpoore on November 27, 2016, 02:42:39 PM
If people recommend few female authors, then fewer female authors have big hits, so publishers get a little warier on female authors because they don't sell fantastically, so fewer female authors are published, so fewer up-and-coming female authors see themselves represented in the genre, so fewer women submit their novels (or they go off to write romance), so fewer are published, so there are fewer to recommend, so...

What I find particularly interesting about this:

(https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/18tkbrf5ked5ujpg.jpg)

...is the almost exact same numbers reversed for SFF and YA. And I wonder if that's because fantasy featuring a female coming-of-age is likely to be sold as YA, whereas a similar male coming-of-age is likely to be straight SFF. For instance, Blake Charlton's Spellwright and Paul Hoffman's The Left Hand of God were both basically YA, but not published as such. Whereas, say, Miriam Forster's City of a Thousand Dolls was published as YA, but has precisely the same crossover audience big fantasy appeal. Never mind the Belgariad, or Magician, or all the other classics. A young man's journey to manhood is traditional fantasy territory. A young woman's is YA. (And I wonder if that, in turn, might be because women of all ages will read YA, but men mostly won't. I don't know, I'm just speculating.)

First, a Reddit list of favorite books/series written by female authors. It doesn't say the sub-genres, but probably more complete or better recommended. Since a lot of people directly search for this, here it goes:
 Fantasy Reddit Top Female Authored Series Books - Results (https://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comments/3g6azg/rfantasys_top_female_authored_seriesbooks_results/)

That's a fantastic list. Regarding sub-genres, 50% of the top twenty are epic fantasy, and at first glance I'd say the rest of list is at least the same percentage, and a substantial portion of the rest of it is historical fantasy, urban fantasy mostly of the no-sex-please-we're-british variety (surprised to see Anne Rice on there, I would've called her horror), and other speculative miscellany.

Should we make efforts in recommending more men in the fields that see few of them?

Yes. If you read romance and make romance recommendations, it would be absolutely fantastic to see more attention being paid to male authors in the genre. Maybe if we can get a little gender parity in that genre, the severity and frequency of people talking down to it and its readers will reduce.

But the question here is: do we consider female authors enough when making recommendations in spec fic?

And yes, I care. Then again, I'm biased: I'm a female wannabe author. I hope that if I write a good book, I will have an equal chance of getting word-of-mouth sales traffic, and not just from the forums where I'm a member.

I still honestly don't see what's so onerous about taking a moment, when making recommendations, to consider whether there are also/more ladies whose works might be appropriate for the list. If that leads to you considering or even reading more female-written fantasy, that's a bonus! But seriously, read whatever you like. No one's saying otherwise.

Though if people do want to extend their reading, we could offer recommendations for female authors based on other favourites?
Yes, all of that. Said better than I can. & said better than I have. :)

I absolutely agree with earlier posters who said that thinking about female authors when making recommendations shouldn't be an issue, and that it should be a level playing field. But the operative term here is should. Because it is still an issue. If it wasn't then the first five names that come to mind when folk make their recommendations wouldn't be the same five names all of the time.

Thank you all for opening up the discussion on here. :)
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on November 27, 2016, 02:53:38 PM
I'm not familiar with YA or Spellbright, but damn, The Left Hand of God as YA? No way...

The book features three teen boys that live locked up in a military monastery, true, but right into the first or second chapter there's some priests dissecting a girl alive, then a city ruled by some mutant guy with a torture dungeon, it's has plenty of vulgar profanity, graphic violence and I think plenty of graphic sex too (one of the teens even has a kid with a teen girl too).

Around here it was even advertised as having the hype of a "new Harry Potter". My big fucking surprise when I started reading and how anyone on their sane minds would recommend it for all ages, much less compare it to HP. The story doesn't even have magic.

And from what I know YA is separated from traditional SF/F mostly on the usage of those elements (and the exploration of certain themes) rather than just the character's age. Joe Abercrombie wrote an YA series, I haven't read it yet, but I heard he had to use some elements expected of the genre and drop others that "wouldn't fit".
Prince of Thorns has Jorg as 14 and flashbacks when he is 10, but yea, I wouldn't definitely wouldn't put that targeted mostly for a YA audience...

I read one article or one comment that women were deliberately switching to YA and they listed their reasons, I will try to get that later.
I don't doubt there may be some publisher mumbo jumbo, but mostly it seems a conscious choice. YA is also broader and bigger in audience.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Eclipse on November 27, 2016, 02:55:22 PM
Hello Steven ,What are the first five names, I think we recommend quite diverse here and no one recommends bakker ;-) even I its a bit more male dominant I don't think we say the same names all the time it depends on what the poster asked for.

Someone reads you blog here ;-)


Quite interesting discussion
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on November 27, 2016, 03:31:40 PM
Quote
Because it is still an issue. If it wasn't then the first five names that come to mind when folk make their recommendations wouldn't be the same five names all of the time.

Yeah, what are the first five name?
Because if I had to recommend only 5 names in SFF, I fancy there would be a few women authors, and no Brent Weeks, no Cook, no Wolfe, No Lawrence, No King, No Gaiman, not even Pratchet. I haven't read a single book by any of them besides Weeks, and Weeks' work I ended up DNFing due to dissolution in messy boringness.
I have a feeling not everyone would give the same top 5 names. Even on our forum here some pagans refuse to see the superiority of Sanderson (cough), or Robert Bennett Jackson (cough cough).

Also, in general, I don't see why we make an issue of individual people needing to be fair and equality minded when it comes to sharing their taste with others. Numbers prove that we can hardly be fair in our reading without making a special effort, since SFF is unbalanced in what is published, due to unbalance as to what is even submitted.
Websites and blogs who want to cover the topic and hand out recommendations are the one who ought to make an effort. If people want to lay down blame, maybe we can start by seeing how many women authors are casually found on the recommended lists of sites like tor.com.
They are a media, and have active comment sections. They take on the responsibility of representing a publishing house, and interact with fans of their own published authors, etc.
I don't personally owe to anyone to be more careful on what I read. I owe to myself to read quality, and it's my never ending quest, regardless of the nationality or gender of the author. I've stated before that I have a strong dislike for seeing what authors even look like, or what they believe in. People like Sanderson personally put me off, with his face, his squeaky voice, and his religious views. I prefer to read a book and judge a author by it. I'd be just as happy if books all came with generic fake author names of a 3rd gender and everyone published refered to as "xe".
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: ultamentkiller on November 27, 2016, 03:47:12 PM
If people recommend few female authors, then fewer female authors have big hits, so publishers get a little warier on female authors because they don't sell fantastically, so fewer female authors are published, so fewer up-and-coming female authors see themselves represented in the genre, so fewer women submit their novels (or they go off to write romance), so fewer are published, so there are fewer to recommend, so...
This looks like a long, complicated string to basically accuse us readers of this problem. and apart of that string is saying that books only sell well if they're recommended. So what's your definition of recommended? Is a Goodreads rating not a form of recommendation? Is a review not a type of recommendation? Or is a recommendation only someone telling you that you should read x?
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Raptori on November 27, 2016, 03:58:52 PM
If people recommend few female authors, then fewer female authors have big hits, so publishers get a little warier on female authors because they don't sell fantastically, so fewer female authors are published, so fewer up-and-coming female authors see themselves represented in the genre, so fewer women submit their novels (or they go off to write romance), so fewer are published, so there are fewer to recommend, so...
This looks like a long, complicated string to basically accuse us readers of this problem. and apart of that string is saying that books only sell well if they're recommended. So what's your definition of recommended? Is a Goodreads rating not a form of recommendation? Is a review not a type of recommendation? Or is a recommendation only someone telling you that you should read x?
It's not laying blame at anyone's feet, it's saying that it's a cycle with no one point at fault. Several (any?) of those points could be changed - publishers could deliberately publish more women for example - and as a result the entire cycle would change, and over time the gender balance would shift.

The points over which readers have the most control are the books they decide to read and the books they recommend. Therefore, any reader who percieves a bias in the subgenre and wants it to change should read and recommend more books by female authors, and encourage others to do the same. Hence threads like this one!  :)
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on November 27, 2016, 04:09:37 PM
What to do with the problem of Lanko's good links, which prove that publishers often receive far less female authored manuscripts?
Publishers of Horror would be loath to reach equality if they truly only receive 17% written by women. What if we made manuscript submission anonymous? And if at the end, the chosen work were still the same representation because there still were so few women interested in writing horror?

In the Horror Goodreads list, I'm pissed to see King recommended SIX times in the first 10 books of the list. If we only count him as first recommendation, then Shirley Jackson is fourth on that recommendation list in Horror. The sixth, seventh and eighth are all women, Shelley, Rice, and Levin.
Not bad for a genre that some publishers say they receive only 17%. Must mean that women can do great at it, regardless of how few they are. And indeed the list sees repeats of Rice or Jackson's name but not many others in diversity.
It still irks me to see that much King. Gotta educate the masses! Upvote Red Dragon! \o/
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: cupiscent on November 27, 2016, 07:43:46 PM
Oh, I thought the original start post of this discussion shared a link to the blog post in question, but I see that it didn't. Let's actually get everyone on the same page: Here is Steven Poore's brief blog post (https://stevenpoore.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/every-forum-ever/).
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Eclipse on November 27, 2016, 08:23:02 PM
To be honest I think his visiting the wrong fantasy forums, when there not even recommending  female author at all and recommending Bakker ;-) (sorry gem)

Aren't we lucky to have found this forum. This discussion  would have gone hostile elsewhere probably.


And I believe on this forum we all read different stuff and read widely that's why our recommendations are not just the same five on this forum.


If we did have a 5 here it probably be

Scott Lynch
Robin Hobb
Jen Williams
Scott Lynch
Scott Lynch


 

Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Mehman on November 27, 2016, 08:58:56 PM
I'm actually more confused now that I've read that blog post. Am I supposed to go out of my way to include a female author or two on my 10 Most Anticipated list when their particular stories don't interest me to please someone else? Is it "shame on me" for not reading enough female authors? What if the books I've read in the past that were written by a female author were DNFs for me - am I supposed to want to read her new work but, if I don't, that says I'm a bigoted misogynist?

I'm so confuzzled...
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nighteyes on November 27, 2016, 09:01:26 PM
I do seem to read more male writers, yet I have female writers I heart big time.  Robin Hobb, Ursula LeGuin, Hilary Mantell.  So I don't think it's me being put off by a writer being female, I don't even consider the gender of the author when choosing a book.  Just purely more males get published.  Which should have alarm bells ringing.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Peat on November 27, 2016, 10:27:04 PM
Gotcha. No, I don't know in what proportion of M/F my respondents read. I'm not sure it matters. Either their recommendations follow their reading pattern and there's a problem with readers ever even reading female authors - or they don't, and female authors are being pushed less and stick less in the mind when it comes to recommendations. Either way, there seems to a problem somewhere here; at least there is by my lights.

Now, that we don't have 50/50 representation in submissions to the genre or authors in the genre seems to be very likely. The figure of 1/3s women to 2/3s men Lanko gave us from Tor sounds reasonable - and thank you Lanko for finding those numbers, really helpful.

My overall list contained a third female authors. But my list stripped of the outliers came up below 20%. Other lists of similar vein came below 20%. My small sample suggests that female authors are not being recommended as heavily as male authors, even allowing for the fact there's more male authors.

Lets make the sample bigger. I searched recommendations and went counting on every useable thread on the first page. Where the tone of recommendation being asked for isn't obvious from the URL, I've added it.

In the 17 threads, we've recommended 233 male authors and 136 female authors at least one time in a discrete thread. Cool. That's about where it should be.

That drops to 192 male authors and 69 female authors if we take out the threads asking for Strong Female Characters. That's not so cool but, at a bit over a quarter, its better than some of the numbers I was seeing elsewhere.

If we look at the threads where people are asking for female characters/asking for a woman/provide a favourites list of mainly female authors, then 4 of them hit a third of female authors and only 1 below. When people just asked for fantasy recommendations, then 4 of them had female authors making up a third and 8 not.

And in the couple of threads where people were mainly given UF or asked for a YA, there were 17 recommendations for male authors and 9 for female authors. Sure that's better than straight fantasy, but it doesn't represent the numbers Lanko gave for Tor submissions. This is a titchy teeny sample but it fits the general pattern that recommendations for women < number of women in the genre. The only time that's not the case is if people specifically ask for Female Leads, or books for a Woman.

And with twenty threads now looked at here, I'm beginning to feel that's a reasonable sample to be working with. I'm sure making it bigger would be better, or looking at other forums, or maybe some of the lists on BFB or elsewhere, but its looking pretty likely that we'll start seeing the same pattern.


Finally - No one is seeking to call anyone a bigot. No one is seeking to make anyone feel bad. The idea is to call out a pattern that deprives us of knowing the best in the genre because there's not a fair playing field. What people do with that information is up to them.

The numbers/links.

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/recommendations-on-light-fantasy-novels/msg140383/#msg140383 - 13M/6F

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/book-recommendations-9319/msg137700/#msg137700 (Angels/Devils theme) - 7/0 (6 UF)

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/desperate-for-book-recommendations/ (Adult Romance subplot preferred, 2/3 female authors in favourite authors) - 13/7 - but 4 of the recommendations for female authors came from MagiSensei. Remove them and its 13/3

Weeks, Butcher, Aaronovitch, Abercrombie, Wooding, Sanderson, Nix, Stroud, Wexler, Karpyshyn, Hearne, McClellan, Sullivan,

Carey, Hobb, Aaron, Briggs, Resnick, Harris, Pierce (all 4 MagiSensei), Garlick

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/recommendations-for-a-returning-wanderer/ (last book loved Hobb's Dragon Haven) - 14/5

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/recommend-some-good-comic-fantasy/15/ - 17/1

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/recommend-some-dungeon-crawl-novels/ - 11/4

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/author-recommendations/ (Sanderson/Abercrombie/Lynch given as favourites) - 34/11

Full list with number of times recommended

Lawrence3, Wooding, Weeks5, Sullivan2, Watson, Marshall, Fletcher, Staveley, McClellan4, Wells, Butcher2, Scull, Hulick3, Cook2, De Castell, Polansky, Gilman, Bennett, Martin, Tolkien, Jordan, Abercrombie, Rothfuss2, Sanderson, Kay, Lynch2, Abraham, Austin-King, Gwynne, Hearne2, Wendig, DeLint, Brust, Zelazny

Hobb3, Williams, Jemisin, Elliot, Aaron, West, Jones, Jones, Canavan, Dawson/Bowen, Hurley

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/recommend-me-something!/ (Strong female lead required) - 7/13 (Arry and Mr J give majority of recommendations in this thread)

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/book-recommendations!/msg83030/#msg83030 (Rothfuss/Sanderson/Gaiman/Tolkien listed as favourites - 14/7 (6 came from MagiSensei, so remove those recommendations and its 11/1)

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/hi-and-please-recommend-)/msg91368/#msg91368 (Completed, Clear Magic) - 8/5

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/introduction-and-recommendation-request/msg117503/#msg117503 (??) - 6/1 (Mainly MagiSensei)

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/looking-for-an-adventure/msg135057/#msg135057 (Adventure) - 7/5 (6/1 without MagiSensei)

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/book-recommendation/msg129029/#msg129029 (New to fantasy, standard fantasy) - 14/2

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/need-some-suggestions-recommendations/ (Loves Magicians/Sorcerers, Shorter) - 11/2

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/asking-for-your-recommendations/msg8465/#msg8465 (2011, gifts for 15 year old girl) - 11/9 (ignoring the anime recommendations as I'm lazy)

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/on-the-prowl-for-some-recommendations/ - (Standard Fantasy) - 11/3

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/recommendations-7154/msg91422/#msg91422 (non-gritty non-European non-Good/Evil) - 8/6 (Only 4 people recommended (why do yinz hate Raptori and not give recommendations?) and removing Cupiscent gives 7/2)

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/recommendations-for-strong-female-characters/ - 33/54

Full list

Yong, Bell, Abercrombie2, Sullivan2, Sanderson5, Brett2, Mieville3, Eddings2, Weis/Hickman2, King, Pratchett2, Mitchell, Silverberg, Feist/Wurts, Butcher2, Aaronovitch, Zusak, Williams, Clemen, Marmell2, Heinlein, Jordan2, Nix, Durham, Norton, Hines, Weeks, Martin, Gwynne, Fforde, Pullman, Wooding, Wexler

Pierce2, Sebold2, McGuire, Cherryh2, Kiernan, Douglass3, Le Guin, Hurley, Morgan, Canavan4, Cooper, Hawkins, Eddings2, Weis/Hickman2, Feist/Wurts, May, Bujold2, Snyder, Cashore, Priest, Elliott, Sedia, Okarafor, Buroker, Miyabe, Fallon, Hambly2, McKenna, Wilson, Saintcrow, Ballantine, Chan, Morgenstern, Marks, Maas, Moon2, Martin, Britain, Rardin, Carey, Kiernan, LeFevre, Lackey, Forsyth, Herbert, McKinley, Rosseau-Murphy, Sagara, Williams, Hobb, Turner, Kimbriel, Osborne
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: cupiscent on November 27, 2016, 11:58:20 PM
Holy moly, fantastic work Peat. And well said.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: stevenpoore on November 27, 2016, 11:59:43 PM

Finally - No one is seeking to call anyone a bigot. No one is seeking to make anyone feel bad. The idea is to call out a pattern that deprives us of knowing the best in the genre because there's not a fair playing field. What people do with that information is up to them.

Yep, that. & I should probably qualify the "first five names" comment by saying that it's more often the F-F Facebook discussion group than this forum that I'm thinking of. Even then, looking through the most recent threads now, the recommendations are actually more varied than they've been in the past.

I'm certainly not calling anyone a bigot or calling their intelligence into question. (If you read the post that way then I apologise unreservedly.) And while I understand that bestselling authors will be shouted up far more than the midlist and beyond, I'm really just looking for a bit more breadth in what is after all a really broad genre.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: The Gem Cutter on November 28, 2016, 12:53:22 AM
Terrific research, and appreciate the time and energy invested. But I am confused and do not see a clear take-away, and I am not arguing here or contending anything. Statistics and analysis are well and good - but they fry my brain, so if there's a clear takeaway, it's invisible to me.

Trends mean nothing to me; my only interests are  the specifics: can someone tell me what terrific titles or authors are not being included? For me, fiction is a genderless product, and I am seeking quality. Can someone look at the list we recently totaled together over the course of weeks and point out all the woman-written books that should have been on that list but weren't for whatever reason?

Regarding the statement of the playing field not being level - which one(s)? Our recommendations, the genre they reflect, or what? Are publishers keeping women out?

My last question is mostly rhetorical, but perhaps not. Historically, female writers have long disguised their gender in order to be taken seriously. I think this is fading or gone, but I am not sure. Many men writing in Romance still hide/lie about their gender, or say they're part of a male/female team (perhaps true, maybe not). If there is significant bias in Fantasy, are there women hiding behind / coming out from behind false male personas or writing in m/f teams? I am not suggesting the logical fallacy that the absence of many women doing this means there isn't bias, but I am just curious why female writers would abandon a successful coping strategy if the bias persists.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: cupiscent on November 28, 2016, 05:50:43 AM
I think we've sort of covered this stuff, so to get quote-happy...

Can someone look at the list we recently totaled together over the course of weeks and point out all the woman-written books that should have been on that list but weren't for whatever reason?

Well, perhaps...
First, a Reddit list of favorite books/series written by female authors. It doesn't say the sub-genres, but probably more complete or better recommended. Since a lot of people directly search for this, here it goes:
 Fantasy Reddit Top Female Authored Series Books - Results (https://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comments/3g6azg/rfantasys_top_female_authored_seriesbooks_results/)
Or we could try the activity again with only female-authored books. That might be fun!

---
Regarding the statement of the playing field not being level - which one(s)? Our recommendations, the genre they reflect, or what? Are publishers keeping women out?

If people recommend few female authors, then fewer female authors have big hits, so publishers get a little warier on female authors because they don't sell fantastically, so fewer female authors are published, so fewer up-and-coming female authors see themselves represented in the genre, so fewer women submit their novels (or they go off to write romance), so fewer are published, so there are fewer to recommend, so...

