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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Statistics, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 115
1. 88% of Americans Under 30 Have Read a Book in the Last Year: Pew Research

pewlogoEighty-eight percent of Americans under 30 read a book in the past year, which is more than older Americans, according to a new report form Pew Research. The report revealed that 79 percent of Americans 30 and older had read a book in the last year.

The research investigated how young Americans are using libraries. The report revealed that millennials are just as likely as older adults to have used a library in the past year. The report also found that this group is more likely to have used a library website in the past year than older Americans. While millennials admit to knowing where their local library is, many reported that they are unfamiliar with all of the services the library offers.

Here is more from the report: “Among those ages 16-29, 50% reported having used a library or bookmobile in the course of the past year in a September 2013 survey. Some 47% of those 30 and older had done so. Some 36% of younger Americans used a library website in that time frame, compared with 28% of those 30 and older.”

 

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2. Publishing Salaries Up 2.8% in 2013: Publishers Weekly

Publishing salaries increased 2.8 percent in 2013, according to a new study from Publishers Weekly.

The increase in salary is consistent with the rise in salaries between 2012 and 2013, which also rose 2.8 percent on average.

Here is more from Publishers Weekly: “The salary increase in 2013 was held down to some degree by the number of employees who received no raise in 2013—19% said their pay was flat in the year. One-quarter of employees said they received a raise of between 2.0% and 2.9% in 2013, while another 20% reported a raise of between 3.0% and 3.9%. Overall, 74% of employees received a raise under 4% in 2013.”

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3. Digital Textbooks Are Evolving College Students Learning Experiences: BISG Report

Digital textbooks are changing the way that college students obtain books and the way that courses are structured, according to BISG’s fourth annual report Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education, Volume 4,

The research tracks and analyzes how students and faculty members obtain, consumer and teach educational content in multiple media formats. According to the report, students usage of textbooks is declining slightly while online study guide usage is slowly gaining momentum. In addition, students revealed that they are always on the hunt for low cost and free ways to get course materials, from scanning copies of their friends’ books to downloading pirated copies of textbooks illegally.

Here is more from the press release: “Instructors report much higher levels of assigned textbooks than do students, while the percentage of students who actually purchase their books is lower still, perhaps as students ultimately are the ones to decide whether the value of a ‘required’ textbook justifies the cost.”

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4. Libraries Are Challenged by eBook Business Model: Study

While more libraries in the U.S. are buying and distributing eBooks to patrons, the business model still needs to be worked out,  according to a new study by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA).

Unlike the print book business model, in which libraries buy a certain amount of books for a set price and distribute those texts widely, most digital content is licensed with specific conditions about when and where it can be distributed. According to the report, libraries are struggling with “an inability to guarantee library user access to otherwise commercially available eBooks with reasonable pricing and acceptable use conditions.”

Here is more from the report:

…libraries continue to have to deal with imposed and inflexible terms and conditions, some of which impede legislated copyright exceptions. As a result, efforts are underway in university libraries to retain the right to interlibrary loan through piloting controlled access to researchers outside the institution with the content licence. Such pilots have sought publisher consent.

 

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5. Study Claims That Reading Harry Potter Makes Kids More Gay Friendly

Reading Harry Potter books can make kids more gay friendly argues a new paper by Italian researchers, published online recently in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

New York has the scoop: “In one study, researchers gave high school kids in Northern Italy two questionnaires: one asked about the books they’d read (both Potter and non-Potter) and the other was meant to gauge their attitudes toward gay people. As it turns out, the kids who were bigger Potterphiles — and who identified with the eponymous character — were also more likely to have positive feelings toward gay individuals.”

New York points out that outside factors could also be at play. For instance, Harry Potter readers could come from more liberal families since some religious groups have criticized the series.

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6. E-Book Sales Statistics Every Author Needs to Know Before Signing a Book Deal

This month I read one of the best reports on e-publishi […]

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7. Only 17% of Parents Say Reading is Top Priority This Summer: Study

Only 17 percent of parents say reading is a top summer priority. This depressing news is according to a new survey from Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and Macy’s. Harris Interactive surveyed more than 1,000 parents with children ages 5-11 online in April to come to this conclusion.

