“The scale of the discrepancy shows that women writers aren’t being treated equally in traditional publishing,” said the author Roz Morris. “We’re usually pigeonholed into obviously feminine genres such as chick-lit and romance, but not generally allowed to be complex artistes, to write the unusual books that break new ground. These figures show a huge vote of confidence for the writer in charge of their artistic destiny – and indicate that the literary world should take more notice of what women writers are publishing.”
If a woman writing fiction needs “money and a room of her own”, as Virginia Woolf suggested, writers at the beginning of the 21st century should perhaps insist the room comes with an internet connection, after a new study has found that the proportion of self-published bestsellers written by women is almost twice as large as in traditional publishing.
The DIY sector of the books market is currently booming, both in terms of numbers of books created, and numbers bought. In 2013, Nielsen Book found that 18m self-published books were purchased by UK readers, up 79% on 2012, while according to Bowker, there were over 458,000 titles self-published in the US in 2013, up 17% on 2012 and 437% on 2008.