When airport booksellers are stocking books, they look at multiple factors, one of which is the print run numbers. Higher print runs mean that the publishers have more faith in that book, ergo, it will probably sell well.

When publishers have an investment in a book, they are more likely to invest co-op dollars in it. Which essentially means that they pay for endcaps and placement of certain authors. Those books sell better, because they are out in front of readers.

SFF has a long history of bestsellers written by men. So men often have higher print runs, which means… You see the cycle?

And while one can say that it’s all economics, and it’s about what people want to buy, it’s much harder to buy a book that’s not in front of you. And certainly, not all men get huge print runs. Being a guy doesn’t guarantee a stellar publishing career, but… it does stack the deck 82% in their favor.

Mary Robinette Kowal on the cycle.

2017-07-17T11:39:59+00:0018th May, 2016|Tags: culture, publishing, sff|
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  1. yellingintothevoid 18th May, 2016 at 1:25 am
  2. Vickie 19th May, 2016 at 10:39 am

    I wonder if the dawn of the internet and online stores would somewhat address the issue from here on?

    Oh heheh. I’m such an optimist.

    I have quite a few SFF (science fiction and fantasy, yes?) novels written by female authors on my radar, but never remembered to buy them. This actually prompted me to search for hard SF (my preference of the genre) written by women. Found a Guardian article — a short one but it’s a start.

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