Monday, September 12, 2016

Are Women Better Than Men At Social Media?

Oh, that title should raise some eyebrows. Am I worried that men might take offense and respond? Not really. Men don’t tend to read my blogs, my FB page, my Coming Attractions or my Christy Chronicles. With the rare exception they don’t buy my books. They are not my target audience.

Out of 1,257 FB friends, 215 are male. Some of those men “friended” me when I was acquisitions editor and they wanted publication. Some are men from foreign countries looking for lady friends. Some are authors who sought my promotion and then dismissed me after I gave them publicity. The rest are actually friends from my former time in law enforcement, the American Legion, high school, relatives, Misters in Crime, the Posse and Novel Spaces. With the exception of the last two groups, I seldom hear from the others.

Women have always been social. We talked while pounding laundry on rocks in ancient times. We’ve been belittled for our cafe klatches in the ‘50’s when women didn’t work, got the kids off to school and took a housework break to talk over the kitchen table. Before men became enamored with cell phone technology, women were the ones who dominated the telephone lines. We gossip, we bare our souls, we commiserate. We are the shoulder to cry on, the person to bitch to, the sisterhood for support, the ladies who lunch. We talk. And now we Face Book and blog.


While men may not read my blogs, I do read theirs. They are usually focused on their expertise, intent on schooling the rest of us and putting their knowledge on display. Often, they are trying to sell me something, a book on how to get rich with my writing or buying their services for mass promotion. It’s a one-way conversation.

That’s not “social.” Defined by Webster it’s time “passed in pleasant companionship of one’s friends or associates.” It’s checking in for no other reason than we care about their daily lives. We share on Face Book funny memes, recipes, craft tips, cat videos, kid photos, anniversaries and books we love.

My Coming Attractions column promotes primarily female cozy authors. At first, I was afraid I was being prejudiced. But I noticed that when I gave male authors kudos, I seldom got thanked in return. Even the most well-known women mystery writers appreciate any free publicity. Maybe it’s because we’re still behind men at selling books. While women buy books written by either sex, men in general don’t buy fiction or anything with a female byline. Just ask J.A. Jance who used her initials and for years men believed she was a man writing edgy fiction. I was even told early on to spell my name “Sonny” to garner more readers. Not gonna happen.

In my mysteries I write about drugs, sex and murder. I couch it in a strong female friendship between two women as well as astrology. Male readers are pretty skeptical about horoscopes and planetary predictions; women are much more open-minded. If men read my books they might gain insights into female logic (or, illogic) and intuition as well as the role women are thrust into within the law enforcement workplace. They would definitely learn how my area became the meth capitol of THE WORLD while I was working at the Sheriff’s Dept. I write about the San Joaquin Valley of California, an oft-overlooked section that covers the whole middle of the state. I know my stuff.


So, I will keep on writing blogs and the women who follow me will keep on reading and responding. We are a loyal community. And, we are social with a capital “S.”     

26 comments:

Linda Thorne said...

Very interesting post. Not a surprise. What you speak is what most of us see when were interacting in the writing world. A lot of my author friends have pen names or initials that don't give away their sex, especially those women authors who write hard boiled and heavy thrillers. I remember you mentioning someone suggesting you spell your name, Sonny. I've passed that story along over the years.

Neil Waring said...

Interesting read. I do not give much thought to who the writer is man or woman, I like reading anything that might help me as a writer. Oh - and women are better at social media. And to continue against the grain, think I will go take a look at your books. :-)

Sunny Frazier said...

Neil, you are VERY open-minded. A great quality.

jrlindermuth said...

I don't dispute your point, Sunny. Women are more social. But I don't discriminate over the sex of a writer. The important aspect to me is good story.

Marja said...

Great post, Sunny, and yes, we women are the social butterflies. I've had a few people tell me that when they read my blog they feel like they're sitting across from me at a table and we're talking, or socializing. I consider that quite a compliment.

Love your books, by the way! I'd read them even if I was a man. :)

CarolCrigger said...

I switched my name from C.K.Crigger, selected because the initials are ambiguous, to Carol Wright Crigger on my latest release. The publisher has since told me she wished I'd kept with C.K. as it expands the list of potential purchasers. Meaning men. Anyway, a very appropriate and truthful post, Sonny, although I, regretfully, am not the most social of women. ;-)

Cora said...

All right! Tell it like it is (most of the time). Yeah, we be social, whether timidly or blatantly. Fun article with truth slipped in. The best kind.

Sunny Frazier said...

