Women are tops in lit

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An extensive article from NPR tells us that women are the most likely gender to succeed in literature and books. What’s more, female writers have a better chance of making a good living off writing books, more so than directing movies or producing shows.

Planet Money reporter Greg Rosalsky notes that women once authored less than 10 percent of the new books published in the US each year. “They now publish more than 50 percent of them. Not only that, the average female author sells more books than the average male author.”

An economist at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management crunched the numbers. Joel Waldfogel’s analysis makes it clear: It’s a female revolution. Women trail men in many creative industries, “but have had spectacular success surpassing parity with men in the US publishing business.” The average female author sells more books than the average male author.

Education has made a big difference. By 2020, women weren’t only the majority of book authors, they had also become the majority of US college graduates. It helps that writing books is a solitary pursuit, in its initial stages. That reduces the chance of discrimination. Movies, or inventions, require more money and approvals up front. It also helps that the publishing business now is led by women more often than by men. Almost 60 percent of publishing executives in Waldfogel’s survey identify as women.

Success or failure is never as simple as a gender issue. But knowing the door is wide open for female success should encourage some authors. Writing a book is within the reach of more people than inventing a device or making a film. Besides, the book can lead to a film.

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