Friday, February 05, 2010

Quote of the Day

"(on the creation of gendered fantasy genres in bookstores).... one which is full of boys' stuff like blood and killing, which is for boys and which boys should read, and one which is full of stuff that girls enjoy, like blood and fucking, which is for girls and which girls should read."

I'm not sure if graduating from "romance" to "blood and fucking" is an improvement (Twilight, best I understand, doesn't have much of either. It's pretty straight romance), but put in those particular terms, it does remind me that there's a primed but largely untapped "blood and fucking" market (Joe Abercrombie's "Best Served Cold" is a good example of a true "blood and fucking" book). I know this, of course, but every time somebody passed on GW because they thought it was "unmarketable" really threw me for a loop.

3 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Jackie M. said...

Ilona Andrews' Magic series. Lots of blood, though it takes her several books to work up to the fucking. Still, a very standard male romance lead against a very Mary Sue female.

Kris said...

There's something similar happening in Galaxy Books here in Sydney (best SF/F/Horror bookstore ever - Come do a book signing here one day!) - The entire horror section has been shunted aside for a wall of "Paranormal Romance" (that's even what the sign above it says).

I kindof thought this distiction was similar to putting the Mills & Boon and Harlequin romances in a separate section from crime fiction/historical fiction/SF/general fiction - yes, these books may deal with those other themes, but they are marketed as romances foremost. (not condoning, just commenting!)

I heard somewhere that some of the established bodice-ripper novelists are actually guys, but publish under a feminine nom-de-plume to "suit" their audience (girls). Funny prejudices in marketing...

Kameron Hurley said...

Would love to do a signing out there someday! ;)

I do prefer the term "paranormal romance" to "dark fantasy" at least. "Dark fantasy" means something totally different to me. On the one hand, it feels like ghettoizing, but on the other hand, it does help folks who really like those types of books find those types of books. And if it helps sell more books, I don't know that I can complain. My concern is when books that shouldn't be there end up there (or books that shouldn't be marketed that way are marketed that way in the *hopes* of *convincing* that audience that that's what they are), and so don't find the right audience.

Right off the bat, I know at least two male writers who write "urban fantasy" under non-gendered pseudonyms: Tim Pratt (as T.A. Pratt) and Daniel Abraham (as M.L.N. Hanover). There are plenty more. And yes, it was under the advisement of the marketing department... I don't honestly know if this makes a difference (would love to see the actual research), but for some reason it's gotten fixed in people's minds that women are less likely to read romance books written by men. This may be because we still have very poor associations with how guys handled "romance" in the past (I'm thinking of how a lot of golden-age SF [and plenty of recent stuff - ha] handles "female" characters). Granted, women are just as guilty of writing rape fantasies and offensive Mary Sues (Anne Bishop, anyone?). But the prejudice is still there.

Lucky me, my name's already gender neutral... .