When I was little, I liked to fish and climb trees while wearing a pretty dress. I played with my barbies and my dad’s tools. In grade school, I played with the boys after school and had crushes on most all of them.
When you look at books, what tells you it is a girl or a boy book? My son likes stories about girls. He likes Junie B. Jones and Olivia. He’s picked books with boys on the cover and with girls on the cover, but he’s learned not to pick anything pink. He used to pick pink, but not anymore. Or he does, and then says he can like pink when it is just us.
Gentlemen, would you pick a book with a pink cover?
In my art, sometimes there are rabbits. The owner of the store that sells my art, told me that every time a man buys my work that has a rabbit, the man has to say something not believing he was actually buying a bunny.
If my work is ever published, I hope you menfolk buy my work. Is it too girly? How can I tell?
12 thoughts on “Girl Goes Fishing! Now that’s news.”
I don’t know if you can tell. I think the work will appeal to whom it appeals, and only time will show. Unless you’re specifically writing “chick-lit” and have women as your target audience, I don’t know if you can tell who will read your books.
I’m male and wrote my book from a male perspective obviously. But most of the alpha readers were women. Both male and female readers seemed to enjoy it, but most of them were female.
I really do think it’s hit-or-miss with audiences. Those I think might like my work and those who actually do may not be the same group.
Then again, what do I know?
I’ver written from the point-of-view of women and men. I hope I made my male leads believable! Some men do like so-called chick-lit–they just don’t let people see them reading it.
You’re right though. Time will tell. And I don’t write chick-lit.
LOL @ your title.
Maybe your work seems feminine because it has curly, flowing lines rather than rigid geometric patterns. But I don’t think it matters one way or the other, it has universal appeal. The bulk of your subject matter up till the bunnies was houses and trees and cityscapes, and those aren’t gender-specific. Maybe you’re all right as long as you don’t use pink.
No pink bunnies!
For good and ill, some years back MBA’s got into publishing upper echelons and began a quasi-scientific study of subject matter and packaging. For the most part, publishing has withstood the invasion, but still, the attempts to quantify, qualify, and categorize are out there. I can remember an experiment at a now-moribund massmarket publisher in which the house or castle on the cover of a gothic was published in two editions, one with a light on in one room, the other without the light. The edition with the light on invariably outsold the other. The experiment was the gut instinct of an editor.
The writers who write from their inner vision remind me of the covers with the light on. Writers who are writing from some external formula of trying to guess “what the public wants” or from the hubris of “knowing what the public wants” are, in my opinion, derivative and misguided.
You are neither derivative nor misguided. I like the way you ask questions, then write and make art from the muscle memory of Marta. Your art is beyond story or lovely shape and design; it is the sum total of your vision.
That’s an interesting experiment. I like your take on it, too.
Thank you, Shelly. You make me feel less crazy. Or maybe I mean less misguided.
Love that newspaper clipping! Innocent times, eh?
Would I buy a book with a pink cover? Umm, probably not, as a rule. (I’m trying to remember… it doesn’t make sense, really, but for some reason I think that my paperback copy of A Clockwork Orange had a hot-pink cover.
When I’m reading a hardback, I’ll usually remove the paper cover and store it on a bookshelf. This is for practical reasons — I don’t want to tear it — but it also works to “anonymize” the book when I’m out in public. I’m pretty sure I read all the Harry Potters that way, for instance, and ditto Diana Gabaldon’s romances. But again, it’s not just kids’ and “women’s” books that get this treatment. I read a fascinating — creepy but fascinating — non-fiction book a couple years ago called Stiff, about the various things which happen to the human body when (and after) it dies. The cover shows a pair of feet on a gurney, draped partially by a sheet, wearing a toe tag. It wasn’t a book I really wanted to get into conversation about.
Readers have so many prejudices, so many of them buried deeply, that it’s tough to imagine a book cover which both attracts attention and doesn’t scare off some portion of the potential readership, even for reasons they could never articulate. “It just didn’t look like a book I’d like.” Say what?!?
Even just the author’s name — if obviously male or female — sets up expectations in many cases. I wonder how many guys willingly read Wicked because it was by a guy, even though about a woman — but wouldn’t read Jonathan Stange and Mr. Norrell which was about two guys but, hey, it must be a “woman’s book” if it’s written by a woman, right? (Hence the call of the pseudonym, at least in some cases.)
Some guys may have problems with your writing on a Y-chromosomal basis, but it’s not obvious to me that they would — or why. But yeah, I’d avoid the pink covers. (The artwork is a whole different thing. Still, I do love the image of men, probably disguised, skulking about in IF+D and leaving with your work — at their insistence — wrapped in plain brown paper.)
What you can’t get in my scan is that the clipping is the entire page. There are a total of 7 photographs of me fishing. AN ENTIRE NEWSPAPER PAGE! Crazy.
I guess A Clockwork Orange in pink would an editor trying to go against type or some such thing. I read about that Stiff book. Yes, it sounds creepy and fascinating, but I might be okay carrying it around. When I worked at this feminist bookstore for a while, this book came out with a title that pained me to say, much less actually pick up and read. The title was the infamous c-word. And some covers were hot pink and some covers were bright yellow.
I love Wicked and <Jonathan Strange! My husband read Strange but has no interest in Wicked. But the cover of Strange seems neutral to me.
Yeah, I love the image of guys sneaking out with my art too. Kristen, the owner, likes to make them say the word “bunny.” haha.
That’s so cute! Girl goes fishing! Love it! And how far things have come, haven’t they?
I think if you were writing books for either men or women, the things to avoid on the cover would be pink, and flowery type things.
Pink has such a bad rap, but it’s just a color like any other color and is gender neutral. And did you know, pre-WW1 pink was the color for baby boys? It was considered light red, and red was the masculine while blue was the feminine. Seems weird now, doesn’t it?
Were you able to read the little paragraph with the picture? It is so funny now.
Oh, since you mention it, I think I heard something about that color swap. Weird. A color ought to just be a color.
Barely out of diapers and already knew how to cast a line. I think that’s awesome. 🙂
I was able to read it once I clicked on it. 🙂
You know what else I like about this post? How you casually talk about all these guys who are buying your work, when just a couple of months ago the thought of anyone buying your work made you crazy. 🙂