Hey genre snobs, Shakespeare did fantasy (Tempest), thrillers (Macbeth), comedies (As You Like It), YA (Romeo & Juliet) & erotica (sonnets).
— Matt Haig (@matthaig1) April 23, 2014
This week the publishing blogosphere was doing some soul searching as they digested an article by Jonathan Emmett on the gender imbalance of children’s books, that The Times picked up and ran away with...causing a mini feeding frenzy from other news outlets around the world.
The Times headline trumpeted that the majority of buying/ producing/ reviewing in the publishing industry is being run by women so it is no wonder that boys aren’t reading.
This is a hot button issue.
There are many angles to this story. Why has publishing become dominated by women? (low paid... low status...= women) Where are the books written by men for boys? ( low paid...low status...= ?) Who are the gatekeepers and why aren’t more books for boys being promoted and reviewed? - they would review if there were books for boys being written and published (low paid...low status...)
Why is it a women’s problem if boys don’t read? (Jonathan Emmet say’s it is not our problem.)
The next hot button issue... the same arguments this week but this time over diversity in publishing... Where are the books written by and for people of colour? In this Buzzfeed article the same blocks are being questioned. The editors are white middle class women who don’t understand the issues/stories from another cultural/colour perspective. Few books by these authors are being picked up for publishing... which equals less readers... which then becomes one of those assumptions...that people of colour don’t read.
Why is this a middle class white woman’s problem?
Who are the majority of readers? Demographic/age group.... (answer in your own time)
How do we address the imbalance?
How do we make reading cool for everyone?
Where do the brown boy readers go when they get to high school? (our resident representative of that demographic reads Stephen King Horror (Thanks Mr King! He is still reading!)
And the next hot button issue.
Are we over being good literary citizens? Have writers had enough of supporting publishing platforms?...because it’s good form and expected by their publishing houses but costs in time and money for the writer. Where are the blogs/ reviews from the CEO’s promoting the books? Why does the writer have to promote other writers and reviewers...and bookstores and .... Jane Friedman has a nice response to the above article.
When Mike Shatzkin came out to talk positively about When Authors should Self Publish (minor earthquake in publishing world) and then goes on to ask for submissions from everyone about the next five years in digital publishing where he predicts that Trade publishers will conduct most of their business online... then you have a lot to talk about.
We are 18 months out from the next National Children’s Writers and Illustrators conference and so Mike makes timely reading as we look to work out what issues should be on the hot button list to discuss.
Pick your button… PRESS.
In the Craft Section,
Bob Mayer on The Story Grid - a writer’s tool
Janice Hardy – when you’ve got everything right how do you leap over the line into requested/ bought
When the first book kills the series... Great article on the fine line of writing a first serial book.
In the Marketing Section,
Building audience with bundles... Dave Gaughran’s book bundling experiences.
Popular Tumblr’s for readers – how authors are managing Tumblr
This is my 300th post on the Craicer blog, my sixth year of providing a weekly look at the hot topics and trends in publishing. In six years I have seen the publishing world go through huge changes. The amalgamation of publishing houses... the collapse of bookstore chains... the rise of author publishing. Six years ago I would not have predicted the topic of this article from Porter Anderson but it does show how far the publishing pendulum has swung for the author. Predicting where they may be heading to next will continue to be a fascinating weekly hot button on Craicer.