Jennifer Weiner is one hugely successful author. I've liked many of her books especially her really early ones like Good in Bed and In Her Shoes (and the movie of the book is a seriously underappreciated gem) and I also recently read and loved Fly Away Home. I am so impressed that she is able to write so prolifically.
She's also become a very important voice regarding the double standard placed on women writers. She uses her platforms — her blog and her awesome tweets — to keep us abreast of the sexist treatment of women writers — especially women writers who write about women and their lives.
Yesterday, she gave the keynote address at Book Expo America's Bloggers Conference. I have attached the transcript here which she posted on her site. You can also watch it below.
There are some very interesting points she made especially about how the NY Times treats her that I wanted to share. Let's keep in mind that Jennifer is a HUGELY successful author. You can't miss her books anywhere. Clearly people like her work because they buy her books in large quantities. But the NY Times critics have issues with her and it seems to go a bit further than that:
This is how the NY Times continues to treat Weiner after she cancelled a profile that she knew was going to suck:
I thought about it…and, then, I thought, well, what else can the paper do? What other painful, embarrassing thing can happen?
Have Henry Alford say something bitchy about me? Been there. Quote Jonathan Galassi – Franzen’s editor – making fun of my made-up German? Done that.
Misrepresent my sales on its bestseller list?
Well, this week my current paperback, THEN CAME YOU, the number eight bestselling book on Bookscan, which is said to account for 70 to 80 percent of sales. For the same time period, it’s number 22 on the Times list.
This has happened with every book since LITTLE EARTHQUAKES. My publisher will go to the Times and say, “we think Jen’s book should be higher, and here are our numbers to support our claims.” The Times will say, “we think Jen’s book is right where it should be, and we’re not showing you our numbers. They’re proprietary.”
There’s just nothing to be done…and I shouldn’t expect any better.
As anyone who’s taken a women’s studies class will tell you, as long as there’s a woman writing about her own life, there’s someone – sometimes a man, sometimes another woman — to tell her that what she’s written is unworthy, unimportant, beneath notice, that it’s not real literature and not worth taking seriously.
Ugh. The NY Times should be ashamed of itself. Misrepresenting her numbers is a very big deal. Why do the numbers remain hidden? Is it about power? The best selling book numbers should be available for anyone to look at. Movie numbers are clear. TV ratings are clear. Why are the book numbers so muddy?