Fantasy Faction

General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: Sindran on November 26, 2014, 11:25:03 PM

Title: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Sindran on November 26, 2014, 11:25:03 PM
I may have posted this in the wrong spot...

So there was a survey on Goodreads that concluded that men prefer male authors while women preferred female authors.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/nov/25/readers-prefer-authors-own-sex-goodreads-survey (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/nov/25/readers-prefer-authors-own-sex-goodreads-survey)

How true do you think this is, for yourself and for the general populace?

Personally I could care less about gender. If it is well written and something I am interested in I will read it.

Somewhat off topic, one thing that bugged me were comments such as:

"Not surprising. I am a man and have never felt any strong relation to anything written or filmed by a woman. I take it men and women are two different species."

"After the short trip into the world of female-written romance novels that I made a few years ago, I decided that:
(A) I am more male that I was awware of,
(B) there is a chasm between the sexes, dark, deep, insourmountable. We are not born to understand each other."

(Ugh, typos!)

Degrading for one thing, but it also suggests that no matter how good the writer is, they are never good enough to put to paper how the opposite sex acts and reacts. It makes me think of those authors, most likely women, who hide their works behind initials in order to get their stories taken seriously.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Justan Henner on November 26, 2014, 11:58:34 PM
"After the short trip into the world of female-written romance novels that I made a few years ago, I decided that:
(A) I am more male that I was awware of,
(B) there is a chasm between the sexes, dark, deep, insourmountable. We are not born to understand each other."

I think that says everything right there (at least about those making such statements, as to the general trend, I don't know). I think a lot of people (I won't say majority, I don't think it's a majority) make the mistake of reading a single (or handful of books) and then cast their opinions about that one author onto an entire group. What's particularly odd in this example, is that it sounds like he/she's (I make no assumptions haha) has associated something they didn't like about the romance genre to all women everywhere. Pretty strange.

As for myself, I think this pretty much sums it up:

Personally I could care less about gender. If it is well written and something I am interested in I will read it.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: asabo on January 25, 2015, 09:44:42 PM
I read for the characters. If they grab me, I don't care which gender (or if they have just one - Left Hand of Darkness) I also don't specifically look for books written by men/women. I look for the story. Don't care for overly feminist or overly macho stories, although side characters are fine. A good balance makes the story stronger, IMHO.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Chreus on January 30, 2015, 06:47:32 PM
As long as the characters and story is interesting I couldn't care less if the author is male, female or a bit of both. That being said I suppose I do read more books from male authors but that's simply because there are more male than female authors of the fantasy genre.

As for authors writing the opposite gender, I find that the ones that fail at it are the ones who try too hard, and as a result overdoing the women being super feminine or the men being super masculine. I think George R.R. Martin answered the question nicely when asked how he manages to write women so well, that he doesn't write "men" or "women", he just writes 'people' ;)
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: JMack on January 30, 2015, 07:29:53 PM
I can't resist.
Here is a favorite line from one my favorite movies, "As Good as It Gets".
It's funny because it's awful, and we know it's awful:

A receptionist at a publishing company asks Melvin Udall,a famous author of women's romances:

Receptionist: "How do you write women so well?"
Melvin Udall: "I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability."

Not politically correct, I know, but Melvin is a jerk beyond all jerks at this point in the film, thereby invalidating every wonderfully awful thing he says.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Mark on March 02, 2015, 11:40:07 AM
I read an article recently (reposted on the Passive Voice) where someone discusses how they read only female writers for a year, and how it changed them. For me this seems strange. I've always read both male and female authors, and don't even consider gender when I pick up a book. I'm only interested in the story.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Skip on March 02, 2015, 03:49:53 PM
Maybe it's the knowing that influences. There are some female writers I like, mostly from earlier generations, who I had thought based on their name were men. Finding out they were women did not change my opinion of their work.

No, I don't care for romance novels, but that's mainly because they are contrived and formulaic. There must be some good ones in there, but my random forays into the genre have never struck gold. (I have the uncomfortable feeling there are readers out there who would say the same of fantasy.)

As for the survey: *shrug*.  As was once wisely said, surveys show that surveys show things.

Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: OnlyOneHighlander on March 02, 2015, 09:52:43 PM

Being a liberal leftie Guardian reader I would love to say that I don't consider the sex of the author when choosing a book, but my bookshelf tells a different story. While I didn't feel I actively picked out male authors (or avoided female ones) after a conversation with a friend last year, on checking I noticed that around 80% of my books were indeed written by men. That seemed pretty silly to me so I'm trying to redress the balance by only reading female authors for the next while (not just fantasy - anything goes). I'm a couple of books in but so far it's been a very rewarding experience (if anyone is interested I'm blogging about my progress here: https://davidsshelflife.wordpress.com/)

On a similar note, while attending a creative writing retreat I remember the female author acting as tutor recommended aspiring female writers use their initials rather than first name when submitting work exactly because of this bias. She explained that you can argue if it is a conscious bias or a subconscious one, but you can't ignore the fact that it exists (even if it shouldn't). I'd like to think that we fantasy fans are less prone to this kind of bias but then maybe I'm being genre blind as well as gender blind.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Elfy on March 02, 2015, 10:11:18 PM

Being a liberal leftie Guardian reader I would love to say that I don't consider the sex of the author when choosing a book, but my bookshelf tells a different story. While I didn't feel I actively picked out male authors (or avoided female ones) after a conversation with a friend last year, on checking I noticed that around 80% of my books were indeed written by men. That seemed pretty silly to me so I'm trying to redress the balance by only reading female authors for the next while (not just fantasy - anything goes). I'm a couple of books in but so far it's been a very rewarding experience (if anyone is interested I'm blogging about my progress here: https://davidsshelflife.wordpress.com/)

On a similar note, while attending a creative writing retreat I remember the female author acting as tutor recommended aspiring female writers use their initials rather than first name when submitting work exactly because of this bias. She explained that you can argue if it is a conscious bias or a subconscious one, but you can't ignore the fact that it exists (even if it shouldn't). I'd like to think that we fantasy fans are less prone to this kind of bias but then maybe I'm being genre blind as well as gender blind.
Yes, JK Rowlings wound up publishing with her initials because the publisher didn't think boys would pick up a book written by Joanne Rowlings, but the use of the initials makes the gender ambiguous. James Tiptree Jr. was a highly acclaimed science fiction writer whose real name was Alice Bradley Shelton, she published from 1967 until her death in 1987 under the Tiptree alias (although between 1974 and 1977 she also used the pen name of Raccoona Sheldon), it was not known until 1977 that James Tiptree Jr. was a female author. There's an award named after her which is awarded for a work of science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores the understanding of gender. Going back to the initials thing it's also a possible reason for the pen name of K.J Parker, no one really knows who Parker is what gender the author is, but it's widely believed that Parker is a woman.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: JMack on March 04, 2015, 12:54:27 AM
I so want G.K. Chesterton to have secretly been a woman publishing as a man.(http://i.imgur.com/ZxSxRZJ.jpg)
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Eclipse on April 17, 2016, 08:01:32 AM
I'm not bothered what gender the author is my favourite authors growing up as a teenager was Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman there got me into reading and I thought Tracy was female for a short while.Without those two I wouldn't be reading now.

