“Ask the Author” at Goodreads
Posted on May 22, 2014 Posted by John Scalzi 13 Comments
Goodreads has launched an “Ask the Author” feature on its site, inaugurating the program with 54 participating authors, who include Margaret Atwood, Ayelet Waldman, Holly Black, Jim Butcher, Warren Ellis and, oh, yeah, me.
So if you have a question you want to ask me about writing, publishing, the life of the author or such topics, go here to my Ask the Author page and leave a question or two. I’m answering at least one a day between now and June 1st (I’ve done two a day so far). The responses will be fairly short (i.e., not the long, involved things I do for my Reader Request Week here), so you’ll be able to cruise through them quickly.
If you want to check out some of the other authors participating in the Ask the Author thing, go back to that first link above and scroll down. It’s a pretty good list of authors. I figure you can think of some good questions for them, too.
So how come your author photo there makes you look like the author of a book on accounting while your thumbnail photo here makes you look like a leading member of the avant garde?
Interesting to look at the gender distribution over there. The three non-genre categories range from 2/3 men to an even distribution. But the genres are a different story. YA and Children’s is 7:1 women, Mystery and Thrillers is all men, Romance is all women, F/SF is 9:2 men. I’m not surprised to see the direction of the disparities but I am surprised by the extent. I’m as bothered by the underrepresentation of men in YA/Kids and Romance as I am by their overrepresentation in the other categories.
WRT to Romance, I’m wondering about the saying that if a guy writes a novel about relationships, it’s literature, but if a woman writes the same book it’s a Romance novel. In the other genres, I’m just mystified.
And as for race, especially in the genres…
I don’t want to make too much of this. Obviously an event like this will involve a non-representative distribution in all sorts of ways, starting with which authors are even interested in participating. And for the record, yes, the overrepresentation of men in the non-genre categories is also a problem, but it’s not so extreme.
I’ll take this opportunity to ask the author: What did you have for breakfast?
Me? I had a hamburger. Yes, I had a hamburger for breakfast. I’m a grown man, and I can eat a hamburger wherever I want.
What we don’t know is that this is really a secret opportunity for Mary Robinette Kowal to show off her mad impression skillz by impersonating ALL THE AUTHORS!!!11!
Would they let you add your Reader Request Week answers there?
Andrew’s observations on gender distribution are food for thought. Are male writers hard-wired to write the cut and thrust of murders/mysteries and women soften by nature or nurture to write about relationships? Is this a Men are from Mars and Women from Venus phenomena? It would be interesting to find out whether a similar gender balance exists in readers.
So what if you look like a shiftless reprobate here in the privacy of your own blog. I, for one, am happy to see Athena’s portrait of you out there in the great wide world.
On the topics of author-genders… Also consider that if J.K. Rowling hadn’t been outed, that debut mystery author would be “male.” See also Andre Norton, C.J. Cherryh, Marion (male spelling at the time, by chance) Zimmer Bradley, etc.
I am given to understand that men writing in the romance genre do exist — and generally pick female pen names. (Though if they don’t, then yeah, is it billed as Literature instead of Romance?)
Just an added complication.
I am really tempted to go ‘so how much do you weigh John?” If you are still at 180, we are now the same weight. I’m down 30 pounds this year. :)
We are the same weight, alas for me (although congrats to you!). I need to kick my own ass about exercise more.
p90x3 dude. Also get some audio books and take a walk. You have a nice yard.
The real work out, get a push reel mower.
[Deleted because dpmaine wanting to be argumentative about something off-topic is no reason to allow it (and also dpmaine clearly doesn’t read my Twitter feed). Dpmaine, you’re very close to getting put into the moderation queue – JS]