The research also found that kids spend almost three times as many hours a week watching TV or playing video games as they do reading in the summer months. In fact, kids spend an average 17.4 hours a week watching TV or playing video games and only 5.9 hours a week on average reading. The study did reveal that parents who emphasize reading are twice as likely to have a child that reads every day. For those kids that do read, the research found that 83 percent prefer print books to eBooks.

To help promote summer reading and literacy in general, Macy’s and RIF have launched their 11th annual Be Book Smart campaign today. The effort encourages Macy’s customers to donate $3 at any Macy’s store register which will help fund children’s literacy efforts. Shoppers that do so will get $10 off a purchase of $30 or more. The campaign runs through July 13.

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8. The Self-Published Book Market Grew 79% in the UK in 2013: Nielsen

Self-publishing is taking off in the UK. In fact, the self-publishing market grew by 79 percent in 2013 in the UK, according to new research presented by Steve Bohme, research director at Nielsen Book, at the Literary Consultancy conference this morning in London. The Guardian has the scoop: "With print sales falling by 10% last year, and book purchasing as a whole down 4%, ebook sales continue to grow, according to Nielsen's comprehensive tracking of book purchases, up 20% in the UK in 2013, with 80m ebooks bought by UK consumers, to a value of £300m. But it is the DIY market which is showing the most eye-watering growth, up 79% to 18m self-published titles purchased, worth £59m, according to the statistics released on Friday." While self-published books are on a rising trajectory, they still only represent a small portion of the overall publishing market in the UK.  In fact, according to the report, this portion of the market only accounts for 5 percent of the total books bought and only 3 percent of the money spent on books last year. However Nielsen expects these numbers to continue to grow.    

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9. What’s the E-Book Market Share?

E-books shook the publishing world like an F-1 race car […]

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10. Beyond Traffic: Three Stats You Should Check Today

Whether you're a spreadsheet enthusiast or allergic to numbers, digging into your site's stats can help you better engage with your audience. Let's take a look at three stats that can make a difference beyond page views.

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11. Less Kids Are Reading For Fun: Common Sense Media Study

Less American children are reading for pleasure than they have in the past, according to a new report from Common Sense Media. The research revealed that the number of nine-year-old kids that read for pleasure once or more per week went from 81 percent in 1984 to 76 percent in 2013. The numbers are worse for older kids. Only about a third of 13-year-olds reported reading for pleasure less than twice a year. Children who do indulge in reading for pleasure tended to be those kids whose parents read to them and whose parents read themselves. Those kids who are read to spend about 30-60 minus a day reading.

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12. Statistics and big data

vsi

By David J. Hand


Nowadays it appears impossible to open a newspaper or switch on the television without hearing about “big data”. Big data, it sometimes seems, will provide answers to all the world’s problems. Management consulting company McKinsey, for example, promises “a tremendous wave of innovation, productivity, and growth … all driven by big data”.

An alien observer visiting the Earth might think it represents a major scientific breakthrough. Google Trends shows references to the phrase bobbing along at about one per week until 2011, at which point there began a dramatic, steep, and almost linear increase in references to the phrase. It’s as if no one had thought of it until 2011. Which is odd because data mining, the technology of extracting valuable, useful, or interesting information from large data sets, has been around for some 20 years. And statistics, which lies at the heart of all of this, has been around as a formal discipline for a century or more.

Or perhaps it’s not so odd. If you look back to the beginning of data mining, you find a very similar media enthusiasm for the advances it was going to bring, the breakthroughs in understanding, the sudden discoveries, the deep insights. In fact it almost looks as if we have been here before. All of this leads one to suspect that there’s less to the big data enthusiasm than meets the eye. That it’s not so much a sudden change in our technical abilities as a sudden media recognition of what data scientists, and especially statisticians, are capable.

Of course, I’m not saying that the increasing size of data sets does not lead to promising new opportunities – though I would question whether it’s the “large” that really matters as much as the novelty of the data sets. The tremendous economic impact of GPS data (estimated to be $150-270bn per year), retail transaction data, or genomic and bioinformatics data arise not from the size of these data sets, but from the fact that they provide new kinds of information. And while it’s true that a massive mountain of data needed to be explored to detect the Higgs boson, the core aspect was the nature of the data rather than its amount.