I just find it odd boys wouldn't read a female author as it didn't bother me is this a myth or true? Mind you I've heard boys don't read much in general now
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Nora on April 17, 2016, 08:59:07 AM
If they had interviewed me, they would have had a hard time with me, since I rarely ever notice the gender of my writers. I wonder if we could have a function in our "read" books on goodreads, to tell us the prevalent gender? But then it's probably skewed by all the non fiction, where gender is irrelevant.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Eclipse on April 17, 2016, 09:14:12 AM
My Librarything Stats

Percent male: 72.01% : Percent female: 27.99%

What interest me the most is not the gender of the author but the blurb and recommendations
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: sennydreadful on April 17, 2016, 10:45:26 AM
Oh it's a tricky ol' business, this.

I don't think there's any avoiding the fact that gender bias exists, whether consciously, unconsciously, or simply via exposure. For example, growing up, ALL of my favourite authors were men. Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman etc. When I was a kid, I found almost all of my books in the library, via randomly picking things off the shelf that appealed to me. Why were only male authors appealing to me? Were there simply no female authors on the shelves? Or did I, on some level, think women only wrote romance and knew that wasn't for me?

And how do you even begin to pick that apart?

Some things I do know now: that women are obviously writing things other than romance (and anyway, romance can be great). That women are accomplished writers of all genres, of course they bloody are. And there are tons of women writing fantasy.

Despite this, if you pop into any fantasy group and ask for recommendations, the first six or seven names that come up will all be male (Robin Hobb will sometimes pop into that list, but she's usually the only one). If you go into a bookshop and scan a display table for SFF, most of the titles will be written by men. I have, with my own eyeballs, witnessed men on forums like this state that 'I don't read books by women, I don't like all that fluffy stuff' (??!) whereas I cannot remember ever reading any women say 'I won't read books by men' and this is because, I think, the 'male' experience is always considered 'default' and 'universal'.

So as usual I end up with the same thoughts I have whenever I see this discussed - it's all very well saying you don't care about gender when you read, but meanwhile the vicious cycle of gender bias continues. That is, 'books by women are talked about less, they make fewer sales, books by women become less visible, they are talked about less, they make fewer sales...' And so on.

If you like a book by a woman, tell everyone about it. Write a review and order more of their books, and when those recommendation requests come in, maybe stick her on the list, and that way we gradually kick back against gender bias. :D
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Mr.J on April 17, 2016, 11:05:04 AM
An excellent and intelligent post as always by Jen so I don't have to reiterate anything she's said luckily. :D

However I realised a few years ago that I also didn't care about what gender authors were I was reading, so much so when I checked thoroughly I had read pitifully few female writers. So I actively look and read more female authors now, and try to end my year read books with a 50/50 balance.

Of the books (ignoring the comics I've read) so far this year I've read 6 by women and 6 by men (though I read two Marquez books so I've read 5 different male authors) and my current read and next book will be by men so I'll just balance that out after with some Robin Hobb and whatever else I haven't got to yet. :)
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: sennydreadful on April 17, 2016, 11:09:28 AM
An excellent and intelligent post as always by Jen so I don't have to reiterate anything she's said luckily. :D

However I realised a few years ago that I also didn't care about what gender authors were I was reading, so much so when I checked thoroughly I had read pitifully few female writers. So I actively look and read more female authors now, and try to end my year read books with a 50/50 balance.

Of the books (ignoring the comics I've read) so far this year I've read 6 by women and 6 by men (though I read two Marquez books so I've read 5 different male authors) and my current read and next book will be by men so I'll just balance that out after with some Robin Hobb and whatever else I haven't got to yet. :)

*fist bump*
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Mr.J on April 17, 2016, 11:14:04 AM
An excellent and intelligent post as always by Jen so I don't have to reiterate anything she's said luckily. :D

However I realised a few years ago that I also didn't care about what gender authors were I was reading, so much so when I checked thoroughly I had read pitifully few female writers. So I actively look and read more female authors now, and try to end my year read books with a 50/50 balance.

Of the books (ignoring the comics I've read) so far this year I've read 6 by women and 6 by men (though I read two Marquez books so I've read 5 different male authors) and my current read and next book will be by men so I'll just balance that out after with some Robin Hobb and whatever else I haven't got to yet. :)

*fist bump*
(http://media2.giphy.com/media/TY7dLV4kDmZSU/giphy.gif)
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Eclipse on April 17, 2016, 11:40:49 AM
I don't think you should feel guilty if you don't quite have a balance

I will try to recommend more women in recommendation threads that pop up but only if I think there are good like Rachael Bach.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Nora on April 17, 2016, 11:41:48 AM
I think you're being a tiny bit harsh, since JKRowling, Ursula Le Guin and Anne Rice are three monsters in the fantasy genre that you'd be recommended on if you walked into any decent library and demanded an overview of the genre.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: m3mnoch on April 17, 2016, 03:47:03 PM
as terrible as it sounds, i think it's all circling around the fact that chicks just don't dig fantasy.  that kinda limits the author pool.  which limits their visibility.  which limits their ceiling.

why?

the same reason they don't dig science or math.  society has been screwing with their heads for a few thousand years.  we HAVE to stop doing that.  man, if i had little girls instead of boys, they'd be FULL BLOWN NERDS -- and it'd be so awesome.

stupid society.

*shakes fist of rage*

speaking of, if anyone knows any badass female software engineers who want to move to san diego to work for disney, let me know.  if they're any good, i'll hire them in a heartbeat.  i'm tired of hanging out with a bunch of smelly old white dudes all the time.  just sayin'.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: ScarletBea on April 17, 2016, 04:53:40 PM
You are doing a very big generalisation, right?
Or joking.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: sennydreadful on April 17, 2016, 04:58:46 PM
Uh huh, yeah.

This is me strapping on my jetpack and zooming out of this thread. >_<
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: ultamentkiller on April 17, 2016, 05:21:34 PM
I'm not sure honestly. I don't think about the gender of the author when I read, I could care less. But as everyone else has said, I haven't found a female fantasy author, besides Robin Hobb, that I'm interested in reading at the moment. When I get through my list I may take a look at it, but I doubt it. I'm just going to be whatever I want, and if they happen to be by female authors that's great.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Rostum on April 17, 2016, 05:22:01 PM
We keep having this discussion under various titles.
Fantasy as a profession is dominated by women, the agents and editors you really want looking after your work for as a fantasy writer are women. They are in the business of selecting what sells and ensuring it is retailed in a form the is profitable for the publishing houses and the authors.

In 2014 the Guardian publishes an article based on subjective data collected in the least scientific way possible in a manner to suggest an outcome that fits its policies and bias. Doesn't matter whether its truth or fiction it aligns with what Guardian readers wish to read.

Today on the news it was announced that in the UK women make up 70% of the consumer market now so does that mean women buy nearly three quarters of all books bought?