It's not laying blame at anyone's feet, it's saying that it's a cycle with no one point at fault. Several (any?) of those points could be changed - publishers could deliberately publish more women for example - and as a result the entire cycle would change, and over time the gender balance would shift.

The points over which readers have the most control are the books they decide to read and the books they recommend. Therefore, any reader who percieves a bias in the subgenre and wants it to change should read and recommend more books by female authors, and encourage others to do the same. Hence threads like this one!  :)

---
My last question is mostly rhetorical, but perhaps not. Historically, female writers have long disguised their gender in order to be taken seriously. I think this is fading or gone, but I am not sure. [...] If there is significant bias in Fantasy, are there women hiding behind / coming out from behind false male personas or writing in m/f teams?

Robin Hobb picked Robin deliberately for a pen name because its androgynous (and her career was not plain sailing as Megan Lindholm). Joanne Rowling writes as JK Rowling - gender neutral

Also I believe NK Jemisin writes under initials partly to offer no immediate grip for gender and allow a reader to default to male if they are inclined.
I'm curious as to how many folk have thought Kameron Hurley male at some point.
I see Mazarkis Williams on the big spreadsheet of female authors, and am curious about the name choice.
And Magnus Flyte (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6456015.Magnus_Flyte) is two women.

That's just off the top of my head. Though I like to think, in this modern age, we're less hiding and more fighting.

I'll also add here that I found the speculation about KJ Parker's identity (and gender) to be absolutely fascinating because of all this stuff. Many people - myself included - assumed that because the author bio played pronoun games (i.e. didn't use any, therefore obscuring gender) that the author must actually be female, because otherwise why would you do that?
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Eclipse on November 28, 2016, 06:15:30 AM
I wish to point out if someone already recommend a name I don't normally repeat the name (both genders) maybe I should start also I don't always post in recommendation threads.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Peat on November 28, 2016, 07:40:10 AM
By and large, I don't know which female authors aren't getting recommended when they should. That's sorta the point - female authors don't get pushed as far as their talent deserves meaning people are, by and large and with all due reference to the very well informed, not that aware of them.

Still, here's an interesting way of looking at that question -

http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1117.Best_Fantasy_of_the_80s

The top 100 has 39 books by female authors by my count (Wurts is not credited on GR's page for Daughter of the Empire but should be). How many of those have we read? How many by the guys, how many by the girls? How many of each have we never even heard of?

Personally, outside Weis, Moon, Wurts and Lackey (whose popularity never seems mirrored on the forums I use), I'm shaky as hell on the women. I've heard of a few in passing and that's about it. Oh, and Pierce, missed her. McCaffrey, duh, was scrolling up from bottom. Only one by her on the list, surprised. There's 6 male authors with 7 books between them that I'm not very aware of.

Of course, we can play this game with other decades, I picked the 80s because I know it best. There's 32 or 33 books by female authors in the top 100 for 2010s (sorry, I lost count, and am way too lazy to get detailed at 2 in the morning). Meaningless stat or less female representation in the field? All of the 80s girls are, afaik, considered standard fantasy (save Cooper who I think always wrote for a slightly younger audience). Nowadays, a lot of big names would be considered YA. Go back to the 70s and the top 50 is actually an even gender split. McCaffrey, Cooper, Le Guin and McKillip are heavyweights on that list. I know we're not all reading 70s fantasy but hands up everyone who's read all 4 of those? I only ever heard of McKillip in the last year. L'Engle and McKinley have a few mentions - never heard of either until today. Then there's Tanith Lee and Katherine Kurtz in there with one each, both seriously good authors.

I need to sleep so I should wrap this up and I can't think of a graceful or good way to do so. All of this is food for thought rather than arguments in summation. Nevertheless... ah sod it.

p.s. Undoubtedly part of this is communities tend to parrot the same recommendations, both the genre overall and individual forums. Men can be victims of this as well as women. Example: Here, Jacka gets far less attention than Butcher or Aaronovitch or Hearne or a number of women. I wish I'd counted everything as that would be a cool study. Sadly it would also be examining the trees rather than the wood and also have been cause for my fiancee killing me.

p.p.s.

One thing I'm wary of is the idea that women would actually "give up" writing Sff and go on to write romances. How passionate are you, if you'd give up for the easy way out? I mean, it all depends on the people, but I'm here to write the dark stories I like, not just any pulpy thing that'll get published.
Maybe some people want to be authors, and have a list of fields they prefer, and will go do some PR if Grimdark doesn't welcome them, but I think I'd be rather offended if anyone hinted that I might ever do that myself if faced with adversity.
I mean, especially nowadays with self pub made so easy.

Missed this.

Some of fantasy's greatest authors wrote/write in multiple genres and probably ended up best known as fantasy authors due to it being the path of least resistance. If Robert Jordan's westerns had sold better than his Conan books, I doubt he'd have written the Wheel of Time. If High Hunt had taken off for David Eddings, we may have never seen the Belgariad. Martin wrote a bunch of stuff before Song of Ice and Fire.

It seems pretty likely that other genres have the same tales and that some of them are people who may have been fantasy authors in another life.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lady Ty on November 28, 2016, 08:13:53 AM
Quote
Can someone look at the list we recently totaled together over the course of weeks and point out all the woman-written books that should have been on that list but weren't for whatever reason?
@ The Gem_Cutter

Is this the list you mean?
http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/here-it-is!-the-5-best-modern-fantasy-poll/

 It is important to remember the list and poll were being tailored for you, bearing in mind what you indicated you enjoyed so far, plus a few specifics you were looking for. I don't honestly think it is altogether relevant to this particular discussion. At that point your choice and time to explore had been limited. Our aim was to widen your choices with similar modern fantasy.

For example I would have hesitated to recommend many good female writers such as Marie Brennan, Cat Valente, Helene Wecker, Ailette de Bodard, Susanna Clarke at this particular stage of your reading, as it is more likely you would have come to enjoy those vastly different styles later on.

It was drawn up from this list of nominations that @Raptori compiled  from an original thread by jmack female authors highlighted in red.  Jen Williams and Erin Morgenstern made it through to the final poll, and Jen was in top five.

Quote
Re: Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« Reply #54 on: September 01, 2016, 06:33:40 AM »
Quote
+10

Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch

+8

The Final Empire - Brandon Sanderson

+5

Retribution Falls - Chris Wooding

+4

The Copper Promise - Jen Williams
Prince of Thorns - Mark Lawrence

+3

The Black Prism - Brent Weeks
Storm Front - Jim Butcher
The Way of Kings - Brandon Sanderson

+2

A Shadow In Summer - Daniel Abraham
Going Postal - Terry Pratchett
The Heroes - Joe Abercrombie
The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss
Promise of Blood - Brian McClellan
Under Heaven - Guy Gavriel Kay

+1

Blood Song - Anthony Ryan
The Builders - Daniel Polansky
Control Point - Myke Cole
Elantris - Brandon Sanderson
Fifty Shades of Grey - EL James
Gardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson
Malice - John Gwynne
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern
Perdido Street Station - China Mieville
Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
Theft of Swords - Michael J Sullivan

0

A Darker Shade of Magic - VE Schwab
American Craftsmen - Tom Doyle
The Ballad of Black Tom - Victor LaValle
Blackbirds - Chuck Wendig
The Emperor's Blades - Brian Staveley
Hounded - Kevin Hearne
The House of Shattered Wings - Aliette de Bodard
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke
Low Town - Daniel Polansky
The Red Knight - Miles Cameron
Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
The Warlord Chronicles - Bernard Cornwell

...I think I counted those right.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 07:02:08 AM by Raptori »




Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: stevenpoore on November 28, 2016, 10:25:28 AM
Here's an interesting post I've just seen on Twitter regarding the Guardian's Books of the Year. Laura Waddell has collated who is recommending whom as tally marks, and I think it illustrates what I've (probably poorly) been trying to put across while also showing that it's not just genre fiction that finds this a problem.
https://twitter.com/lauraewaddell/status/802479595287101440 (https://twitter.com/lauraewaddell/status/802479595287101440)

(I can't get the image itself to post, i blame lack of caffeine)
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on November 28, 2016, 11:39:19 AM
One thing I'm wary of is the idea that women would actually "give up" writing Sff and go on to write romances. How passionate are you, if you'd give up for the easy way out? I mean, it all depends on the people, but I'm here to write the dark stories I like, not just any pulpy thing that'll get published.
Maybe some people want to be authors, and have a list of fields they prefer, and will go do some PR if Grimdark doesn't welcome them, but I think I'd be rather offended if anyone hinted that I might ever do that myself if faced with adversity.
I mean, especially nowadays with self pub made so easy.

Missed this.

Some of fantasy's greatest authors wrote/write in multiple genres and probably ended up best known as fantasy authors due to it being the path of least resistance. If Robert Jordan's westerns had sold better than his Conan books, I doubt he'd have written the Wheel of Time. If High Hunt had taken off for David Eddings, we may have never seen the Belgariad. Martin wrote a bunch of stuff before Song of Ice and Fire.

It seems pretty likely that other genres have the same tales and that some of them are people who may have been fantasy authors in another life.

GRRM was publishing Game of Thrones decades before it gained any wide popularity and a show. He wrote some sci fi and some vampire fantasy before GoT too, not a wide genre leap.

However your answer does not entirely cover what I meant.
You point people who managed to get published, but did not get recognition in that genre, hence going for another.

Fine, I also know a guy, the french comic artist Boulet was working on some projects and once made a drunken bet, from which resulted a comic book following a little dragon in a heroic/ironic fantasy setting. He wasn't a great fan of the concept, but it encountered huge success and he was asked for many more.
This being said, his personal blog was published in over 6 books and was even more famous and much closer to what he likes. But it's not like the guy had to drop all he liked or didn't manage to obtain some fame through his true passion.

Saying some women might have gone to write Romance because they failed in SFF is much more different, unless they also don't mind, and they also managed to publish books in their target genre, which did poorly. But then, it's a matter of choice. You can keep writing what you like and hope to get better (one tends to), or do another genre, fine, but... If you've been published once, why wouldn't you manage to get published again after you've gained more experience?
If you never get published in SFF or genral fiction and only manage to pierce in pulp, maybe you're not as good a writer as you thought, however hurtful this might sound. Not every aspiring writer will ever make it though normal publication, but as I said, with the option of self pub, there are no more such excuses. If people change genre and stick to where they get recognition, I'll assume they either enjoy writing it, or they enjoy recognition over writing a genre specifically.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: The Gem Cutter on November 28, 2016, 02:13:05 PM
Thanks all, esp. Lady_Ty - I'll use that list to steer some more research.

I see a very wobbly lack of causality in that "recs-purchases-fewer big hits-warier publishers-fewer women authors-fewer recs for females" loop, so I thought there was something sturdier beneath things. I am not saying it's not true, I can't disprove it, but it's far from proven or even convincing.

I wonder: do women writers tend to prefer/avoid certain plots, characters, settings, situations, outcomes, etc., vs. their male counterparts?  After all, Fantasy is a bizarrely broad genre that can and does include everything from romance, political, military, etc. ingredients, operating in a loosely defined context. It wouldn't surprise me if there's as much or more causality in there somewhere that is statistically more weighty than gender in the direct sense. I would like to know: how do fantasy novels written by men differ from those written by women and vice-versa?

This is (perhaps way more) important, because if one is going to work the problem of gender bias, looking at recommendations to readers seems to approach the lever from the absolutely weakest end. Why are we not making recommendations to women writers on what to write, or at least, what to avoid?

Could the long-term solution be as simple as "A lot of male readers are seeking X/avoiding Y, and women writers are losing them, so watch out." Or "ladies, you are so busy capturing your male audience, you're leaving your female audience behind, and it's hurting your sales."
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on November 28, 2016, 02:30:19 PM
I don't think it'd be a realistic study to do, in so far that two men, like Sanderson and Robert Bennett Jackson, have wildly different styles themselves, writing in pretty high fantasy secondary universes, their approach of characters, magic, themes, female characters, and the art of describing, use of tenses, etc, is so different, that you could find many a female author to drop next to one or the other and find them more similar to one in themes, styles, etc.

For example, I found the work of Garth Nix to be close and reminiscent of the one of Diana Jones (The Castle In The Air), in so far that you could have given me a blank covered copy of Abhorsen and told me she wrote it, and I would have found it different but believable.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Peat on November 29, 2016, 04:28:09 AM
This is why I shouldn't post at 2 in the morning! I never even realised TGC was talking about his list rather than in general...

Missing from the TGC's list:

There's three fairly ubiquitous female recommendations that aren't mentioned at all in that list Lady Ty posted - Robin Hobb, Naomi Novik and Rachel Aaron. All of them have books that would have fitted the nomination rules and barring TGC having read them before, I can't see any particular reason that they wouldn't fit (although I've not read the latter two so who knows?)

Looking down a bit more - Kate Elliott has a solid Epic Fantasy reputation, she wouldn't have been out of place there in terms of some of the male names I see at the bottom going from general recommendations. Problem is, I'm not great on modern authors of either sex myself!

*looks at his own list*

My other female noms not mentioned:

Nnedi Okorafor, Kirsty Logan, Kameron Hurley, Sarah Pinborough, Julia Knight, Emma Knight, NK Jemisin, Jo Walton, Stella Gemmell, Laura Resnick, Ilona Andrews, Barbara Webb

Obviously I've not read any of them so couldn't say although Julia Knight's book for the book club here looked pretty straight up fun fantasy. People have really sold me on the idea of trying Jemisin and Walton one of these days but, in fairness, if you've only got two nominations each, stuff's gonna get missed. More on that point later.



Nora - Martin's not the greatest example, but he could have still ended up following a path in which he's never recommended here because he was just Urban(ish) Fantasy and a screenwriter. And I believe that if Martin hadn't been hitting a dry patch in screenwriting, he'd have never tried SoIaF as he did it because he figured that if he kept getting rejected, he might as well do something that broke the rules. Or at least that's how I've heard it.

Now, I don't know how many people are so passionate for Fantasy that only that will do. I expect there's some. But there's definitely published authors who had a passion for multiple genres and/or recognition and getting paid.

As such, I don't think the possibility of potential Fantasy authors being lost to Romance - or PR, or YA, or UF, or Historical, or whatever - is completely far fetched. We know there's Fantasy authors that are here because of circumstance rather than a deep fervent passion for the genre and the genre alone. How many? No idea. None of us do. I've no idea how you'd even try researching that.


Speaking of research...

TGC, you raise some interesting questions and I wish that I had the time to research them and others properly. But I can't help but think that you're overthinking this. To go back to your list, its pretty broad. The majority is fairly standard long series of Wizards/Kings/Wars and so on but there's some recommendations that are barely fantasy, some standalones, some steampunk, some gaslight, some UF... GGK, Pratchett, Morgenstern, Mieville, LaValle, Clark, there's a few weird ones alright. You could probably get some commonalities but there's enough that break them.

That said... pretty much none of the women on there wrote the standard long series of Wizards/Kings/Wars. So maybe there is something to what you're saying.



Edit: A coda

Being sufficiently bored to look into it but not quite right for real work, I've started delving into other forums and am reminded that not all recommendations are good ones in the first case. I've seen someone ask for something like the Night Angel trilogy but not as slow paced as the Farseer trilogy and get recommended the Farseer trilogy. Also, the first name on the Romantic Fantasy user voter lists on BFB is The Name of the Wind. You can view that as men getting pushed more than women, or you can view it as people clamouring for the famous thing regardless of fit. It may be the former, its definitely the latter.

Even when not that rabidly dumb, there's no shortage of people recommending their favourite 5-6 authors over and over if they sorta match. All it takes is a few people with all male favourite lists and whoosh, you'll start to see things skew.

And so on.

If I were to urge people to change their recommending habits based on everything I'm seeing, it would be to actually read what the person asked for and think for a bit first...
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: stevenpoore on November 29, 2016, 11:50:49 AM

Even when not that rabidly dumb, there's no shortage of people recommending their favourite 5-6 authors over and over if they sorta match. All it takes is a few people with all male favourite lists and whoosh, you'll start to see things skew.

And so on.

If I were to urge people to change their recommending habits based on everything I'm seeing, it would be to actually read what the person asked for and think for a bit first...
YES! That does seem to be the exact problem. Or one of them. :)
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on November 29, 2016, 06:41:05 PM
Missing from the TGC's list:

There's three fairly ubiquitous female recommendations that aren't mentioned at all in that list Lady Ty posted - Robin Hobb, Naomi Novik and Rachel Aaron. All of them have books that would have fitted the nomination rules and barring TGC having read them before, I can't see any particular reason that they wouldn't fit (although I've not read the latter two so who knows?)

Looking down a bit more - Kate Elliott has a solid Epic Fantasy reputation, she wouldn't have been out of place there in terms of some of the male names I see at the bottom going from general recommendations. Problem is, I'm not great on modern authors of either sex myself!

Nnedi Okorafor, Kirsty Logan, Kameron Hurley, Sarah Pinborough, Julia Knight, Emma Knight, NK Jemisin, Jo Walton, Stella Gemmell, Laura Resnick, Ilona Andrews, Barbara Webb

Obviously I've not read any of them so couldn't say although Julia Knight's book for the book club here looked pretty straight up fun fantasy.

I need to go back one or two pages of new stuff that appeared here, but this is quite a curious post.

First, context. The rules for that list were for books that weren't out before 2000, I believe. So Hobb's main series starts with Farseer in the 90s. So it was ruled out. I think Novik was nominated, but didn't receive enough votes to make the final round.

As for the other names, maybe people read it but thought they had better titles to nominate. Or maybe they didn't like those they've read. Or maybe they didn't even read them. I myself read only 5 of the titles there. Tastes varies greatly, and what is the best for you isn't the best for others.

But I'm more curious in how you are able to compare books you haven't read and say "they are similar to some in the list" or how without even reading page 1 of those books you are sure they would fit a member's specific conditions for a recommendation!
I for one would never consider a recommendation such as "I haven't read any of those books myself, but I'm sure they are extremely good because they are from female authors".

I think it's pretty clear now there's an ideological agenda being pushed, but I'm amazed people would go to the point of recommending authors they haven't even read it themselves based solely on the author's gender while implying or downright saying in various posts that publishers, editors, reviewers and even the readers themselves are gender biased...
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: The Gem Cutter on November 29, 2016, 07:07:52 PM
Regarding the list, I asked Jmack to weight first person stories heavier, b/c in this first novel I am writing in the first person for the first time (that's a lot of firsts - man am I courageous or what!  ;D), and also stories that feature magic and wizards prominently.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: cupiscent on November 29, 2016, 08:05:12 PM
I think it's pretty clear now there's an ideological agenda being pushed, but I'm amazed people would go to the point of recommending authors they haven't even read it themselves based solely on the author's gender while implying or downright saying in various posts that publishers, editors, reviewers and even the readers themselves are gender biased...

Really? TGC asked what books/authors should have appeared on the list who didn't, and Peat is attempting to answer that question based on recommendations data he's collated from elsewhere. He's not pushing an agenda, he's not recommending those authors, he's noting that they fit similar profiles - in terms of genre reputation and recommendations elsewhere - to authors who were nominated.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Peat on November 29, 2016, 08:29:22 PM
I have no ideological agenda here. I am simply trying to establish the truth as I see it. I have a belief based on what I have seen. When challenged, I have sought evidence. When that evidence was challenged, I sought more evidence. All of this is based on the evidence and I am sharing everything I get with you.

If someone wishes to provide me with evidence or an argument that will change my mind as to what the truth is, I am all ears. All I want here is to know what's going on and help other people understand it.

Accusing me of an ideological agenda is not an argument though. Neither is cutting off the part of my post in which I acknowledge there's limited nominations and that might have skewed things. Argue with my evidence all you want but don't come out here trying to paint me as something. That's deeply uncool.


As for the meat of what you say -

Yes, Hobb's most famous works were published before 2000. The same is true of Kay and Pratchett while Erikson and Cornwell are nominated for books published before that date. It is possible people didn't nominate Hobb because TGC posted on the third page that he'd read most of Assassin's Apprentice. Then again, someone nominated Storm Front despite TGC also saying he'd read the Dresden Files too.

