For an intro into where these tips are coming from, please see my post: A Full Manuscript Rejection, or a Gold Mine?
Note: Originally posted two years ago. See note at bottom of post…
Let me start out by stating… if your novel has a female protagonist… I HATE YOU.
My BP and I actually had this conversation months ago. We talked about how annoying it is that publishers all seem to want strong female characters only. Well, at the same time, they are complaining that boys don’t read. Go figure.
Both my BP and I have male MCs (main characters). My BP at least already had a female side kick, but they actually asked her to beef her up and make her one of the main voice characters. She’s working now on making her a more dynamic character. I guess this is a good thing. I like her. She’s a tough cookie, but do we always have to have a girl?
Now, I am a girl, and I happen to like to read books about boys. Boys tend to be stronger, and I don’t have to worry about annoying sappy emotional crap most of the time. [Ha! Since this originally posted, I’ve written FIRE IN THE WOODS. You never know where your muse will take you! ] I’m wondering if more boys actually would read if there was a wider variety of decent novels out there that didn’t force-feed them GIRLS just so the novels would be marketable to a female audience as well. Maybe publishers are shooting themselves in the foot by not letting girl-free novels into the shelves? I guess we will never know.
Yeah, I have to admit that Meagan has gotten more and more page-time in my novel, but I’m trying hard not to let her take over. I’m trying to have her be there, with her own ominous annoying girly agenda, without spoiling the overall plot line. Meagan is a princess and is trying to find a loophole that will let her marry Magellan, a commoner. This actually works in nicely, because it makes the villain (her brother) more and more angry and homicidal every time he sees them together.
Hopefully I don’t have to make her too much more integral than she already is. I want to be published, but I want the story to be intact when I’m done as well. The story is definitely about a confused boy with no memory that has to save the galaxy… It’s not a love story.
Anyway… the point of this all is that publishers are still looking for a strong female presence in works that they are supporting. They simply don’t believe there is enough of a male market of readers out there to support a strictly male protagonist. They said they realized that a writer should not focus on writing to the market only, but it is something that publishers must consider.
Note: I think times have changed somewhat on this. Big houses are still looking for girl books, because that is where the bread and butter is, but the qualified smaller houses are starting to reach more for the boy crowd. I have even seen a few agents interested in finding a good boy’s book. Times change – just go with the flow.