There is a meme that shows up now and then in my twitter stream (today for example) and it goes something like this: women will read books regardless if they are written by men or by women, but men tend to read books only by men.
My experience is the opposite.
My very rough estimate is that only 20% of my readers are women. This is based on such things as reader emails received over the years, “Likes” on my facebook page, people who comment on my blog, people on twitter who are interested in my work, and statistics on a recent sale of a story of mine republished as an ebook.
All of my readers are fantastic. Men and women both are incredibly supportive and I would be nothing without them…but more and more I can’t help wondering why more women don’t read my work.
Yes, it’s true that most of my work has been hard science fiction – generally assumed to be a genre dominated by male readers and I don’t disagree, but still – why don’t more women read my work? Is it simply the label “hard SF”? But don’t women read “everything,” regardless?
In the last couple of years I’ve put out two “scoundrel lit” fantasy novels, darkly humorous and very concerned with male/female relationships. So far as I can tell, mostly men have read them.
I don’t think I write for any particular gender. I write the books I want to read. I often write from the male point of view, but probably just as often I write from the female point of view. I like to think there is a great deal of emotion in my stories, and that there are meaningful relationships.
So why don’t more women read my books? What is it in general that determines if men or women will read a book?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, men and women both.