Novik does not appear in the list of nominations that Raptori compiled as reposted by Lady Ty. A quick search by name through the thread doesn't find Novik either. I think its safe to say no one nominated her and that, given her reputation, that is a mild surprise. Maybe its a function of the format; maybe it Saturn entering the house of the Purple Unicorn. I don't know why, I make no judgements, I merely mention her name.

However, I didn't mention these names in order to try and make a point (I merely reply to your points to point out facts you are not considering). I mentioned these names because TGC asked a question and I tried to answer as helpfully and honestly as I can. I am not making any argument based upon this list; my argument rests on the evidence I found.

I am not making recommendations because they are female. I am passing on recommendations I have received from people I trust and respect and they are all female because that's what TGC asked for. If he asked for the male recommendations I received that he didn't when I asked for a catch up list, I'd do that too despite not having read the majority of them either. I'll throw one out for free here; I'm surprised not to see Django Wexler in the nominations based on everything I've heard of him. There is no agenda here, simply the desire to help another poster and a willingness to trust the recommendations of others and general reputations.

I hope that clears that up.

(oh, and in the time I spent typing this, cupiscent ninja'ed me with a far more concise explanation. Bah!)

p.s. If anyone wants to give TGC a better list of female authors that could have appeared in the poll but didn't, by all means do so.

p.p.s. If I was pushing an argument there, I probably wouldn't go around posting things that could be used as a counter-argument such as the fact that I hadn't read most of the names involved.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: The Gem Cutter on November 29, 2016, 08:46:06 PM
In an effort to keep the peace I am blinding myself with crochet needles, so I won't be reading any list anymore :)

Seriously though, I appreciate the passionate and dispassionate arguments. This reminds me of the other night, when my low-20s sons were talking passionately, late at night. Seeking an excuse to get out of my chair, I utilized my ninja-skills (popping joints notwithstanding) to eavesdrop. They were in one of those "Us two vs. the world" arguments where they're both on the same side. The topic? How disgusting it is that female superheroes like Wonder Woman are scantily clad and continuously posed in sexually suggestive postures, etc., how unfair it is that males are not, and how pathetic it is that the creators care more about the petty sex appeal than anything else, even at the cost of undermining the reasons/justifications for the heroes' powers.

I don't know what's right and fully true, and I don't think any of us do. But like my sons' discussion, the very fact we're having it points to us being part of the solution to the problem, whether its minor and incidental, serious and harmful, or somewhere in between. That the discussion is taking place, that it is viewed as important and worth having, and worth having well - based on facts and fair observations - is proof that we're part of the way forward. In other words, so long as women will write and write well, we will read them, and we will honor the quality of their work and pass the word on that they're worth reading, to the extent that we can, being both well-intentioned and human.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on November 29, 2016, 10:05:11 PM
Currently re-reading an old vampire novel that had left an eerie feeling for me, but no clear memories, as I read it in my teens. By the name of the author I can't tell the gender. I'm 36% in the book, I still haven't had the thought to check.

That's why such conversations befuddle me.

Let me have a look... Robin McKingley is a woman! Whoa! Robin is a man's name only in french, I was wary because of Robin Hobb – whom I thought to be a guy for the longest time as a kid.

At the end I doubt that there are many more constructive things to be said on that topic. We should all strive to make our recommendations in an enlightened, careful way, and check our references.

Sadly I don't keep my goodreads book shelved, so I can't browse through themes or genres when making recommendations, and I also lack physical shelves to turn to. So I rely a lot on my memory, books which marked me, etc. I think it would help.
But if you guys are curious to expend your reading, goodreads has plenty of SFF female authored lists to browse though.

I think our recommendations are the tail end of the problem. Who doesn't get a HP or Hobb's book offered or pushed on them as a young reader? If we want to have more women turn to writing, we must strive to keep the market open.
But I think we shouldn't lose all sense of perspective. There might never be as many women interested in SFF and Horror as men, and we should not let senseless feminism make us see problems where there isn't necessarily any.
Knowing I will not live long enough to read everything, I strive for quality, and the genre of my dope-dealer does not matter to me.
I'm more worried when I see companies turn to and nurture cash-grabbing shit that over sells to the masses and cheapens the quality of what gets published. I think publishers should strive for some standards, keep pulp to pulp, and... well... I don't have well formed thoughts there, I DNF too much as a system to really complain. I just wish I didn't so many bad books getting unwarranted praise. 
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Peat on November 29, 2016, 10:24:16 PM
But I think we shouldn't lose all sense of perspective. There might never be as many women interested in SFF and Horror as men, and we should not let senseless feminism make us see problems where there isn't necessarily any.

Even this is not necessarily so. There are studies out there that reckon once you balance for demographic skews, there's a 50-50 split in SF readership among men and women. http://aplus.com/a/darren-beyer-women-reading-science-fiction-column?no_monetization=true

I'd hate to stake a definitive argument on that and I believe there's a wide disparity in studies - I believe some find an 80-20 split - but I'd hate to argue against it either. And that's just in Sci-Fi, which is probably more traditionally male dominated than Traditional Fantasy. Its estimated that there's a 55-45 split in books received by Locus for review. That's only one reviewer (albeit the biggest) and I don't have a wider genre break down but even so, there's signs that there are as many (or nearly as many) women interested today, nevermind tomorrow.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on November 29, 2016, 11:16:50 PM
Readership is different from authorship. Not everyone is able to make a career out of it, or wishes for one.
Equality is one thing, but a woman's and a man's life are not always the same, with often different expectations, or even needs.
Different genders do seem to be attracted to different things. Let's not be blind to how many female author write cheesy-ass romance read by-and-large by other women.

What if war-scf-fi is a more a men authored, men read genre? So long as women are not banned from trying their hand at it, and obviously our capitalist system isn't going to keep any woman from buying any books, so...

Let's not bicker about numbers, I'm talking about concepts.
We might not reach 50/50. And I'm worried we should want to so much, because what of reaching 60/40, or 80/20? Will we then tolerate the rise of menists and their worries for men's representation in SFF and Horror?

All I'm saying is that it's entirely possible that men will keep being more attracted to sci-fi or fantasy, and that forcing the issue on our side feels unwarranted.
Women get published, women self publish, to some success too, despite sometimes writing humongous piles of steaming shite the likes of which can be found on the first page of the genre in wattpad (sorry to be judgemental but some of the stuff there wouldn't pass through a high-school teacher and has millions of reads). Women read them, and read men, and get their mind bent by authors of any genre.
Some go on to have amazing acclaim, and revolution the genre...

What is it that makes us so anxious and worried about?
Why is it such a worry? What is so wrong that makes us argue about how we recommend so much?

I personally think that the stuff you give to your children to read will shape their taste, and if we wanted more women in the SFF genre, we should hand out little girls more sff and less romance. Give kids from non-reading families fun stuff to get to love reading before harder classics.
My first works including hard romance were with Anne Rice and Jean M Auel in my early teens! I read LOTR at 10, I was reading Crichton at 12. No wonder I grew to dote on SFF. The tremendous majority of women I encounter IRL read cheap romance, IF they read at all.
Most of my co-workers keep reading to women's magazines, making me feel closest to my 40 yo dude co-worker behind the bar, even though he isn't into modern SFF.
Here is a much more important issue to tackle in my opinion. How about more YA like Abhorsen, or Castle In The Air, where magic is more important than romance? Stuff that can catch any gender teen, and make them love the style and themes and slowly dip their toes into weirder things (weirder for them–not hard at 12).
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on November 29, 2016, 11:54:05 PM
It's hard to believe there's no ideological motivation, subtle or direct, conscious or not, when you see posts with "publishers throw only white males at us", "publishers could deliberately publish more women", "it's not a fair or even field", "there is a problem with the gender gap" (when data of big publishers show in some genres even if they published everything submitted regardless of quality, it wouldn't even reach 1/5 or 1/3), and the "necessity" for readers to read/recommend specific books for the sake of more parity instead if they are enjoying it.

Of course, if the reverse was happening there would be no necessity to deliberately go out of our way to recommend more males - and this thread wouldn't even be opened .
Which just means it's all aimed towards a specific kind of parity or majority. Whether it's not acknowledged or downright denied, that's what it is.

And still nobody has explained what's so special about the magical number of 50/50 or any other combination they wish to see.
How deliberately reducing male authors in Epic or SF or deliberately reducing female authors from YA or UF to make it have more parity will magically make books have more quality or produce more enjoyment? Isn't that what gets noticed, what sells, and why people read and follow an author?

I salute you for the time and effort, Peat, but the data for your "evidence" consists of 18 topics on a 6 year old forum with almost 9k topics. This is what? Less than 0,01%?
Some of those topics don't even have more than one page. And sometimes removing one member or another changes the data dramatically, which just proves how small and unreliable the data is.
Ok, you are doing what's humanly possible, but it's like trying to determine the results of the USA presidential election interviewing 10 people in a rural village consisting of a population of 100.

Also, a lot of recommendations most likely pop in here during casual conversations in threads that are not even for book recommendations, so probably the bulk of data for both genders are simply missing.

About visibility, the amount of books published by traditional published in a year is over 300,000 titles. 10% of that amount released in a single year is most likely more than we can possibly read in our lifetime. And this not including self-published.

So yes, stuff is gonna be missed by a lot of people, be it from male or female authors. The average lifetime sales for the vast majority of books is 250 copies per year. And less than 2,000 in it's lifetime.
And who reads only what is newly released? Some people here haven't read books released 5 or 10 years ago. With this mountain of books out there, if something is still being recommended 5-10 years later, it's reasonable to believe it has some quality to it - even if it ends disappointing. So it's no wonder you see some books or authors getting recommended with great frequency. Quality, not gender.

Going even further, if you are not among the 0,5% with a Big Five contract, or in a NYT Bestselling list, or a reasonable audience or with high prospects for some prize, you are most likely screwed.
And even among those 0,5% there's even further division. Like a business, they will most likely make 80% of their marketing efforts to promote the 20% who keep them in the blue - the Pattersons, the Rowlings, the Stephen Kings, the Gaimans, the Nora Roberts.

It's freaking hard for everyone, male or female, to get visibility. And if some genres may have 80% male percentage of submissions, that also means a crapload more of good male authors are out there and that are simply not noticed just as their female counterparts. In a bigger proportion. Bookstores are even harder.

And visibility can only push a book so far. If a book is bad or only really appeals to a niche or small audience, no amount of publicity will make it good and mainstream, the publisher will just lose money. Plenty of examples there.
Some initiatives like SPFBO make me respect authors like Mark Lawrence more, but even that is no guarantee of anything. Heck, some books have a recommendation by GRRM or Gaiman on their cover and while helpful, this can also only carry you so far.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: cupiscent on November 30, 2016, 12:01:12 AM
What is it that makes us so anxious and worried about?
Why is it such a worry? What is so wrong that makes us argue about how we recommend so much?

Because at present, society is not equal, literature (of all kinds and genres) is not equal. We live in a society where the stories of men have been privileged over those of women for so long, in so many explicit and implicit ways, that it is no simple matter to untangle ourselves from the unthinking assumptions we have become entrenched in. (I'm certainly still tangled up in them.) I'd like to see more people reading female authors. I'd like to see more people reading female main characters. I'd like to see more stories with female characters, and a wide variety of them. I'd like to see more stories that welcome and encourage female readership. I'd like to see more of all of these stories on review sites, on recommendation lists, on school required reading lists, in libraries, in bookstores. I'd like to see more women reading genres that they might have felt previously did not welcome their reading. I'd like to see more people talking about these issues. I'd like to see less of the assumption that stories by or about women are only for women. I'd like to less talking down about female-heavy, female-audienced genres like romance (as though fantasy, or horror, or thrillers didn't have their own share of written-by-numbers cheap pulp iterations).

I'd like to see all of those things. We just happen to be talking about recommendations right now.

So perhaps, yes, I have an agenda. I want to see equal value for women's stories. I am perplexed that anyone could possibly have a problem with that.

To come back to the specific - given TGC particularly wanted first-person fantasy, I'm especially surprised not to see Jemisin's Inheritance trilogy on his list of recs. Regardless of the appeal of the plot to various readers (and it is in general highly regarded, though it's not my favourite of her work and I can see how various themes don't appeal to everyone) it's still one of the strongest first-person usages I can think of in the genre. (The other being Dan Polansky's Low Town trilogy; first book average, latter books amazing.)
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lady Ty on November 30, 2016, 01:34:10 AM
In the context of this thread about women author recommendations etc etc etc etc

Can we please stop quoting or using this list put together for The Gem Cutter alone as in any way typical of anything except what  24 forum friends and regulars, who recommend all the time between themselves, put together under very circumscribed rules?

This was started in a spirit of typical cheeky fun and genuine desire to bring TGC up to date and open his mind to the possibilities he had missed out on. It was clear to all of us who had read his posts in general that he hadn't realised how vast fantasy had become during the years he had little chance or leisure to read. Jmack found a happy way to get him into the spirit and up to date.

Here are the rules for Gem Cutter's list


First From Jmack
Quote
Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« on: August 23, 2016, 10:49:01 PM »
Quote
Alright, Forum friends.
Nominations by Friday. Then I'll put the poll up. Or I might need help, since I have a wedding to attend all weekend.

Problem:
@The_Gem_Cutter is trapped in his garage working on his novel and needs a crash course in contemporary fantasy. (And yes, this is condescending and probably incorrect. But when did that ever stop us!)

Solution:
The usual suspects - and, well, everyone - need to create a five novel reading list for TGC.

Rules:
> This will be hard. No book published before the year 2000.
> Only first books in series, or stand alones.
> We won't put more than one book by any author on the list.
> Don't just think: "best book in last X years." Think "great example of modern fantasy."
> Must be kick-ass, can't put down stuff.
> @The_Gem_Cutter can look at the nominees and eliminate those he has already read (or watched at the movies or on TV).

Nominating:
> You are allowed TWO and only TWO nominations - and they must be new to this nominating list - but can second as many priors as you wish.
> Post to this thread with your nominations and seconds of prior nominations.
> Because I'm Captain Obvious
> Finally, you can make a negative second. That is, if you really think a prior nomination is a BAD IDEA for TGC, then you can cancel someone else's second. Heh heh.

My two nominations:
Scott Lynch: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Mark Lawrence: Prince of Thorns

Your turn!


Later from The Gem Cutter

Quote
Re: Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« Reply #43 on: August 25, 2016, 04:24:32 AM »
Quote
Couple of caveats and provisos:
I've read the first Dresden files, Game of Thrones, most of the Assassin's Apprentice books and everything Joe Abercrombie has written (twice).
I ask you to consider stories featuring first person and sorcerer protags. I deeply fear similar works as I don't want to accidently clone anything.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2016, 04:27:0
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on November 30, 2016, 03:21:53 AM
Unequality is a side effect of Life.
Humans aren't equal. We're not born equal, not raised equal. The wish to have a perfectly equalist society is an utopic dream I would probably not wish to see come true.

It's our disparity and differences that make us unique and desirable.
I've always found the whole gender equality business to be tackling the issue from bad angles. I'm all for lawful equality and the access to equal chances, opportunities at education, publication, what-have-you. Id call that fairness.
But as a 1m58 chick living for three years with a 1m90 dude, I was well aware of some basic inequalities. For the job of reaching on top shelves, you probably don't hire equally...

I think if any blame is to be handled, it's not to us, but to educative systems by and large. I think if you want to worry about fairness, then equality of gender in book recommendation is not the best horse to ride in battle with.

However if you feel so dearly about reading female authors and female protags, there are plenty of good lists out there (on goodreads too!) but sadly I don't share such feelings. I have no interest in reading more of one gender or another and don't think I'll change my way of thinking about that, and I don't care about reading female any more than male protags. I enjoy both, and find great women written by men and vice versa.
It is not my battle to fight, at least not on the recommendation side, and will not be made to feel like it is.
Each his own, I'm happy liking things by books, rather than by authors.


To add a hint of personal data here, I'm someone who listens to tracks, very rarely to albums, and almost NEVER to discographies. I do not know anything about musicians, I never google them up, I often don't know what they look like.
I'm an avid practitioner of browsing genres in YouTube and downloading songs individually. I'll look up more from the same artist, but will happily click other recommended videos and branch out. When I have a set of well working songs, I listen to them AD NAUSEAM. this can mean weeks of listening to the same 20min of the same sounds, folding back on themselves, everyday. Then I tire of one or two, or all these songs, and latch onto something else, rarely revisiting over-listened tracks.
Unless they're easy ambient stuff or die hard classics.

I don't care for singers, I've never had a single poster in my room walls, not for a disc or a hot singer. I've never been a groupie.
I'm the same with my books as my sounds : I don't give a damn who produces it, all I want is to loose myself in it, shelve the experience in my memory banks and move on. The author's work needs to be massively compelling for me to pursue it. I often don't finish series. Look at how I tackled Harris : I so loved Red Dragon, I'm still raving about it wherever I feel entitled to. The two other books of the trilogy fell in quality, so much so that I didn't pick the fourth. But I was still super impressed by red dragon. Did I go on to google Harris' work to find out what else he wrote around that time? No. I moved on.
I think I can count on my fingers the amount of authors whose bios I've read outside of schoolwork.
I don't even know where a dude like Neil Gaieman lives or comes from. What I know from Tolkien I've heard about in the films bonus discs.

So yeah. Maybe it'll explain why I care so little. All I want is fairness at the starting blocks. If people want to recommend me more guys, hard stuff! I mostly pick my books by the appeal of the blurb or the first pages, bite me.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on November 30, 2016, 03:53:30 AM
Thinking about it, some things said here kinda of reminds me of when I studied about media perception enforced on us, the reality and other effects.

That the important thing isn't the information by itself, but the act of transforming it in knowledge. Think of information as bricks and knowledge as the building.

But where do we get those bricks? From other people and the media. Mostly the media.

However, the media offer us a kind of "tubular vision" of things. It's like we can only look to a part of reality it allows us to look, and in the way it wants us to interpret it.

The case in question was when the president of Philippines was deposed or something like that. He and his wife were to be judged in the US or in the UK. I don't remember the year.
The interesting part is that the media focused on taking pictures of the closet of the First Lady, giving enormous focus on her immense and incredible collection of shoes. Because of that focus and it being spread over and over, she became known worldwide as a futile woman only worried about shoes.
During her judgment (in which she was absolved) the newspapers sent reporters with the exclusive mission of taking photographs of her feet, so they could publish in their next editions which kind of shoe she was using.
Much to their frustration she used in every single jury session the same kind of shoes.

When she became aware of this fact, she told that Philippines has a vast amount of shoe factories, and every year, she received shoes or complete collections as gifts from them, because all of them wanted to say the First Lady of Philippines used their shoes.
She couldn't even use most of them (she used a pretty big number), but giving or throwing them away could create embarrassments with the government. So she simply stored them.

Despite the story being true, the biggest part of the population still holds the image of her as the media gave it to them for an immense of time: a futile person because she owns a big pile of shoes.

And now we have why SF/F and some other genres have less women authors. And for years, brick by brick, the media simply built a Babel tower and named it's floors "bias, machism, sexism" and plenty of other similar names and urged people to throw tomatoes at it.
I also thought for a time they were right, threw away my bricks and joined the crowd throwing tomatoes at the tower.

But one day you decide to walk somewhere else and see some new houses. Still pretty small, incomparable to the giant tower looming over everyone, but they had some different rooms and floors to explore. And you find out:

- Women works aren't disregarded or talked down as much as the media wants you to believe: They have half or almost half of the major awards, sometimes have most of the nominations and keep winning year after year.

- Some of the most popular genres (and that also make the most money) are dominated by women authors. Men are minority in them and apparently can't appear to what those audiences want as well as their female counterparts.

- Under representation may not be only due to bias, sexism, bigotry and the kind. Information from publishers and other sources show they simply might not have the same level of interest in some genres in the same proportion as their male counterparts.
Equality is beautiful to talk about, to theorize and imagine. It gets all the applauses and cheers. But theory and practice are different realities. When you have 100 submissions on a genre and 17 are from women and 83 are from men (or vice-versa) what one is supposed to do? One cannot talk about agency and them force 33 other women (or men) to write and submit stories so they can reach their magical number to fulfill their view on how the world should work.

