1. I thought listening to music without lyrics while I wrote would be less distracting. This is only true if I don’t know the song. It’s especially distracting if it’s a song I’ve played in concert, because then I sit there and try to remember violin fingerings.
2. Classical PIece or Film Score is a fun game to play, although I’m wrong more often than I’d care to admit.
3. Relatedly, contemporary classical music (non-film related) either sounds discordant and weird or else like it should be a film score.
4. Weirdest thing I heard all day: a classical rendering of the PIxies’ “Where Is My Mind.”
Wow! It’s almost like women are people!
Thank you, Obama administration!
Theft of books digitally is in no way the same thing as a library. The number of people who have to drive to the library and check out a physical book one at a time is not even remotely comparable to the thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people who can download the digital copy of a book from the comfort of their homes from a pirate site.
Every single one of those thefts negatively impacts the hundreds of hours that I spent writing and editing that book. I am not a millionaire. I am a writer who sweats every word out after she works a full-time day job. I am a writer trying to build an audience and maybe, one day, get to write full time. Every single sale matters to me. If you respect me as a person, as a writer, you will not steal my book. Period.
I agree, and also wrote a whole spiel about piracy yesterday that I didn’t post, but which more or less boils down to: I hate that my books get pirated. I don’t have time to go after pirates and think my time is spent on other pursuits. For myself, I don’t pirate media because I decided not to be a hypocrite about it. (Not just saying that! My friends make fun of me for it. I try not to be That Guy about it, but still.)
The funny thing is that what I was trying to say was, “I care about piracy, but I’m against PIPA/SOPA.”
So of course, I got home from work last night and had a Google Alert sitting in my inbox that indicated one of my books was on a pirate site.
You know what’s the same as taking a book out from the library? Taking an ebook out from the library. Overdrive enables that; I’ve taken ebooks out of my local library. Lending a book through the Kindle lending thingie is like lending a paper book to a friend. Downloading an ebook from a pirate site? Pretty much stealing.
And now I will stop lecturing you.
Salon has an article up today called “The agony of the male novelist.”
It’s ostensibly a reaction to a blog post Jennifer Weiner made earlier this week. She’s back on her campaign to… it’s not clear exactly. Under the cover of advocating for women writers to get more coverage, she’s campaigning against gender bias in the New York Times Book Review, but it always seemed to me that her real angle was to get herself reviewed. Look: there’s an undeniable bias amongst review critiques toward male writers. I personally found Weiner’s campaign to fix same to be kind of off-putting.
The Salon article revisits this but then takes it a step further and says that, actually, unless he’s a superstar of the Franzen/Eugenides ilk, male writers are at a disadvantage because women read all the books.
And everyone misses the point.
The Salon writer acknowledges that hundreds of years of white men dominating the literary canon maybe has given male writers a slight advantage. But all those women! With all the books they sell! And big retailers cater to book clubs, also populated mostly by women! What’s a dude to do?!
I think there are two issues here: money and respect.
It’s certainly possible that women writers on the whole make more money. I’d believe that it was likely, even without having the sales figures in front of me. Romance is the biggest selling genre and the majority of romance is written by women.
But women writers are not more respected. Weiner kind of has a point, to that end. Ask any female writer who has had a book published in the last twenty years and she’ll tell you the same thing: a woman writes a story about a romantic relationship between two people and it gets slapped with a pink cover and called romance, relegated to its own section of the book store and looked down upon by book store customers. A man writes a book about a romantic relationship between two people and he gets praised for writing such a thoughtful book. See, the woman is writing romance—or chick lit or “women’s fiction”—and it’s taken less seriously. The man is writing literature. The woman is writing for women, obviously, but the man is writing for everyone.
I think book sales also fall into the “that’s what they give us” trap of women reading books by male authors because women read more and that’s what there is. (I explained my theory on “that’s what they give us” here.) So women would read more literature by women writers if there were more of it on offer. But even Jennifer Egan fell into the Woman Writer Trap: my copy of A Visit from the Goon Squad has a blurb on the back that basically says Egan has the writerly sensibilities of a romance novelist.
And we all know how we’re supposed to feel about romance novels, right? *sigh*
I’ve noticed also a strange thread of misogyny even in romance writer circles, where readers just take male writers more seriously (and there are male romance writers… not all of them are gay, even) even in an otherwise much maligned genre. That’s probably a topic for a different post, but there it is.
So you’ll excuse me if I don’t have much sympathy for a male midlist author crying in his cornflakes because Barnes & Noble put his book in the back.