If You Write Chick Lit or Your Writing Becomes the Center of Pop Culture….You Might Not Get Covered

Now Brewing: Van Houtte’s Harvest Blend: this coffee is perfect for fall evenings like tonight, where we have heard rumors of approaching snow, but still see remnants of falling leaves and can get away with wearing our good leather moccasins for at least a few more hours. It has a unique taste which mirrors these unique half fall-early winter nights.

While I gathered more information on my next featured NaNoWriMo writer this week, I stumbled across something else that interested me greatly. Many women writers who are influential parts in today’s literary world feel they are being misrepresented and not given nearly as much coverage on their writing than their male counterparts. Some of the novelists have chosen to speak up over this matter.

I remember now, as I do more research into this, that I read about the uprise of female disgruntlement when it first began with the publishing of Jonathan Franzen‘s fourth novel, Freedom, in August of 2010. Franzen’s novel received a good amount of coverage, including two articles in the New York Times, and a cover of TIME Magazine. Although his novel received both outstanding and poor reviews, he still got more coverage than the publishing of New York Times bestseller Jodi Picoult‘s newest novel Sing You Home in March of this year. I was only able to find one mention in the Times archive of Picoult this year and that was in September and that was an article she shared with two other male authors and wasn’t even dedicated to Sing You Home. 

Recently the feud, which began over Twitter, has gained more momentum by poor coverage by BookRiot  chastising authors such as Picoult and Jennifer Weiner for speaking out against the under coverage of their novels in articles such as the interview by Jason Pinter from the Huffington Post. BookRiot also reported factual errors and declined to even ask the authors of their opinions before reporting. A recent YouTube video that speaks on the feud surfaced yesterday :”Why Isn’t Jennifer Weiner Complaining More?” 

So I’m interested in what other readers think of this feud. Are male authors more prone to coverage (good or bad) from higher pressed news sources? Are women getting the short end of the stick? 

Is Weiner out-of-bounds when she said that as a women writer, 

“You’ll be lucky if they spell your name right on the bestseller list?”

Are woman “chick-lit” writers given less coverage because their work is considered lesser in some way to male literature?

As Picoult said in Pinter’s interview she is interested in how some writers are granted two stories in a span of less than a week, while others are given barely a name drop. It’s an interesting topic to think about, especially as a female writer myself.

I admit, there’s definitely a difference between reading a piece of fiction from Picoult than a Dan Brown novel for example, but that doesn’t mean there should be a distinction in the amount of coverage given to the author’s work.

I’m proud to be an aspiring woman writer and one day want my work to get fair coverage–regardless of my gender.

See You All Soon,

Kathryn E. Weast

One comment

  1. I’m a bit late on the topic, but I find it interesting. I’ve always felt a bit worried about the coverage I’d receive as an African American. It’s something I’ve grown more comfortable with over the past few days, but I’m still aware that there’s a divide in everything we do. I always try to represent women in different ways in my writing, but I’d definitely like to hear more about this topic. It would nice if you followed up this blog with one of how women feel they’re portrayed in writing. This is really informative. I plan to do some research once I get a chance.

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