- Thinking that women (or men) are under represented in certain genres only because of bias, sexism, bigotry and etc is an extremely biased and unhealthy view on the world.

- Some of the most successful and richest authors are also women. Rowling may even be the richest or the one who sold most books.

And then you return to the tower. You see the cracks in the bases that sustained it's structure for so much time.

The tower shakes.

For some it's an enlightening moment. But for others the change in perspective can be scary. What if the tower falls? What's gonna replace it? It's been there for so long... what's gonna happen when it's gone?

Then they stop throwing away their bricks... but they rush to repair the cracks, covering it with more bricks and even expanding the base even more so the tower doesn't fall.
They are too used at staring with the tower and throwing tomatoes at it, their legs too used at kicking the beaten horse day and night, with rain or sun that they can no longer use them to walk somewhere else and search new paths.

And if someone asks if they shouldn't let the tower collapse, the reaction is instant. They expiate their frustrations at it and believe it does something, they feel hurt and insulted at the suggestion.
The reason is simple: if they, or what they believe (or are led to believe) is hurt or insulted, or if they feel like victims, then they have someone else to blame, and in their view, they are no longer responsible for their failures or poor achievements.

They are no longer responsible for their job performance, for wanting to improve and to be the best they can be, and ultimately that will result in their overall failure (which they will, of course, blame on others), and this feeling is used to justify wrong-doings and to rationalize double standards.

It's also what other ill-intentioned people or demagogues use to get what they want, and ask you for your bricks, saying they know how to build the solution, when they in fact are building their throne above the clouds higher and higher.

No. Let the tower fall.

Let the beaten horse finally rot away.

Create a new building, with new rooms and corridors to explore, that may actually lead somewhere. "Why aren't they writing more in genre X?", "why X has more interest in writing or reading genre Y?", and so forth.

But you have to let the tower fall.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: cupiscent on November 30, 2016, 04:50:13 AM
Lady Ty, you make a very good point. TGC asked about women who weren't on his list, so that's why it was being discussed, but it certainly isn't emblematic of general recommendations because of its specific context. I certainly don't want in any way to jump on the people who made it. I don't want to jump on anyone!

Thinking that women (or men) are under represented in certain genres only because of bias, sexism, bigotry and etc is an extremely biased and unhealthy view on the world.

Absolutely. But asserting that gender bias, whether conscious or unconscious, has absolutely nothing to do with the representation of genders in any genre seems naive. And while there are many, many factors at play that we can do nothing or very little about, we can think about and gently challenge gender bias in ourselves and other readers.

So do we throw up our hands, say "Oh well, too many things that I can't control, why bother?" Or do we do what little we can to make the world just a tiny bit fairer?

Create a new building, with new rooms and corridors to explore, that may actually lead somewhere. "Why aren't they writing more in genre X?", "why X has more interest in writing or reading genre Y?", and so forth.

OK. So: why aren't we seeing more female authors on recommendation lists of speculative fiction?
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Roelor on November 30, 2016, 10:28:43 AM
Am I the only one who thinks gender is absolutely IRRELEVANT to what I suggest to others?
I recommend books that I like. If it happens to be written by a man. OK. If it happens to be written by a female. OK.

I don't care... It's about the story, right? Or is it about WHO wrote it?

I don't get this entire discussion as gender doesn't mean something is good or bad... It's just another extrapolated "social issue" that has to be discussed here?
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: stevenpoore on November 30, 2016, 12:38:19 PM
it *ought* to be irrelevant, i agree. But I find that if there's a list of say, ten best fantasy books of 2016 and you ask the author of that list why it's ten male authors on the list, he'll say "I don't think about gender". Which is why we still need to talk about gender. :)
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Rostum on November 30, 2016, 01:10:08 PM
If you discriminate against ability you get mediocrity.

Quote
But I find that if there's a list of say, ten best fantasy books of 2016 and you ask the author of that list why it's ten male authors on the list, he'll say "I don't think about gender". Which is why we still need to talk about gender. :)

I would think you need to look at the criteria for how the list is determined. Is it based on sales, a popular vote or the authors personal choice. Would you like such a list to be balanced with 5 male and 5 female authors? Or would that be condescending, unfair and vaguely ridiculous in an adult environment?

From information earlier in this thread fewer female authors submit fantasy manuscripts. I don't know whether there is any difference in the percentage selected. Does this mean those authors have a higher chance of getting published or not?

 I do think the female authors getting categorized as YA is an issue. JK Rowling should dominate fantasy sales at the moment and I suspect most of the people buying her books are (now) in their late twenties to thirties.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Roelor on November 30, 2016, 02:27:31 PM
it *ought* to be irrelevant, i agree. But I find that if there's a list of say, ten best fantasy books of 2016 and you ask the author of that list why it's ten male authors on the list, he'll say "I don't think about gender". Which is why we still need to talk about gender. :)

I completely disagree. We should judge people based on skill, not on gender and I find this a non-discussion because of it. If we have to seperate authors based on gender, you are actually saying that one, or the other is mentally more challenged than the other. Which is ofcourse not true. It's not a physical skill that is influenced by our different bodies. The skill is the same, the mind of both genders equally capable (assuming same intelligence etc) to produce likewise results.

I mean to say that if gender has NO influence on the end-product, it should NOT BE a discussion. This way you create unfair standards. Like: Well, she's a female so her story is less good, but cause she has to deal with "x" she still can get recognition. It's a like a pity price. It diminishes the achievements of existing writers, both male and female and I find that more offensive than a perceived "sexist" list.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: tebakutis on November 30, 2016, 03:34:08 PM
I completely disagree. We should judge people based on skill, not on gender and I find this a non-discussion because of it. If we have to seperate authors based on gender, you are actually saying that one, or the other is mentally more challenged than the other. Which is ofcourse not true. It's not a physical skill that is influenced by our different bodies. The skill is the same, the mind of both genders equally capable (assuming same intelligence etc) to produce likewise results.

I totally understand this thinking, and while I agree with your thoughts on equality, unfortunately, we're not yet at a point where it's realistic ... because, as with many other cases of discrimination, resetting the bar to "equal" still leaves the previously discriminated party in an unequal place.

Here's a metaphor. Imagine you have a male author and a female author running a 100 meter dash. Now imagine people have spent 50 years pushing the female author meter after meter back from the starting line. Now imagine that's changed, and most everyone has said "We should stop pushing female authors back from the starting line. Everyone is equal now!" Great! But because of all the time we spent pushing them backward, the female author is still sitting 82 meters behind the starting line.

So now, the male author and female author are allowed to run at equal speed, and considered equal in all respects. But the female author is still starting 82 meters back from the male.

*That's* why we still need to be conscious of if we are promoting female authors, and in some cases, even promote them more .... even if we strongly believe male and female authors are equal. This is a case of correcting for past discrimination. You can't make people unequal for a long time, then make them equal, without first reversing all the unequalness you heaped on them before.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Roelor on November 30, 2016, 03:46:39 PM
Again I disagree. Yes, maybe a headstart. But we can expect, and hope that those who are suggesting reads, aren't suggesting standard reads that are already established and therefore no longer need more promotion. If people ask me what to read, I think it's silly to recommend Tolkien, Jordan or all of those. No, we should aim to suggest new, good stories.

So, to take your metaphore. Is it more equal to put that female that was pushed back before, now 82 meters in the headstart? No. It's still based on skill. So you put those athletes at the same line, cause you want equality. Inequality in the name of equality is unfair aswell. It puts new, male authors in a disadvantage as well? Historical facts don't matter, its not relevant to the skill of storytelling. In case a female author writes a good story, that story WILL be picked up and promoted. Same with the guys...

I see this argument everywhere, where cause of perceived (I don't say that for this case, but in some cases just saying a female is at a disadvantage is enough to take matters) unequality in history, we should now bear inequality for the sake of equality. That's absolutely insane. I know this is hot in the US right now, but it's absolutely insane. If you want equality, make it equal. You have to compare the current situation for a starting male and a female. NOT the starting position of a female, compared to already established and well known writers.

So what we actually should be questioning is: Should we recommend older books and tomes, based on them being established or should we give ALL new authors (both male and female) a chance to make it on these lists. With the suggestions I see here, only new female authors would make it between the already established names and the new male authors have NO chance to get there, cause of that inequality for the sake of equality.

This will cause an even worse predicament in the future. It sets the bar even MORE crooked. Yes, equality will need to take its course in time. NOT be forced by putting yet again another demographic in a disadvantaged position... If you extrapolate this to other aspects of society, where this is happening at an alarming rate, we are moving toward a completely skewed reality where opressed become opressors and the cycle will continue..

It's already happening. Why else would the US elections have gone as such. It's a direct result of the unfairness in the name of fairness. Therefore, we should say NO to inequality in the name of equality..
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: tebakutis on November 30, 2016, 04:13:34 PM
I see this argument everywhere, where cause of perceived (I don't say that for this case, but in some cases just saying a female is at a disadvantage is enough to take matters) unequality in history, we should now bear inequality for the sake of equality. That's absolutely insane.  I know this is hot in the US right now, but it's absolutely insane. If you want equality, make it equal.

I think you're still interpreting this differently that I (and many others intend). You may be seeing it as a request for permanent inequality in favor of female authors - basically, a call to say "We should, forever more, promote female authors ahead of male authors, in perpetuity, because we once discriminated against them." And I agree, that's a very easy argument to strongly argue against! But that's not what's being said.

What I'm saying is, there needs to be a correction period, and we need to recognize that we are still in that correction period. And all that correction period consists of is being mindful. I'm not saying "You should discriminate against male authors because we used to discriminate against female authors" which, again, is an easy argument to rail against (but is not the argument I'm making). I'm saying "We should keep in mind that female authors were discriminated against for a long time, and so take a little extra time to check our own biases and make sure we aren't being influenced by that past discrimination".

For instance, you mention Tolkein, Jordan, and all of those as "classic" authors. How many of those classic authors are male? If you look back, I bet you'd find the majority are, even though there were plenty of females writing at the same time that have now been effectively forgotten.

So again, this isn't (as many mistakenly believe) a call to discriminate against men. It's a call to consciously take a look at your own biases, and make a little extra effort to make sure you *are* treating female authors equally, because we haven't historically done so in the past.

You have to understand the argument you are arguing against before arguing against it. :)
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on November 30, 2016, 04:15:36 PM
Thinking that women (or men) are under represented in certain genres only because of bias, sexism, bigotry and etc is an extremely biased and unhealthy view on the world.

Absolutely. But asserting that gender bias, whether conscious or unconscious, has absolutely nothing to do with the representation of genders in any genre seems naive. And while there are many, many factors at play that we can do nothing or very little about, we can think about and gently challenge gender bias in ourselves and other readers.

So do we throw up our hands, say "Oh well, too many things that I can't control, why bother?" Or do we do what little we can to make the world just a tiny bit fairer?

I was 99% sure before I went to sleep that someone was gonna put that into my mouth.

OK. So: why aren't we seeing more female authors on recommendation lists of speculative fiction?

it *ought* to be irrelevant, i agree. But I find that if there's a list of say, ten best fantasy books of 2016 and you ask the author of that list why it's ten male authors on the list, he'll say "I don't think about gender". Which is why we still need to talk about gender. :)

I'm amazed how far people go to defend the tower from falling.

Using the list on GR, there's actually 9 female and 1 male on the final round (technically 2 since Ilona are a couple).
Oh no, it's not equal! Such disparity can only be because of gender bias, sexism, misandry, etc etc, it can't be because of sales, quality or reader enjoyment!
There are plenty of lists with all kinds of female authors and writing styles.

*Sigh*

Information and events keep passing by, but they don't see it - or refuse to see it - as what they really want to do is keep staring at their massive echo chamber going on above the clouds.
That's what they want to see and to keep believing.

Even during the 70s and 80s, when SF/F was considered "stuff for children", there was still Ursula LeGuin, Elizabeth Moon, Octavia Butler and many others who had audiences, won awards and didn't hide their names.

But there's still people who despite seeing those examples, still think they always have a dark cloud over their heads.

Again, the reason is simple: if they, or what they believe (or are led to believe) is hurt or insulted, or if they feel like victims, then they have someone else to blame, and in their view, they are no longer responsible for their failures or poor achievements.
So if they fail or do poorly,  it can't be because of the quality, of if the readers enjoyed, or anything else. It can only be because of bias, sexism, past prejudice, be some of it real or imaginary.

And they are no longer responsible for their job performance, for wanting to improve and to be the best they can be, and ultimately that will result in their overall failure (which they will, of course, blame on others), and this feeling is used to justify wrong-doings and to rationalize double standards.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: cupiscent on November 30, 2016, 07:50:55 PM
Thinking that women (or men) are under represented in certain genres only because of bias, sexism, bigotry and etc is an extremely biased and unhealthy view on the world.

Absolutely. But asserting that gender bias, whether conscious or unconscious, has absolutely nothing to do with the representation of genders in any genre seems naive. And while there are many, many factors at play that we can do nothing or very little about, we can think about and gently challenge gender bias in ourselves and other readers.

So do we throw up our hands, say "Oh well, too many things that I can't control, why bother?" Or do we do what little we can to make the world just a tiny bit fairer?

I was 99% sure before I went to sleep that someone was gonna put that into my mouth.

So... I don't understand. If there is any gender bias in action, and you believe that it is an element, why aren't we working (in this instance, with our recommendations and thinking about whether there are women authors who should be included) to deconstruct it?

As tebakutis said, this isn't about discriminating against men. It's not about promoting gender over quality. It's about thinking about our recommendations, and taking just a moment to consider if there are awesome women authors who could also be included.

I'm also not sure that the GoodReads readers' choice list is a good example of equality. There's already been a discussion regarding whether at least half of those female-authored examples should even be included in the genre. (I'd be more precise on the numbers, but GR seem to have taken the lists down for final tallying.)
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on November 30, 2016, 08:39:56 PM
Over 2 000 books to browse in this one :

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/147.Best_Kick_Ass_Female_Characters_From_YA_and_Children_s_Fantasy_and_Science_Fiction

Over 4 000 in this one :

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/26495.Best_Women_authored_Books



https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/6934.Science_Fiction_Books_by_Female_Authors

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/2552.Best_Sci_Fi_Books_with_Female_Main_Characters

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/18450.Fantasy_Sci_Fi_Books_with_Strong_Female_Characters

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1226.Best_Feminist_Science_Fiction_Fantasy

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/21031.Books_Touted_as_Having_Strong_Female_Leads_That_Actually_Make_Feminists_Roll_in_Their_Graves

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/73078.Diversity_in_Fantasy_and_Science_Fiction

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/78187.Girls_With_Guns_Military_Space_Opera_Starring_Female_Soldiers

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/13889.Heroine_starring_fantasy_sci_fi_dystopia_modern_fantasy_etc_books_with_a_hint_or_more_of_romance_

That's from scouring 10 pages of list on GR, while using "scifi" as a genre keyword. Oddly enough in 10 pages, not a single list showed up called "by male authors" or "starring male MCs". Is it that we assume everything else is, or it would look bad, or it's not required by any subgroup?
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on November 30, 2016, 11:13:13 PM
Thinking that women (or men) are under represented in certain genres only because of bias, sexism, bigotry and etc is an extremely biased and unhealthy view on the world.

Absolutely. But asserting that gender bias, whether conscious or unconscious, has absolutely nothing to do with the representation of genders in any genre seems naive. And while there are many, many factors at play that we can do nothing or very little about, we can think about and gently challenge gender bias in ourselves and other readers.

So do we throw up our hands, say "Oh well, too many things that I can't control, why bother?" Or do we do what little we can to make the world just a tiny bit fairer?

I was 99% sure before I went to sleep that someone was gonna put that into my mouth.

So... I don't understand. If there is any gender bias in action, and you believe that it is an element, why aren't we working (in this instance, with our recommendations and thinking about whether there are women authors who should be included) to deconstruct it?

As tebakutis said, this isn't about discriminating against men. It's not about promoting gender over quality. It's about thinking about our recommendations, and taking just a moment to consider if there are awesome women authors who could also be included.

I'm also not sure that the GoodReads readers' choice list is a good example of equality. There's already been a discussion regarding whether at least half of those female-authored examples should even be included in the genre. (I'd be more precise on the numbers, but GR seem to have taken the lists down for final tallying.)

Goodreads is the largest reading community in the world. 4 million votes were cast in it's award contest. And in such an extremely large contest, the Fantasy category has 9 female authors in the Top 10.
Why this isn't a viable list? Honestly, what else do you want? All 10 finalists to be female? Or all 20 semifinalists?
But I agree the final round isn't a good example of equality, after all, there's only one male  ::) (or two, since Ilona Andrews are a couple).

Here is the list of the 10 titles while they still process votes:

- All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
- Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews
- Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop
- Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs
- The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon
- The Curse of the Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones
- Feverborn by Karen Marie Moning
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
- The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
- A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Picture:

(http://file770.com/wp-content/uploads/FINAL-Fantasy-768x1003.jpg)

And the other 10 semi finalists included 3 more women:

- Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire
- The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin
- Vampire Girl, by Karpov Kinrade (another couple)

The interesting thing is that there was a debate on another thread regarding Paranormal Romance being on Fantasy.
We even agreed PNR (at least one of them) would fit better in the Romance category (since a book can only be in one category, save for Debut Author), and then we complain about lists not featuring more Fantasy by women and we see two of them (Jemisin, no less) getting buried below 3 PNR blockbusters. Categorizing incorrectly could actually have punished some authors who could have used a bit more recognition, both male and female.

If we go to YA Science Fiction and Fantasy there's once again 9 females and 1 male author:

(http://file770.com/wp-content/uploads/FINAL-YA-SFF-740x1024.jpg)

In the Awards of 2015 (https://www.goodreads.com/choiceawards/best-fantasy-books-2015) there were 7 female authors in the Top 10. 4 males technically because of Ilona. And in the other 10 semifinalists, 5 more females.

The  Fantasy Faction Top 50 of 2015 (http://fantasy-faction.com/2015/fantasy-factions-best-fantasy-books-of-2015) has 19 women (38%) with one author unidentified. And the winner was a woman (Novik). And the top 10 of that list has 6 women.
Curiously, some books that appeared in GR didn't appear in FF (and vice-versa). Gaiman for example, won in GR and didn't even make Top 50. Or maybe they excluded him because that book was a collection of short stories and not a novel. And Uprooted was in YA Fantasy in GR.

And even more curious, let's look at the list for this year's Science Fiction, considered by the towering echo chamber the most machist, biased, sexist, etc etc:

- Morning Star by Pierce Brown
- Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
- Bloodline by Claudia Gray
- A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain
- Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
- The Last One by Alexandra Olivia
- The Long Cosmos by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter
- Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor
- Crosstalk by Connie Willis
- Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

Oh, look. Does it appear to have at least 5 female authors on the Top 10 of SF? Possibly 6?

And all this without anyone forcing anything down anyone's throat.

But I guess it's just easier for some to keep shouting and shouting the same song from the top of their echo chamber that there is only 10 white males at every top 10 list...

Well, do those lists sound reasonable?
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: The Gem Cutter on December 01, 2016, 12:32:31 AM
Oddly enough in 10 pages, not a single list showed up called "by male authors" or "starring male MCs". Is it that we assume everything else is, or it would look bad, or it's not required by any subgroup?
Man, I'm hosed. I'm just a dude with a dude protag. I hope I make it to the books where my female char comes into the spotlight!

(https://media.makeameme.org/created/help-help-im.jpg)
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: tebakutis on December 01, 2016, 03:03:36 AM
Oh, look. Does it appear to have at least 5 female authors on the Top 10 of SF? Possibly 6?

And all this without anyone forcing anything down anyone's throat.

But I guess it's just easier for some to keep shouting and shouting the same song from the top of their echo chamber that there is only 10 white males at every top 10 list...

Well, do those lists sound reasonable?

