RARA-AVIS: Clarification

From: Tim Wohlforth ( tim@timwohlforth.com)
Date: 22 Aug 2004

I agree that many readers of dark fiction happen to be middle-aged women. In fact the NY Times recently reported a slip in sales of romances and suggested that these readers seem to be buying blockbuster thrillers (once viewed as "man's" books.) What I was trying to suggest is that publishers may view readers as I described. Thus, when buying first mystery novels that sell mainly in hardback to libraries, they are more likely to go with a "cozy" than a hardboiled. Perhaps there is some other explanation of the problem I outlined. Or maybe the problem doesn't exist.

I know, when I go to mystery conventions and sit at a banquet table with a mixed group of fans, largely women, from parts of the country I never visit (e.g. small towns and cities in the midwest), I always ask what they read. Almost universally it's a mixture that includes some pretty dark stuff.

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