As a reader I will read what I choose and do not worry about the sex of the author. What matters to me is do I enjoy the book.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: m3mnoch on April 17, 2016, 05:36:22 PM
You are doing a very big generalisation, right?
Or joking.

it's a huge, very irritating generalization that -- as not only a software engineer, but a game developer -- has driven me crazy for years.  it's really, really frustrating to see my women developer friends get pigeon-holed and abused just because they're women.  we've started implementing a program in disney where hr has approached me to help mentor women in "traditional women roles" like marketing by cross-training them into software engineering.  the interest in the program has been amazing and we've had to turn away so many -- but it's a start.

if you want to see real and deep ugliness, just google "gamergate".  it'll make you feel like women fantasy writers are plentiful and respected.

so, no -- i am not joking.  it's an issue near and dear to my heart.  i've seen it from the inside and i will go to WAR over it.

yeah, jetpacking away before i get super-cranky is probably a good idea.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Eclipse on April 17, 2016, 05:36:34 PM
Today on the news it was announced that in the UK women make up 70% of the consumer market now so does that mean women buy nearly three quarters of all books bought?

@Rostum (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=40251)

I think we need to attract more men and boys to read, I was lucky. I didn't find my love of books at school I actually disliked the books picked at school this could have put me off reading all together it was just by chance (a gift)  I found the Death gate Cycle by Weis & Hickman it was my first proper fantasy epic which lead me to Dragonlance and from there to other books.

How many people are put off reading by teachers who pick awful book to study/read?   
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Rostum on April 17, 2016, 08:38:05 PM
Quote
I think we need to attract more men and boys to read, I was lucky. I didn't find my love of books at school I actually disliked the books picked at school this could have put me off reading all together it was just by chance (a gift)  I found the Death gate Cycle by Weis & Hickman it was my first proper fantasy epic which lead me to Dragonlance and from there to other books.

How many people are put off reading by teachers who pick awful book to study/read?   

I think everyone should be encouraged to read what they want. Seems as though a lot who read not at all are keen to blame it on what they had to read at school but I dont subscibe to that point of view.
The reason I threw the 70% in there is it is current but useless information you may decide women buy more books based on that snippet and you may be correct, but there is no evidence from information given to support it and no reason why it should be the case.

Game of Thrones seems to be read by everyone into fantasy. Twilight less so by men and not by anyone discerning of their horror/supernatural reading. I don't believe the sex of the author relevent. I have never read any of the Harry Potter series or seen the films as my daughter just was not interested and have no inclination to do so, but that has nothing to do with the authours sex. The sprogs favorite books are Joe Abercrombies Half A.... trilogy, but I suspect only until she gets her hands on first law. Should I point her at unicorns, dragons
and magic ponies or let her get on with it?
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Eclipse on April 17, 2016, 08:46:43 PM
As long as there reading and enjoying whatever story its all good, it disappoints me that people have never found that book which got us into the love of books never to pick any book up.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Nora on April 18, 2016, 12:18:44 AM
This survey proves you wrong, m3m, taken on 5.000 SFF readers, at Q13, you'll see that 59% identify as females.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-GVMWM5Q8/

Women may read more than males. That wouldn't surprise me.

But I find odd, the very idea that school reading could put anyone off reading. I mean, for me reading started before I can remember, with stories read to me at bed time. Then as soon as I could read by myself, with learning to read books and image books.
After that my dad and step mom had to establish a curfew, 9pm every night, or else I'd read through the night, which I often did anyway, and is how I devoured the LOTR when eleven, and the Harry Potter books after that.

I was often discontent with the books that school had us read, but most ended up catching me, and I've become quite a fan of Chateaubriand, Kafka, or Zweig, thanks to those books, and I'd never have picked them up myself without these classes.

I'm always puzzled by people who don't read, and somehow always assume that people who do read have been doing so since forever, unless told otherwise. But I've met probably just as many women as men who don't read, even a few taking almost pride in that respect.  :-\
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: cupiscent on April 18, 2016, 02:13:13 AM
@m3mnoch (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=40419), are you lamenting the anti-women toxicity of certain fields, or suggesting that women don't like those fields for reasons other than the way they are treated within them? Because I suspect it's the former, but some of your comments could be construed as the latter.

I know a lot of women who studied and loved the sciences - from maths and computer engineering through to biology and chemistry - and very few of them now work in "hard" science (some of them work in science-related fields, like intellectual property, or lab supply, or science-related communications). In almost every case, the bias against women in the behaviour of their superiors, colleagues and the general industry contributed to their leaving the industry. They got out of the lab because everyone else in the lab - sometimes even other women - was telling them they didn't belong there, whether explicitly or implicitly (through making it a masculine environment and suggesting the women needed to be ok with that or leave - "this is just how we do things here, we don't mean anything by it, it's just a joke" etc).

Similarly, statistics show that over 50% of people who play computer games are female. We just don't talk - about playing, or in-game while playing - because to identify ourselves in that environment just leads to a barrage of insults, lewd demands, or other harassment. Indeed, a lot of us take our interest in games away from massive multiplayer anythings and into game styles where we're going to get less nonsense. That doesn't make us any less gamers.

When it comes to fantasy fiction, I wonder if it's a combination self-fulfilling prophecy and vicious cycle - it's perceived that women don't like epic fantasy, so the stories that are published are about men, so women go looking elsewhere (like paranormal romance, or other subgenres that I often see being called "not real fantasy") for stories about women, so the statistics say that women don't read epic fantasy... QED, right?

I mean, I love epic fantasy, but I am so bored of reading about big manly men swinging swords for manly heroic reasons. In the survey at the top of this thread, I ticked "I don't care about gender", because I don't. But I do want to read stories about women, and it has often been the case that those are more likely to be written by women. And sometimes this means I'm reading YA fantasy - a genre dominated by female authors.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Eclipse on April 18, 2016, 06:18:33 AM
I can't even remember what we read in my senior school the choice of the teacher were so uninspiring we never did Dickens,Shakespeare,Tolkien, Austin etc. no we ended up with crap like Buddy's Song and even had to watch a film version with Chesney Hawkes singing.

Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Lady Ty on April 18, 2016, 10:41:19 AM
...............I mean, for me reading started before I can remember, with stories read to me at bed time. Then as soon as I could read by myself, with learning to read books and image books.

I'm always puzzled by people who don't read, and somehow always assume that people who do read have been doing so since forever, unless told otherwise. But I've met probably just as many women as men who don't read, even a few taking almost pride in that respect.  :-\

This is off topic, but a quick comment. I think many of us here have been brought up by families who love books, were able to own and buy them. We are the lucky ones because we were encouraged to read for pleasure. Many well-meaning families only consider their children need to read and write well in order to get ahead in a job/career.  Other parents focus on sports or socialising as family activities.  Other kids don't ever get a chance to own a book and only have them at school or in libraries because family priorities on spending can't include books.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Rostum on April 18, 2016, 11:37:55 AM
My thoughts on the 'School reading put me off reading books' arguement  is it is an excuse used by people who have hamstrung their own imagination and will sit through hours of soap operas or strictly Xfactor on ice before choosing something to read. Parenting may play a part but there have been libraries close enough for most of us and at school as well. What you have to read and what you choose to read being vastly different.