Okay, now I'm totally confused. :0

Maybe I'm not following the thread as closely as I should, but it sounds like you're still making an argument that we shouldn't discriminate against male authors in order to promote female authors. Didn't we already all say that's the case? No one is saying we should discriminate against male authors to promote females. Everyone agrees that's a terrible idea, and definitely not equal treatment.

Essentially, no one in this thread is trying force anything down anyone's throat.

The only real suggestion I've read here is that because, historically, female authors in sci-fi and other fields were set aside to actively promote male authors (and as many have pointed out, that has changed in the years since, as evidenced by their success!) there may still be many female authors who aren't nearly as well known as their male contemporaries, even though their work may be just as good.

So we should remember that's the case and, when we recommend authors, ask ourselves ... are we considering everyone, equally? Or only the primarily male authors who have historically been promoted over female authors who might not have been? Are there female authors we're forgetting about, or might never have heard of because they weren't promoted?

In summary:

I don't see anyone saying "Recommend authors just because they are female".

I don't see anyone saying "Don't recommend male authors".

I also don't see anyone saying "It's bad to like male authors. Like female authors instead".

Finally, I don't see anyone saying "Make sure you only promote female authors and don't vote for male authors until all of the author lists are 100% female".

I do see people arguing that we *shouldn't* do any of these things, but, um ... who are you arguing with? :)
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on December 01, 2016, 03:08:44 AM
Yea, maybe you should have followed the thread more closely.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: cupiscent on December 01, 2016, 05:33:28 AM
Not sure what thread you're reading then, Lanko, as tebakutis has summed up everything I've seen or been saying in this one.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lady Ty on December 01, 2016, 06:25:46 AM

@tebakutis
Quote
I don't see anyone saying "Recommend authors just because they are female".

Not  "just because " certainly, but the title of the thread implies that we should be going out of our way to ensure we do and that was not a view I would endorse and agreed with most of @Nora and @Lanko  thoughts about that.

My reasoning here is that if you insist on some kind of 'quota' on people's choices, be it  five vegetables in a day's meals, walking 30 minutes every day, or female authors in a recommendation list, it can discourage participation or people view it as a chore rather than a pleasure. It becomes a rule you have to follow rather than something you choose to do naturally and to some extent devalues the particular aim or object of the quota.



Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: The Gem Cutter on December 01, 2016, 08:24:09 AM
My reasoning here is that if you insist on some kind of 'quota' on people's choices [...] it can discourage participation or people view it as a chore rather than a pleasure. It becomes a rule you have to follow rather than something you choose to do naturally and to some extent devalues the particular aim or object of the quota.
I agree. Keeping things positive is important. No one has a duty. We all have a right to enjoy what we want and dislike what we want, for whatever reasons we want. And our recommendations are our own. Forcing things, ironic as it is for a military guy to point out, doesn't work, and as Lady Ty points out, it has a price.

In this community we have very progressive and inclusive views as a whole, so no more than "Remember those lady writers when you're recommending!" is warranted. It's just bouncing around inside our already pro-equality echo chamber, imperfect as it might be. Perhaps the place for strident voices, borrowing from the 'preaching to the choir' analogy, is where the sinners are. And our sins are the gender equivalent of double-parking - done in haste, without malice.

When you have to do data analysis to identify a potential discrepancy, with results as ambiguous as we've found, there are bigger issues more worthy of attention, here and elsewhere. We spent time and attention debating this that could have been a discussion of several women's work in a strictly positive and attractive light, and moved a bigger ball further down the field.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Peat on December 01, 2016, 08:30:33 AM
I keep running out of time to make intelligent well-reasoned points in language that won't be misunderstood so I will be skipping the concept and jumping to a quick point about the numbers.

Presenting general trends based on a very small representative sample is not uncommon. Nielsen survey about 5,000 households to work out TV ratings for 90m households in the USA. Political pollers in the UK routinely make calls on an electorate of 46.5m based off of polls of 2,000 people. The small size of the sample is not in itself reason to dismiss it out of hand. Might it change as it gets larger? Maybe, but probably not. The next 15 threads chucked up 238 guys, 104 girls. 30.4%, pretty in line.

And yes, the numbers aren't far below the probable percentage of female authors in the genre. Sleep now, more facts later.


edit: Can't sleep, so lets have a quick stab at the concept.

At no point in this thread have I deliberately advocated recommended authors for any reason other than a belief that the person reading the recommendation will enjoy them.

My sole wish, in the greater and wider sense beyond answering an interesting question, is to see as healthy and high-quality a fantasy genre as possible.

I do not believe acknowledging a potential problem in terms of recognition for some authors conflicts at all with the above, or the idea of being positive.

Nor do I believe seeing this as a potential problem stems from fear, or anxiety, or any negative emotion. It stems from a belief that we could have a better genre.

I believe that sums it up. TGC is right to note that there are bigger issues more worthy of attention but I do not believe the subject unworthy of some attention.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on December 01, 2016, 05:32:51 PM
Not sure what thread you're reading then, Lanko, as tebakutis has summed up everything I've seen or been saying in this one.

Interesting. I saw pretty clearly others read the same thread and even commenting and answering the same points. But since they are posts not agreeing with the agenda being pushed, I guess that's all there's left to say.

Gosh, are people really this tedious? I recommend people by theme, interest... If asked which author blew my mind out the most, I answer thinking by books. Books which floored me, not running a gender equality answer!
I'd say Sanderson, Bennett, Harris, (Fowls), Tolkien and Martin - and then Sheri Tepper, Charlaine Harris, Rice and Chambers, (Austen, Bronte, Auel).

So what if there are more males than females in the people who wrote the books which influenced me the most?
If people asked for specific recommendation, like works on dragons or interesting sci Fi, then maybe I'd recommend more females than males? Who knows.
How do you recommend equally if you don't read equally to begin with? I'm not sure my goodreads has a 50-50 in author genders to be honest. I just never think about such things!
People should focus on encouraging female authors in all fields, rather than nagging at fans.

I know that I recommend almost 100% women authors to people looking for what I read because almost all of them are women that write in that field. Should I be worried that I'm not giving people more male names? They don't appear very often but I don't think I should go out of the way to mention one just because of what chromosomes inhabit his body.

If someone was to tell me my favourite authors were actually the other gender, I wouldn't care. I DNF because of story, not sex or anything else. If a man writes a good romance novel that moves me then by the gods he'll get mentioned just as quick as the women that are so prevalent in the field that get me to remember their names.

In the fantasy genre, I'll say this: I DNF a Jemisin trilogy. I put that thing down almost as quick as I picked it up. That has to be two months ago, maybe three. The POV and writing style just didn't jive for me. I didn't know the sex of the author until a few days ago but I guess that's no excuse. Here's the thing, though: I started reading Sci Fi / Fantasy books written by white male authors. This must be why I didn't like her writing - she's not a British, white male author writing about the grim darkness of the far future. Neither are the women writing my beloved Fantasy Romance / Romantic Fantasy yet that's my favourite genre. The wires must have been crossed somewhere!

It's really a difficult issue. You may look at certain sub-genres of SFF and see very few female recommendations. But if you look at PR, the recommendations are almost entirely female. If you look at YA SFF, the recommendations are almost entirely female.

Could there be some sexism involved? Sure. But it's difficult to say because there are many factors at play.

I recommend books that I enjoy. I don't recommend writers.

I think there's a related problem that the recommendations all tend to come from the same small pool that keeps recirculating. They all tend to be fairly recent and fairly middle-of-the-genre, with maybe the odd "classic" thrown in.

This is kind of understandable. If a book is recommended here, I dare say quite a few of us will check it out, and probably like it, so it's self-reinforcing. Also if other people are recommending a thing, that will (a) remind you it exists, and (b) give you some confidence that it is actually good. I know there are books I read a long time ago that I don't mention because I'm not sure they still stand up.

I read whatever I want. Yes, I have more male authors on my shelf than female authors. Okay. One day I'll find a female author that I like as much as Brent Weeks or Brandon Sanderson, but I'm not going to intentionally look for them. For me, that would be like someone reading my book because I'm blind, and not because they're interested in the story. Sure, it might help me get sales, but at the same time, it feels more condescending than anything else, and I wouldn't want that. So I'm not going to feel sorry for female authors and read their books out of sympathy. Whenever the next one catches my eye, I will pick it up.

@Lanko I wish I could like your post twice! I was slowly gathering up the same information as this line of thinking annoys me.
If I pay money for a book or invest time in reading it surely I have some entitlement to the best experience possible and do not need to be guilt tripped into second thinking myself as to whether I am in some way not being fair to female authors. Likewise if a publishing house gets only a third of submissions from women authors they are under no obligation to publish a greater percentage of those submissions than those they receive from male authors to balance this up.


Also, in general, I don't see why we make an issue of individual people needing to be fair and equality minded when it comes to sharing their taste with others. Numbers prove that we can hardly be fair in our reading without making a special effort, since SFF is unbalanced in what is published, due to unbalance as to what is even submitted.

I don't personally owe to anyone to be more careful on what I read. I owe to myself to read quality, and it's my never ending quest, regardless of the nationality or gender of the author. I've stated before that I have a strong dislike for seeing what authors even look like, or what they believe in. People like Sanderson personally put me off, with his face, his squeaky voice, and his religious views. I prefer to read a book and judge a author by it. I'd be just as happy if books all came with generic fake author names of a 3rd gender and everyone published refered to as "xe".

This looks like a long, complicated string to basically accuse us readers of this problem. and apart of that string is saying that books only sell well if they're recommended. So what's your definition of recommended? Is a Goodreads rating not a form of recommendation? Is a review not a type of recommendation? Or is a recommendation only someone telling you that you should read x?

Am I the only one who thinks gender is absolutely IRRELEVANT to what I suggest to others?
I recommend books that I like. If it happens to be written by a man. OK. If it happens to be written by a female. OK.

I don't care... It's about the story, right? Or is it about WHO wrote it?

I don't get this entire discussion as gender doesn't mean something is good or bad... It's just another extrapolated "social issue" that has to be discussed here?


@tebakutis
Quote
I don't see anyone saying "Recommend authors just because they are female".

Not  "just because " certainly, but the title of the thread implies that we should be going out of our way to ensure we do and that was not a view I would endorse and agreed with most of @Nora and @Lanko  thoughts about that.

My reasoning here is that if you insist on some kind of 'quota' on people's choices, be it  five vegetables in a day's meals, walking 30 minutes every day, or female authors in a recommendation list, it can discourage participation or people view it as a chore rather than a pleasure. It becomes a rule you have to follow rather than something you choose to do naturally and to some extent devalues the particular aim or object of the quota.

People simply nailed it when they said nobody has any obligation to read/recommend in a specific, enforced way to appease someone else on how the world of books should work in their view.

Some people even made stuff up like "there is only 10 white males at every Best Fantasy 2016 lists top 10 out there!"
Then a 5 minute search shows lists with up to 4000 female names on it, another two lists in the most popular voting contest in the world with 9 females to 1 male, and even SF with 5/5, possibly 6/4 towards women. And 7/3 on the previous Fantasy year. And a Top 50 of FF, but that "only" almost reached 40%, so it's probably "unfitting", despite the top 10 having 6 females and with a female winner as well.

So those female authored books and genres are getting massively read, maybe it's just we that don't see them around or we that yet have to read those books (if they interest us) and so on.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Peat on December 01, 2016, 06:37:25 PM
Lanko, your post reads like you're accusing us of lying. Please clarify whether that was your intention.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on December 01, 2016, 06:43:21 PM
Lanko, your post reads like you're accusing us of lying. Please clarify whether that was your intention.

"Us" who? And what part are you referring to exactly?
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Eclipse on December 01, 2016, 06:51:18 PM
 I think maybe its time both of you need to take a step back from this topic for a bit,.don't get frustrated as then your posts don't look polite.

Thank you to all the posters in this topic , it got me thinking on both sides
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: JMack on December 01, 2016, 06:52:39 PM
This ^
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on December 01, 2016, 07:16:50 PM
For clarification, I wasn't calling anyone a liar.

If the part about "someone making stuff up" was what triggered that, it was about this post:

it *ought* to be irrelevant, i agree. But I find that if there's a list of say, ten best fantasy books of 2016 and you ask the author of that list why it's ten male authors on the list, he'll say "I don't think about gender". Which is why we still need to talk about gender. :)

Guy simply thrown it out there without even providing some respectable list for the claim.
Then 5 minutes later we return with the most popular list voted on the Internet and we find out it's actually 9:1 to female authors, on both Fantasy and YA Fantasy.
And now? The awesome results obtained from women were the product of readers simply voting on stuff they enjoyed? Or we apply the same logic and think that such vast majority is only because people thought about their gender?

I just felt it was very inappropriate to apply that line of thinking to both genders to "explain" their success or a majority in some list. Or that female authors may need extra help to obtain results instead of their own effort and work. And as the results showed, in GR and in other popular awards, that they clearly didn't need it.

Just that.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: cupiscent on December 01, 2016, 07:47:56 PM
For the final time, because seriously, I have to stop beating my head against this discussion:

I don't think quotas are appropriate or helpful.

I do think it would be good if everyone - myself included - gave a moment's extra thought when making recommendations as to whether there were awesome female authors who should be included.

That's it. That's all.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Peat on December 01, 2016, 07:53:07 PM
Lanko - Okay, my bad, I thought that was more aimed at me than it was. Thanks for the clarification.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Rostum on December 01, 2016, 11:19:03 PM
Quote
For the final time, because seriously, I have to stop beating my head against this discussion:

I don't think quotas are appropriate or helpful.

I do think it would be good if everyone - myself included - gave a moment's extra thought when making recommendations as to whether there were awesome female authors who should be included.

That's it. That's all.

Why?

Just to keep the circular argument going (because saying the same thing over is so fulfilling) . If I am asked for my opinion on what to read I will give it. It is my opinion that is all(not some patriarchal plot to ignore female authors.) If I am asked for a specific type of book such as high fantasy, Grimdark or whatever again I will give it. Anything else would not be my opinion and would be dishonest. I am sure that recommending the best books that come to mind is more important than who wrote them, but feel free to recommend who you like. That after all would be you expressing your opinion.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: cupiscent on December 01, 2016, 11:25:16 PM
Quote
For the final time, because seriously, I have to stop beating my head against this discussion:

I don't think quotas are appropriate or helpful.

I do think it would be good if everyone - myself included - gave a moment's extra thought when making recommendations as to whether there were awesome female authors who should be included.

That's it. That's all.

Why?

Why not? It's a moment of your time. You really can't spare it to make sure you're not absentmindedly leaving off someone awesome?
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on December 01, 2016, 11:56:01 PM
Quote
For the final time, because seriously, I have to stop beating my head against this discussion:

I don't think quotas are appropriate or helpful.

I do think it would be good if everyone - myself included - gave a moment's extra thought when making recommendations as to whether there were awesome female authors who should be included.

That's it. That's all.

Why?

Why not? It's a moment of your time. You really can't spare it to make sure you're not absentmindedly leaving off someone awesome?

I think this crystalises the problem. You see someone (most likely a woman) being left off.

We see a book.

If someone asked me for great high fantasy books that aren't a medieval or full of tropey creatures, and I forgot to mention Jones for Castle in the Air, you would think "tssk, a female author that gets forgotten", while I'd think "shit, how could I have forgotten Castle in the Air?"

I forget to recommend awesome books all the time. I'm human, my memory is imperfect. Chances are I also sometimes neglect male authors. But since there are more of them, maybe we'll never notice that on paper.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Peat on December 02, 2016, 04:29:16 AM
And I believe on this forum we all read different stuff and read widely that's why our recommendations are not just the same five on this forum.


If we did have a 5 here it probably be

Scott Lynch
Robin Hobb
Jen Williams
Scott Lynch
Scott Lynch

Idle point in passing - my early lazy count on incomplete numbers gives (in ascending order)

Hobb (9)
Lynch (9)
Pratchett (11)
Sullivan (11)
Sanderson (11)

Williams pings pretty highly but I cba to work out how many of those are Jen and how many of those are Tad (and I think there's another one or two). I should probably check if there's another Sullivan but that can wait until I've completed the research. Also - that's 11 out of 30. Doesn't look like there's a universal answer on this forum.

Small prize to anyone who can guess the 5 most recommended females in this particular sample  :P

Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: cupiscent on December 02, 2016, 04:34:04 AM
So take another moment to think if there's any awesome male authors you've left off. Hell, I would be delighted if people would also take a third moment to consider specifically whether they've left off any awesome writers of colour.

Let's just not leave awesome people off. What's the big deal?


...though since we're here and I have this thread open in another tab: No one's mentioned Diana Wynne Jones in the fantasy-setting-other-than-medieval-europe thread (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/fantasy-settings-other-than-medieval-europe/). ;)
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Peat on December 02, 2016, 04:45:40 AM
Be fair now. I imagine most people here take a moment or two to think of as much awesome as they can when suggesting anything here, if only to show off just how much they know about awesome.

And anyone who simply spouts the first names to enter their head and never think about it again ain't never gonna think about it.

That's the problem with suggesting we think harder with our recommendations, now I dwell on it. People are probably doing all the thinking on this they can.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Eclipse on December 02, 2016, 05:36:12 AM
And I believe on this forum we all read different stuff and read widely that's why our recommendations are not just the same five on this forum.


If we did have a 5 here it probably be

Scott Lynch
Robin Hobb
Jen Williams
Scott Lynch
Scott Lynch

Idle point in passing - my early lazy count on incomplete numbers gives (in ascending order)

Hobb (9)
Lynch (9)
Pratchett (11)
Sullivan (11)
Sanderson (11)

Williams pings pretty highly but I cba to work out how many of those are Jen and how many of those are Tad (and I think there's another one or two). I should probably check if there's another Sullivan but that can wait until I've completed the research. Also - that's 11 out of 30. Doesn't look like there's a universal answer on this forum.

Small prize to anyone who can guess the 5 most recommended females in this particular sample  :P


Williams
Hobb
Bach/AAron ( think she's got 3 alias)
Weis
Le Guin
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: stevenpoore on December 02, 2016, 06:15:03 AM
For clarification, I wasn't calling anyone a liar.

If the part about "someone making stuff up" was what triggered that, it was about this post:

it *ought* to be irrelevant, i agree. But I find that if there's a list of say, ten best fantasy books of 2016 and you ask the author of that list why it's ten male authors on the list, he'll say "I don't think about gender". Which is why we still need to talk about gender. :)

Guy simply thrown it out there without even providing some respectable list for the claim.
On the one hand, reasonable point. On the other hand, on the previous page you go so far as saying
 
Quote
- People even made stuff up like "there is only 10 white males at every Best Fantasy 2016 lists top 10 out there!"


which is not what I said at all. Since you insist, here's the list I was looking at. There's only seven nominees, so feel free to move the goalposts.
http://booknest.eu/index.php/component/k2/item/264
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Peat on December 02, 2016, 06:32:52 AM
And I believe on this forum we all read different stuff and read widely that's why our recommendations are not just the same five on this forum.


If we did have a 5 here it probably be

Scott Lynch
Robin Hobb
Jen Williams
Scott Lynch
Scott Lynch

Idle point in passing - my early lazy count on incomplete numbers gives (in ascending order)

Hobb (9)
Lynch (9)
Pratchett (11)
Sullivan (11)
Sanderson (11)

Williams pings pretty highly but I cba to work out how many of those are Jen and how many of those are Tad (and I think there's another one or two). I should probably check if there's another Sullivan but that can wait until I've completed the research. Also - that's 11 out of 30. Doesn't look like there's a universal answer on this forum.

Small prize to anyone who can guess the 5 most recommended females in this particular sample  :P


Williams
Hobb
Bach/AAron ( think she's got 3 alias)
Weis
Le Guin

2/5. I didn't even know Aaron had multiple aliases.

