Last night’s BristolCon Fringe meeting was very interesting in two ways. Firstly, Ken Shinn had us agog with a tale about a demonic version of Benny Hill who has a drunken otter for a familiar. In addition our other guest, Andy Goodman, had some very interesting things to say in the Q&A.
Andy writes fiction primarily aimed at teenage boys. I asked him about that market, and was delighted to hear him say that there is now pressure from publishers for authors to move away from the “books for boys / books for girls” marketing philosophy, and instead to produce books that can be enjoyed by young people regardless of their gender.
It is not entirely clear why, and it may well be in part due to the pressure that parents have been putting on them. However, Andy’s anecdotal evidence suggests that practical experience has played a part. I’ve been saying for years that if you pinkify a book then boys are not going to read it. It appears that the message has got through to publishers that by packaging books by women as “for girls” they are cutting off half of their potential audience. Here’s hoping that this message spreads throughout the publishing industry.
The audio from the readings should be online early in August.