In the UK they have pushed women at STEM courses for six years now and do everything but pay them to attend and still cannot hit the targets that were set. I see no evidence other than women choose to attend other courses of their own free will. Big companies are falling over themselves to recruit women into tech roles and they tend to progress faster than men should the get those roles. I keep hearing about toxic environments for women in tech but have never seen evidence of such. To date I have worked for three big tech companies and am aware of only one incident that could be construed as toxic but wasn't sexist. That led to the sacking of a manager following complaints of bullying from a female employee. There had been other complaints about the same manager from men and he had retained his position and role. Maybe the straw that broke the camels back, maybe not.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Eclipse on April 18, 2016, 12:02:44 PM
I think this is a different discussion maybe a different topic for why people don't read.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Mr.J on April 18, 2016, 12:30:04 PM
More to the point, I think to be an even better reader, and have a better reading experience you should make an effort to be aware of what authors you read and to expand a bit.

If you naturally read what you want to read, or what you are aware of - which, lets not shit around here, will mostly be male authors (and straight, white ones too) - you will really only get a certain perspective and certain worlds and characters. If you deliberately aim to expand who and what you read you'll probably get a richer experience, more perspectives and characters, different lives to witness and perceive. 

Which is why I don't think it's a bad thing to actively look for different types of authors, and I can't see how that can be a negative really. :)



Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: ultamentkiller on April 18, 2016, 12:42:34 PM
I don't see it as a bad thing, I just see it as pointless for me at the moment.

I'll read an author who appeals to me. I have no idea the gender except for hints about the name, or what race they are. If the book is pitched to me in an interesting way, I'll read it. If everyone around me tells me something is awesome, I'll crack under the peer pressure and read it. I have no idea if I've ever read an author who isn't white, but I do know gender. Besides Robin Hobb, nothing has grabbed me from the description.

Life is too short to read a book that I don't want to read. That's why you won't see me purposely searching for a minority author. That's how you know I seriously don't care about the gender or race or anything. At least contiously.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Nora on April 18, 2016, 01:49:28 PM
I'm with ultamentkiller on that one. I understand why all the big fuss about white male writers, but to be honest, it never pushed me to do anything about my tbr pile.

As I've said before elsewhere, I generally dislike learning about my authors. I dislike seeing their faces, knowing their faith, their political views, etc. The only moment when I don't mind seeing an author's face upon opening a book, is when I read non-fiction.
To me, a non-fiction writer speaks to me directly, it's a lecture on paper, and I like having a visual on the lecturer.

A fiction writer isn't speaking to me directly, the voice of the book matters most.

To give a rude example, I don't want my salacious vampire romance to be narrated in my mind's eye by the fat, 40+yo white american woman with a tacky 80's haircut and clothes who is the actual author. Or opening one of Anne Rice's erotic novels and see her, vaguely resembling one of my own grandmothers, starring at me from the back cover.
I don't care if the author is rather young, dark skinned and transgender, I still don't want to picture them writing down what's making me blush. I like such stories to be disembodied.

Less sensitive fantasy isn't that prickly, but knowing that a writer is a mormon, for example, annoys me, because then his prude, skirt wearing heroines will seem to be born from his views (and they surely are), and I feel it as interfering in my enjoyment of the story. It pulls me from narration to make such mental footnotes.

Of course, there are some writers whose personal life makes the book a lot more interesting, once you know about them.
But honestly I can't picture myself, as a published author, saying to anyone, 'hey, I'm a french woman, atheist but raised christian, with algerian, spanish, lebanese and russian origins, straight as an arrow and currently single *wink* *wink*. Also likes cats and knits like an old lady.' – That's all personal information that shouldn't be put forward to promote, or slander my work. Seriously, if any reader cares about such details, they should be reading The Sun, instead of my book!  :o
I can see why it becomes interesting to dig an author, like, when they're dead and their work is left to posterity, and you want to understand what kind of person left such iconic works, but I generally fail to give a damn about my authors, dead or alive, beyond the possibility of a signing happening in my town.

When it comes to taking down, "straight white males", I get a bit irritated.
I mean, if they are genuinely GREAT authors, then it's not their fault they were born white, or straight, or men, or kept identifying as such. So I would never avoid a straight-white-male book.
I think if any finger needs pointing, it's toward the editors who won't publish some works because they're too different from what currently sales, aka, a commercial behaviour.
But maybe there are so few "minority" books because there are few–by definition–"minority" authors, and not all of them can be worth publishing...

The whole debate makes me wish that editors would practice the "blind" review process, and evaluate a MS on its own before ever learning the name/gender/origin/sexual orientation of the author. Maybe things would even out a bit, maybe they wouldn't?
I personally fail to care. I read amazing books every year, and I've never felt like I was hitting the bottom of a dry well. Male and female authors have made me cry or worry or laugh, and I never classified them or sought any information on them beyond their bibliography.

I also believe that nationality creates a certain gap, and a white british person simply won't identify perfectly with an indu writer who publishes some Mumbai based urban fantasy. There are cultural gaps that can't always be closed and that probably prevent readers to enjoy more diversity.
I appreciate such gaps being french and living in NZ/Oz. Most of my local friends can interract perfectly with me all day long, but at some point a reference, a joke, a quote, will fly over my head and need explaining. You start realising just how different your childhoods were, how different your references can be, and as far as I'm concerned, our common ground is ALWAYS english. I know your writers, your comedians, your shows, your sayings, and you don't know mine. They don't get my reference jokes to cult shows or french movies, they know nothing beyond Edith Piaf and Victor Hugo or Voltaire (and mostly by name, not from reading them...).
So if I wrote a typical french urban fantasy story set in Paris, even if I wrote it in English, then most english readers wouldn't pick on half the references and probably not enjoy it as much as a story set in London.
 :-\
What can you do? If you want to dig different stuff and brush elbows with alien cultures, then it's easy to do. If you don't, it's easier, and I honestly don't have the heart to criticise people for sticking to the Everest of English publications.

Edit : Here is an example of a "perfect" author wiki page in my eyes, if you know what I mean : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherrilyn_Kenyon
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Rostum on April 18, 2016, 02:10:26 PM
Thank you Nora

I tend to object to people who feel I should somehow (i) apologise for who I am (ii) Apologise for something that happened in the past, often before I or my Grandparents were born (iii) treat someone differently because....

I dislike exceptionalism and do not feel advantaged or that life should be easier for some than others. I cannot abide positive or negative discrimination and do believe most of the issues in the world can be fixed if people treat people as, err people. The whole attack them because.... arguement is vile whoever is using it.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Nora on April 18, 2016, 02:37:46 PM
It is used like that, and it's a shame. It's true though, that being a white man in his 30s in 2010 will make you more predisposed to write a certain type of stories than if you are a white woman in her 30s in 1820, or a black woman in Angola in 2010. And a transgender native american will probably write completely different stuff in 2108. Different humans write different stuff, and the same two run-off-the-mill 30-yo-white-male-in-2010 will hopefully write different stuff as well, one writing Beyond Redemption, and the other Perdido Street Station, for example (god knows I have no clue if Mieville or whoever-wrote-Beyond-Redemption are both white and in their 30s....) and these are books that aren't necessarily going to please the same people.