Number 5 felt like a curveball to me.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Eclipse on December 02, 2016, 06:42:05 AM
I've checked only seems to be Aaron and Bach thought she had another one for her UF series

Le Guin was just a total guess

My personal top 5 female authors would be Weis,Wurts,Aaron,Alex Hughes,Barbara Webb, P.N Elrod.( not all of them would get on my favourite top five of both genders through)

I've not read Jen Williams the S&S angle putting me off , I'm not a fan of S&S will eventually read it through.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Peat on December 02, 2016, 07:01:29 AM
I've checked only seems to be Aaron and Bach thought she had another one for her UF series

Le Guin was just a total guess

My personal top 5 female authors would be Weis,Wurts,Aaron,Alex Hughes,Barbara Webb, P.N Elrod.( not all of them would get on my favourite top five of both genders through)

I've not read Jen Williams the S&S angle putting me off , I'm not a fan of S&S will eventually read it through.

Well it is hard to fit 6 into 5, yes...  :P

I personally wouldn't emphasise the S&S angle. You can see the homages & the influence, but it is very much in epic fantasy form.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Elfy on December 02, 2016, 07:39:55 AM
I've checked only seems to be Aaron and Bach thought she had another one for her UF series

Le Guin was just a total guess

My personal top 5 female authors would be Weis,Wurts,Aaron,Alex Hughes,Barbara Webb, P.N Elrod.( not all of them would get on my favourite top five of both genders through)

I've not read Jen Williams the S&S angle putting me off , I'm not a fan of S&S will eventually read it through.
When recommending Margaret Weis are you also taking into account the books she wrote with Tracy Hickman?
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Eclipse on December 02, 2016, 07:56:43 AM
I've read Margaret Weis solo works and the one with her various co authors. I would recommend both Hickman &  Weis.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on December 02, 2016, 10:30:32 AM
So take another moment to think if there's any awesome male authors you've left off. Hell, I would be delighted if people would also take a third moment to consider specifically whether they've left off any awesome writers of colour.

Let's just not leave awesome people off. What's the big deal?


...though since we're here and I have this thread open in another tab: No one's mentioned Diana Wynne Jones in the fantasy-setting-other-than-medieval-europe thread (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/fantasy-settings-other-than-medieval-europe/). ;)

As I've told you, I often don't even know what my authors look like, and know as little as possible on their back story. So depending on the name I could well read an author of colour without ever realizing it AND my brain does not classify books by author.
Is that even understandable? I don't read authors, I read some of their work. If I like the book so-so, then I only ever read the one. Worse, authors who leave a great effect on me also classify in the "read with care" section, like "the road" or "the collector". Such authors wrote other very acclaimed books I sometimes even own, but I haven't gotten around to reading them.
What kind of authorial recommendation is that? I recommend books. Because often all I've read from an author is one book.
When you see what a heap of shite Hannibal is compared to Red Dragon, I refuse to arbitrarily recommend authors over work, if I know not all their work holds up.

Maybe the reason Jones wasn't recommended there is because I haven't posted on that thread, and I was the only one to think of it?


I was quite vain so far in thinking that I do reflect about my recommendations, I do use my brain. But it sounds like using it in a different way isn't a good thing.


Eclipse and Peat's point in the "forum's top 5" is funny because I dislike Lynch, dislike Hobbs, and the only author beside her I've read in the list is Sanderson.
Feels like generalizations are annoying regardless of the side you stand from them.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Eclipse on December 02, 2016, 10:47:22 AM
You not alone with dislike of Hobb.,Sanderson okay nothing special to me.you on your own with Lynch through;-) like I'm with sir Terry Pratchet

Everyone has a different top  of books, everyone has different  tastes and that's awesome.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: ultamentkiller on December 03, 2016, 02:31:37 AM
Quote
For the final time, because seriously, I have to stop beating my head against this discussion:

I don't think quotas are appropriate or helpful.

I do think it would be good if everyone - myself included - gave a moment's extra thought when making recommendations as to whether there were awesome female authors who should be included.

That's it. That's all.

Why?

Why not? It's a moment of your time. You really can't spare it to make sure you're not absentmindedly leaving off someone awesome?

I think this crystalises the problem. You see someone (most likely a woman) being left off.

We see a book.

If someone asked me for great high fantasy books that aren't a medieval or full of tropey creatures, and I forgot to mention Jones for Castle in the Air, you would think "tssk, a female author that gets forgotten", while I'd think "shit, how could I have forgotten Castle in the Air?"

I forget to recommend awesome books all the time. I'm human, my memory is imperfect. Chances are I also sometimes neglect male authors. But since there are more of them, maybe we'll never notice that on paper.
Oh my gosh! Definitely this! I forgot that I read Castle In The Air this year, and lord knows I couldn't remember who wrote it.

I feel like I always recommend an author of color. After all, don't 99 percent of humans have skin that is a certain color? Even albinos? I don't know much about albinos, so that could be really off.

My point is this. I don't care. Write a good book. From coming back after a week, it looks like every argument that women aren't being published fairly, and women aren't being promoted fairly, has been shot down. So let's all just give it a rest. Write a good book, and recommend good books. Don't recommend people, because people are complicated, annoying, and, for the most part, aren't we reading to get away from people? I know I am. I will not take an extra minute to think about my favorite books, because I know what my favorite books are. If people want to dig through my Goodreads account, they can have at it. But I will recommend what stands out to me the most. Will I recommend an author? Maybe. But maybe I should stop that, since it's so frustrating to people apparently. I'll only say who the author is if they don't come up on the first Google search of the title. That way, this whole gender thing and color thing and minority thing and whatever else you guys can come up with will die, and we'll only care about what most of us are here to discuss. Books.

TLDR: People suck, but books don't, so recommend books. Not people. Will this calm everyone down? Probably not.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: cupiscent on December 03, 2016, 05:40:39 AM
As I've told you, I often don't even know what my authors look like, and know as little as possible on their back story. So depending on the name I could well read an author of colour without ever realizing it AND my brain does not classify books by author.

So it'll be a short moment, then. ;)

I will not take an extra minute to think about my favorite books, because I know what my favorite books are.

I am super impressed by your memory, because I can barely remember a fraction of the fantastic books I've read in the past year, let alone my entire life, without pausing to think and, often, going to stand in front of my bookshelves, both literal and virtual.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Elfy on December 03, 2016, 06:24:14 AM
I've read her solo books and the one with her various co authors. I would recommend both Weis & Hickman.
Not being rude or anything, Eclipse, but you do realise that Tracy Hickman is a male?
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Eclipse on December 03, 2016, 08:00:37 AM
Have you not read  my posts on how I started reading, I know he's male. ( not when I first started reading but I've now known for a long time now) I have thanked them both for getting me to read.

I'm happy to recommend both genders , I was asked to guess what the top 5 female writers were given in recommendation here in the f -f forum then just for fun I gave my own personal  top 5 female authors  for fun I enjoy reading, as Tracy Hickman is male I left him off maybe I should have just said "with Tracy Hickman"

I would have left Weis out of a male author list if I had put Hickman on it, next time I will put  the names of the various co authors  an author has worked with as well.

Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: ScarletBea on December 03, 2016, 11:07:44 AM
Eclipse, I think what Elfy was trying to say is that you used "her" a couple of times in your sentence when referring to Tracy - not that you should/shouldn't recommend him.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Eclipse on December 03, 2016, 12:15:25 PM
When saying her I meant Margaret in that post,sorry.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: ScarletBea on December 03, 2016, 12:21:04 PM
we all got confused, then ;D
sorry!
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Eclipse on December 03, 2016, 12:32:17 PM
No problem, I got confused as well with what Elfy meant too. I will use the names of the authors from now on when replying and I'm sorry if I confuse anyone with my wording/grammar in posts.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: ultamentkiller on December 03, 2016, 03:51:56 PM

I will not take an extra minute to think about my favorite books, because I know what my favorite books are.

I am super impressed by your memory, because I can barely remember a fraction of the fantastic books I've read in the past year, let alone my entire life, without pausing to think and, often, going to stand in front of my bookshelves, both literal and virtual.
There's a difference between fantastic books, and my favorite books. Off of the top of my head, here are my favorite books.

the Light Bringer Series by Brent Weeks
The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
Promise of Blood by Brian T. McKlellan.
Grave Peril and Small Favor by Jim Butcher

Now, let me check that against my Goodreads account.

Alright, I missed Tricked by Kevin Hearne.

That's one. One out of all of the books I've read in the past two years. See, there's a difference between us. For one, I probably don't read as many books as you do. Two, people have different levels of memory. I know, it's a shock we're not all the same, but bare with me for a second. I'm not saying my memory is better than yours. What I am saying is that I can remember my favorite books better than you can apparently. And there's nothing wrong with that. Now, here's the important part. Were any of the ones I left off female?

*checks list*

Nope. They weren't. However, maybe I should take an even longer time to make sure I include at least one female author, even though the ones I've read did not make my list of favorite books. Yes, they have written really good books, but not my favorite. So, when telling people about my favorites, should I throw an author in the minority on there even though they didn't make the cut? Maybe in your list you would, but this is my list, and I won't give people higher expectations than the book deserves.

I get your sarcasm. I get trying to call me on that. I really do. But it was pointless, unless you count one book a victory. I may not know as much about politics as I should. I may not know as much about music. What I know are my favorite books. I often know why they were written, how the idea came to be, the years of publication, etc. That's why I can say with 99 percent certainty that I'm not leaving anyone off with my recommendations. Hell, one reason I left off Iron Druid is because that's one book in the entire series, and it's in the middle. You have to get through book one first, and that's the weakest of the series.

Which brings me back to my original point, which solves the entire problem. Let's just stop saying who the book is by, to make everyone happy, since that's the only thing that will satisfy people who feel authors are being left out. If it doesn't come up on the first Google search of the title, then maybe include the author. otherwise, just say the book title, so people can't bother you and call you sexist or discriminatory or whatever other words they wish to throw out there. and no, before I get jumped on, I'm not saying anyone here is calling me that, or anyone else. It might be implied in some cases, but no one has directly said it, which I assume must make it okay. I won't defend how it's been implied, because Lanko did a fantastic job of doing that already, so there's no point in revisiting that circle.

Read the books you want, and to hell with who they're by. They're not people, they're just hands creating words that tell a story.

Oh wait, then we might get hand discrimination. "you only recommend big hands! How dare you!"

If anyone cares, I will put my list in spoilers of books I recommend, which are all really good in my opinion, and a few on that list are my favorites, or have my favorites in them.

the Light Bringer Series
The Stormlight Archive (read Mistborn first if you haven't, and maybe Warbreaker too)
The Powder Mage Trilogy
Riyria Revelations
Tales of the Ketty Jay
The Iron Druid Chronicles
The Dresden Files
The Broken Empire Trilogy
The First Law
The Gentlemen Bastard Sequence
The Demon Wars Saga
Demon Cycle
Erick Carter
All from the top of my head, and checking Goodreads still makes that accurate.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: cupiscent on December 03, 2016, 08:12:23 PM
What I am saying is that I can remember my favorite books better than you can apparently.

But we aren't talking about favourites. We're talking about recommendations. I could rattle off my own list of favourites, and it would probably only be 5-10. But in the last year alone I read (checking GoodReads) 39 books that I gave four or five stars, and I would be happy to recommend any of those if they were appropriate to what someone was asking to hear about.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: tebakutis on December 03, 2016, 10:18:28 PM
Random recommendations from me, since I haven't seen them listed yet:

Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on December 03, 2016, 11:01:36 PM
I was thinking and this crossed my mind:

Using GR's final list, there are some extremely popular titles in there. Some are volumes #7 or #8 or #9 on their series. You don't get to this level of popularity without talking about the books to other people. Word of mouth is the most important thing, after all.

And lack of word of mouth might be the problem, but not in the way the people clamoring for more female authors to be read may be thinking.

There's a "What did you read in month X" thread, but that's hardly the place that will make people pick up a book, since there's a lot of people throwing lists in there and because of that there are mostly ratings or very short comments, more of a "report" thread.

The "currently reading thread" is an interesting one. People casually and organically talk about books they're reading or on what others are. I have so much books already on my TBR that the only way I add more is to find an extremely interesting concept or if people in here are raving about it. And the only guarantee is that it will go to the TBR, not that will be read.
But probably that thread may have made up a good portion, if not most, of my TBR. We don't get books only on recommendations lists, contests and etc. The casual conversations in various threads probably have a huge effect.

@cupiscent , you usually post on the "What did you read in month X" threads, but I actually don't recall ever seeing you posting in the "What are you reading" thread and talking about all the books you report in the other thread.
It's probably the best place to talk more in-depth about books we are reading. Any specific reason you don't comment about what are you reading in there?

Others like Raptori used to review, now he only gives cold stars, which is an indication the book worked (or didn't) for him, but not exactly if other people should read it...
He also rarely comments on WAYR thread and doesn't even post on the "What did you read in month X" threads.

From Tebakutis, I don't think I even see him in GR, and he also doesn't post on WAYR or "What did you read in month X". If he read other books this year other than 2 or 3 titles in our Book Club, I have no idea.
EDIT: As I was writing this, he gives four recommendations  ::) Are they recent?

And who knows how else it is for some others.

I mentioned all this not to point fingers, but because if you feel recommendations for those authors are an issue, and if you are reading them and have them with you, well, you people surely aren't talking about them.

And I don't mean only the famous authors you have read years ago, but the ones being read recently or even now. I myself have read authors very few people heard about (some of them have my review as the only one for their book on GR). Still never touched names like Rothfuss, Erikson, Sullivan, Pratchett...

As a lot of authors and potential authors are also here, we all know the importance of word of mouth. And the people who have it for a lot of names are mostly silent. Which ironically can be the biggest thing contributing to the problem.

Maybe that's what needs to be changed? Maybe some of you are more reserved or only talk about it when directly and specifically asked for, which is totally comprehensible.
I'm not saying anyone has any obligation to comment everywhere, but maybe that's a start for seeing more books and discussions in here?

Just something that maybe we should reflect about.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Raptori on December 03, 2016, 11:54:48 PM
Can't speak for the others @Lanko, but I've been spending more time talking about books and making recommendations on a different forum instead of here! (http://i431.photobucket.com/albums/qq31/lindaluane/LATOC/emoticons/fake-angel-smiley.gif)

Also, while thinking about this issue, I made a few changes to my bingo list. Example: for the "something somebody read for 2015 bingo" square for authors I've read before, I replaced The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu with Vicious by VE Schwab. Lives of Tao looked interesting to a point, but it was maybe middling priority in my TBR. On the other hand, Vicious wasn't even on my list at all - I had read one book by Schwab (A Darker Shade of Magic) and thought it was mediocre, and didn't plan to read anything else by her. I finished Vicious the other day, and it turns out that it's probably the best book I've read this year (out of roughly 70 in total). The only reason I read it was this discussion.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying "we should all go read books by females just because they might be awesome", but that "talking about this kind of issue can actually lead people to books they enjoy which they might have otherwise ignored"!
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Elfy on December 03, 2016, 11:56:28 PM
What I am saying is that I can remember my favorite books better than you can apparently.

But we aren't talking about favourites. We're talking about recommendations. I could rattle off my own list of favourites, and it would probably only be 5-10. But in the last year alone I read (checking GoodReads) 39 books that I gave four or five stars, and I would be happy to recommend any of those if they were appropriate to what someone was asking to hear about.
While that's true, cupiscent, when talking about recommendations favourites often do come into it. People rarely recommend a book that they didn't like when asked for a recommendation by someone else.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Raptori on December 03, 2016, 11:59:00 PM
What I am saying is that I can remember my favorite books better than you can apparently.

But we aren't talking about favourites. We're talking about recommendations. I could rattle off my own list of favourites, and it would probably only be 5-10. But in the last year alone I read (checking GoodReads) 39 books that I gave four or five stars, and I would be happy to recommend any of those if they were appropriate to what someone was asking to hear about.
While that's true, cupiscent, when talking about recommendations favourites often do come into it. People rarely recommend a book that they didn't like when asked for a recommendation by someone else.
True, but most people like a ton of books which don't come to mind as "favourites". A lot of the time - especially when people ask for something specific - most people will be recommending something which isn't a favourite.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on December 04, 2016, 12:10:31 AM
Can't speak for the others @Lanko, but I've been spending more time talking about books and making recommendations on a different forum instead of here! (http://i431.photobucket.com/albums/qq31/lindaluane/LATOC/emoticons/fake-angel-smiley.gif)

Also, while thinking about this issue, I made a few changes to my bingo list. Example: for the "something somebody read for 2015 bingo" square for authors I've read before, I replaced The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu with Vicious by VE Schwab. Lives of Tao looked interesting to a point, but it was maybe middling priority in my TBR. On the other hand, Vicious wasn't even on my list at all - I had read one book by Schwab (A Darker Shade of Magic) and thought it was mediocre, and didn't plan to read anything else by her. I finished Vicious the other day, and it turns out that it's probably the best book I've read this year (out of roughly 70 in total). The only reason I read it was this discussion.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying "we should all go read books by females just because they might be awesome", but that "talking about this kind of issue can actually lead people to books they enjoy which they might have otherwise ignored"!

What? You traitor!  ::)

And about your last paragraph, that might not have been the intention for some, but it was for others, as many expressed it out on various forms and their reasons for "what" and "why". And not only me, but others noticed it too.

Well, let's see what happens now!
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: cupiscent on December 04, 2016, 12:32:33 AM
@cupiscent , you usually post on the "What did you read in month X" threads, but I actually don't recall ever seeing you posting in the "What are you reading" thread and talking about all the books you report in the other thread.
It's probably the best place to talk more in-depth about books we are reading. Any specific reason you don't comment about what are you reading in there?

Mostly because it's 194 pages long (the way my forum setup filters things) and I don't have that much time in my day, especially since posting there would be doubling up on my GR updates. I prefer the regular pause for reflection of the what-I-read-this-month threads. And I've certainly added things to my to-read from what other people have been reading and enjoying. (Or even not-enjoying; sometimes the way someone talks about what they didn't like about a book makes me think it might be something I'd enjoy.)

Also, I've been pretty brutal with my reading list recently, and I don't want to spam the forum with "Started Book X." Three hours later: "DNFing Book X, ugh." ;)
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on December 04, 2016, 12:45:51 AM
Mostly because it's 194 pages long (the way my forum setup filters things) and I don't have that much time in my day, especially since posting there would be doubling up on my GR updates. I prefer the regular pause for reflection of the what-I-read-this-month threads. And I've certainly added things to my to-read from what other people have been reading and enjoying. (Or even not-enjoying; sometimes the way someone talks about what they didn't like about a book makes me think it might be something I'd enjoy.)

Also, I've been pretty brutal with my reading list recently, and I don't want to spam the forum with "Started Book X." Three hours later: "DNFing Book X, ugh." ;)

Never thought the size of that thread could be an issue for some  :o (In the way the forum is setup here, it's almost 650 pages long).

Fair point for the amount of DNF's, but you also don't comment anything in there about the books you did finish and liked! There would be a little more word of mouth for those books and authors, no?
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Peat on December 04, 2016, 01:03:52 AM
Cherryh is an odd one. I know her reputation - its a staggering one in historical terms - but I've never read her, barely heard anyone talk of her... her and Poul Anderson might be the two most forgotten fantasy authors. Maybe Vance? Decent topic to be had there.

And I reckon Raptori is right about people recommending books they know and like, not just their favourites.

I also reckon sharing info about books you DNF still helps people. Some people do look at negative reviews and think "Huh, that's what I like, I'm in". Not to mention sheer simple repetition of a name creates stickability. And I'd agree what we read is about a lot more than recommendations, but the question was recommendations so that's what I did.


Speaking of topics, I had a look at a few topics that you'd call more conversational than recommendations. 199 recommendations off of 8 threads with a break down of 136m, 63f - 31.6pc. Remove the most unbalanced threads and its 102m, 40f off of 6 topics - 28.1pc. Only 3 of the 8 had 33pc women, only 1 of the 3 higher. That was this thread on LGBT in Fantasy - http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/lgbt-fantasy/ - looks like recommendations given in general conversation are pretty similar to those in recommendation threads.


Now on 62 threads, 1804 recommendations. None from introductions because looking over them reveals tiny amounts of data with much the same ratios. Was going to do some pages from the Currently Reading thread - hard to say what counts as a recommendation and what counts as people  just jawing about a book (although there seems to be less of that in general in there) so I didn't. Although looking at the last 6 pages and without chasing up books where I don't know the author, I think people have only read 5 female authors in that time. So there's that, doubt it would be much different there. 

