Normally when I start hearing conversations about "men" vs. "women" in publishing circles I cringe and slowly try to slink away - o.k., o.k., sometimes I bolt for the door. I do not like those conversations mostly because I don't think the "solutions" people offer are actually "solutions" to anything except perceived numbers.
Here's how I feel about male and female authors: I love them; both of them. When I start rattling off my favorite writers there are both genders in my list. And no where in my list of criteria is there some gauge that says, "whoa Forbus, you like too many [fill in the blank], you can't like anymore of those writers." However, I do not pick books based on some ratio I think I need to maintain. I mean, heck, if I started doing that then I'd need to have a ratio for ages of writers, ethnic backgrounds, sexual preferences, geographic location, eye color, whether they're left-handed or right-handed...
When I pick a book, I pick it because I think I'm going to be interested in it. So for me...write a good book; if it sounds like something that would keep me riveted for 300-400 pages, I don't care if a monkey wrote it. And that's all I have to say about that.
HOWEVER, I was reading this article about book cover designs. And I found it rather fascinating. Partly because I have never chosen a book because of a book cover. I have opted not to read a galley because it was covered in blurbs - which totally came across as pretentious, but that's a discussion for a different post. I know I'm in the minority, though. I know a lot of people have picked up books because of their covers, so I wanted to look at whether this holds true in the crime fiction genre. And see what y'all think.
Now, there's always an obvious difference between hard-boiled crime novels and cozy novels, so I'm throwing that difference out the door right now. I tried to stick with P.I., police procedural, thriller-type novels. And I chose covers from both male and female writers who have similar types of books. So let's take a look at these:
Female author's book jackets:
Male author's book jackets:
So there are a couple things that stand out to me—and not necessarily what would distinguish a "girlie" style or a "manly" style—but I'm interested in what you notice. Even what general thoughts you have. We also had a conversation recently about overused images and themes in book jackets. What do you see when you look at these fourteen jackets? Does anything jump out at you as "whoa, if the author's name wasn't on this book, I'd definitely know the gender"? Would anything keep you from picking the book up and checking out the book synopsis? See any absolute pet peeves?
**side note: when I chose these particular books, I didn't filter or make specific choices for any reason other than these were authors who quickly popped into my head and who I thought would have similar types of books in the genre. So there's no scheming going on behind the scenes to skew this post.
Okay, take it away, let's discuss in the comments. And don't forget today's the last day to vote in the Elite Eight round of the Crime Fiction March Madness Tourney. The races are close, every vote will count!