So people should lay back and enjoy, and if such problems are an issue they're sensitive about, I think they should take an interest in the publishing process and help to reform it, maybe by contributing to the nascent self-publishing industry?
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: m3mnoch on April 18, 2016, 03:47:51 PM
goodness.

there is so much grey to unpack here.


This survey proves you wrong, m3m, taken on 5.000 SFF readers, at Q13, you'll see that 59% identify as females.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-GVMWM5Q8/

and the most recent lightspeed survey for advertisers proves me right:
http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/ls_docs/lightspeed_advertising_demographics.pdf

or this one by mark niemann-ross on science fiction:
http://www.sfwa.org/2014/01/reads-science-fiction/

the difference is that a venn diagram of lightspeed magazine readers and twilight readers probably looks like two separate circles.  same thing with science fiction and urban fantasy.

some people full-on blame the readership for the sexism:
http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2011/may/31/women-science-fiction-writers

personally, i find that men tend to be more outspoken jerks voicing their opinions (i see this is executive meetings A LOT) and drowning out women voices.  that means the 4% comment number does not surprise me.  for anyone interested in this aspect, i'd recommend sheryl sandberg's book lean in.

on the bright side, if you want to see how far we've come, this survey from 1977 is amazing.
Quote
Traditionally, science fiction has been a literature written by males for male readers. As shown by the Maine researchers, one magazine, Astounding/Analog, reported a female readership of only 6.7% in 1949 and 11.9% in 1958. Surveys taken for the British magazines Nebula and New Worlds during the fifties and early sixties report female readership of between 5% and 15%.

http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/13/berger13.htm


@m3mnoch (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=40419), are you lamenting the anti-women toxicity of certain fields, or suggesting that women don't like those fields for reasons other than the way they are treated within them? Because I suspect it's the former, but some of your comments could be construed as the latter.

yes.  both.  it's circular.  the "pink aisle" in the store says girls play with girl toys.  that's where it all starts.  (well, actually centuries of "barefoot and pregnant" before that, but you know what i mean)

(note, these are BROAD, SWEEPING generalizations that probably don't include anyone on these forums or their friends -- birds of a feather and all that.  however, anyone who's run a large, multiplayer, online game has witnessed the gamer dregs of humanity.)

for the anti-toxicity part:
boys hate the pink aisle
men hate "girl fantasy"  (well, the genre fiction kind...)
men think girls need to stay in the pink aisle and stop messing with their boy toys

for the interest:
top "boy fantasy" novels are the best sellers
women aren't interested in top "boy fantasy" novels
women don't write "boy fantasy" novels
women don't become top "boy fantasy" writers
more "boy fantasy" novels get written
top "boy fantasy" novels are the best sellers
women aren't interested in top "boy fantasy" novels
...

in both games AND books, "girl stuff" wasn't there in the beginning, so it's not REAL.  and it's doing nothing but dilute the real stuff.  [insert douche-bro anger here]


I know a lot of women who studied and loved the sciences - from maths and computer engineering through to biology and chemistry - and very few of them now work in "hard" science (some of them work in science-related fields, like intellectual property, or lab supply, or science-related communications). In almost every case, the bias against women in the behaviour of their superiors, colleagues and the general industry contributed to their leaving the industry. They got out of the lab because everyone else in the lab - sometimes even other women - was telling them they didn't belong there, whether explicitly or implicitly (through making it a masculine environment and suggesting the women needed to be ok with that or leave - "this is just how we do things here, we don't mean anything by it, it's just a joke" etc).

Similarly, statistics show that over 50% of people who play computer games are female. We just don't talk - about playing, or in-game while playing - because to identify ourselves in that environment just leads to a barrage of insults, lewd demands, or other harassment. Indeed, a lot of us take our interest in games away from massive multiplayer anythings and into game styles where we're going to get less nonsense. That doesn't make us any less gamers.

i 100% agree with everything you've laid out here.  i've seen it happen.  i step in and try to fix it where i can.

that's actually surprisingly hard since women "brave" enough to wade into things don't typically want some white dude to fix it for them.  maybe "try to support them where i can" is a better phrase.


When it comes to fantasy fiction, I wonder if it's a combination self-fulfilling prophecy and vicious cycle - it's perceived that women don't like epic fantasy, so the stories that are published are about men, so women go looking elsewhere (like paranormal romance, or other subgenres that I often see being called "not real fantasy") for stories about women, so the statistics say that women don't read epic fantasy... QED, right?

again -- i totally agree.  you can draw a direct analogy between a woman not being a real gamer because she plays bejeweled and a woman not being a real fantasy reader because she reads twilight.


I mean, I love epic fantasy, but I am so bored of reading about big manly men swinging swords for manly heroic reasons. In the survey at the top of this thread, I ticked "I don't care about gender", because I don't. But I do want to read stories about women, and it has often been the case that those are more likely to be written by women.

and, just for completion's sake:  YES!  ab.  so.  lutely.

uh oh...

i'm feeling the snark starting to take over...

And sometimes this means I'm reading YA fantasy - a genre dominated by female authors.

because boys know it's okay for women to write children's books.


I think if any finger needs pointing, it's toward the editors who won't publish some works because they're too different from what currently sales, aka, a commercial behaviour.

aka, what sells.

aka, boy fiction.


But maybe there are so few "minority" books because there are few–by definition–"minority" authors, and not all of them can be worth publishing...

so, since women are 50% of the population, that means 50% of the fantasy novels should be written by women, right?


We keep having this discussion under various titles.
Fantasy as a profession is dominated by women, the agents and editors you really want looking after your work for as a fantasy writer are women. They are in the business of selecting what sells and ensuring it is retailed in a form the is profitable for the publishing houses and the authors.

indeed.  because those roles fall under "traditional women roles" like sales and marketing and taste-making.

however, the "important" roles, like game programmers (8% are women) or epic fantasy authors (real fantasy, none of that ya or urban crap -- 33% are women), women are woefully underrepresented.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_speculative_fiction


So people should lay back and enjoy, and if such problems are an issue they're sensitive about, I think they should take an interest in the publishing process and help to reform it, maybe by contributing to the nascent self-publishing industry?

absolutely.  that's why i'm doing what i can, where i can, when i can, supporting who i can.

a good start is simply recognizing western white male privilege and appreciating (not apologizing for) it for what it is.  using that privilege and attention in an altruistic manner to promote others without that benefit is a win for everyone.  makes the whole pie bigger as they say.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Phoenix on April 18, 2016, 03:48:58 PM
Honestly I really don't care if an  author is a guy, girl, both, none or a freaking martian. All I care is if they write a good book that i'll actually enjoy
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: m3mnoch on April 18, 2016, 04:05:07 PM
Honestly I really don't care if an  author is a guy, girl, both, none or a freaking martian. All I care is if they write a good book that i'll actually enjoy

this is, of course, the common sentiment.

my question:  how do you know what's good if the choices are winnowed down for you based on your advertising demographic?  imagine the horror if the only chocolate you've ever tasted was different incarnations of hershey's.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Rostum on April 18, 2016, 04:34:30 PM
Just Checked the everso fantastic juliet Mushens. currently representing 25 Women out of 39 people and organisations(with a couple of possibles not included) not all fantasy but She is at the top of the tree for representing fantasy writers.

