Monday, March 7, 2011

Do You Prefer Male Or Female Novelists?


Which do you prefer, male or female novelists?

I've been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, but, when I think back in time to the stories I've read in my life, it appears that I seem to be partial to female authors. This isn't intentional, but, when I think about the stories that I've read, about 90% of the authors are female and about 10% are male. Why? I don't know. I guess since I'm a woman, maybe I can relate to the stories of romance and women's fiction - which are usually written by females, more so than the novels penned by males.

Please don't misunderstand me. I've read a lot of great books by male authors over the years, but when I'm in a bookstore, scanning the shelves, looking for great books, or, when I'm on Amazon or Barnes And Noble.com, looking for a novel to purchase, I usually end up purchasing a female author!

On my other blog, I do book reviews. If you scan through the old posts, you'll see that most of the books that I review are by female authors.

So, what's your preference, male or female novelists, and why do you believe you have a preference? Please share your responses with us in the comments!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

22 comments:

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Thanks for stopping by Writers' Rest. After you've left your comment, take a moment to read through some of the other wonderful articles on this blog!

Danlen James said...

I don't have a preference for male or female writers - as long as I like the material they write.

I do seem to read more male authors than female, probably because there are so few female sci-fi authors. I also read a few high-tech adventure/mystery books, but the same is true.

But I must say, the world lost a truly great author when Andre Norton died. I loved her works.

Sheri said...

I tend to read more books written by females. Especially when it comes Christian romances. I have found that women tend to be able to evoke more emotion in me over the men.
However, when it comes to mysteries or crime stories. The guys usually draw me the most there.
So I guess the answer is both. Just depends on the genre for me.
However, I should mention that I will read any author at least once.

Teresa Slack said...

Like Sheri, I generally read women writers. But I won't look past a book from a male writer. Women usually give more emotion, while a man's book is usually faster paced, plot driven, and gets right to the good stuff. I'm probably about 70/30, women over men.

So much of my reading is research for my own writing. Since I write for female readers, I read more books written the same way.

Linda said...

I read and like both. But since there are more female writers, I read more of them. If they are good writers, I'd go for either one.

Teresa said...

I like a fast pace and interesting plot but I read female writers a lot more often than male writers. The plots by female authors seem to be driven by the character's actions due to an emotional response, not so much by their reactions to circumstance. As the previous Teresa said, I want the emotion. There are a few guys who can write 'feelings' but not many.

James D. Maxon said...

Honestly, it doesn't matter to me. I'm more concerned with the genre of the book than the gender of the author. I've read stories where I thought the author was one sex, only to later find out they were the opposite (some names are confusing, especially with Japanese Manga). This can be embarrassing when writing a review and your reader tells you, "Great review, only issue is that so and so is a ________." I've learned my lesson to do author research not just story research for my reviews ;-)

Carlene Love said...

That's a great question. I never really thought about the gender of the author because I usually focus on the character, whether it's a female's journey or a really great male we can all fall in love with. I like that the gender of the author doesn't really enter my mind in the reading or selecting process. That being said, if I take a look at my book collection, I have to give it to you that they are mostly female authors! Great question! Carlene

DenaNetherton said...

If it's a literary fiction, I find male and female authors equally fascinating. If it's suspense, male, because I like the way male authors write action, and they tend to do more in-depth technical or scientific research. Of course, for romance, it's female authors all the way. And for non-fiction: totally depends on the subject.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

@Danlen, yes, I've noticed that the fantasy/sci-fi genre is dominated by male authors. So, if that's your favorite genre, then you'd end up reading books mostly written by men.
@Sheri, Teresa#1 and Teresa #2, I agree with you...totally! :-)
@ Linda, yes that's something that came to mind after I posted this blog post, I believe there are more female authors than male authors.
@ James...wow! I don't believe I've ever made that mistake before!
@Carlene...see what I mean! Mostly female authors on your shelf! I can SO relate! It's not intentional, it just happens to play out that way, at least it does in my reading world!
@Dena, I rarely read non-fiction. Doesn't really do much for me. I gotta read a novel. But, you're correct. I think males are more dominant in science and technical aspects of writing and women seem to dominate more on the romance level!
Great discussion! Glad all of you have commented today on Writers' Rest!

