Friday, August 23, 2013

Why Are Books Mainly For The Y Chromosome?

The public relations firm that I work for, Media Connect, (formerly Planned Television Arts) used to promote Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, so I understand that men and women are wired differently and treated differently by society.  But I don’t understand why so many more book readers are women and girls.

USA Today cited a National Summer Learning Association and Sylvan Learning survey of 1190 youths, ages 8-18, that showed 64% of girls agreed that reading is a favorite summertime activity.  Only 34% of boys agreed.


It’s one thing if males read different subject matter than females.  It’s okay if they read at different speeds and it's okay if they differ on a preferred format (digital vs. print).  But why should there be such a disparity, early on, between attitudes towards reading?

It seems, more than geography, finances, race, or other demographic markers, merely one’s sex determines their dedication to reading books.

Reading is knowledge.  It’s power.  It’s inspiring.  It’s the building block for any civilized nation.  So why are boys and men statistical savages while women are the advanced, educated and socially grounded gender?

I’m not a sociologist, psychologist, or an educator so I have no clue why there’s a disparity between men and women when it comes to books.  But it’s clear such a disparity exists and is growing.

Why do only women have book club gatherings while men gather to watch sports, play cards, or hit the jiggle joints?  Why do women communicate so much better than most men?  Why do men express themselves physically while women do not as much?

X vs. Y.  There are many physical, psychological, and cultural differences at play when it comes to men and women.  I guess instead of trying to understand it, accept it and as a book marketer or author, look to exploit it.

If you want to sell books, appeal to the female mindset.  About three-fourths of all book sales come from women (my guess).  Pink means green.  Women can singlehandedly make publishing a profitable venture, so make sure you market to meet their needs.

Interview With Author Sarah Bates

What type of books do you write?  I tell stories about people who face unexpected events in life. In Out of Our Minds, Wild Stories by Wild Women, one of my stories is told from the point of view of Ernest Hemingway’s young niece who visits him the summer before he commits suicide. In Twenty-One Steps of Courage, Army recruit Rod Strong hides Obsessive Compulsion Disorder to follow in his father’s footsteps to become a Sentinel Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown in Arlington National Cemetery. His ability to manage the disorder helps him gain the courage to face leg amputation when he must re-learn to walk the distinctive pacing of the Guards at the Tomb. 

What is your newest book about?  My newest novel continues my interest in people who beat the odds. In The Lost Diaries of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, readers will learn about the girl who became the mother of women’s rights and whose early beliefs that women were equal to men set her apart from her peers. This novel sets the stage for Cady-Stanton’s later life that resulted in the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. 

What inspired you to write it? Ten years ago I purchased an Elizabeth Cady Stanton document that is now framed on my wall. Each time I passed it, I felt drawn to the sentiment in the document: “Men are what their mother’s make them.” I knew who Stanton was, but still curious, I researched her to find several excellent biographies. In her own autobiography she had much to say about life after she married Henry Stanton, but the details of her girlhood were sketchy, yet telling in the way she approached topics that would later define her. After having a long conversation with the principle biographer of her life, I asked if I used her memoir as the outline for the novel, filling in the “spaces” with historical fiction, would I insult her memory. Assured I would not, I began the research process in earnest. The first draft is now finished and I am editing. 

What is the writing process like for you?  Writing is work. It just is. But I love the process–all of it, the research; the fleshing out of characters; the incredible feeling of being in the story, pushing the plot forward scene by scene. The relief following the end of the first draft, and the excitement of anticipating the editing to come are part of the writing process for me. 

What did you do before you became an author? I worked in marketing, advertising and public relations before starting a freelance writing career. As a freelancer I wrote a stack of craft and do-it-yourself books and worked as a feature and business writer for a local newspaper. In December of 2012, I left the English Department Writing Center of Palomar College where I tutored writing for ten years. 

How does it feel to be a published author? The first time I saw one of my short stories in print it felt as if I elevated off the floor! For some reason creating a story of my own design that an editor chose for his readers thrilled me more than any of my non-fiction accolades. When people I barely know or don’t know at all review my book and praise it, I am constantly surprised. What a wonderful feeling to be a published author.

Any advice for struggling writers? Sure, lots. If you want to write but don’t know how take a class. Read, read, read. Read “how to be a writer” books. In each one there is at least one gem of information that is useful. If you want to write fiction, read fiction. If your choice is non-fiction–read that. And don’t try to write a book “just like someone else’s” because even if you succeed, by the time you’re finished with it, trends will have changed. Put your butt in the chair and write every day. Join a writer’s critique group. Find one whose members are truthful yet tactful. And, don’t give up. And, don’t publish crap. If you can’t spell or fail at grammar, use an editor. Use an editor anyway. When your name is on the cover, or as a byline, it’s as if you are walking around naked for all to see your flaws. Eliminate as many flaws as you can. Finally? Don’t expect to get rich. You could be a Stephen King or a James Patterson, but…

Where do you see book publishing heading?  Book publishing is evolving faster than authors can keep up. The business model has simply changed. Even established authors are self-publishing. Still, I lament the number of e-books self-published without editing for they give all self-publishers a bad rep. However, the e-readers are slick and easy to use. I have one. A Kindle. I love it. Both of my books are available in paperback and digital versions and I am currently producing an audiobook of Twenty-One Steps of Courage. I subscribe to Publishers Weekly to keep abreast of publishing stats and am encouraged to see the numbers grow for audio books. While I am optimistic about my chances to get an agent to represent my new novel, and plan to query as many as I can, I will also attend a conference in February to pitch the book. If all that fails I will self-publish again. All authors today have to be ready to participate in marketing their own books because agents and publishers expect it. I’m pretty good at it and am looking forward to releasing a novel in a genre that has a fan base of more than a handful of Soldiers! 

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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