. . .and the debate over female vs. male publishing continues.

Its been been one of my contentions that the publishing world, when it comes to fiction, has simply disregarded the needs of the male reader and has consciously decided to cater to the female buyer.  Currently the stats prove this.  Females are, by far, the largest book buyers out there and read far more fiction than males.


But why?  One possibility is that the publishing world's day-to-day nuts and bolts applications are staffed by women.  Editors, copy writers, lit agents--all hugely female in persuason.  All you have to do is open up book listing lit agents in the US and start counting the number of women vs. men agents.  It's an eye-opener, to say the least.


Well, here's an article that--somewhat--agrees with me.  Give it a good read and tell me your opinions on this subject.



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So, you think that publishers haven't disregarded the male book buyers? I'm not sure I understand. If there are lots of books for men and lots of men buying books, what's the problem?

Times have changed since the days of the Executioner paperbacks - although Hard Case Crime are out there trying and I give them a lot of cedit. I'm sure they wish they were selling as many books as Harlequin - maybe they'd like to sell 10% of what Harlequin sells.
But John--Hard Case Crime doesn't have near the budget, nor the clout, as Harlequin has. Give Hard Case another ten years and you might be surprised at their numbers.

I agree the times have radically changed. And yes, major publishers have written off the male population as a whole. Compare, in just the mystery genre, the number of 'cozie' novels coming out versus someone like say, Jon Loomis' novels. Or yours, for that matter. If you had a little help advertising your books don't you think you could sell a hell of a lot more of them?
Honestly, no, I don't think I could sell many more. I wish I could, but I'm not at all surprised that no publisher wants to put much advertising money behind my books. I'm thrilled to get the promo I have now.

I think more cozies get publishes because cozies sell more. But, look, as I posted earlier in this thread Amazon sent me the week's new releases in, "mystery and thrillers" and 9 out of the 10 books are by men. There's just no way I can look at that and say the publishing industry has written off men.

What's that old saying, capitalism abhors a vacuum? If there really was some great untapped male book buying market it would be tapped.
I'm left to wonder a bit about what might have happened if my/John's publisher had actually tried to follow-up on all the free national publicity my two books with them have gotten via print and radio--I really don't know the answer to that. There's no question that prominent reviews and national media exposure have a profound effect on sales--but in my case not enough to crack the best-seller lists without help from my publisher. Once they decide that your series is small, then by God it's small, even if it sort of isn't.

I actually think of my novels as hard-boiled comedies with cozy elements--if your idea of "cozy" includes police officers having torrid affairs with six-foot African American transsexuals, and the finding of human heads in tanks full of lobsters.
Could be a stigma attached to buying a certain sort of book?

I'm all for equality but what you tend to find is that women are generally accepted doing/reading the same things men do while there is still a stigma attached to a man doing/reading something traditionally feminine. I remember someone coming into the office a few weeks ago to tell me how surprised they were that the local flower shop's new florist is male.

A man is expected to be masculine at all times while a woman can pick and choose - if she wants to read a Mills and Boon or a Bourne novel, it doesn't really make a difference.
I agree that Dan has a good point, but any time that you play that sort of game (super heroes for men and romance for women), you end up writing formula.
The problem about not writing formula novels (and all of us do whether we admit it or not) is that there are millions out there who LIKE formula writing. Millions of readers means potential fans--and money in the bank account. Down playing formulaic writing might be a good way in not getting published at all.
On my TV gig one of the other writers said he didn't like the word formula. He said writing TV is like writing Haiku - and no one ever complains that Haiku is formulaic ;)

I have to say, though, the response I get to my books is pretty much 50-50 men and women. The positive and negative response.

I think what we're looking for is 'like-minded people,' and that may not break down along gender lines as much as the marketing department thinks it does.
I agree, Dan. The idea that men don't read. . . and won't buy books . . just doesn't ring true to me.
I think there's a lot of hyperventilating going on here about nothing. More women than men buy books, absolutely true, so it'd be pretty darn silly for publishers not to publish books that they'd hope would tap into that market. But there are also tons of male-oriented writers, and tons of buyers for them. The bulk of my own personal list, both fiction and nonfiction, veers more to men than women -- though we try to bring in women readers for them, too, of course, because we're not stupid -- and I can tell you, those books are doing just fine.

So, John -- you are absolutely right.
Ah, Neil. I was wondering when you were going to jump into this fracas.

I'm not saying publishers should give up selling books to women. Far from it. I agree--why give up a good thing? On the other hand, your success in breaking your selection of books down to a kind of parity between the sexes (and I applaud you for this) . . . I wonder. Is this true across the publishing market? Or are you an exception to the rule?
Nope, I'm not an exception. Some publishers go more one way than the other, of course, depending on what they're good at, but most try to cover the waterfront.


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