Carol, for years women have been hiding behind men's names or initials to get their books read. It would be great if we could stop that practice, but the mindset of male readers is hard to change. On the other hand, I now look for women who write the historical fiction I like (not historical romance) because I don't want to hear all about battles, I want to hear about women behind the throne. Their stories are more interesting and less well-documented.

nannosecond said...

Women are social. Lucky us.It is because we are that we can write with real knowledge of struggle, romance, and humor. I love your posts, Sunny. Keep on shining.

Sunny Frazier said...

Thanks, Nan!

Amy Reade said...

Sunny, as usual you have opened a Pandora's Box of issues with this post. It's not just about social media, as you note. It's about the way women have interacted with men and with each other from the beginning of time. Venus v. Mars. My publisher has sold my books under "Women's Fiction" and I have men who come up to me and say, "Am I allowed to read these?" And I've had men say they enjoy the books and they're embarrassed to buy women's fiction. I stopped calling my books women's fiction very early on. That being said, the majority of my readers are women and almost all the comments I've gotten about my books on social media are from women. Great post!

MaryAnn Forbes said...

Very interesting. I never really considered that men would be reluctant to read female authors in a genre they like. I have always known that the old advertising ploy: "We've come a long way baby" was just marketing, however I thought we were all more enlightened than to consider gender when selecting our reading material. We sure have a !long away to go!!
This is so evident in the presidential election. Poor Hillary has pneumonia and her entire medical life is being scrutinized. No kudos for working so consistently and diligently while ill rather what's really wrong with this woman -- crazy times.

jinx schwartz said...

Many people think Jinx is a man's name, and I get email to that effect, but I do have many male readers cuz I write sea adventures, even if the captain of the boat is a woman.
Maybe you should change your publicity shot to you in uniform, maybe holding a large gun, Sonny. :-)

Sunny Frazier said...

I figured you had male readers, Jinx, not just because of your name but because you write seafaring mysteries.

Maggie King said...

Well, everyone's pretty much summed it up! Yes, the majority of my social media followers (at least the writer/reader contingent) are women. The same holds true for my readers. My third book (in 1st draft stage) has many male characters, so many that will bring me more male readers. Gender issues aside, I do appreciate all my readers.

Terell said...

I think that women have a tradition in our country as readers. Most of us were read to by our mothers. My grandmother also read to her children. My great grandmother read to the family because she could teach school and her husband was illiterate.

I read a great number of books with battles, not because I like bloodshed but because I think the male psyche has a different take on fighting than does the female and I have an interest in the human condition. Words have power but so do actions.

Liane Spicer said...

Sunny, you don't pull punches. Generalizations tend to be generally true--which is why they became generalizations in the first place. I don't mind too much that men (in general) aren't much interested in "women's fiction"--we all have our preferences--but I do mind that women's fiction/women's perspectives are viewed as lesser in value than men's. That's the imbalance that concerns me.

Sunny Frazier said...

Excellent observation, Liane. And, again, thank you for Novel Spaces for letting me push the envelope occasionally.

Liane Spicer said...

Sunny, the older I get, the more I appreciate straight talk. Push away. :D

Patricia Gligor said...

I laughed when I counted the comments before mine. Nineteen and only two of them are from men. Proves your point, I think. LOL

Penny Manson said...

It is what it is. I think you're telling the truth when you portray women as more socially conscious. I think it is an advantage, especially as it pertains to marketing ourselves as authors.

Sunny Frazier said...

Yes, Pat, even with an insulting headline, men weren't interested enough to refute me. And, Penny, we finally have an edge over men but we'll still sell fewer books. Alas.

James R. Callan said...

Okay, Pat. Here's number 3. In the past, men were more into action and settled a dispute with a fight. Women, who kept the human race going, tended to be more verbal. Things have changed a great deal. But still, we probably all agree that women talk to each other about everything while men tend to keep most things to themselves. Women tend to arrange the social events. So it makes sense that women are better at ... social things, including social media.
I'm sure this is a time when I should have kept my mouth shut. I'm sure I'm in trouble now. It's your fault, Pat.

Sunny Frazier said...

I thought it was a great insight, Jim.

I've also read that men and women's brains work differently. Women pick up on nuances, body language, innuendos. Men think in a straight line. When a man asks "What's wrong?" and a woman says "NOTHING!", oh, there is definitely something--and he better figure it out!

jinx schwartz said...

It is, Sunny. Wanted my FB peeps to weigh in...many are men.

Sunny Frazier said...

Would love some comments from the men, Jinx!