Posted tagged ‘gender gap’

Men! We Can’t Read!

October 18, 2009

When I look at the success of works like the Left Behind series (which BTW I have not read), I often wonder if it may be partly due to the audience reached.  I think that perhaps Left Behind, Frank Peretti and others go to places that men want to go, moreso than the mainstay of Christian fiction.  Is this an untapped market (in my unlearned opinion of course)?

The blog entry entitled Christian Fiction:  No Men Allowed! is very interesting.  A quote:

Conventional publishing industry wisdom has it that guys just don’t buy fiction. Men account for only 20 percent of novel sales…

Men, what’s wrong with us? 

Studies suggest that men are visual while women are less so (in terms of their appreciation modes).  Perhaps men prefer their fiction to be delivered in the form of movies or television then?  Maybe more than reading a good book perhaps?  Maybe men simply can’t read?  Maybe we don’t want to take the time?

It surprises me, probably because I love a good book.  I have a nice pile of them (quite a few actually).  But I do expect a certain level of ‘manness’ from what I read.  Amish waifs and church congregation challenges don’t do it for me.  “Reality” television doesn’t scratch my itch – I have enough reality of my own.  Historical fiction usually doesn’t either.  My mom reads tons of Christian historical, and recommends it to me regularly.  My usual answer is in the form of questions:  “Does it have any alien invasions?  Sword battles with lords of darkness?   Does it have any battles at all?  Does it have any epic clashes of good vs. evil?  Does anyone make the ultimate sacrifice to save the lives of those they love?”  Am I missing out on some wonderful stories?  Probably.  Hey, I’m just wired that way.

In terms of my writing, which invariably becomes “mannish” in that I strive for excitement, challenge, confrontation, struggles against the insurmountable.  It excites me to write it, and I hope it excites the reader as well.  But, my fear is that it may be too “mannish” and rather than be something able to tap an untapped market, it is something directed toward an nonexistent one.  If a story is told in the woods, and nobody is there to hear it…

Of course my wife doesn’t think it is too “mannish”, but then again she’s perhaps a little biased.