Sunday, March 12, 2017

I Write For Men, To Appeal to Everyone

If you want your writing to appeal to everyone, then you should write for men.
Consider the following:
When this happens...  Source.

This happens... Evidence.
Leading to this. Source.
For reasons too byzantine and varied to go into in depth here, Madison Avenue has decided to follow the false narrative that ignoring male markets is the path to financial success.  Long story short: It's a combination of women having more disposable income than they used to and an irrational belief that making your product more 'female friendly' doubles your consumer base.  Smart people assume the latter will double your income, not recognizing the truth of The Anti-Gnostic's observation that what women enter, men leave.

You may gain some short term success, but changing your product to explicitly appeal to women the strategy of eating your seed corn.  The female focus will drive off the men-folk, and all of the women that flocked to your product specifically because it represented a chance to enter a male space will follow the men to whatever space they find to replace it.

Witness the slow-motion death of ESPN and the NFL.  Their ratings are tanking, even as they've done everything from hot-pink apparel month to all-female round table discussions about the NFL.  Look at the data and you'll find the bleeding isn't coming from whatever, it's coming from men. 

Admittedly, the NFL's woes are due to other factors than their self-destructive policy of chasing female eyeballs.  Entertainment options abound, their games spread over four days, the expansion of teams has watered down the average talent on teams, and a host of other factors contribute as well.  Those factors are evident in the declining numbers among even women.  But look at the relative drop - even adjusting for per capita viewership, the decline in male viewers is larger than that for females.  The NFL is driving away their primary customer in the vain hope that the increase among secondary customers will make up the difference.

The lesson is clear:  If you want your product to appeal to men and women, don't wrap it in a pink ribbon.  Don't brag about how much women adore your product, and don't boast about how feminine friendly it is. All you'll do is drive men away.  On the flip-side, explicitly marketing your product as rugged and manly, and not really for women, represents a siren song irresistible to women.  They take that sort of talk as a challenge, and they will dive in headlong, in an effort to prove themselves as good and worthy of men.

I'd be lying if I said that I write for men out of sheer mercantile greed.  The fact is, I write for men for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with money.  Write what you know - I know men.  Write what interests you - I'm interested in male behavior and mindset and relationships.  Write what you want to read - I have no interest in female centered literature.   The fact that writing for men makes my works appealing across the divide between male and female is just a happy coincidence.

Want proof?  If you're man enough,
you'll enjoy my latest series of novellas:


  1. I think you are right. As a woman and a reader I can say I have read more men authors than women.

  2. Thank you, and just to add, there are no value judgments here, just a simple acknowledgement.