Discoverability. It’s a good word. I’m not sure it’s a REAL word, but it’s a good one.
It’s all about discoverability, and how to increase it. How do you find new writers, people you might not have heard of that you might really love? Through recommendations? Through word of mouth? Through reviews? Or through the display tables in large bricks and mortar book sellers, where female SFF authors are sadly often under-represented?
Emma Newman recently took Waterstones to task over the lack of women getting table space in their SFF sections. I’m naming and not-shaming Waterstones because their response to her was swift, helpful and pro-active, and will hopefully result in a real difference in what goes on to the display tables in their stores ( check out Emma’s blog here : http://www.enewman.co.uk/real-world-adventures/some-good-news-about-waterstones ) . One of the problems is that it’s hard to get promoted by Waterstones of you haven’t got a proven track record of sales, and it’s hard to get sales if Waterstones won’t promote you…..
We can all do our little bit. I already make an effort to read an equal number if men and women, and I think I post reviews for slightly more women than men on this here blog, but my plan (oh, the hardship!) is to read at least twelve female authors I haven’t previously read this year and hopefully review the less-well known of them to try to bring them to slightly wider attention. If a whole bunch of us do that, hopefully as well as discovering some great new-to-us authors, we’ll help raise the profile of women writers in SFF (doesn’t have to be in SFF) – if you don’t read many women in any genre for whatever reason, try to read one book a month by a woman you haven’t read before, and post it on your blog / Goodreads / Twitter / wherever. And, if you enjoy it, try to review it!
So who’s in?
MY LIST – NEW-TO-ME FEMALE AUTHORS READ IN 2014 :
- Jen Williams – The Copper Promise (reviewed)
- Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games (Though I think Suzanne Collins has probably achieved discoverability 😉 )
- Deb E Howell – Healer’s Touch (reviewed)
- Clare Bell – Clan Ground
- Christabel Bielenberg – The Past is Myself
- Helen Castor – She-Wolves – The Women who Ruled England before Elizabeth (reviewed)
- Holly Black – Ironside (Not reviewed, but only because it’s the third book in a trilogy and I haven’t read the first two, but I’ll be seeking them out now!)
- Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) – Out of Africa
- Gillian O’Rourke – The Reluctant Prophet (reviewed)
- Gillian Bradshaw – Kingdom of Summer
- J Damask – Heart of Fire (reviewed)
- Jo Walton – Among Others
I will fill in this list as I go along and come back to it – the other women I’ve reviewed so far this year have been people I’ve read before – Stephanie Saulter, Kim Lakin Smith, Fran Jacobs, Joanne Harris.
So, yeah… It’s only April – I think that’s do-able. Easily do-able, in fact. Why not join me?
ETA – Nov 2014 – As this has worked well I’m planning to carry on next year. Why not join me?
Achievement unlocked! And a couple of these books are five-star reads, so watch out for the end of year round-up to find out which ones…