The 1804 breaks down into 1256m, 548f. That's 30.3pc.

Part of the reason its below 33pc is 10 "Best of..." threads I went through. Those turned up 421m 163f -27.8pc. That's counting each author only once though. If you count every time an author is recommended (I did that in 7 threads), it goes 391m 112f - 22.2pc. The 3 I didn't count is because they were nomination threads and I was lazy and just counted the entrants in the resultings threads - 55m, 11f. The moment this forum starts talking about its best books of the year, its favourite authors, its favourite series etc.etc. it gets notably male-centric. Not one of the 10 features 1/3 representation (barely in a few cases) and removing all of those threads would give women 31.5pc of the nominations here.

So there's a bit of a skew that gets pretty pronounced when people are nominating their favourites.

These stats will change no one's minds - in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if everyone was sick of them and had stopped reading. Plan to put up the full stuff with more general looksies in a couple of days in a different thread. But for me, they point to a wee bit of a problem. I was talking earlier in the thread about a possibility/theory/belief that female authors are pushed less hard than male authors; a bit of a lag that gets pronounced when we talk about the perceived elite does, imo, back that up.

But at the end of the day, we're all here to enjoy what we read. And I can't even definitely say there's an issue.

If I was to give a conclusion though... its have a dig. A lot of good stuff goes relatively unnoticed or gets forgotten quickly. I've looked at SO MANY RECOMMENDATIONS. Do I have a few names on the mental TBR list now? Yeah I do and I wouldn't if I didn't go digging past Sanderson/Lynch/Hobb etc.etc. I feel like if there's a problem, once people go digging it will start to correct.

p.s. The five (may change once stats finished) are Hobb, Jen Williams, Novik, Jemisin and - surprise to me - Kameron Hurley.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: cupiscent on December 04, 2016, 01:11:43 AM
Fair point for the amount of DNF's, but you also don't comment anything in there about the books you did finish and liked! There would be a little more word of mouth for those books and authors, no?

But I do talk about them on the monthly thread. I could copy-paste, but that seems like a waste of everyone's time?
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: JMack on December 04, 2016, 01:25:55 AM
Speaking of Cherryh, it helps to be 55.
She's been one of my favorite authors since I first read the Morgaine series. Which is SF, but might as well be Fantasy.
Then her science fiction: Faded Sun. Chanur. Downbelow Station. Cyteen.


Such great stuff.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on December 04, 2016, 01:46:40 AM

Speaking of topics, I had a look at a few topics that you'd call more conversational than recommendations. 199 recommendations off of 8 threads with a break down of 136m, 63f - 31.6pc. Remove the most unbalanced threads and its 102m, 40f off of 6 topics - 28.1pc. Only 3 of the 8 had 33pc women, only 1 of the 3 higher. That was this thread on LGBT in Fantasy - http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/lgbt-fantasy/ - looks like recommendations given in general conversation are pretty similar to those in recommendation threads.

The 1804 breaks down into 1256m, 548f. That's 30.3pc.

Part of the reason its below 33pc is 10 "Best of..." threads I went through. Those turned up 421m 163f -27.8pc. That's counting each author only once though. If you count every time an author is recommended (I did that in 7 threads), it goes 391m 112f - 22.2pc. The 3 I didn't count is because they were nomination threads and I was lazy and just counted the entrants in the resultings threads - 55m, 11f. The moment this forum starts talking about its best books of the year, its favourite authors, its favourite series etc.etc. it gets notably male-centric. Not one of the 10 features 1/3 representation (barely in a few cases) and removing all of those threads would give women 31.5pc of the nominations here.

So there's a bit of a skew that gets pretty pronounced when people are nominating their favourites.

These stats will change no one's minds - in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if everyone was sick of them and had stopped reading. Plan to put up the full stuff with more general looksies in a couple of days in a different thread. But for me, they point to a wee bit of a problem. I was talking earlier in the thread about a possibility/theory/belief that female authors are pushed less hard than male authors; a bit of a lag that gets pronounced when we talk about the perceived elite does, imo, back that up.

But at the end of the day, we're all here to enjoy what we read. And I can't even definitely say there's an issue.

The problem with just getting cold numbers like this is that it does ignore a lot of context involved, even with a lot of work done trying to get around it.
While on GR you just have the books of the year and vote, no explanations or specifications required.

And saying "there is only % of women here and there", "it's male-centric" and "it's a bit of a skew" implies that if male authors are ahead, it's a problem, but if it was the other way around it would't be, for whatever reason.

If a number like 33% of female authors bothers you, do you think there's "a wee bit of a problem" with the GR Final List composed of 90% females and 10% males? Or YA SF/F, that also has 90% female and 10% male? And since GR is the most popular site for books and lists, it will be used as a recommendation list for millions, including here.

Do you think GR it's "a bit skewed" and "female-centric" and that there might be an issue with it?

Guess not, which then leads to this situation, whether intentional or not:

50%-50% - Parity, great!
51%+ towards female authors - Great!
51%+ towards male authors - Hm, I think it's a bit male-centric in here, there's only a % of women in here and there might be an issue here, folks. Red alert!

And then with the last option also comes the "go for the gender" when picking a book to bring more parity, which isn't far from quotas, as some correctly pointed out.
People will come say it's not what they meant or want, or no gender discrimination openly said, but it's what it comes down to, no matter how one dances around with the words used:

"I read 3 books. They were from male authors, better get 1 or 2 from females now."
*Walks intro library*
"Oh, good cover! What a nice story! Damn, the author is male!" *Dismisses it*
"Oh, good cover! What a nice theme! Damn, male again!" *Dismisses it*
"Oh, good cover! Nice concept! Oh, female! Sweet!"

And then instead of interest or story or theme, gender becomes the focus, whether was the intention or not.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on December 04, 2016, 02:03:45 AM
Fair point for the amount of DNF's, but you also don't comment anything in there about the books you did finish and liked! There would be a little more word of mouth for those books and authors, no?

But I do talk about them on the monthly thread. I could copy-paste, but that seems like a waste of everyone's time?

The "problem" is that the monthly thread simply throws dozens of books at once from a lot of people. And since it's so much we just rate it or write a short comment, as I don't think many people would read dozens of long reviews in there...
Unless someone is already very aligned with your own tastes, it's hard to make a case to go for a certain book there, unless someone really raves about it.

What I do is that I post what I'm starting or finished and comment on it, I don't copy/paste the review, but sometimes I do just a small part (sometimes edited a little) with the good-bad.
Then at the end of the month I just put the all in one place, but it's more spread on the other thread, as 5-10 books don't simply come at once at somebody.
Since you DNF so much, you could just comment when you finished?

Also, the other thread has discussions about some books a bit more often. And also, not everyone here uses or even have Goodreads, so you are missing a lot of people with books they could enjoy! For them it wouldn't be copy-paste.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Raptori on December 04, 2016, 02:22:30 AM
Ok, I do agree to some extent that it's difficult to gather meaningful statistics (though at least Peat's trying!), and it's always good to challenge stuff like that if you feel it's necessary, but some of that is a bit off, Lanko.  :P

And saying "there is only % of women here and there", "it's male-centric" and "it's a bit of a skew" implies that if male authors are ahead, it's a problem, but if it was the other way around it would't be, for whatever reason.
50%-50% - Parity, great!
51%+ towards female authors - Great!
51%+ towards male authors - Hm, I think it's a bit male-centric in here, there's only a % of women in here and there might be an issue here, folks. Red alert!
These bits in particular. At best they're absolute straw-man argument, but I have no clue where you're getting that implication from. Care to point out where it's coming from? Bear in mind that, at a ~30% market share, that means there are twice as many male authors. There's a huge difference between what the other side is saying and what you're claiming they're saying, which really doesn't help your argument!

And then with the last option also comes the "go for the gender" when picking a book to bring more parity, which isn't far from quotas, as some correctly pointed out.
People will come say it's not what they meant or want, or no gender discrimination openly said, but it's what it comes down to, no matter how one dances around with the words used:

"I read 3 books. They were from male authors, better get 1 or 2 from females now."
*Walks intro library*
"Oh, good cover! What a nice story! Damn, the author is male!" *Dismisses it*
"Oh, good cover! What a nice theme! Damn, male again!" *Dismisses it*
"Oh, good cover! Nice concept! Oh, female! Sweet!"

And then instead of interest or story or theme, gender becomes the focus, whether was the intention or not.
So you're saying people don't have TBR piles, and are unable to take multiple factors into account? Everyone just has to go into a store or library and pick up books at random until they find one that appeals, and then they have to walk out with that one?

^ I know that's not what you actually meant to say; that's essentially what you're doing in your characterisation of the other side's stance.  ;)
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on December 04, 2016, 03:00:11 AM
The motives for the huge imbalance came from data we managed to pick from a publisher (data you are also using with the 30% number and that I picked up, you're welcome!) and they said pretty clearly: "We can't publish what we're not submitted."

Don't know what's your issue with the imbalance when it appears a lot of women aren't interested in writing in certain genres and sub-genres. You can't "deliberately publish more of them" (as you said back then) when they are not there.
Also, there are twice as many female authors in other genres as well.

The whole issue Peat (and others have) is because the % of women recommendations are less than the males. That's the whole point of his data gathering and in his words, it's "skewed", "it's an issue", and etc. So what wouldn't be an issue or skewed? If it was complete parity or the opposite? Why?

So you're saying people don't have TBR piles, and are unable to take multiple factors into account? Everyone just has to go into a store or library and pick up books at random until they find one that appeals, and then they have to walk out with that one?

It would be actually cool if going for their books some here did take multiple factors into account and not gender as the major one.

Again, there we have GR with a 90% female ratio, even being twice as less published. Some places have more females, other males. Don't know what's the big deal if here ends up having more males, or why the first thing it raises on some is a "gender issue".
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Raptori on December 04, 2016, 03:42:39 AM
Don't know what's your issue with the imbalance when it appears a lot of women aren't interested in writing in certain genres and sub-genres. You can't "deliberately publish more of them" (as you said back then) when they are not there.
Also, there are twice as many female authors in other genres as well.
From a purely selfish point of view, it's interesting to read books with different perspectives, different views on life, etc, and increased author diversity can only aid that. Sure, straight white English-speaking males can write great characters from outside their own experience, but why would you want that alone if you can encourage authentic voices from different backgrounds as well? I'd love to see more stories written by people from outside the English-language bubble, for example. Gender balance is a small part of that larger issue.

Yep, but we're not here to talk about other genres. I don't read much fiction outside SFF, so why would I care?!  :P

The whole issue Peat (and others have) is because the % of women recommendations are less than the males. That's the whole point of his data gathering and in his words, it's "skewed", "it's an issue", and etc. So what wouldn't be an issue or skewed? If it was complete parity or the opposite? Why?
Well, by definition, it'd be roughly similar to whatever the population demographics are. Something around 50/50 would mean those particular perspectives are being published in equal amounts. Even in an extremely equal system it'd fluctuate, and there's no hard point at which it suddenly becomes skewed (so your comment saying red alert at 51% male is over the top), but at the moment one half of the population supplies twice as many authorial voices as the other half does, so there's clearly something going on.

If someone can prove that it's due to female authors not being interested in fantasy, great - people who want more diverse stories would then have to think of ways to encourage female authors. If it's proven that they're not getting published due to bias in the publishing industry, you'd have to do something different there. And so on.

As is, we don't really know what's causing it, so people interested in diverse stories just do what they can, even if it's something very small like trying to recommend or read more female authors. Don't really understand why it's so contentious for some people!  :D

It would be actually cool if going for their books some here did take multiple factors into account and not gender as the major one.
Erm... is there anyone who doesn't?  :o

Again, there we have GR with a 90% female ratio, even being twice as less published. Some places have more females, other males. Don't know what's the big deal if here ends up having more males, or why the first thing it raises on some is a "gender issue".
Where on GR? The awards? One year in one award isn't a particularly good representation of the fantasy genre at large...  :P
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on December 04, 2016, 04:23:41 AM
From a purely selfish point of view, it's interesting to read books with different perspectives, different views on life, etc, and increased author diversity can only aid that. Sure, straight white English-speaking males can write great characters from outside their own experience, but why would you want that alone if you can encourage authentic voices from different backgrounds as well? I'd love to see more stories written by people from outside the English-language bubble, for example. Gender balance is a small part of that larger issue.

I never needed to check gender for that. You're not allowing for demographics, thousands of straight white English-speaking males in the same country will be vastly different from each other and so far it never failed to surprise me.
I also don't click the profile button so I also don't know what they look like or any other of their preferences and there was never a book I read and automatically thought "This was written by a white or non-white."

Good both ways work for us, though.

The whole issue Peat (and others have) is because the % of women recommendations are less than the males. That's the whole point of his data gathering and in his words, it's "skewed", "it's an issue", and etc. So what wouldn't be an issue or skewed? If it was complete parity or the opposite? Why?
Well, by definition, it'd be roughly similar to whatever the population demographics are. Something around 50/50 would mean those particular perspectives are being published in equal amounts. Even in an extremely equal system it'd fluctuate, and there's no hard point at which it suddenly becomes skewed (so your comment saying red alert at 51% male is over the top), but at the moment one half of the population supplies twice as many authorial voices as the other half does, so there's clearly something going on.

Maybe they are simply not interested in those sub-genres. You can't create writers out of thin air to fill a magical quota.

If someone can prove that it's due to female authors not being interested in fantasy, great - people who want more diverse stories would then have to think of ways to encourage female authors. If it's proven that they're not getting published due to bias in the publishing industry, you'd have to do something different there. And so on.

Don't know why you are ignoring the information from Tor.com and Gollancz we had. It was even from female editors, unless you also want to believe they're biased or everything that doesn't hold to a particular view has something going on.

In case anyone also want to read it and didn't because it's back in page 2: http://www.torbooks.co.uk/blog/2013/07/10/sexism-in-genre-publishing-a-publishers-perspective#more-10359

Quote
That means that every genre publisher in the UK has female commissioning editors and 90% of the genre imprints here are actually run by women. So you can imagine there's a slight sense of frustration each time I see yet another article claiming that UK publishers are biased towards male writers. And I do wonder if those writing the pieces are aware who is actually commissioning these authors?

The sad fact is, we can't publish what we're not submitted. Tor UK has an open submission policy - as a matter of curiosity we went through it recently to see what the ratio of male to female writers was and what areas they were writing in. The percentages supplied are from the five hundred submissions that we've been submitted since the end of January. It makes for some interesting reading. The facts are, out of 503 submissions - only 32% have been from female writers.

So here's the thing. As a female editor it would be great to support female authors and get more of them on the list. BUT they will be judged exactly the same way as every script that comes into our in-boxes. Not by gender, but how well they write, how engaging the story is, how well-rounded the characters are, how much we love it.

While I understand why people get so impassioned about wanting more female writers in genre, especially when it comes to science fiction, the picture just isn't as clear cut as it seems. Accusing the publishers of being sexist, or lax in their attitude towards women writers is an easy out but it's just not the case.


Doesn't sound biased to me.

Where on GR? The awards? One year in one award isn't a particularly good representation of the fantasy genre at large...  :P

The website with almost 4 millions cast to awards doesn't count towards a 90% female ratio Fantasy list, but to some a few random topics count to imply gender bias here? Hm, interesting  ::)
And what is a good representation for you? The Hugos? Too much politics from various sides, also paid which gates the vast majority of readers. Reddit voting? Has more than 100,000 subscribers, but if GR with 3,5 million (even if not all of them were to Fantasy) isn't valid...

Also, all books published in any given year is there (1 million books in total). And it is the most popular book site out there. And year after year you have data, and last year women also outnumbered men.

Some interesting things here. Well, more tomorrow!
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Raptori on December 04, 2016, 05:13:37 AM
I never needed to check gender for that. You're not allowing for demographics, thousands of straight white English-speaking males in the same country will be vastly different from each other and so far it never failed to surprise me.
I also don't click the profile button so I also don't know what they look like or any other of their preferences and there was never a book I read and automatically thought "This was written by a white or non-white."

Good both ways work for us, though.
You're being too literal; 99% of the time I don't take the author into account when I'm picking up a book. That doesn't mean I can't step back and look at the general trends in my reading, and notice things that seem curious, and might deserve some thought if I decide it matters to me.

Maybe they are simply not interested in those sub-genres. You can't create writers out of thin air to fill a magical quota.
Maybe! But we do not know that. You can't just wave your hand and speak for 50% of the population by saying they're not interested because they're just not interested.  ;)

Don't know why you are ignoring the information from Tor.com and Gollancz we had. It was even from female editors, unless you also want to believe they're biased or everything that doesn't hold to a particular view has something going on.

Doesn't sound biased to me.
OK, so that's one of the possibilities ruled out. What about the others? There are more links in the chain, and clearly things aren't equal at some point.

The website with almost 4 millions cast to awards doesn't count towards a 90% female ratio Fantasy list, but to some a few random topics count to imply gender bias here? Hm, interesting  ::)
We're talking about gender bias in terms of representation within the genre's authorship, not in terms of critical and/or public acclaim. Awards are completely irrelevant to what we're actually talking about imo.

And what is a good representation for you? The Hugos? Too much politics from various sides, also paid which gates the vast majority of readers. Reddit voting? Has more than 100,000 subscribers, but if GR with 3,5 million (even if not all of them were to Fantasy) isn't valid...
None of the above. A good representation of the state of the genre would be statistics from somewhere that actually has a good overview of the market, like Amazon, or potentially GR reading and star-rating statistics (not the awards).


Regardless of the state of the genre overall, it's also possible to look for biases and trends within the small community here, and seek to address them. Kinda like Peat has been trying to do.  :P
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: The Gem Cutter on December 04, 2016, 05:32:01 AM
Above and beyond trying to count which angels we might have knocked off of which pins, I think the view that our recommendations here are anything but mathematically insignificant in a global market is rubbish. Certainly we don't need to tread on eggshells lest we accidentally stymie some poor woman's career. If our recommendations are so influential across the globe, how come Jen Williams and Mark Lawrence aren't retired by now?  ::)

The global marketplace is an ocean. At best, we're a tempest in teacup, or perhaps a bathtub. We could scream all day to buy Scott Lynch or Anne McArffrey or whomever you like - the dozens or even scores or even hundred of book sales we might stimulate don't amount to a hill of beans in the cacophony of the sea.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on December 04, 2016, 08:44:27 AM
Agreed. Isn't it the damnedest thing?

It's not like any of us ever recommended anyone ever buy 50 Shades...
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Saraband on December 04, 2016, 10:27:09 AM
Above and beyond trying to count which angels we might have knocked off of which pins, I think the view that our recommendations here are anything but mathematically insignificant in a global market is rubbish. Certainly we don't need to tread on eggshells lest we accidentally stymie some poor woman's career. If our recommendations are so influential across the globe, how come Jen Williams and Mark Lawrence aren't retired by now?  ::)

The global marketplace is an ocean. At best, we're a tempest in teacup, or perhaps a bathtub. We could scream all day to buy Scott Lynch or Anne McArffrey or whomever you like - the dozens or even scores or even hundred of book sales we might stimulate don't amount to a hill of beans in the cacophony of the sea.

What's the point of having a forum, then?  ::) I'm sorry, but that seems a silly argument. I mean, would you say that discussing local politics doesn't matter, because in the end the government is the one making the decisions that really affect the communities? I hope not, because discussing things at a local level is as important as discussing larger problems.

We may not change the world, but we may change the views of one individual or another. And, one day, who knows on what platform that individual will be standing, and what influence he/she will have on the world. I haven't taken part in this particular thread, but I have been following it and acquiring new insights thanks to the people who have given it some thought and are willing to share their views with the rest of us, even if all of this is meaningless to the rest of the world.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: DrNefario on December 04, 2016, 01:07:54 PM
Speaking of Cherryh, it helps to be 55.
She's been one of my favorite authors since I first read the Morgaine series. Which is SF, but might as well be Fantasy.
Then her science fiction: Faded Sun. Chanur. Downbelow Station. Cyteen.


Such great stuff.
I am/was* a huge fan of Cherryh myself, but I'd never really recommend her in a fantasy context because it's her SF that I particularly love. And most of it isn't even available easily in the UK these days.

