2019/12/26

Fempub

May be a better name for the dying New York publishing cartel than oldpub.

Data courtesy of author Ben Cheah:

Genre Chart

Some significant context: digging under the following data points turned up that it predominantly applies to oldpub. In that regard, they make for a pretty accurate snapshot of oldpub's readership ca. 2014.

What do we find?

  • Women prefer to read books written by women.
  • Men prefer to read books written by men.
  • Women read more fiction than men--about four times more according to some sources.
  • Women like reading new books more than men do.
At first blush, it's not unreasonable to look at these numbers and conclude that oldpub's catering to female readers is just a common sense reaction to market forces. After all, if most of your customers are women, your products should target them.

With all respect to Ben, this explanation puts the cart before the horse. It's not that men don't like to read. We know they love to read. Male-targeted fiction dominated pop culture during the reign of the pulps. It took frustrated lit fic authors-turned-editors at NYC houses to suppress men's adventure fiction and usher in the pink revolt.

A former oldpub editor explains what happened:

In my opinion, this empty excuse of ‘Men Don’t Read’ has begotten a vicious cycle. I was hesitant to write this article, mainly because in no way do I want to be perceived as diminishing the talents of many, many brilliant women in publishing, nor do I believe that there is a true ‘gender bias’. A bias insinuates some sort of malice, a purposeful exclusion of a segment of society for selfish or ignorant reasons. Those kind of insinuations are not the aim of this piece, nor are they my opinions in any way. This is a critique of the system, not those who work within it.
This NPR piece three years ago came to the conclusion that women read more fiction than men by a 4-1 margin. Articles like this madden me because I think they miss the big picture, or perhaps are even ignoring it purposefully. It’s like discussing global warming, while completely ignoring the fact that hey, maybe we have something to do with it.
Nobody can deny the fact that most editorial meetings tend to be dominated by women. Saying the ratio is 75/25 is not overstating things. So needless to say when a male editor pitches a book aimed at men, there are perilously few men to read it and give their opinions. Not to mention that, because there are so few men, the competition to buy books aimed at men is astronomical. I was once shot down in an effort to buy a sports humor book because I couldn’t get the support of a senior editor. The reason? This editor had written a similar book proposal on submission and didn’t want to hurt his chances of selling it.
Men read. Tons of them do. But they are not marketed to, not targeted, and often totally dismissed. Go to a book conference, a signing. Outside of a Tucker Max event, what percentage of attendees are men? 

This editor's Death Cult membership aside--it's serendipitous that his verbal contortions over the word bias reveals his own bias--he correctly identifies the Men Don't Read canard as a self-fulfilling oldpub prophecy.

The New York houses used to publish fiction that men liked to read. Now they don't. It doesn't take a marketing whiz to see why most of their readers are now women.

But contra Mr. Editor lip-synching to the progressive pieties, there is clear and open bias behind oldpub's shunning of men. He rightly acknowledges that men love to read just as much as women. Then he ignores the 75-25 elephant in editorial. Does he think women just like editing more?

Spouting blatant untruths like that is just another humiliation ritual. Mr. Editor is hanging a Workers of the World Unite! star in his storefront.

Of course there's a purposeful, malice-driven exclusion of male readers from oldpub. The mass exodus of those readers has the Big Five circling the drain while lining newpub's pockets. Oldpub can only be alienating male readers out of malice or stupidity.

It's not like the fempub crowd makes a secret of their hatred for men. Here's one of their former darlings issuing a fatwa against books by the Death Cult's enemies.

Suffice it to say, don't give money to people who hate you. Consider supporting the work of authors who strive to serve that forgotten male audience by writing explosive adventure books.


Combat Frame XSeed: CY 40 Second Coming

28 comments:

  1. The dirty little secret here is that women go where the men are. Fempub doesn't want to admit that they had to sieze the reins of The Star War, Marvel, and even D&D because women gravitated toward those institutions. And not for their intrinsic value, but because that's where the men were.

    We've all known those women who use trying to be, "One of the guys," as a Trojan horse to inject more relationship drama into things - the Devil Mouse is just doing that on a national scale.

    As the tide turns and men drift away, expect the Devil Mouse to start looking for the next IP to raid.

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    1. That's an important, biologically rooted principle to remember.

      Men engage in an art for the art's sake. Women engage to get male attention.

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    2. @Brian: Hence the importance of ignoring whatever franchise Disney is ruining at any given moment: hate-watching and review snarking still generate attention.

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    3. Those would've been fighting words when TLJ came out. Now it's not only socially acceptable to point out that Star Wars is dead, cool kids like Metokur are saying it.

      The collective "meh" over RoS has been deeply gratifying. My prediction that the franchise would rebound from the disasters of the prior two movies proved too pessimistic, and I've rarely been gladder to be wrong.

      It's been a tough month for the review snarkers. All their attempts to generate outrage clicks have fallen flat. I saw more than one of them go from, "RoS sucks!" to "RoS was good, fight me!" to "LOL at the losers who still care about RoS!" in the span of a week. Good sign.

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  2. More fuel added to the fire that the Brony phenomenon happened because every other space had pushed men out.

