There is no denying that the Romance and Erotica genres are hot right now and the industry is mainly written by female indie authors. If you take a look at the iBooks top 100 authors you will notice that 64% are written by women. Meanwhile at Amazon, 56% of the top 100 bestsellers are women and Publishers Weekly top 25 has been dominated by women 100% for the last six months. Why is the vast majority of fiction and nonfiction writers women?
The primary reason the vast majority of women are bestselling authors or aspiring writers trying to get their big break is because they rely on their husbands to generate the household income why they explore “their passion.” Many women authors have been quite vocal about how they are able to do what they love and rely on someone else to manage their life and keep the lights on.
One author recently mentioned “Health issues forced me from the work place even before the economic downturn. Now my hobby is looking like it will support me as well as a ‘real job’ would have, all within the next few years. Can I say hooray?” Another author said “I had pretty much quit my day job to get a Master’s Degree, but knew I’d have to go back to work as soon as I was done with classes. So, I began planning for it and while in the middle of writing papers – wrote my first two books. We can’t live without my husband’s salary / insurance yet.”
Patrice Fitzgerald recently commented “I practiced law for 15 years but gave that up to write nearly 20 years ago now, getting close several times to the brass ring of a traditional deal and even a TV movie option, but never closing. Finally jumped into self-publishing in 2011, and now make a steady income from my own ebooks as well as a couple of other authors I publish. My husband works, and my income stream wouldn’t allow us to live the way we want to, but I’m going in the right direction so that he’ll be able to retire in about two years and I’ll support us both. I’m looking forward to the day I make more than the six figures I did as a lawyer way back when…”
Author k Baylor recently mentioned “I decided to quit my stressful day job at the end of January. I convinced my husband to allow me to pursue my dream of writing full time for a few months. I paid a few bills in advance to keep immediate pressure at bay and set out to do what I loved. For the first two months I worked primarily on my successful blog that helps other writers get information on publishing trends. After a bit of research I decided to start making writing my career. I write primarily in the erotica genre and published my first story on April 26th this year. So far I have five books live on Amazon as of today, many of those five titles were added at the end of this month (May) with over seven more in my pipeline. I have sold over 40 copies within my first month so I’m hopeful that it will increase with the amount of books I have for sale. I generally write under a pen name and have decided to write series under the romance genre as well.”
Aspiring author G.S Jensen is happy about her situation “I politely “fired” all my editorial and programming clients on May 1st in order to write full-time. I am blessed with a wonderful husband who has a well-paying job; as such, the amount I need to contribute to our budget is relatively small. Even so, we waited until I had earned enough to cover that amount for twelve months before deciding I could take the leap.”
When women authors do have a supportive husband that is willing to let them indulge in playing writer, sometimes it is still not enough. In a letter to a dear author segment on Salon, one woman lamented “Where was my husband in this? Uncomfortable. He doesn’t read fiction. We have a lot in common, we are active volunteers for community and political organizations, but he doesn’t understand my need to write. He asked me once if I’d ever make any money from it; I told him that was unlikely. He rarely reads anything I write, even the newsletter I do for one of our organizations, and if he does read it, he never has anything to say, unless he notices a typo. I don’t have anyone to read my work.”
There are hundreds of different women authors who rely on their husbands in order to pursue a career in writing. The vast majority fail and their only sales stem from family members and get lost in the slush pile. The few with a keen entrepreneurial spirit, savvy social media marketing and read editorials by Hugh Howey or JA Konrath stand the best chance at making it.
There is no denying that the vast majority of self-published bestsellers on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Smashwords are by women. Romance and Erotica have been some of the top selling worldwide titles over the last five years. According to Author Earnings 59% of all Romance books are published by women, is there a reason for this? They simply are in better positions to be able to write and not worry about having to work a job. It is no small wonder that Sylvia Day and Stephenie Meyer managed to make a tremendously successful career from writing.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.