Welcome back on this fine Sunday morning. Yes, I decided we would do this outside in the botanical gardens this week. Look at all the beautiful plant life. If you stop and block everything else out, you can almost hear them—they speak to me—and do as I say—erm sorry, long night. I think I might have been drugged. And don't ask about this tight green skin suit—cause I don't know—all I remember was being with Marc LeGrand and something about going to the museum to look at some Egyptian artifacts…
Anyway, we are getting off course. You don't care about my weird night and why all the plants seem to follow me. You are here for whatever weird random information I am going to spew out today.
And that is Stereotypes.
Yup, even in the author's world, you can't escape them and their negative bullshit. I suspect a good handful of you will agree with what I am about to say, and then there will be a handful that don't. That's fine; we are all entitled to our own opinions. But keep this in mind, stereotypes aren't opinions; they're hurtful slander against their chosen targets. Don't be like that, be better.
Now, this week I was going to write a blog post about the sure-fire way to sell 100 books every single day with these three easy, simple tricks. But that seems boring and less important than this. So let's talk about this instead, and I'll get back to that selling thing in a few months, maybe…
So, we've all seen those "Men writing women" posts,
They are funny; I laugh often, but not because it's a man writing something clearly foolish about a woman. I laugh because it is just bad writing from an author. Being able to write good women or men in stories has absolutely nothing to do with what gender you are and is all about what talent as a writer you possess. I have read just as many books by women who suck at depicting other women.
To say men can't write women well is, 1- simply wrong and, 2- a stereotype and harmful to authors and, 3- very, very ignorant.
Now I get it; it can be a bit fun to poke some fun at each other with the "battle of the sexes" kind of thing. Men can't write women, women can't write men and all that jazz, but really it has nothing to do with our genders.
This one generally comes about because it is believed that the romance genre is heavily overrun by female authors. It is true, there are more female authors in this genre now, but it wasn't always so, AND a lot of these female authors like Jessica Blair, who is widely known, are actually Bill Spence using a female pen name.
There are hundreds of top name-selling romance authors who are men using female pen names to sell their books. They do so, not to hide themselves, but because this stereotype that they can't write good romance exists.
How many of you remember Harlequin Romance novels? Those old school cheesy covered books likely your mom, aunt, or grandma was reading?
You'd be surprised to know near 30% of these were written by men using pen names.
Trust me when I say this, men can write women. Authors with a lack of talent are where the fingers need to be pointed, not genres here.
Now, this is a sore spot a bit for me because this is a stereotype I get nailed with sometimes since I do, in fact, write erotica from time to time. And once again, it is believed to be a primarily female-dominated genre. (which again is only kind of true.)
"Men can't write good erotica!"
This one drives me mad. Once again, it has nothing, and I mean NOTHING, to do with gender and all about talent. Just as many women write horrible erotica as men *cough cough…50 Shades of Grey…cough cough* (insert quotes)
It all comes down to talent. Some people can write good erotica; some cannot. It also comes down to who your target audience is. Are you going for more romance/emotional erotica? Or just the straight dirty fucking erotica? Or maybe a full-on paranormal ride with erotica elements? There are readers for all of them (and more)
The thing I love most about this one is that several of the top indie erotica authors are men using female pen names. (for the same reason as the romance authors) I know this for a fact because I have been talking to many of them for years about this very problem. They have all told me to switch my erotica to a female pen name, and I would sell 100 times more of them than I do. But I refuse to do so. Because I refuse to let, a stereotype force me to hide who I am just so I can convince people to read some of my work.
Let's flip it now the other way.
Another HUGE one I see all the time is that women can't write good fantasy, sci-fi, or horror.
This comes about because, once again, the fantasy/sci-fi/horror genres are male-heavy and always have been. Then the crap of "females can't visualize these genres as well as men, because men are more action, world-building dominate."
Read that again and tell me your eyes didn't just roll into the back of your head.
I mean, if that were true, we wouldn't have Anne Rice, Melanie Rawn, Kathrine Addison, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robin Hobb, Diana Wynne Jones, and SOOOOO many others.
Women can just as well write compelling and action-packed fantasy/sci-fi as any man can if said author has the talent. And believe me, there are many male fantasy/sci-fi authors who can't do it very well. Which as we all know, that clearly means their genitals didn't give them the magical power to be able to write one genre better than another gender.
And it goes without saying; there is a decent portion of female fantasy/sci-fi authors hiding behind male pen names to help sell their books here too. Pat Murphy, James Tiptree, Robin Hobb, Magus Flyte, to name a few. All female authors in the fantasy world with male names.
Now a lot of these stereotypes come about and are enforced by the readership of these genres. Yes, it is true there is a larger readership of women who read romance and erotica. And yes, there is a larger population of men who read fantasy/sci-fi. It is true; there is no denying that.
But I wonder how much of that would be true today if we weren't affected by the stereotypes around us growing up? How many more women would read/write fantasy/sci-fi if most of their lives weren't depicted as damsels in distress? Or playing a romantic lead instead of the hero? They need to be beautiful and caring and not wear plate mail and carry around a bloodied axe with a cape made from the scalps of their enemies!
Or that men don't always have to be the hero, or tough, rough, violent, and needing a woman to complete them.
Things are changing in these areas, slowly but surely. But until we come to understand that these stereotypes are not only foolish and 100% wrong, they are very harmful and discrediting to authors everywhere.
United we stand. Divided, we fall.
So maybe this week, if you want to help make a small difference, promote someone you know and respect who falls into these stereotypes. Support your male erotica/romance authors, post your favorite female fantasy/sci-fi authors.
Want to take it a step further? Go and explore new ones!
Well, sadly, this is all the time I have for this today. I need to meet up with my friend Harley and discuss a bat problem…
Indie author of the week
For over a decade Lily Green has terrorized the United States. Like a monster, she seemed to be everywhere and yet nowhere. Until one day, when her killing spree suddenly stopped. Where could she be? That is the question everyone wanted to know the answer to for the past year. There were allegations made by the beloved reporter Shannon Scott that Tom Childress had the answers, but even Tom found himself on the same side of that question.Where is Lily Green?Inspired by the desire to help Lily, and many like her, Tom opened up Eden's Mind; a special research center designed to cure the mentally unwell without the use of pharmaceuticals. He and his partner Zachary Gilbert believes the overuse of manmade chemical enhancements will eventually taint human genetics and that not every dark and twisted soul is a victim to a mental imbalance. Some people just need help to see the light and both of them are more than ready to show just how far they are willing to go to make the world a better place.