*She's been concentrating on the Foreigner series for a long time now, and I totally lost my place in that and dropped off the treadmill some years ago.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: JMack on December 04, 2016, 01:33:44 PM
Yeah, I read the first and most of the second Foreigner, and it doesn't do it for me either.
But the earlier stuff? Just grand.
And Faded Sun? easily moved to fantasy setting.
Pride of Chanur? reads like fantasy, because that's what space opera is
Morgaine? totally fantasy; won her entry to the Sword and Sorcery guild/drinking club thing.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: DrNefario on December 04, 2016, 03:58:29 PM
I was enjoying the Foreigner series, I just gave no idea where I got up to, and I'm not keen to reread them to find out.

I think it's a tone thing that makes me like the fantasy less. I'd include Morgaine with that. I just don't get as involved with them. There's a distance caused by the use of language which isn't there in the SF. I believe I've read all of Cherryh's SF bar the last few Foreigner trilogies, but there are significant works of fantasy that I've simply passed over.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: The Gem Cutter on December 04, 2016, 04:17:38 PM
What's the point of having a forum, then?  ::) I'm sorry, but that seems a silly argument. I mean, would you say that discussing local politics doesn't matter, because in the end the government is the one making the decisions that really affect the communities? I hope not, because discussing things at a local level is as important as discussing larger problems.
No silly - discussing doesn't do jack. Voting and other actual activities does things. But by all means, knock yourself out. Our whispers here echo in a larger world...
I haven't taken part in this particular thread [...] even if all of this is meaningless to the rest of the world.
So we agree.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on December 04, 2016, 04:23:25 PM
Yes well... The lack of constructive discussion gets you a Trump rules America. Not sure it's any great example to point out.

Conversation is always good. Confronting ideas is how you might actually change. And only in change do we ever go forward.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: The Gem Cutter on December 04, 2016, 04:59:16 PM
Nora - where's your Darkness now? Now you believe in a world where our discussion here - does what, exactly? Sounds to me like there's no great certainty a problem even exists - sort of a leap to assume we're going to help with solving it through talk. Sounds like pride to me - inflated opinion of the importance of one's opinions and impacts on the world.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Saraband on December 04, 2016, 05:30:46 PM
No silly - discussing doesn't do jack. Voting and other actual activities does things. But by all means, knock yourself out. Our whispers here echo in a larger world...

So, if we were to agree on the idea that discussions / debates are useless (I certainly don't, silly me), can you tell me what's the point of taking part in forums? If you can basically shut any conversation with that attitude, why bother?

I haven't taken part in this particular thread [...] even if all of this is meaningless to the rest of the world.
So we agree.

No, clearly we don't, because I had just said that such discussions could have an impact on someone with a greater platform. JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis were part of a very small group where they discussed their writing, among other things, before they became the literary giants that they were. Maybe those discussions were important to shape their ideas and views, and that had consequences for their own writing, which in turn has had an effect on millions of people.

No one here is claiming to be some Nelson Mandela, shattering the shackles of misogyny, but getting people to discuss this issue (and others), even if only a couple dozen folks in an internet forum, is part of the progress. I have not taken part in this discussion because I have nothing to contribute, but I enjoy reading the different perspectives on the issue.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on December 04, 2016, 05:35:00 PM
Maybe they are simply not interested in those sub-genres. You can't create writers out of thin air to fill a magical quota.
Maybe! But we do not know that. You can't just wave your hand and speak for 50% of the population by saying they're not interested because they're just not interested.  ;)

Neither can you and say if the numbers aren't what you want, then imply it's simply because of gender bias. I guess that's why you "don't care" for the other information showing other sub-genres or genres with more female authors than male. That would explicitly show preferences and that Fantasy may not give them the same level as interest as it does for male authors, causing the "imbalance".

But that would make the gender bias theory lose a lot of power regarding what gets published, and then you would be left with nothing to throw tomatoes on, and your ideal situation with both genders fluctuating around the 50% mark wouldn't be reached naturally, without anyone doing anything to stop it, as the submissions to make it happen simply don't exist.

OK, so that's one of the possibilities ruled out. What about the others? There are more links in the chain, and clearly things aren't equal at some point.

Things aren't equal even before the whole process begins. Some writers are young, single and childless. Others are experienced, married and have their grandchildren married as well. Others traveled all five continents, others never left theirs. Themes of interest are different, which POV they choose, writing style, and so on. All with their own experiences and interests.

Inequality is at the core of it even before any writer puts their first word onto the page.

The website with almost 4 millions cast to awards doesn't count towards a 90% female ratio Fantasy list, but to some a few random topics count to imply gender bias here? Hm, interesting  ::)
We're talking about gender bias in terms of representation within the genre's authorship, not in terms of critical and/or public acclaim. Awards are completely irrelevant to what we're actually talking about imo.

That makes no sense.

Critical acclaim may not sell a lot (but we were not talking about critics). And if it has great public acclaim, then it's selling a lot.

Publishers publish what sells to keep them alive and running.

Those awards are voted by the public, that are reading, and more importantly, buying from those publishers.

And like they said, "we would like to publish more female authors, but we can't publish what we're not submitted."

Also, this year the Award has 9:1 female to male ratio, which puts another dent into the "gender bias theory", and since that's what they want to believe it's the cause of publishers even receiving less submissions, they can't have it.

None of the above. A good representation of the state of the genre would be statistics from somewhere that actually has a good overview of the market, like Amazon, or potentially GR reading and star-rating statistics (not the awards).

The 15 semi-final list were gathered exactly by the number of stars and ratings statistics and 5 more were added from the community (the biggest one in the world). If they were added to such a contest, a lot of people were reading and buying them.

Also, nobody recommends "Amazon's bestsellers list" to someone asking for recommendations (I never saw it at least - and recommendation lists is what started this thread).

Regardless of the state of the genre overall, it's also possible to look for biases and trends within the small community here, and seek to address them. Kinda like Peat has been trying to do.  :P

And here it comes the same thing again in different clothing. Apparently male authors appearing more here causes the first thing to come to mind to be a possibility of gender bias that needs to be addressed and corrected. Which is a very biased thinking itself.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: JMack on December 04, 2016, 05:42:25 PM
My reactions are, characteristically, mild (or milquetoast, depending on my daily degree of self-loathing, but that's for the Depression thread).

Let's keep an eye out for bias. Let's remind each other from time to time to look outside our normal lane. As much as is possible, let's make sure that the opportunity is there for the bet to rise to the top.

Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Rostum on December 04, 2016, 06:02:36 PM
The purpose of a forum was never consensus, but that different views were heard. Having the discussion is often more important than any conclusion.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on December 04, 2016, 06:16:29 PM
Nora - where's your Darkness now? Now you believe in a world where our discussion here - does what, exactly? Sounds to me like there's no great certainty a problem even exists - sort of a leap to assume we're going to help with solving it through talk. Sounds like pride to me - inflated opinion of the importance of one's opinions and impacts on the world.

Me writing darker things has little to do with my usual personality, which has little to do with my opinions, world views and hopes.
If you knew me, you probably wouldn't dream to imagine me as a writer of pseudo-dark stuff. And reading me, you probably are miles from guessing my deep political hopes.

However I only have to look down on my short adult life, to see the revolutions my thoughts and hopes and dreams went though, my new appreciation for some different values and rules.
I went out of my comfort zone, saw how some other countries dealt with other issues, lived under different rules, and hence rubbed elbows with people who had some drastically different thoughts from mine, and got into passionate conversations and insightful tales and encounters. Stuff I thought was myth came out of the darkness of the world and showed its ugly face.
All this made me change a lot. I'm not the same person I was when I left France, and I want nothing of that old life back.
So tomorrow, faced with a choice, I'm not sure I'd act the same way now than I would have 4 years ago.

It's all small ripples. Which conversation, or which dispute, turned my thoughts to different ends? Can anyone feel responsible for the complex changes my personality has undertaken? I don't think so.

Deep down I'm a pessimist. I think we're reaching the top of the bell curve and our specie will collapse sooner rather than later, and the world will be better for it. I think our lives are led without purpose or goal or meaning, and that there is nothing to come after our death but return to the nothingness that was there before our life began.
It's scary yet freeing, and maybe it's what you see reflected in my stories, but it in no way means I don't believe in the power of conversation.

What do you think started most assassinations, most coups, most revolutions? People voting? Pah! You misunderstand me.
I'm French. We invented the beheading of royalty.
People talked, they hungered. Do you know what even started the revolution? It was Louis XVI's smart idea to open a national discussion of the problems of the people, clergy and nobility, and gather the representatives in assembly.
He wanted to do good. He was a smart man. Actually perfected the design of the guillotine himself, from the inefficient crescent blade to the one you know and which severed his own neck.
The thing is, the people of France were invited to gather in their villages and go to the man at the public desk, and tell him their grievances, for them to be talked off in the Assembly.
It was like a bum, lifting his own clothes, and suddenly, instead of only scratching himself mindlessly, seeing the sores, the pustules and the gangrene eating at him.
It made people aware of all that was wrong, and it made them talk. No one voted to storm the Bastille.

And how are coups done, but by discontented people spreading their complaints and convincing arguments and gaining enough followers to take over power?

Ideas are infectious. Many books and many movies try to make that point. Actions aren't ideas, even though they can bring that about, and are in turn brought by them. Ideas are spread through written or spoken word, that's all.

So of course our chatting here can change people. I don't think it'll change me, because I don't think or classify by authors, and don't remember work by author. So ultimately I don't think I could even force myself to try. And I don't really want to.
But if it brought any of our attention to crucial topics and made us take a trip out of our comfort zone, then it has been worthwhile.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on December 04, 2016, 06:28:04 PM
The purpose of a forum was never consensus, but that different views were heard. Having the discussion is often more important than any conclusion.

By liking this, I made you go from 1111 likes to 1112. SORRYYYY....
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Peat on December 04, 2016, 06:41:38 PM
This was mainly meant to be about *our* community here rather than the wider community of the genre - or perhaps I should say sub-genre, as fantasy of the sort we talk is but one sub-genre of everything that can be called fantasy - but lets talk about the wider community.

I said these findings can be construed as supporting a theory that I have (that the fantasy publishing industry/genre pushes male authors harder than female authors). I did not come up with this theory based on the numbers. I came up with that based on a number of things I've read over the years i.e. the Mark Lawrence blog post I linked to.

I do not have conclusive proof for this theory. There's not a lot of people collecting the numbers that would prove/disprove. I have seen more proof for it than not but it remains just my educated opinion.

Do I think these stats point to anything for the wider fandom than just this forum? Only in conjunction with other stats from elsewhere. I believe this forum is sufficiently representative of a lot of online communities in the genre that predictions could be made but you'd want more proof. I'd want more proof.*

Do I think that recommendations made here can have an impact beyond this particular community? Yes. There's a lot of proof across a lot of industries that super-fans and early adopters play a huge part in driving brands. There's a lot of people who I'd say are of that nature and quite a lot of them talk fantasy elsewhere. I don't wish to overstate the impact of this but it plays a part. A lot of fantasy authors build their careers slowly on the back of a growing stream of personal recommendations.

But the stats are about this forum and my conclusion is that, here, "I can't even definitely say there's an issue."



Speaking of which...

Lanko, I really don't know how you got this


The whole issue Peat (and others have) is because the % of women recommendations are less than the males. That's the whole point of his data gathering and in his words, it's "skewed", "it's an issue", and etc. So what wouldn't be an issue or skewed? If it was complete parity or the opposite? Why?

When the only mention of the word issue in my latest post:

And I can't even definitely say there's an issue.

Every time I answer you, it feels like I start by explaining why your report of my words is in fact nothing like my words and then repeating an answer I have already given in the thread. That would be the 33% target I currently believe represents parity i.e. a woman is as likely to be recommended as a male. This would be a far more constructive thread if you were to read my posts more carefully.



Although on the subject of 33%, given that women make up 45% of the books Locus receive for review and 46% of the members of the SFWA, the 33% number might be lowballing it. However, since we're talking about conventional fantasy and those numbers include more than conventional fantasy authors, I feel uncomfortable accepting them as definite figures.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2016/may/12/sci-fi-media-coverage-dominated-by-men-survey-shows

http://www.nerds-feather.com/2015/04/membership-in-sfwa-by-gender.html




*Although if people want some stats from elsewhere...

4 threads + the two archive posts at the beginning of the big fantasy recommendations thread at SFFChrons = 150 guys, 77 girls. On the nose, although not big enough to be representative.

Two years of the big "I like X recommend me..." threads at BestFantasyBooks = 104 guys, 22 girls. 21pc. Very limited sample (small number of recommenders) but pretty low.

2 crowd voted "Best of Year" lists at BFB = 7 of 55; 3 crowd voted "Best of Fantasy" lists at BFB = 46 of 222. Again small sample, but again low.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Nora on December 04, 2016, 06:45:59 PM
And if we do happen to like more men writers than women writers, do we go to sexist hell?

 ;D
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: JMack on December 04, 2016, 06:49:26 PM
And if we do happen to like more men writers than women writers, do we go to sexist hell?

 ;D

Only if it's cold, Nora. Only if it's cold.  ;)
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lanko on December 04, 2016, 06:51:34 PM
This was mainly meant to be about *our* community here rather than the wider community of the genre - or perhaps I should say sub-genre, as fantasy of the sort we talk is but one sub-genre of everything that can be called fantasy - but lets talk about the wider community.

I said these findings can be construed as supporting a theory that I have (that the fantasy publishing industry/genre pushes male authors harder than female authors). I did not come up with this theory based on the numbers. I came up with that based on a number of things I've read over the years i.e. the Mark Lawrence blog post I linked to.


But we don't get our recommendations just from here. And even when we do, how do you know it didn't come from outside?
And again, look at the Tor article. What if the different is due to publishers not even receiving such amounts of submissions?

And it did start as a talk of the genre as a whole, back on page 2 on 3. It was actually being pretty constructive, until you were the one who actually turned it into a "forum census" and tried to generalize some perceived "issue" based on a few topics and we should give recs based on gender for a bit more parity...

Also, on that list back then, it was Top Books of the 2000's or whatever, but it was heavily male oriented. Then you gave names of female authors you didn't even read to be included in a Top X Books list simply because it didn't have many female authors.
Can we at least agree that including authors you didn't even read in such a list for the sake of gender parity was going a little too far?

And I don't know how you think people may not think that the whole issue you have is because we have more % males than females.
If you show numbers like "there's 33% of females here, 27% here, 40% here" and for you it's "skewed" and think there's an issue, then what percentage or ratio wouldn't be an issue for you?

Anyway, we're gonna go through another circular round of arguments again with this...

Let's just agree to disagree then.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Peat on December 05, 2016, 02:50:06 AM
I never said what the topic as started by Eclipse was about; I said what my stats were about given it looked like people were interpretating them as being a comment on everything. That was possibly a misread on TGC's post.

Nor have I ever said that people should give recommendations based on gender.

And I have already said that I'm looking for 33pc of recommendations as that's the best guess on the number of women among fantasy authors. If women get 33pc of recommendations, that means they're as likely to be recommended as men. That to me is parity. I have been deliberately ignoring the issue of whether and why there's more male authors than female authors. It is easier to answer Eclipse's question by doing so.


But lets talk the whole genre, as we have beat this little bit of it to death. Lets talk the whole thing. First, I'd like to define fantasy as "What we talk about here in Fantasy Book & Author Discussion" because I think that's the definition of fantasy most of us mean. That excludes Paranormal Romance and excludes the majority of Urban Fantasy and Young Adult. If people wish to disagree with that definition, fair enough, but for the sake of argument this is what I mean. Things very clearly get a *lot* different if you include those things in the genre.

Now to clarify -

While I am uncertain there's an issue with the recommendations at this forum;

I think it probable that there's an issue with women having to work harder to receive the same level of success in the fantasy genre

Now, I'm saying probable. That there is no clear consistent trend all the way through fantasy is clear. Some magazines show heavy genre bias with reviews. Some magazines show none. If we use the 33% figure, then women do better in rewards than you would expect. If you use the rewards/SFWA membership figures/Locus numbers, then women are more likely to be signed than men if Tor's numbers are correct. Different communities have different group tastes and favourites. Some of them trend more towards female authors than others.

But there is evidence for suggesting women have to work harder to get the same recognition, much of it already linked in this thread. I've seen data on how readers admit they're less likely to read books by authors with a female name. I've seen data on how major booksellers push male authors harder than female authors in non-romance and children genres (http://www.julietemckenna.com/?p=1352). I've seen data on how female authors are less likely to be reviewed on the major reviewing platforms.

None of this is definitive proof. Its not extensive enough, not scientific enough. But there are evidence-based grounds for believing this is going on. And most of the evidence is coming from people in the industry, some of them very successful people in the industry. I do not believe they have not been moved to look at these things for no reason.

Ultimately I find this evidence more compelling than the counter-arguments. It surprises me somewhat, especially given how many women work in publishing, but lots of things surprise me.

There's also a certain amount of evidence that readers ignore what the publishers push to an extent and act fairly gender neutral. The data I collected can be construed as such actually; the link I posted in this thread contains a bit on it.  That's a generalisation of course. There are people out there who have a definite obvious bias. I reckon there's others who have subconscious biases that come into play. But my guess is they equal out and that the industry doesn't need to keep pushing men to sell. Although guess who has a lot more data than me...
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lady Ty on December 05, 2016, 04:01:06 AM
Me writing darker things has little to do with my usual personality, which has little to do with my opinions, world views and hopes.
If you knew me, you probably wouldn't dream to imagine me as a writer of pseudo-dark stuff. And reading me, you probably are miles from guessing my deep political hopes.

The comment that brought this response was so laughably way-off that I have to endorse Nora's reply and assure you that in real life it is hard to believe she could create such intriguing dark worlds. She absolutely does not eat people. I promise.

After personal chats, and then being able to spend a few short hours with her here in Canberra  I can assure you Nora is enormous fun to be with, happy, enthusiastic, extremely well informed, and someone who has independently travelled and worked to find wide experience and enjoyment in a relatively short life so far. She has my utmost respect and admiration. Certainly neither arrogantly prideful in any way, nor proselytising of her own opinion. I was genuinely sad the time flew so fast and we met as she was about to leave.

Quote
Ideas are infectious. Many books and many movies try to make that point. Actions aren't ideas, even though they can bring that about, and are in turn brought by them. Ideas are spread through written or spoken word, that's all.

So of course our chatting here can change people. I don't think it'll change me, because I don't think or classify by authors, and don't remember work by author. So ultimately I don't think I could even force myself to try. And I don't really want to.
But if it brought any of our attention to crucial topics and made us take a trip out of our comfort zone, then it has been worthwhile.

Chatting, comments and  discussions here have brought many new dimensions to the way I look at things and have learned much that was unexpected and out of my normal ken. Not just about books, but also around  people places, ideas. I value the many varied opinions and pov's.
 
@cupiscent, you have already had an effect, though perhaps indirectly, and not quite what you envisaged. Answering what setting I would like to visit, checked to see if any were in female writers' books and happy to find a VE Schwab  location was first on my list. ;D

Love that the subjects get passionate, because we all recognise that is part of enthusiasm, but have to confess to personally switching off on number analyses because maths is der for me.

The discussions get repeated or go around and around, but new people join in who haven't been engaged in similar discussions in the past, so it is always good to give something a new airing.

Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: JMack on December 05, 2016, 10:20:56 AM
So, we should all pitch in for a college algebra text for you for Secret Santa. Excellent. Done and done.  8)
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: The Gem Cutter on December 05, 2016, 05:35:02 PM
So, the way to get the discussion less contentious is to attack the discussion itself, after which the warm feels and flowers return. This is very Westworld to me.
Title: Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
Post by: Lady Ty on December 05, 2016, 09:14:35 PM
So, we should all pitch in for a college algebra text for you for Secret Santa. Excellent. Done and done.  8)

No good if it's got

(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/83/7d/6d/837d6df43a745bf87710e50c2db09b95.jpg)


 in there pretending to be a number. That was when I left it all to Buzz Lightyear and ran away. ::)