Moreover, if I’m honest, I also have to admit that it’s not solely statistics which leads to the extraction of value from these massive data sets. Often it’s a combination of statistical inferential methods (e.g. determining an accurate geographical location from satellite signals) along with data manipulation algorithms for search, matching, sorting and so on. How these two aspects are balanced depends on the particular application. Locating a shop which stocks that out of print book is less of an inferential statistical problem and more of a search issue. Determining the riskiness of a company seeking a loan owes little to search but much to statistics.

Diagram of Total Information Awareness system designed by the Information Awareness Office

Diagram of Total Information Awareness system designed by the Information Awareness Office

Some time after the phrase “data mining” hit the media, it suffered a backlash. Predictably enough, much of this was based around privacy concerns. A paradigmatic illustration was the Total Information Awareness project in the United States. Its basic aim was to search for suspicious behaviour patterns within vast amounts of personal data, to identify individuals likely to commit crimes, especially terrorist offences. It included data on web browsing, credit card transactions, driving licences, court records, passport details, and so on. After concerns were raised, it was suspended in 2003 (though it is claimed that the software continued to be used by various agencies). As will be evident from recent events, concerns about the security agencies monitoring of the public continues.

The key question is whether proponents of the huge potential of big data and its allied notion of open data are learning from the past. Recent media concern in the UK about merging of family doctor records with hospital records, leading to a six-month delay in the launch of the project, illustrates the danger. Properly informed debate about the promise and the risks is vital.

Technology is amoral — neither intrinsically moral nor immoral. Morality lies in the hands of those who wield it. This is as true of big data technology as it is of nuclear technology and biotechnology. It is abundantly clear — if only from the examples we have already seen — that massive data sets do hold substantial promise for enhancing the well-being of mankind, but we must be aware of the risks. A suitable balance must be struck.

It’s also important to note that the mere existence of huge data files is of itself of no benefit to anyone. For these data sets to be beneficial, it’s necessary to be able to use the data to build models, to estimate effect sizes, to determine if an observed effect should be regarded as mere chance variation, to be sure it’s not a data quality issue, and so on. That is, statistical skills are critical to making use of the big data resources. In just the same way that vast underground oil reserves were useless without the technology to turn them into motive power, so the vast collections of data are useless without the technology to analyse them. Or, as I sometimes put it, people don’t want data, what they want are answers. And statistics provides the tools for finding those answers.

David J. Hand is Professor of Statistics at Imperial College, London and author of Statistics: A Very Short Introduction

The Very Short Introductions (VSI) series combines a small format with authoritative analysis and big ideas for hundreds of topic areas. Written by our expert authors, these books can change the way you think about the things that interest you and are the perfect introduction to subjects you previously knew nothing about. Grow your knowledge with OUPblog and the VSI series every Friday and like Very Short Introductions on Facebook. Subscribe to on Very Short Introductions articles on the OUPblog via email or RSS.

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Image credit: Diagram of Total Information Awareness system designed by the Information Awareness Office. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

The post Statistics and big data appeared first on OUPblog.

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13. Print Textbooks Lead to Higher Reading Comprehension Than Digital: Study

ipad304Digital textbooks may not be as powerful of learning tools as print textbooks. According to new research from West Chester University professors Heather Ruetschlin Schugar and Jordan T. Schugar, when middle school students were given the same reading assignment in print versus digital, the readers’ comprehension was higher when they read print books than when they read eBooks.

The professors presented their findings at the American Educational Research Association in Philadelphia. The report suggests that enhancements in eBooks such as games and activities actually take away from reading comprehension.

The New York Times has more: “Such flourishes can interrupt the fluency of children’s reading and cause their comprehension to fragment, the authors found. They can also lead children to spend less time reading over all: One study cited by Ms. Smith and the Schugars reported that children spent 43 percent of their e-book engagement time playing games embedded in the e-books rather than reading the text.”

