Equal But Different

World Fantasy is taking place this weekend, and I am taking part in it vicariously thanks to Jonathan Strahan’s Notes from Coode Street podcast. I’m hoping that Gary K. Wolfe joins Jonathan to comment on the World Fantasy Awards tonight as Gary is one of the judges this year. World Fantasy always has a “grill the judges” panel after the awards, so Gary should be able to talk fairly openly about the process.

This morning, however, I listened to an episode that featured a number of guests, including Alisa Krasnostein of Twelfth Planet Press. There is quite a bit of interesting chat about how World Fantasy works, but the thing that caught my attention was Alisa talking about conversations she had with women writers. Apparently a number of women writers, some quite well established in their careers, have told her that they get lower advances from publishers than men, despite selling similar numbers of books.

Because of the way publishing works, the women writers will get the same amount of money from their books as the men, but they will get it late in royalties, rather than early in advances. And as an economist I’m going to insist that means they are getting paid less. The value of money is dependent on when you get it.

As yet I don’t know how much evidence Alisa has, and I’m hoping that she’ll elaborate on this on her Galactic Suburbia podcast when she gets home. It is, however, rather annoying.

4 thoughts on “Equal But Different

  1. That is not right. The advance is how books get made by giving the author money to get the book done correctly. It discourages young female writers from the field of fantasy literature.

  2. Why are people shocked?

    The last fact sheet issued by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research shows that women are still being short-changed compared to their male colleagues, and this disparity in pay has plateaued for years. There is no sign of any improvement.

    I’m entirely unsurprised that this bias might also be evident in publishing, but I’m not happy about it!

  3. I’m willing to believe that. OTOH, I’m also willing to believe that men who get lower advances simply aren’t bragging about them in the presence of women writers.

Comments are closed.