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    1. One of the reasons the brony phenomenon happened was because it was the only place on mainstream TV you could see unique female characters acting like females.

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    2. Sheltered as I am, I had to look the term up. I now know what it means, but I still don't understand it. Maybe I'm just too old to understand modern Life.

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  3. Men's adventure only exists in Newpub now because Oldpub crushed it and chased males out.

    They're never going to go back there which means its up to us to convince them to sit at our table. We've got more seats, anyway.

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    1. Nick Cole, Mark Wandrey, and Richard Fox, among others, are proving that those exiled readers are finding newpub.

      Baen is the only traditional publisher that still scratches that itch, and their fortunes are likewise tied to B&N.

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  4. But what happens to FemPub when B&N goes poof?!

    Where will the half-caf decaf no-fat soy mocha latte bar go? Who will bring the comfy couches? Who will host Tuesday book discussions with Oprah-blessed tomes of Fluff? Who will guard the signing tables for NY Times-approved scribblers?

    Don't worry, Fem-literati. Wal-Mart is *there* for you.

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    1. That's really thing thing though isn't it? A lot of the "goodwill" of oldpub lies in the fact that B&N are still a thing (for now.) They get to gatekeep in their own way as long as the last remaining major bookstore chain is alive. Once it goes though...oh boy, they won't know what to do.

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    2. Oh yes they will. They will do what they did to DinoPub, and ingratiate themselves among the thirsty men, then work to crowd out the ones who built it.

      Do not doubt that Indy pub is already under attack by would-be gatekeepers. We will see how long it stays decentralized enough to resist the infection.

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    3. Nick Cole's prophecy is right on track. B&N's last desperate attempt to save itself will fail. The Big Five will further merge into the Big Two--or even One. That consolidation will spell the end of the midlist as fempub retains only the Cadillac clients with enough clout to be sold at Costco.

      What happens then? Expect former fempub darlings like Bradford, Jemisin, and Scalzi to attempt the jump to newpub and fail because two books a year doesn't cut it anymore. After that, expect them to accept teaching posts their local community colleges.

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    4. Man of the atom,
      Fempub will cease to exist. It'll dissipate like Sauron oncecthecring fell into the fires of Mt Doom.

      And then all thecyrulyvrepressed and memory holed genres will surge back with a vengeance


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    5. Kindle is the great equalizer. Anyone with a story to tell can sell it!

      All those trad pubbed femlit books will migrate to kindle. It's not going to die, it just won't be "officially declared good" lit anymore.

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    6. Yeah, among those who don't give up writing entirely when the validation stops, it'll be reduced to a side hustle.

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    7. >After that, expect them to accept teaching posts their local community colleges.

      From what I see it is far, far more likely they will just switch over to Patreon, or crowdfunding. Due to the ID Pol crowd it probably won't work as well for white midlisters, but I can see N.K. Jesmin making 3K a month without increasing her output at all.

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    8. Neo-patronage is the future, and many Death Cultists already avail themselves of it. But they crave validation, and they chose to become authors mainly for the prestige. That's why I foresee many of them also transferring to other orders of the Cult's priesthood.

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  5. We also have beer and brotherly camaraderie at our table.

    Related:

    My daughter found one of the Boys' Big Game Series adventure novels for me, copyright 1925, the subject animal being a family joke. The story is an easy read, but stretches most modern vocabularies. The structure is a multi-level plot encased in a boy's coming of age ordeal, and involves solid characters with good morals. In addition, there's a capstone beast to hunt on its terms, and then a kill to be used as the Creator intended.

    This is exactly what's missing from pinklit: challenge, danger, and messy outdoor work. Also missing are the Christian teachings that frame and underlay the story.

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    Replies
    1. Fraternal camaraderie is anathema to small-souled bugmen.

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    2. Without clicking through, the summation makes me think of James Oliver Curwood. He wrote a bunch of those style novels, including a duology, The Wolf Hunters & The Gold Hunters.

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    3. Too bad your daughter is a worthless automaton enslaved to her inferior XX chromosome biology. I'd take anything she gives you and burn it, because according to your wonderful apocalyptic biological Darwinian determinism, all her motives are suspect at best, and evil at worst.

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  6. You might find this video by Aydin Paladin interesting. There is no “old boys’” network. There is, however, a girls’ network. Third Wave Nepotism

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  7. This is becoming one of my favorite blogs.

    I've been around long enough when the "Boys Don't Read" Canard started floating around in earnest. 2004, I think. With the Harry Potter books, I thought this was a weird thing to conjecture; it seemed to me all the boys were reading just fine.

    It was about 2010 I noticed my firstborn was only reading books published long ago. I grabbed a book he Did Not Finish from a modern author, and it was terrible. Oh well. We stopped buying him current books.

    In 2012-ish, there was a slew of blog posts going on and on about its the parents' fault for not raising boys properly to appreciate books written by women.

    It was then I realized New York Publishing, when they went corporate consolidation, screwed the pooch. They went out of their way to reject half their audience. They knew the score and did it anyway.

    Get woke, go broke.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. I'm honored to have your readership!

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    2. Anthony
      The boys don't read goes back to the 80s....and the solution was to push more girl oriented books because yeah boys will definitely read more Judy Blume books.

      xavier

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