Is Sexism Alive in Publishing?

Now, before you all yell and scream at me, or roll your eyes thinking I’m about to rage in feminist fury… Don’t.

I’m not accusing. Yet. I honestly want your opinions.

Recently, I was talking with another writing/author friend of mine (who has one book published), and is feeling pressure from her publisher to market more. She’s also verbalized some concerns that she is not getting enough support from her publisher and the market since she is female and her MC is male.

I know that J.K. Rowling’s publisher asked her to go by her initials because they didn’t think boys would want to read a book written by a female. Especially with a male lead.

Has anyone else noticed this? Are there certain genres that are more accepting of male versus female writers? Or vice versa?

I know this thought has entered my mind a few times. It seems to me (and I know this is probably me being ignorant on the subject) that young girls are fine with reading books with male MCs, but young boys aren’t as open to reading books with female MCs.

I’ve actually heard a 9 year-old boy confirm this theory.

I know this isn’t true for every age range and genre, and I certainly don’t want to make generalizations about one gender over another, but does it go so far as to be true in publishing houses, agencies, or any other aspect of the writing world?

What are your thoughts? Have you noticed any trends?


~ Amy

2 thoughts on “Is Sexism Alive in Publishing?

  1. I’m not a published author so I don’t have any first hand experience in the publishing world, but I’ve definitely some sexist trends in the in publishing, just like there are in every medium of entertainment. In terms of young boys not wanting to read a book by a female author, I think it’s important to remember that that kind of sexism is not innate. Boys are socialized not to like girl things. So, a lot of boys, even older men, sometimes refuse to like things created by women for the same reason. Also, there have been a few articles I’ve seen in the past about the differences between the covers of books written by men and woman. There’s more of a chance for a book written by a woman to have a more feminine or minimalist cover regardless of the content of the book. Conversely, books written by men are often given more attention-grabbing covers. This isn’t to say that the covers of all books written by women are this way, but there is generally a trend to gender a book’s cover. And, because girl things are usually seen as less than, these books are seen as less appealing.

    All this in mind, I wouldn’t see surprised if there was a certain amount of sexism within the publishing world that female authors have to face.

    Here are two articles I found on the issue of gendered book covers:

    I hope I helped further the discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the comment! You’ve raised some valid points, especially about the book covers. I had not considered that angle before, but next time I’m in a bookstore or online searching for a new read, I’ll have to keep that in mind and compare the covers.
      I understand about the boy vs. girl concept, and I hope in the coming years this will decrease. As a female writer, I definitely feel the pressure and am already concerned about future publication due to this issue.
      Thanks for the articles, and for contributing your voice! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s