What did I just read?

Sorry to have been MIA yesterday. I only managed about two hours sleep night before last, so my brain was most definitely not working for most of the day. I figured it was better to take the day off from the blog than to try to write something that made sense–and wouldn’t. Too bad, a writer over on a so-called feminist site didn’t choose to do the same. It would have saved me from beating my head against the wall this morning. Still, it would have also prevented me from having fodder for this morning’s post.

I’m not going to name the site. Suffice it to say, it’s not one I regularly read. The only reason I was there this morning is one of the stories found its way onto my newsfeed. The headline caught my attention. Not because it was anything sensational but because it was so obviously WRONG!. Curiosity, or maybe a bit of masochism, had me clicking through to see what the post was all about.

It all boiled down to this (and I’m still trying to convince myself the writer was trying for satire): men don’t read books written by women, don’t want to and if given the choice will refuse to. Oh, and they’ve really only written six books ever and everything else is derivations from those. And, just to be sure the author hit all the right notes, she had to throw in a stab at “white men”. There was some adjective included but I don’t remember exactly what and I’m not going back to check.

Part of her so-called observations were right. In school, if given a choice, most boys will read something other than books by Jane Austen. Hell, I would have if given a choice back then. I enjoy Austen on occasion, but she isn’t my preferred writing style. I have always preferred my fiction to have action in it.

What got me was the snobbery in the article. It’s a snobbery I’ve seen over and over throughout my life when it comes to fiction. Girls–and women–want to read novels about refine living and message fiction. (Imagine someone with a post British accent, holding a tea cup, pinkie finger out, intoning “literature”.) Boys–and men–want icky action and science fiction and fantasy like–gasp–Tolkien.

Sorry, but most readers enjoy more than one genre or sub-genre. More than that, their reading tastes can and often do change over time. Yes, there are some men who refuse to read science fiction if it is written by a woman. But on the flip side, there are women who will refuse to read romance or chick lit if it is written by a man. Funny thing, you never see these holier-than-thou women bitching about men not reading books by women saying women shouldn’t read only books by their own sex. In fact, these so-called feminists tend to call for boycotts of male authors.

And that double-standard drives me crazy. As a woman, I don’t care what “plumbing” an author sports. I don’t give a damn what their sexual orientation happens to be. As for politics, if they don’t hit me over the head with it, again, who gives a damn? Just write the best book you can and keep me entertained.

That’s what I try to do. Yes, when I started writing the Honor & Duty series, I made the decision to use a pen name that would be viewed as a male name. I did it because I knew there would be some who wouldn’t read the book if they thought a woman wrote it. Now, even though that pen name is the only one on the cover, it is listed under both the pen name and my name in stores. It didn’t impact my sales one bit when I quit hiding behind the pen name.

What about you? Will you refuse to buy a book in a certain genre simply because it is written by a man or a woman?

And now, it’s time to find my second cup of coffee and get to work. Until later!

Featured Image by Peter Olexa from Pixabay

About the author

Writer, proud military mom and possessed by two crazy cats and one put-upon dog. Writes under the names of Amanda S. Green, Sam Schall and Ellie Ferguson.

Comments

  1. I’m with you. I’ll read pretty much anything that doesn’t slap me upside the head with its ‘message’. I neither care about the author’s particulars nor do I want to know about them. In fact, I’m usually happier knowing as little as possible about any given author. Give me a good story. That’s it. Reading a good story and then finding out the author is a buttwart tends to ruin it for me.

    1. Yep. It’s one reason I try to keep politics off this page–although there are times when I just have to say something. But I try to limit those forays to other blog sites.

  2. Hm, I was going to say that I don’t generally consider urban fantasy if there’s a female name on the cover– but that’s not exactly accurate. It’s a matter of a specific ‘flavor’ of female name, that I can’t really describe other than kinda… trendy whatever they call politically active preppies these days?

    It’s a marketing signal, not actually related to the author. (An intelligent signal, too; PN Elrod’s vampire series was much better served by that name, rather than Patricia Elrod or Patty Elrod, as a marketing tool.)

    1. Yeah. I’ll admit, I’ve considered whether I made the right choice putting my UF out under my name. But then I considered that it is at its heart a police procedural–at least on the whole–and it also has a female lead, albeit one who doesn’t see her sole duty one of having sex every chance she gets or hooking a lover/husband/mate/whatever. So I felt using my name wasn’t going to be a detriment. That is also why the UF that leans more to PNR (although it really doesn’t have enough sex to fall into that category) is written under another pen name.

      1. Your name is actually what made me draw the distinction– it’s not exactly “female name,” it’s *TRENDY*/”woke” type names. (A lot I can’t tell if they’re male or female, just that they’re Trendy.)

        “Amanda” is not a trendy name, and “Amanda S. Green” … *fits* the police procedural flavor.

        If you were Patti Lovelorn or Delatanya Oberteron, then it would somewhat match.

  3. I would say the authors I read are not split 50/50 male/female, more like 60/40. Having said that, I really don’t care what gender the author is as long as their story keeps me on the edge of my seat wanting more from that author.

    1. I will admit, I often don’t even look at the author name until I’ve read the blurb. It just doesn’t matter that much to me.

  4. I’ll read warning labels if I don’t have anything else to read so no I don’t look at the “gender” of the writer. In fact if the story is too refined I might not finish it. Although I am a Jane Austen fan. My preferred reading right now is contemporary fantasy with combinations of noir. But I’ll read anything even Romance.

    1. LOL. Same here. I’ve been known to sit at the table, reading the list of ingredients on a cereal box. We won’t say where I’ve read warning labels before–or why. ;-p

  5. I’m another who takes no notice of an author’s gender. I’ll read a blurb, then if on Amazon read the comments/reviews by those who’ve bought the book and by other authors. Then, and only then, will I decide whether it fits my tastes. One exception is when it’s a freebie or a very cheap intrductory offer for a new series, when I might curtail my analysis and give the story a chance to draw me in. As for Jane Austen, and all the other 19th century pedlars of ‘literature’, I ignore them. I had enough of those at school 75 years ago to know that the few still worth reading are mostly out of print because the ‘cognoscenti’ don’t regard them as ‘literare’.And praise by professional reviewers in their newspaper columns, or the trumpeting of prizes and awards, is for me the kiss of death meaning that my time or money spent on the praised book.would be wasted.

  6. I don’t presume to know, from the name. The writing reveals.
    It’s worse in movies, all written by high school girls, seemingly.

    I’m a fan of many women authors, however.

  7. Andre Norton

    A woman and one of the first SF/F authors that I read.

    Nuff Said! 😉

    1. And initially Andre Norton was required by her publisher to use male pseudonym: Andrew North, IIRC.

  8. Every time I try to categorize my reading as to what I will read and won’t I find an exception. Don’t like Brit UF…except. Don’t like dis-utopian…except. Don’t like this author…except. I will generally not read mainstream fiction ’cause it usually bores me. Even for the authors that I automatically buy in HB there are some works I do not go back and re-read.
    It just depends…NO, I’m not that old …yet.

  9. I’m in my mid-sixties, and I don’t care what sex an author is. I’ve been reading both male and female authors for as far back as I can remember – Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and on and on. If you entertain me, I’ll gladly pay you, and your physical characteristics are irrelevant.

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