Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In the Pink. I mean, Blue.

I’ve always known that most of my readers would be women, so when I started receiving e-mails from men letting me know how much they enjoyed my books, I was rather surprised.

The very first e-mail I received from a male fan was shortly after Too Big To Miss came out. Attached to the e-mail were nude photos of the man. And I know it was him because I’d met him at a signing, though he was fully clothed at the time. Still, the face was the same. Okay, okay, I’ll admit it, I was a bit flattered and the photos were impressive. When I wrote back, I thanked him for writing and mentioned a word or two about the photos being inappropriate. He replied, apologized and still remains a loyal reader.

After that, many of the letters from male readers regarding my Odelia Grey series seemed to fall into two main categories: 1) those men who loved larger women and enjoyed reading about them, and 2) men who were extremely prejudiced against large women but who found Odelia attractive, in spite of their personal prejudices.

I remember one man who admitted that the only reason he’d picked up one of my Odelia Grey novels was because his wife was always laughing when she read them. He wrote to tell me how much he enjoyed the book and how he’d never look at a large women the same again. (BTW, if you’re out there and reading this blog, I’m holding you to that promise.)

As time went on and the series blossomed, more men wrote simply to let me know how much they enjoyed the series. Their praise had nothing to do with Odelia's size, but with the book itself. YAY!

When Ghost à la Mode, the first book in my Ghost of Granny Apples series, was released last September, I was surprised by the number of men who read it and wrote to me about it. Again, I figured most, if not all, of my readers would be women. Seems a lot of men enjoy fun ghost mysteries. Who knew? In fact, while the fan mail from women regarding Odelia Grey far outweighs (no pun intended; well, okay, just a little pun) the fan mail I receive from men on that series, on the Ghost of Granny Apples series, I’d say the fan mail women-to-men ratio is close to even.

Recently, I heard from a man who said he’d read Ghost à la Mode on a plane trip to Vegas. He enjoyed it so much that he purchased my entire Odelia Grey series. Gotta love that kind of reader! And that kind of cross-marketing!

Last week I spent 5 hours updating my newsletter address list and answering e-mails from readers that had accumulated while I was on my marathon to complete Murder In Vein. And it again struck me odd (but in a great way) how many notes I'm now receiving from male readers. It makes me wonder if I’ll get the same response to my new vampire mystery series. I sure hope so, and since that plot isn’t romance-driven like a lot of current vampire fiction, there’s a good shot it could happen.

My conclusion: Real Men Read!

This Saturday, February 20th, 2 pm. Launch Party for Corpse on the Cob at the Mystery Bookstore, 1036-C Broxton, Los Angeles, CA - Everyone's invited!

Sue Ann Jaffarian


Mark Baker said...

Of course real men read. :) And real men know good fiction when they read it.

Alan Orloff said...

I'm with Mark: Real men read. And really real men send nude photos.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

You go, Sue Ann! Good for you picking up both genders as readers. I'm not sure that I've done the same...

Mystery Writing is Murder

G.M. Malliet said...

The received wisdom is that women are the book buyers, so I've been pleasantly surprised to have what appears to be a lot of male readers. The cover of my second book with its lipsticky theme may have thrown them off, tho!

Nude photos!!! OMG!!!

Deborah Sharp said...

I have yet to receive nude pix of anybody ... but I understand some rodeo cowboys have read and enjoyed ''Mama Rides Shotgun,'' my set-on-a-trail ride second book. Hmmm, photographic evidence, anyone?

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Elizabeth, Don't worry, the male readers are just a bit slower to pick up books with a decidedly feminine cover. I'll bet most of my male readers found me through word of mouth from their female friends or wives, not from seeing the book in stores. Then again, a couple of my Odelia covers do show a nude or near nude woman. And we all know nudity sells!

Speaking of which, Alan - does that mean that really real women send nude photos to their favorite author?

Keith Raffel said...

Still, as Ian McEwan wrote: "When women stop reading, the novel will be dead."

Beth Groundwater said...

With my Five Star books, I lucked out with one pink cover and one blue cover. The pink cover one, A Real Basket Case, has a romantic subplot, so I recommend it to women. The blue cover one, To Hell in a Handbasket, has outdoor winter sports scenes, so I recommend it to men. I know I won't have such a clear distinction with my MI Rocky Mountain Adventure series. However, I'm hoping that a bad-ass female river ranger will appeal to both sexes. :)

Mike Dennis said...

Yes, we read. But we still don't eat quiche.

Alan Orloff said...

Sue Ann, I guess I don't really know what kind of pix really real women send to authors. Of course, my book isn't out yet.