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14. WordPress.com by the Numbers: The March Hot List

Another month is in the books! The WordPress.com community made March a month to remember with an avalanche of great achievements. Here's a look at some of the highlights.

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15. Author Website Tech: Statistics


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma by Darcy Pattison

Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma

by Darcy Pattison

Giveaway ends March 21, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

This month-long series of blog posts will explain author websites and offer tips and writing strategies for an effective author website. It alternates between a day of technical information and a day of writing content. By the end of the month, you should have a basic author website up and functioning. The Table of Contents lists the topics, but individual posts will not go live until the date listed. The Author Website Resource Page offers links to tools, services, software and more.

Track the Growth of Your Author Website

WWW under construction building website

You’ve gone to a lot of trouble to set up a website. Don’t you want to know how many visitors the site gets? You can find out this and much more by the use of a statistics and analytical package. And fortunately, WordPress makes this easy with a couple plugins.

Statcounter. Statcounter is a simple, easy to understand statistics and analytics package that records information in real time. You don’t have to wait until tomorrow to see what traffic is like today. I like this one because of its simplicity. First search Plugins/AddNew/Statcounter. Install and activate the plugin. Go to Statcounter.com and set up an account. Follow their instructions for configuring the plugin with your account information. Sit back and watch the numbers roll in!

Besides general numbers, I especially like to look at the Visitor Paths.This tells me what websites a visitor sees in what order. And I love to look at the Recent Visitor Map, which shows the location of your visitors. Or, look at Country/State/City/ISP. Today (the day I wrote this post) 62.5% of my visitors were from the US, and people from 35 different countries visited this site. Notice that there are NO personally identifiable bits of information here, so the Privacy Policy is still accurate.

Note that I have a free account, which means: Each projects comes with lifetime summary stats as well as a free log size of 500, i.e. a detailed analysis of the last 500 pageloads on your website. When your log is full, it continues to operate; the oldest entry is replaced with the newest entry that comes in. So, that number (62.5% of recent visitors are from the US) only refers to the last 500 visitors to my site. Statcounter is real time and as the globe turns, you can see the progress of daylight across the globe by looking at your visitors locations! Cool, huh?a

Location of visitors to Fiction Notes

Location of visitors to Fiction Notes. Click to enlarge.



Google Analytics. Another common option for website statistics is Google Analytics, and it’s a free powerhouse. You should set this up, but it might take a year or two to learn the ins and outs; in fact, I’m still learning. Yes, of course, there are WordPress Plugins for this. Search Plugins/AddNew/Google Analytics to find a couple dozen plugins. Some will only add in the required code, but some add bells and whistles. Try out a couple until you find something you’re comfortable with. Sign up with Google Analytics and follow their directions and tutorials to get everything set up.

Do you need both stat programs? Here’s the dirty little secret about stat programs: they never agree. Your CPanel may be set up with server stats, which will differ from both of these programs. Generally, they will be close, but there are all sorts of reasons why they may not agree. When I set up my account seven years ago, Statcounter was the only program that recorded information in real time; Google Analytics only added that feature recently. I could probably go with just Google Analytics, but it’s so complicated–complete and wonderful, but complicated–that I still stick with Statcounter for simplicity. When I really need to dig into stats, though, to figure out something about my traffic, I rely on Google Analytics. For me, it’s a win-win to use both. But you don’t have to! There are many other stat programs, too, so find what works best for your website and your needs.

The best thing about stats? You can track the growth of your website from just a few visitors the first month to that first exciting day of 100 visitors and onward and upward to 1000 a day or more.

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16. Rich People Read More Than Poor People in the UK: Booktrust

booktrustSocioeconomic background has a lot to do with how much people read in the UK. According to a new report from Booktrust, which includes survey results from 1,500 adults, the more money you have, the more likely you are to read and vice versa.

Twenty-seven percent of adults from the poorest socio-economic backgrounds revealed that never read books, while only 13 percent of the richest people surveyed admitted to never reading books. In addition, the report found that 62 percent of richest respondents admitted reading daily or weekly, whereas 42 percent of the poorest respondents read that often. Not surprisingly, richer people own twice as many books as poorer people.

