Sunday, July 23, 2006

Press Release: Looking for Clues, Writers Investigate Gender Disparity

Sisters in Crime, an international organziation of mystery writers, monitors more than 60 publications to track crime fiction book reviews and finds that men wrote two out of three books reviewed in the 15 top metropolitan literary sections. The results from 2006, however, show some progress toward achieving gender parity in book reviews.

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) July 21, 2006 -- Women write almost half of all crime fiction, but is their fair share of review space buried in the back garden? Sisters in Crime (SinC), a worldwide, not-for-profit organization that provides networking, advice and support to female mystery writers and their fans, wants that question answered.

To help solve the mystery, SinC conducts a quarterly monitoring project to track the number of reviews received by male and female authors. In the first quarter of 2006, their research revealed that men wrote two out of three books reviewed in the 15 top metropolitan literary sections.

"Reviews can drive sales. Therefore, if women authors are not reviewed as often as men, their books may not sell and the possibility of being published again is less likely. This does a disservice to readers because it narrows the available selections," says Libby Fischer Hellmann, president of SinC and author of several mystery novels.

Exactly why women authors are reviewed less frequently can stem from several factors. According to Hellmann, reviewers often do not choose which books they cover. Rather, editors or newspaper publishers dictate which titles will be reviewed. Those selections may be based on books written by authors who frequently appear on best-seller lists.

Another area of concern is that of the paperback original (PBO), a format that seems to be dominated by women writers. Unfortunately, national and major market publications rarely review PBOs, adding an additional obstacle to many female authors of crime fiction.

"Whatever the reason, a cycle is created that is difficult to break. Reviews sell books. The more they sell, the more that author is reviewed," says Hellmann.

Read the entire press release on PRWeb.com here.

A quick statistical survey of the mysteries reviewed by Mysterious Reviews shows that over 60% of the mystery books reviewed thus far in 2006 have been written by women.

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