Where Are the Women?

My novel will be published by Shade Mountain Press, a new feminist press dedicated to publishing literary fiction by women. Wait – it’s 2014. Do we still need feminist presses?

Alas, yes.

Although women buy more books than men (58% of books purchased in 2012, according to the latest research), women writers are published and reviewed at much lower rates than men. In 2012, the percentage of women authors published barely reached 30% at most  publishing houses, from the big commercial houses like Knopf (23%) to the smaller, literary publishers like Graywolf (25%). 

As for reviews, in 2012 The New Yorker published 583 reviews of books written by men, and only 218 books by women authors. The record is equally dismal at most other major review outlets. (These publishing stats, and many more, can be found at Vida.)

Good News, Bad News

Good news: In 2012, 63% of the best-selling books in the U.S. were written by women. Bad news: Women writers received only 40% of the industry’s earnings. (Read more here.)

Math was never my strong suit, but even I can see there’s something wrong with those numbers. That’s why I’m excited to be part of a bold new publishing venture that will raise women’s voices.

What Do You Think?

Do the statistics about the disparity of women in print surprise you? Or do they confirm what you already knew or suspected?

Photo by Kate Ter Haar

Photo by Kate Ter Haar

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