Good grief woman, look at the society around you

I write ‘women’s commercial fiction’ – why is my work still seen as inferior to men’s?
Emma Hughes

Blah, blah, romance isn’t seen as being as serious as other books etc.

Discrimination!

Well, yes, but have a look at the society around you for the Lord’s Sake:

romantic novels are one of the backbones of the industry, flying off the shelves in their millions. “We make profit,” she wrote. “No one gives us publishing deals because they feel obliged to.”

Indeed so but the sort of upper middle class and declining aristocracy that run British publishing still have that innate hatred of trade. Which is why you’re at the tradesmans’ entrance of the industry – the nobby nobs who write those things that sell 300 copies get the front door because they’re not profitable trade, d’ye see?

14 thoughts on “Good grief woman, look at the society around you”

  1. Given the rate of prizes for novels going to women, she’s utterly wrong on the discrimination by sex in the posh market too.

    Still, grifters gotta grift.

  2. There are some excellent, entertaining, Romance books around. But many follow tropes such as hard working single mother catches the attention of a dashing Billionaire, and after several amusing errors, they marry and live happily ever after. Or in historical times the free thinking governess attracts the dashing Duke… There are other common tropes too, involving investigation of crimes or the paranormal, but including romance too.

    But often whole series are knocked out swiftly… so they are like ‘comics’ for women. So as long as there are hordes of women shovelling out very similar stuff they are not going to be recognised as ‘proper’ fiction.

  3. !I write ‘women’s commercial fiction’ – why is my work still seen as inferior to men’s?”
    perhaps it would help to cut down on the non sequiturs.

  4. Actually I thought they called men’s commercial fiction thrillers. Zap ’em or shoot ’em or chop ’em up; that sort of thing. With plenty of shagging as light relief of course.

    Though women’s lit does also tend to include murder. But for some reason the wimmin like murder retail whereas we blokes like it wholesale.

  5. It’s probably got more to do with the fact that romantic women’s literature is complete shit, and none of her works will be remembered in five years’ time.

  6. Jane Austen remains quite popular in the genre which is odd given that there are no cringe-inducing scenes with “moving parts” in her novels.

  7. Genre fiction of all types is and always was looked down on by pseudo-intellectual snobs:

    “SF’s no good!”
    They bellow till we’re deaf.
    But this is good.
    “Well, then, it’s not SF.”

    Kingsley Amis

  8. Just had a quick go-ogle.

    Agatha Christie, estimated 2 billion total sales. Barbara Cartland, north of 600 million. And Let’s not forget JK Rowling either.

    Stop making excuses you dozy bint. Either write something with some genuine appeal or make a better study of the formula for sugar coated shite.

  9. Hasn’t Margret Atwood repeatedly thrown a wobbly about some of her books being called sci-fi as she feels as a genre that’s beneath her.
    Even what was typically male author genres like sci-fi and fantasy seem to be predominantly female authors these days it seems and most of them seem to be dressed up romance novels

  10. The romance where Alice turns Alec’s life around by getting him to ditch his coke/alcohol habit and reinvest a bit more in his business, and gives his daily life structure and giving him a weekly blow – and they live happily ever after in a 900k house surrounded by grandchildren – that story doesn’t get written, yet it is fairly common.
    It’s always the guy that has the profit making business already.
    I guess that’s why it’s called fiction. Gives the female readers like the dream outcome without the effort.

  11. Chris Miller,

    “Genre fiction of all types is and always was looked down on by pseudo-intellectual snobs”

    The irony is that most “literary fiction” is not that hard and not that clever. I remember reading Wolf Hall, and just not getting what the fuss was about. It’s a bunch of stuff around the time of Henry VIII with events wedded into it. But it doesn’t have any narrative tricks, it doesn’t have any subtext. It’s as hard to write that narrative as the one for The Fast and the Furious movies. Writing something like The Incredibles or Get Out is harder.

  12. I write ‘women’s commercial fiction’ – why is my work still seen as inferior to men’s?
    Emma Hughes

    Emma dear, in the realm of ‘women’s commercial fiction’ it likely isn’t seen as inferior to men’s. But its a niche realm all the same. There are plenty of mainstream female authors who see success at the same level as their male peers.

  13. Chris Miller: Genre fiction of all types is and always was looked down on by pseudo-intellectual snobs.

    Possibly, but there are novels and stories which defy the categories to which they might normally be assigned. Would Graham Greene’s books be espionage fiction or would you describe Raymond Chandler as a writer of crime? Some of the best writing probably belongs in a category which is shorn of categorisation.

    Mark: Agatha Christie, estimated 2 billion total sales. Barbara Cartland, north of 600 million

    In the early 80s I was holed up for a while in the Addis Abbaba Hilton in Col. Mengistu’s Ethiopia. The Hotel bookshop had very few books, all in English. They were all Barbara Cartland novels with the exception of an OUP imprint called “Priests and Politicians” which still lurks on a shelf somewhere.

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