Writing

Are you a gender biased reader?


Hmm makes you think.

Confession: I’m Biased Against Women Authors

That article is not the first I have read that stated men tend to read books written by men statistically. It does the other way as well, just not quite as much if you look at the Goodreads survey.

I find this fascinating but to be honest I don’t even pay attention to the author when I pick up a new series. If it looks interesting, I check it out. Male or female. Likely both. Maybe that is the case when you read a boatload. You just get a lot of selection in there. Sometimes I just want to bring the whole bookstore home.

However, I happen to like fantasy with a strong female lead. I get tired of fantasy with ‘farm-boy is Chosen for great things’ theme. It is because I want diversity in what I read. So I happen to know for a fact I have a lot of those in my library. I think most of them a written by women.

However, my ratio is more like the Goodreads survey for women. I do not pay that much Particular attention to the author. Rather the book. So I read a lot of male authors as well. Just because that is the way it statistically works out. Once I read that first book and enjoy it I’ll read the entire series, so it adds up. I only pay attention to the author when I am going back to the bookstore to get book two. And sometimes I even forget that and have to rely on spatial memory for where I found it. Just not good at remembering authors names.

However, I find it distinctly odd that men or anyone who shop for books in a different way. That a female on the cover. Or a female author, would deter them from reading the book. They really have no idea what they are missing. While I get the best of both worlds and can read whatever I please, depending on my tastes, mood and what I happen to have on hand to read… it seems that is not the case for others. Similarly women who do the same, have no idea what they are missing. I mean really. Half your selection… Gone. Some awesome stories in there.

I think that is an unfortunate distinction, however, I am not even sure it is a actual choice being made. I doubt men are simply refusing to read female writers. I think it is a psychological influence there and if so, then they would have to consciously break that. Even if they tried, I bet it would be tricky. I bet their brain would say ‘Not to my tastes’ having been influenced by the cover.

While this is interesting it is not too shocking though is it? Some men have been influence by that idea to avoid the ‘girly’. A lot of women gravitate to female characters because, in some genres especially, there wasn’t a lot of stories told with dominant female roles in the past so we are pretty thirsty for it now. I read a lot of fantasy in my day and I remember a time when it was male dominated stories. I was pretty young and reading through all my Dad’s books but still. So I like the diversity there is now. I like that I can read a story with a female character playing a dominant role.

But there are plenty of books out there for all of us. I know our preferences will exclude some books that we may have enjoyed. I exclude books all the time for various reasons. Maybe I would have loved them. Maybe not. There are a lot of factors that go into that process that we are not even consciously aware of. Including marketing. Most of us are not aware of how marketing, like cover designs, affect our choice of book selection.

However, I do see why some female writers use a male pen name. More of a potential audience statistically.

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