Monday, December 11, 2006

Case of the Mondays
(and are winter bestseller lists dominated by men,
summer lists dominated by women?)

Posting might be sporadic over the next few weeks, as I'm going full bore on book #2 with my publisher's deadline looming ever closer. I am quite happy with how THE REGULATOR is coming along, and since the publishing season is slowing down I have more time to focus. There's a lot more research to be done for THE REGULATOR than THE MARK, which is both invigorating and frustrating. Frustrating since I tend to write in long, uninterrupted bursts, and it's hard to stop mid-paragraph to Google and Wiki the hell out of things.

Anyway, a few things to catch up on:

I haven't seen it yet, but I was interviewed by Sarah Weinman in her article for the new issue of "Writers Digest." Pick it up and let me know what you think. I was also interviewed for a recent article for Crains Business Daily, though of course my fifteen minute conversation got clipped to one soundbite. What can ya do.

The last two weeks have been some of the biggest as far as new fiction releases, with Michael Crichton, Clive Cussler, Dean Koontz, and Thomas Harris all releasing (not to mention Philippa Gregory). In any given week, each of those authors has the potential to dominate bestseller lists, but with this incredibly crowded fiction season it'll be very interesting to see who comes out on top.

Just looking at this week's (December 17th) New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list, you'll find the following names:

James Patterson
Michael Crichton
Mitch Albom
Nicholas Sparks
Clive Cussler
Dean Koontz
Nelson DeMille
Carl Hiaasen
Tony Hillerman
Stephen King
Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark
David Baldacci
Danielle Steel
Nora Roberts
Charles Frazier

That's a veritable murderer's row right there. Out of curiosity, I looked at the same bestseller list from this time last year (December 18th). And we have:

James Patterson
Nicholas Sparks
Jan Karon
Dean Koontz
Dan Brown
Patricia Cornwell
P.D. James
David Baldacci
Anne Rice
George R. R. Martin
James Luceno
Gregory MaGuire
Tim LaHaye
Robert Jordan
Scott Turow

So right off the bat, there are at least four books that could be classified at Sci-Fi or Fantasy on last year's list (Martin, Luceno, MaGuire, Jordan) and two more with religious themes (Rice, LaHaye). Three if you count Dan Brown.

The 2006 list is much more thriller-oriented, no major Sci-Fi/Fantasy titles with the exception of possibly Stephen King (and LISEY'S STORY is a stretch for either genre).

What I also found interesting is that of those 30 books, only seven were written by women. On a whim, I decided to take a look at the New York Times bestseller list from July 30th, 2006, just to see if the summer (bullish for fiction) list looked any different. The list reads as follows:

Nora Roberts
Janet Evanovich
Danielle Steel
Fannie Flagg
Kathy Reichs
James Patterson
Laurell K. Hamilton
Dean Koontz
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
James Rollins
Sara Gruen
Linda Howard
Patricia Cornwell
Luanne Rice
Johanna Lindsay
Anne McCaffrey

Wow. Not only were twelve of the sixteen books on the list written by women, but women occupied the first five spots as well. A very different picture from this winter, when only three of the fifteen books were written by women, and the top ten spots are held by men.
So of course, let's check out the bestseller list from the same time last summer (July 31st, 2005). We have:

James Patterson
Elizabeth Kostova
John Irving
Janet Evanovich
J.D. Robb
Dan Brown
Danielle Steel
Sue Monk Kidd
Nicholas Sparks
James Lee Burke
Suzanne Brockman
James Patterson (again)
Mitch Albom
Nick Hornby
Kathy Reichs

Seven out of fifteen.

So women compose 7 out of 30 books on the winter lists (23.3%) and 19 out of 31 on the summer lists (61.2%).

I have no idea what to make of this or whether it's an aberration (my sample size certainly wasn't large). Regardless, it's quite interesting. I might have to do some more digging...

2 Comments:

Blogger Mrs. Brain Bomb said...

I have this month's issue of Writer's Digest and I just finished reading the article you were mentioned in. It was a cautionary tale overall about blogging and publishing, by authors and others that work in publishing. I guess the point is not to shit where you eat.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Toni McGee Causey said...

Part of the reason for the summer bonanza for women writers is that the kids are out of school. Moms who work still have to bring them to day-care / camp, but there aren't any after-school homework chores or after-school projects or extra curricular activities, save, possibly, for summer sports. Women simply will have that time normally spent on the kids to indulge a little in their own interests, and they can haul a book to baseball or soccer practice.

7:33 AM  

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