Author Topic: Sexism in Publishing (Update)  (Read 1131 times)

Offline PhantomII

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Sexism in Publishing (Update)
« on: August 09, 2021, 12:52:07 PM »
A couple of months ago, I posted a blog asking why so few new male authors seem to be getting published, and posited a few thoughts on what the possibilities were for this fact. I just thought I'd give everyone an update on the current state of affairs.

Just today, I received an email from Penguin Random House listing new books. There was a link to new thrillers, which I clicked on. Here's what I found.

There were a total of 28 new thriller novels.

25 of them had female authors. That's slightly over 89%

Of the three male authors:

One was an English reprint of a Chinese novel,

One was an English reprint of a Swedish novel,

And (amazingly) one was a novel by a new American male author.

Now, one would think that a lot of male authors concentrate on the thriller genre (I'm one) rather than, say, romance novels. So one would also think that there should be more than one new American male author in PRH's new thriller list. But there isn't.

Why not?

As I said before, I can only think of three possibilities: 1) male thriller authors are much, much poorer writers than female thriller authors, 2) Roughly 90% (looking at PRH stats) of new thriller authors are female, and there just aren't many males attempting to get thriller novels published; or 3) publishing houses and agent houses are mostly populated by women, who are purposely favoring female authors over male ones, regardless of the genre, quality or sale-ability.

I fear that the third possibility is the correct one, and that is disturbing. Most would agree that blatant sexism is not something to be celebrated, and were the sexes reversed, I think the outcry would be enormous. And I'm not all that bright. If I see it, it must be pretty obvious.

So what can be done about it? I can tell you, as a male thriller author trying to get published, it is discouraging almost to the point of being crushing. I even thought (jokingly) of saying I identify as a female to see if it gave me better odds. Then again . . .

Maybe the first step is to get the facts out there. I'm going to be looking at forums where I can bring this up, and I'd hope others of both sexes would join the fight for some parity. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on the topic.

Offline vivaviolet

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Re: Sexism in Publishing (Update)
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2021, 03:46:50 PM »
Interesting. I would be tempted to query with my initials to see if I got more bites with the same material.

Offline Tabris

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Re: Sexism in Publishing (Update)
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2021, 07:32:16 PM »
Agreed. If you think it's conscious or unconscious bias at play, query with your initials and see if you get a better response.