Friday, January 27, 2012

Male Writer vs. Female Writer - Which Has It Tougher

The Guardian pointed me in the direction today of an interesting "conversation" about male vs. female authors that has been going on for a while.

Jennifer Weiner
It seems that nine-time novelist Jennifer Weiner, whose most recent book is 2011's Then Came You, does not believe that the New York Times Book Review treats women writers fairly when it comes to reviews and feature articles.  The folks over at took a look at the situation and it does appear that the raw numbers back up Weiner's assertion since somewhere between sixty and seventy percent of reviews and features have generally been allocated to male authors.

Teddy Wayne
But first-time novelist Teddy Wayne (Kapitoil) disagrees that female writers are finding it nearly as hard as male writers to earn a living from their work.  Wayne points out that it is women readers who buy two-thirds of books sold and, more importantly, that equates to 80% of the fiction being sold.  He further contends that book club membership is dominated by women - and that they all tend to read other women, not male writers.  Wayne goes on to argue that mid-list writers, like him, do not get covered by the Times, either, and that they do not have the women's magazines to fall back on for the kind of publicity that sells large numbers of books.

So what do you think?  Myself, I think both are correct in what they are arguing.  It seems to be only a matter of degree on the "Miserableness Index" that we are talking about here.

Follow this link to The Guardian for the article because there is a good bit more to it than I mention here.


  1. My wife reads several hundred YA novels a year, proofs sent to her by publishers, and I can safely say that 90+% of those books are targeted to girls.

  2. I'd have to agree that they are both right.

  3. Yep, that trend starts early on because boys are more reluctant to read for pleasure than girls are...makes me wonder, though, which came first? Boys not wanting to read or so few books targeted at them specifically. I do see a trend toward books aimed at fart jokes and the like that appeal to boys of seven or eight. That's the age we need to capture their imagination.

    Heck, I see the female/male thing even as a book blogger. I would imagine that well over 90% of book blogs are authored by women.

  4. They both do make good points, Kathleen. I suppose the more "literary novelist' type females suffer more than their male counterparts, and the more "mainstream" male writers suffer more than their female counterparts.