I don't think publishing is a traditional womens role. I think it is pursued by those with a love of books.

I give up my default is I read, ideally what I choose. If you feel you must read a specific author by sex,creed, colour, sexuality, age, nationality or whatever else then I feel you are missing the point of picking up a book and reading.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Nora on April 18, 2016, 04:44:48 PM
Quote
a good start is simply recognizing western white male privilege and appreciating (not apologizing for) it for what it is.  using that privilege and attention in an altruistic manner to promote others without that benefit is a win for everyone.  makes the whole pie bigger as they say.

I think we're all way past and beyond that. We've been spending a few years demonizing the western white males doing anything at all. I only wish people would act towards reforming publishing processes in order to make it blind to genre/race/sexual orientation, instead of perpetually wishing for equality.

Quote
so, since women are 50% of the population, that means 50% of the fantasy novels should be written by women, right?

That's a complete twist. Of course not. Damn that statistical view on women representation always annoys me. I mean, in politics they want to be "equalitarian" and they find a way to stuff their party or gvt with X% women regardless of qualifications, to 'look' modern and feminist.
And if we followed your ideas, it means that a minority that is 2% of the population should have only 2% books in the market?
I'm profoundly meritocratic. I wish people could adopt a genderless name for any phase of selection, be it when offering a MS or a CV, and be judged by competency.
Women aren't any better than men, and they don't deserve more shelf space than men because they are women. Good author deserve more shelf space than crap authors, and authors should be a race and gender in itself.

Quote
I think if any finger needs pointing, it's toward the editors who won't publish some works because they're too different from what currently sales, aka, a commercial behaviour.

aka, what sells.

aka, boy fiction.

What sells = commercial behaviour.
But where on earth do you fetch that "what sells" is boy fiction?
Women buy more books than men, don't they? Even if more men read fantasy than women, which can hardly be proved by showing more polls (since I could also go fetch more women predominant polls if I looked for them), why is it boy fiction?
Because it's tailored for men? So what if women enjoy it?
Because the protagonists tend to more often be male? What if women enjoy reading about male protagonists?
Because it doesn't feature knitting, tea parties and horrifying birth stories whispered in a change room queue?

I don't get it.

I also don't get the idea that 'Epic Fantasy' can be called "the fantasy". Maybe in the 60s to 80s, but Urban Fantasy is hardly not "Real fantasy" aka "urban crap"
My own link states that while 78% of the 5.000 surveyed fiction readers read Epic Fantasy, the second greatest type read is Urban Fantasy with 72%. And that's from a survey filled by 59% women, without counting the males who identify as women and mtf transgenders.


Quote
We keep having this discussion under various titles.
Fantasy as a profession is dominated by women, the agents and editors you really want looking after your work for as a fantasy writer are women. They are in the business of selecting what sells and ensuring it is retailed in a form the is profitable for the publishing houses and the authors.

indeed.  because those roles fall under "traditional women roles" like sales and marketing and taste-making.

however, the "important" roles, like game programmers (8% are women) or epic fantasy authors (real fantasy, none of that ya or urban crap -- 33% are women), women are woefully underrepresented.

I love how you say that an editor doesn't count as an "important" role but a "traditional women roles". I'd love an overview of genders in the editorial industry during the 19th and 20th century.
Beyond that, I think it totally depends on your point of view. When you're trying to publish your MS, I'm sure an editor or agent becomes excruciatingly important to you...
It's also only your pov that "game programmers" are important people. To you maybe. As far as I'm concerned, we could go back two centuries, and so long as I could read books, play go, cards, chess, and other board games, I'd still be very happy.

Also, again, I don't see why you'd want women equally represented. Maybe women don't want to be game programmers. Maybe if every woman who wanted to be one, and had the skills and training to be one, entered the industry freely tomorrow, maybe, still, you'd get 20% women. Or do you think it'd become 50% overnight, and there are ten of thousands of frustrated female game programmers out there?
Same goes with epic fantasy (which I don't read anymore, because to me it's become often stereotypical), why do you complain about 33% of women, but won't look at the numbers of male writers in the erotic fantasy sub genre? Maybe there are only 33% of them, and they're woefully under-represented!

What about even more important jobs, like nurses?

Quote
Women have capitalized on these opportunities and have excelled in what was once considered a “man’s” world. However, it is unfortunate that the reverse is not true for men entering professions once dominated by women. Men encounter more negative criticism from the public for entering female-identified professions;1 thus the entry of men into feminine occupations is less common.2 The men who do enter these occupations risk their gender identity being questioned.3 One such “feminine” profession is nursing, but it has not always been that way.

Quote
Also in 1901, the American Nurses Association (ANA), at the time as the Nurses Associated Alumnae, was formed. Men were excluded from ANA until 1930.9 Even as late as 1982, men still experienced obstacles in being accepted into nursing school.

Quote
It has been a slow process incorporating men back into the nursing profession, and the percentage of male nurses (5%–6%) has remained virtually unchanged for decades.

http://minoritynurse.com/rethinking-gender-stereotypes-in-nursing/

How many men are out there, wanting to be nurses, to help and care for the sick and wounded, and kept from it by stereotypes? Gender equality shouldn't push a side versus another. It should work for both.

I'm not for gender equality, I'm for gender un-differentiation. I think promoting diversity by making sure "diversity" gets to submit its MS is the only way. Hunting down diversity for the sake of reaching some hypothetically ideal percentile balance is not what I'd want.

Worse, as a woman, I'd dread to see my works accepted or favoured for the sake of giving women "more exposure" or "more equality".
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: m3mnoch on April 18, 2016, 07:13:53 PM
Quote
a good start is simply recognizing western white male privilege and appreciating (not apologizing for) it for what it is.  using that privilege and attention in an altruistic manner to promote others without that benefit is a win for everyone.  makes the whole pie bigger as they say.

I think we're all way past and beyond that. We've been spending a few years demonizing the western white males doing anything at all. I only wish people would act towards reforming publishing processes in order to make it blind to genre/race/sexual orientation, instead of perpetually wishing for equality.

me too.  but, neither is really attainable without the other.

in fact, i'm gonna just leave this right here:
http://monsterhunternation.com/2015/02/23/the-social-justice-warrior-racist-reading-challenge-a-fisking/


Quote
so, since women are 50% of the population, that means 50% of the fantasy novels should be written by women, right?