Craig A. said...

That is a very provocative questions and has actually given me quite a
bit of food for thought.

I do know that for mystery and most romance, I prefer my writers
female, but for the life of me, I don't know why, I just know I'm a
major fanboy for Agatha Christie.

SF and fantasy is a mixed bag. Practically even.

Looking back over my reading lists, I see that I prefer male writers
for epic fantasy, but for general fantasy, it's even both ways (and
again, I'm a huge fan of Andre Norton).

For modern horror, it's women hands down as they don't reach for the
easy gross out and tend to write characters that are actually fleshed
out and not just red shirts.

A very interesting question and important for those of us who write
under more than one pseudonym.

Thoughts?

Cecelia said...

@Craig - I'd always thought that the fantasy/sci-fi genre was dominated by men, but, I guess I could be wrong? It's not a genre that I read very much. Did you see that Danlen mentioned Andre Norton, too?

Kat Heckenbach said...

I've never given any thought to the gender of the authors I pick up, and after checking the novels on my bookshelf it's obvious that it makes no difference to me. I've got about a 50/50 ratio of male/female authors.

But I noticed, also, oddly, that nearly all of my nonfiction books are by men. Not that it's relevant to this discussion, but I found it strange that out of 45 nf books only three are written by women.

Katy King said...

I read both male and female writers, but I tend to read more female authors. I like the female take on romance better. The big shock of my life was learning that Frank Yerby, one of my favorite authors as a teenager, was a black male. He understood how to write for women.

JackieW said...

I don't really have a preference...I think if an author knows his or her subject they can write stories that anyone will read and enjoy. I do think however that a woman can write on certain topics better than a man...example, how a woman thinks.
JFWisherd(at)aol(dot)com

JOYE said...

If the author is a good writer it doesn't make any difference if they are male or female.
JWIsley(at)aol(dot)com

Marion said...

Well, I went and look at my bookshelf and I have mostly male novelists.

I guess I prefer male novelists than female novelists.

I wonder if that is an unconscious gender thing happening.

However, I have enjoyed the works Ursula LeGuin, Octavia Butler, and Harper Lee.

Cecelia said...

@Kat, that's interesting about the non-fiction ratio on on your bookshelf!
@Katy, I've heard of Frank Yerby, but have never read him! I need to keep him in mind!
@JackieW, I agree. I believe romance is the subject where women dominate - I believe it's because of the level of emotion involved.
@Joye, that's true.
@Marion - thanks for suggesting your favorite novelists. I've read Octavia Butler. I believe Harper Lee only wrote the one book and ya know, I've never read To Kill A Mockingbird!
Thanks to all for visiting Writers' Rest and for commenting!

Maurice said...

I'll read any author whose work looks interesting. I don't really have a preference, but I do perk up when I see Christian fiction written by a male author. There seem to be a lot more female authors in this genre, so whenever I find out about a male author writing Christian fiction, I'm going to check his work out.

Cecelia said...

@Maurice, good point! That might be another reason why I tend to read more female authors? I mostly read Christian fiction, so, if the genre is dominated by females, then that could be why I'm mostly reading females?

guidelines for writers said...

As far as I am concerned, it depends on what sort of content I want. I usually have problem when woman writing a male character and when a man writing a female character. However, I usually dont care if I hire a male or female. But when I count my favorite writers, the females have an edge.

Cecelia said...

@Guidelines - thanks for visiting Writers' Rest and for commenting on my blog post. Yes, I agree with you. Certainly content is an issue when choosing your favorite
author(s). For me, the female authors definitely have an edge over the male authors and I feel that this is because I can better connect with the female authors.
~Cecelia Dowdy~
Christian Fiction Author
www.ceceliadowdy.com
www.ceceliadowdy.blogspot.com