I’ve been hearing it a bit lately. It’s such a shame there’s no modern fantasy and sci-fi out there with strong female leads that boys/men want to read. What they actually mean is that boys don’t like reading romance.
And it’s total BS.
Authors definitely write the stuff. I know, because I’m one of them. The trouble isn’t writing it. Or having it exist. The trouble is selling it. the market has decided men want male heroes and little to no romance, and women want romance. And then the market caters to those prejudices, cementing them.
Ending this sexist tyranny is why we should celebrate the fantastic stories with non-romantic female leads out there. Ones loved by men and women alike…
Daughter of the Empire (aff link with more aff links below)
Artemis (Maybe not so much women . But let’s not talk about how men are always ridiculed for their female characters. Often fairly. Because this only gains more exposure and not less – I wouldn’t mind a few people telling me how Sylvalla isn’t like a real woman.)
The Deeds of Paksenarrion
These 12 books
And undoubtedly many more. Obscured by the fact their authors weren’t already famous by the time they published them. (There are also a few awesome books with split leads like Hounds of the Underworld – but I’m not primarily talking about those because they can hide their intent.)
I’d like to propose to you that the problem isn’t either the authors, or the books – it’s the way the market is constructed. The niches in which books are supposed to sit. Romance (female lead). Adventure (male lead). Science Fiction (male lead). Fantasy (male leads or ensemble cast with male lead) Amazon uses algorithms…you’ll love this book, it’s like another book you read. Nice and easy. Start to buck the conventions and you’ll lose readers. Lose readers and your book won’t be promoted because in the modern market –
Not hitting genre is the biggest crime – ask any author.
Yes, here’s the catch. When you (as an author) are writing your fantastic fantasy book that crosses genders…you’re not writing in the stereotypical format that the market has been created for. You’re already falling through the cracks. In an industry that only cares about how many units you’ve sold and doesn’t give a crap about the content, if you’re writing female leads for the tiny proportion of male fantasy readers who will actually take a chance and read a female-led story – you’ve already lost.
And that’s me. I almost always write female leads. Especially in my novels. And despite the girl gracing the cover, the biggest fans of my books are men. That’s totally not market. Everyone keeps on saying so. Especially as the book contains zero romance.
So unless you’re like me and totally refuse to learn your lesson, you won’t be writing that book again. You’ll be writing the romantic female lead or the heroic male…
So, there it is.
That’s why modern authors don’t write strong female leads that boys and men want to read
And here endeth the lesson. You want those books. Read them. And when you find them, promote them, review them. They do exist – if you but look.
PS – feel free to hit me up with more great stories with non-romantic female leads and I’ll add them if they’re not already listed. I know I’ve forgotten the names of a few 🙂