That's a complete twist. Of course not. Damn that statistical view on women representation always annoys me. I mean, in politics they want to be "equalitarian" and they find a way to stuff their party or gvt with X% women regardless of qualifications, to 'look' modern and feminist.
And if we followed your ideas, it means that a minority that is 2% of the population should have only 2% books in the market?
I'm profoundly meritocratic. I wish people could adopt a genderless name for any phase of selection, be it when offering a MS or a CV, and be judged by competency.
Women aren't any better than men, and they don't deserve more shelf space than men because they are women. Good author deserve more shelf space than crap authors, and authors should be a race and gender in itself.

agreed.  meritocracy ftw.  i'm not arguing against that.  i'm just pointing out statistical anomalies.

having said that, minorities run 35% of the population in the united states, not 2%.  it's only two percent if you live somewhere like smallville, west iowa.  and 1-in-3 fantasy authors is certainly not a minority.

does that mean minorities suck as fantasy writers?  i mean, statistically speaking, they're underrepresented, right?  you can ask the same thing about women.

if you believe talent and opportunity is equally prevalent in all people as a percentage, then, statistically speaking, we should have racial/gender representation that looks similar to the splits at large.

equal author representation in fantasy is obviously not the case.  so, that means some combination of these are true:

1) non-white men like fantasy at lower rates than white men.
2) non-white men have fewer opportunities than white men.
3) non-white men have less talent than white men.

me?  personally?  i think number 2 is where we can do the most good.  so, how do we, as a fantasy community help with that?


Quote
I think if any finger needs pointing, it's toward the editors who won't publish some works because they're too different from what currently sales, aka, a commercial behaviour.

aka, what sells.

aka, boy fiction.

What sells = commercial behaviour.
But where on earth do you fetch that "what sells" is boy fiction?
Women buy more books than men, don't they? Even if more men read fantasy than women, which can hardly be proved by showing more polls (since I could also go fetch more women predominant polls if I looked for them), why is it boy fiction?
Because it's tailored for men? So what if women enjoy it?
Because the protagonists tend to more often be male? What if women enjoy reading about male protagonists?
Because it doesn't feature knitting, tea parties and horrifying birth stories whispered in a change room queue?

I don't get it.

I also don't get the idea that 'Epic Fantasy' can be called "the fantasy". Maybe in the 60s to 80s, but Urban Fantasy is hardly not "Real fantasy" aka "urban crap"
My own link states that while 78% of the 5.000 surveyed fiction readers read Epic Fantasy, the second greatest type read is Urban Fantasy with 72%. And that's from a survey filled by 59% women, without counting the males who identify as women and mtf transgenders.

i'm qualifying "what sells" by what sells.
http://thewertzone.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-updated-sff-all-time-sales-list.html

i quickly mapped the top 20-something authors by gender here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Pt0ZymUWJ4Cho-ltheaBb_RsV5-OUENyjCtFSyStTJE/edit?usp=sharing

tldr:
7 women for $1,056,000,000.00
19 men for $2,066,000,000.00

also note, of that roughly four-fifths of that $1b from women comes from the big three female titans of middle grade / ya fantasy:  rowling, meyers, and collins.

worse, the further you read down that list, the more male-heavy it gets.

boy.  fantasy.  sells.

also, by lumping "urban fantasy" in there, the survey you linked essentially includes romance as a subgenre.  (which is totally legit, btw)  romance outsells sff 3-to-1.  and almost exclusively to women.  so, yeah, i believe that a survey that includes urban fantasy would be woman-heavy in readership.  regardless, the author split between gender for the urban fantasy and paranormal romance is still 57% women, 43% men.


Quote
We keep having this discussion under various titles.
Fantasy as a profession is dominated by women, the agents and editors you really want looking after your work for as a fantasy writer are women. They are in the business of selecting what sells and ensuring it is retailed in a form the is profitable for the publishing houses and the authors.

indeed.  because those roles fall under "traditional women roles" like sales and marketing and taste-making.

however, the "important" roles, like game programmers (8% are women) or epic fantasy authors (real fantasy, none of that ya or urban crap -- 33% are women), women are woefully underrepresented.

I love how you say that an editor doesn't count as an "important" role but a "traditional women roles". I'd love an overview of genders in the editorial industry during the 19th and 20th century.
Beyond that, I think it totally depends on your point of view. When you're trying to publish your MS, I'm sure an editor or agent becomes excruciatingly important to you...
It's also only your pov that "game programmers" are important people. To you maybe. As far as I'm concerned, we could go back two centuries, and so long as I could read books, play go, cards, chess, and other board games, I'd still be very happy.

Also, again, I don't see why you'd want women equally represented. Maybe women don't want to be game programmers. Maybe if every woman who wanted to be one, and had the skills and training to be one, entered the industry freely tomorrow, maybe, still, you'd get 20% women. Or do you think it'd become 50% overnight, and there are ten of thousands of frustrated female game programmers out there?
Same goes with epic fantasy (which I don't read anymore, because to me it's become often stereotypical), why do you complain about 33% of women, but won't look at the numbers of male writers in the erotic fantasy sub genre? Maybe there are only 33% of them, and they're woefully under-represented!

without googling, name some famous editors.  now, name some famous female editors.

not saying editors aren't important.  just saying, editors are not authors.  if they were, they'd be authors.


What about even more important jobs, like nurses?

are nurses more important than doctors?  how many female doctors are there compared to men?

i'll give you a hint.  like all the other science fields, it's one-third, two-thirds split.


I'm not for gender equality, I'm for gender un-differentiation. I think promoting diversity by making sure "diversity" gets to submit its MS is the only way. Hunting down diversity for the sake of reaching some hypothetically ideal percentile balance is not what I'd want.

Worse, as a woman, I'd dread to see my works accepted or favoured for the sake of giving women "more exposure" or "more equality".

you're confusing equal success with equal opportunity.  guaranteed success is a terrible idea.  guaranteed opportunity to prove yourself good would be awesome.

but, bias is inherent in the system.  for example, in your query letter, you'll not likely get a nod until you have books already published.  how do you get those published books to record into your query letter without querying a publisher in the first place?

the world works this way in all things.  to get experience, you need experience.  to get money, you need money.  advancing a couple rungs automatically by being born a white male sure does help.


p.s.  omg -- i HAVE to get some work done today.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: cupiscent on April 19, 2016, 12:59:28 AM
I think @m3mnoch (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=40419) is right - epic fantasy is seen as a playground for boys. In much the same way as the sciences and gaming are still seen as boys' playgrounds.

My view is: the system isn't fair. I wish it was as well. I wish gender (and race, and sexuality, and religion, and...) didn't matter. But that isn't the system we have at present.

So, if we care about fairness - about getting to a situation where stuff that shouldn't matter doesn't matter - what are we doing to help? We can't really do anything directly to change the publishing / editing / marketing level. All we can control as readers is what we read, what we buy, what we tell other people they should try reading and/or buying (and hope that the message gets through to the publishing/editing/marketing level - Hollywood seems to be sloooowly getting it, maybe publishing will too).

I don't really see any way to do that other than reading more lady authors and stories about ladies?
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Nora on April 19, 2016, 01:51:11 AM
Still disagree on the "importance" of editors. Just because you can't name one doesn't mean they aren't important. The history of literature is full of editors who accepted writers who went from zero to hero, and might have stayed completely unknown, in times where self pub existed only for the mega rich as a form of vanity.
It isn't a flattery of the editor, since sometimes authors were refused 10, 20 times and nearly gave up, but if they had given up, then they wouldn't be known (and how many geniuses did we lose because of editors?)
Just because you can't name one doesn't mean that they aren't a crucial cog in the industry.

