Yup. That’s the first thing you’ll read at the top of this page. Numbers. Don’t. Lie.
And they don’t. I also like the statement that follows, but let’s get back to that later. First, let’s talk about the article.
Okay, so this is supposed to be an article — I’m sorry — this IS an article about women in literary arts. How do I know this? Because it says so, in the upper-left corner under the word “VIDA.” Okay?
Now, I’ll go through and quote you parts of this auspicious article. First paragraph (referencing the statements about numbers, etc.):
Such sayings sound definitive, like the dead-end of a boring story. But as these facts come to light — no longer imagined or guessed at — so does the truth of publishing disparities, the unfortunate footing from which we can begin to change the face of publishing. We are no longer guessing if the world is flat or round; we are wondering how to get from point A to B now that the rules of navigation are public and much clearer. Questions long denied will lead us to new awareness, to challenge current publishing practices, and to query the merits of selection on the level of individual publications and review journals alike.
Um, hello? Parlez usted, Ingles? I’m sorry. This is a highly
incomprehensible intellectual article. I need to treat this more seriously.
Okay, second paragraph. Ready? I know I am.
Please take a look. Scroll slowly. Notice the Red. Your favorite publication might be here. Atlantic? Boston Review? Granta? Harpers? London Review of Books? New Republic? New Yorker? NY Times Book Review? New York Review of Books? Poetry? Times Literary Supplement? And many more…
Okay, as you scroll down you see pie charts with various publication names next to them. The ones mentioned in that paragraph. And the reference to the Red is to the parts of the pie charts representing men (book reviewers or authors reviewed). If you check the article itself, men are indicated in red and women in blue.
All right. If you have clicked the link and scrolled and seen for yourself, you don’t really need me to explain the rest do you? Men get more reviews. Ergo men win, women don’t, life sucks.
Or does it? Hey, why so glum? Maybe it all depends on what numbers you look at.
First of all, I don’t read a single damned one of these publications. Not EVEN the New York Times Book Review. Yes, really! I’m a heathen.
I used to get New Yorker, but it was at a special discount. And then I was like, “Good, God! I can’t keep up with this sh*t! I quit. Besides, I don’t live in New York, anyway!”
Second, do you think readers (you know, the people who actually BUY books) read these intellectual journals? Sh*t no! Are you kidding? So the people who matter to authors (our readership) could give a rat’s ass what these people have to say anyway. Seriously!
Third, have you checked out the story of L.J. Sellers on Joe Konrath’s blog? She walked AWAY from her publisher. Now she’s making real bucks selling ebooks! Is she curling up in a corner, sucking her proverbial thumb and bemoaning her lack of reviews in The Atlantic or Boston Review or Granta? I doubt it.
Fourth, you want to talk numbers that don’t lie? Feast your eyes on these. That link, my friends, is to an ebook bestseller list compiled by Publishing Trends. The only ebook bestseller list I know about that has indie authors on it. And many, many of them are women. Ebooks tend to be an equal opportunity market. You write a good story, you price it right, you market well, the rest should follow.
Which brings me back to the two statements: Numbers don’t lie. What counts is the bottom line.
You said it, sister!