Women in jeopardy – crime fiction panel AWP live blog


I’m living blogging from AWP.

The panel has two literary agents and three authors. Sorry I didn’t catch everyone’s name!

Do female authors still make less then men? No.

In crime fiction women are still lagging behind. Most of the branded crime fiction are male writers and male protagonist. That said most books sold are romance and that’s all female.

International sales are also strong for female. One literary agent said her biggest auction advance was for a female author.

Cozy mysteries? Tend to follow Murder She Wrote style or hobby or food. Knitting mysteries for example. They are PGish and at the end everything is wrapped up. Cozies are the fastest selling sub genre of mystery novels. Followed closely by thrillers.

Thriller writers usually get big advances and if they don’t sell well you’re out. With cozy mysteries you get nice advances, but there’s less pressure to sell.

The moderator knew a thriller writer who got an 800,000 advance, tons of marketing, the book didn’t do well.. The writer was dropped.

Thrillers are high concept novels. Something huge and usually international story. Borne Identity is an espionage thriller. Mostly male authors. Huge advances, but if you don’t earn out your career is in trouble. Lee Child didnt burst out till book 7.

Cozy — the killer and victim need to know each other, solution depends on the deduction of the detective no forensics, no explicit sex and violence or swearing.

Thrillers — there has to be a very very good protagonist with a personal motivation and a very very evil villain, there has to be a big stage, there has to be a ticking clock feel to it.

Does it hurt you to self publish does it hurt you later! It’s complicated. If it does amazingly well… Maybe. If it doesn’t then it’s complicated.

Even if you don’t do ebooks, you should get accounts on the ebook platforms so no one else publishes under your name.

If you do self publish then make sure your book stands up quality of traditional publishing.

Give it a shot at the topic the world (ie get an agent). If you can’t get there then maybe self publishing.

“what is the best sub genre of crime fiction for women?” don’t ever ask that it makes women second class citizens – Jane

Female suspense – Mary Higgins Clark

“What is literary? I consider my novel literary, but it seems pretentious.” a really good story written very well. The book you fall into. The Alienist.

I asked, “How do you write strong female characters?” you have to ask what’s at their core? Make fully actualized characters. Sell your character through the story. Jane said her first book her character had to learn how to fire a gun. “Because how many of us have shot a gun? Well, I have because I’m a writer now.” – Jane

How do you write male characters as a female? I tend to write the despicable…

How do you write discrimination and violence against women. Understand it’s hard for audiences to read. If you’re not careful your book will become an issue book.

How did you do research? Hands on! Find an expert. Go to the location if you can if not Google Earth and talk to someone whose been there.

Women should have as many opportunities in crime fiction as men!

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