I also think that we're not talking of the exact same scene. I've never been to the states, I'm not talking about the states, beyond my nurse example. I talk about Europe mostly, because it's what I understand best.

In Finland 50% of doctors are female. In Estonia, Latvia, Crotia and other countries, 3/4 of doctors are women. Apparently 14 UE countries have more female than male physicians, compared to 12 countries where the opposite is true :

http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Healthcare_personnel_statistics_-_physicians#Healthcare_personnel

Which doesn't mean that women aren't discriminated... but my personal experience in medicine in France is that I never struggled to find women physician, and hardly ever had anything else. My GP, dentists, and gyneco were all females. The only domain I ever only consulted with males was optometry for some reason.

You what sells links has quite a few women in it. 3 out of 5 in the 'top 5' are women.
Honestly I'm way more sad to see Meyer in the top 5 than to see that 1/3 of beest selling books come from women.
I just don't see an issue with it. Until it's proven that they sell more because they're written by men, it doesn't bug me. Also the list includes old classics from days where women where totally under-represented.
What about the best selling authors published in 2015 or 2014? –I don't have the answer, I'm just curious to see what modern publishing looks like– because this last year I've read a lot of amazing books by women (uprooted, novik, lady trent novels, the long way...)

Quote
you're confusing equal success with equal opportunity.  guaranteed success is a terrible idea.  guaranteed opportunity to prove yourself good would be awesome.

Yes that's what I was answering to, but I think it's because it's also what you react to. I mean, you give me finished %, of what sells at the end, who gets hired at the end, etc. The percentage that's visible, once success is visible. But to have a better idea of equal 'opportunity', the % I'd like to see is :

- from females submitting MS to editors, what % gets published.
- from males submitting MS to editors, what % gets published.
- male to female ratio of wannabe authors.

By showing percentages of what sells, you're not proving to me that women don't get equal chance to publish in SFF, as of today.

Because if it turns out that an editor sees 60% male MS, and the market has 60% male authors, then truly the problem comes from women not trying to get published enough, or willing to, or interested to.

We're having an argument, again, by pointing fingers at the white male. But he's not the culprit. Where is the culprit in the system? Where is the reform supposed to start, hmm? To overthrow the white man?
Is it editors? is it too few female authors? is it female authors not being as interested in fantasy as men for some reason? or is it parents not raising they daughters with enough shovels of LOTR, Narnia and HP?

You know what, at the end of the day, if it were thoroughly proven that female authors generally prefer writing non SFF fiction to SFF, of their own free will, and the field stayed at 60% male authors, so long as I have equal chance in the eye of my editor, I honestly don't care.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Sindran on April 19, 2016, 04:54:42 AM
Welp, I posted this about a year ago and suddenly got lots of emails saying this had been replied to. Glad to see this thread came back to life. Interesting ideas everyone!
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Nora on April 21, 2016, 05:34:24 AM
Not trying to rub anything anywhere, but I was browsing through the Goodreads best books 2015 awards, where the common readers vote an nominate their favorite books and was pleased by the Fantasy results :

Out of 20 nominees, 12 authors are female. The award goes to Gaiman, but he only has 3.000 votes over VE Schwab.
This on 33.681 voters.

I think that is better value than any unknown poll, that women writing fantasy aren't in such a bad place these days.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Eclipse on April 21, 2016, 06:35:25 AM
Not trying to rub anything anywhere, but I was browsing through the Goodreads best books 2015 awards, where the common readers vote an nominate their favorite books and was pleased by the Fantasy results :

Out of 20 nominees, 12 authors are female. The award goes to Gaiman, but he only has 3.000 votes over VE Schwab.
This on 33.681 voters.

I think that is better value than any unknown poll, that women writing fantasy aren't in such a bad place these days.

Are you counting PR in that? As I call those book more romantic books then fantasy myself
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Nora on April 21, 2016, 08:57:42 AM
I'm not counting anything, I did not even vote for it.

PR includes characters of the Fantasy realm, and hence fall under the Fantasy tag, which is broad by definition. This sort of poll I see just like democratie. You migh not like the outcome, but it's what the masses decided on.
Besides, it poses a problem to anyone who would say there are more male than female readers, since you'd think there'd be less PR in that case.
Or maybe you can argue there are more female than male goodread users?

33 thousand people had the whole field of fantasy to chose from, and 12 female authors came on top.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Eclipse on April 21, 2016, 09:34:22 AM
When did I say you voted for it? Goodreads contest is just a popularity contest in my view like others like it, its not the best written works that win its that the most famous authors who always come out on top.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Eclipse on April 21, 2016, 10:00:58 AM
I think you misunderstood me when I said counted I meant how many of those writers were PR as I don't regard them as fantasy in my view I regard them as romance.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Nora on April 21, 2016, 03:30:37 PM
No sorry, it's a double misunderstanding. I didn't imply you thought I voted for it, but I did understand your point, as in, I personally understand you but disagree.

In so far as fantastical horror is a subgenre of fantasy I don't read and consider as "horror" in the same way that a PR with vampires and elves might be a simple "romance" in your books, but belong to the wider Fantasy range–I think, whether you like it or not.

Of course it's a poll of opinion that makes famous people come on top, because they have more coverage, or because they are famous for a reason–bigger readership, etc–but regardless, people having to pick from the 2015 books chose those, and women author came on top.
I've read some PR, and most often I see it as a subgenre of UF, so I also find it disappointing, but I also don't read Gaiman, and didn't like A Darker Shade Of Magic either!

Of course for the sake of this argument it'd be better if we could have the same poll for fantasy books minus PR, but where do we draw the line after that? Anne Rice is definitely PR as well as Dark Fantasy, yet she is a monument of the genre...
Besides, maybe the people who voted for the PR books also read other more core fantasy works but preferred the PRs overall? Who knows... Maybe it's the ugly truth of the Fantasy genre, that PR is a main branch in it that attracts lots of disdain from the other branches, but is one of the main focuses of people coming from other genres?

I think PR's quality is that it can ensnare more regular fiction readers who'd be after a more original fiction, and might end up stuck in the deep shifting sands of Fantasy and sink ever deeper, all the way to the bottom where we dwell.
I've read pure epic fantasy along PR as a teen and remember both fondly.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Eclipse on April 21, 2016, 04:53:46 PM
Likes your reply, if it gets people into reading it can only be a good thing.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Nora on April 22, 2016, 12:24:14 AM
One can only hope...  ;D
But I see it happen with YA, teens discovering a series universe and then asking for more, and being open to suggestions of "more proper fantasy"... So we can hope that some of the overly excited female readership of stuff like the black dagger brotherhood reads other stuff.

Actually I think I'm going to go and follow on commenters profiles and see what the average PR fan had in her reading shelves.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: CryptofCthulhu on April 25, 2016, 01:46:12 PM
They needed a survey to figure out the obvious?
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: Nora on April 25, 2016, 01:56:46 PM
They needed a survey to figure out the obvious?

How is it obvious? It doesn't apply to me at least.
Title: Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Post by: ultamentkiller on April 25, 2016, 04:20:12 PM
Based on the length of this discussion, I don't think it's obvious.