Despite discrepancies in access to books and the time spent reading, most of the interview subjects agreed that reading improves their lives. According to the report, 76 percent of survey respondents said that reading improves their lives. Broken down into socioeconomic background, 83 percent of rich adults and  72 percent of poor adults admitted this. (Via The BBC).

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17. Don't Forget the Databases


We are big believers here in using a variety of program types to fill out our dance card. By combining active, DIY and stealth/passive programs, we create time in our schedule to

  1. serve all ages 
  2. incorporate more outreach to schools and daycares
  3. do stronger collection development
  4. blue sky and write successful grants to support new initiatives
  5. provide time for CE time for staff (PLNs, webinars, in-person attendance and networking)

So just what are these program types?

Active programs can be simply characterized as programs a staff or volunteer present or lead: storytimes, afterschool workshops, parties based on book characters or popular subjects, STEAM

DIY programs can be thought of as times or spaces devoted to kids in the library that allow them independently to manipulate materials. Think of scavenger hunts, art and craft materials set out for kids to make things, Story Action Pods, imaginative play stations for any age.

Stealth programs are those that, once prepared by staff, are totally powered by the kids and families. They provide the reading or return visits to the library. SLP is a great example we all do. 1000 Books Before Kindergarten is another great example.

We keep track of how participation/attendance is in all the programs. How many kids used the story action pod (based on number of sheets of paper used); how many bags of legos were give out at check-out for Lego Tower Build; how many children attended storytime; how many return visits were made for 1000 Books Before Kindergarten this month? These stats help us stay informed of the usefulness of each effort.

We keep a fairly simple database of our programs and numbers to help us track participation. At some libraries, an excel spread sheet works; others use a paper copy. By keeping statistics on our programs – and referring to and studying them for patterns and trends - we make informed decisions on what programs should be continued, when to end programs and the types of programs that fit best within our budget, staff time and community needs. This analysis and evaluation becomes second nature and gives us the support we need to expand, delete or add programs based on hard facts rather than supposition.

These statistics not only inform us, our director and our board, but we also report out these numbers to the state library for the state annual report. Sadly, for a long time, although we did this mix of programs, only our active program statistics and SLP participation were reported to the state for the annual report. Winter reading program? Too bad? Lego Build effort - no way. Cookie Club? You dreamer! 1000 Books Before Kindergarten? Nope.

That was a problem. In our state youth librarians started working hard to change that dynamic. Our state library folks could see the efforts and time that went into DIY, reading programs beyond summer and passive programs that brought children and families into the library. They became champions of change in the reporting of youth program statistics. To get a peek at the results of that work in Wisconsin, check out this PDF of the new reporting system and definitions for programs.

Now ALL.THE.THINGS.COUNT. It makes it easier as a manager to justify our hard work. And it makes me glad we have our database of program stats for all types of programs that shows what happens when we reach outside the box of traditional programming and bring it to our community!



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18. Women Still Lag Behind in Book Reviews: VIDA

vidagraphBooks written by women are reviewed on average much less than books written by men, according to the annual VIDA count a report that tracks gender inequality in literary publications.

The organization looked at the number of women whose books were reviewed, as well as the number of female reviewers in 39 literary publications and found that some are more gender balanced than others.  Gender-biased publications included The New York Review of Books which published 212 book reviews written by male reviewers in 2013, and only 52 by female reviewers. In addition, The London Review of Books reviewed 245 books written by men last year and only 72 written by women.

Not every publication was so biased. The Paris Review was very balanced with 47 men and 48 women represented overall. Granta reviewed books by 30 females and 36 males.

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19. VIDA at AWP



One of the most interesting discussions I saw at the AWP conference was one sponsored by VIDA, with editors and writers talking about the results of VIDA's 2013 count of female and male writers in various publications. This year, they were able to offer a particularly revealing set of graphs showing three year trends in book reviewing at major magazines and journals.

The only report of the discussion I've seen so far is that of VIDA volunteer Erin Hoover at The Nervous Breakdown (although I'm sure it was covered by Twitter when it happened). Hoover gives a good overview of the panel and the issues. I took lots of notes, so will here add some more detail to try to show how the discussion went.

After introductory remarks by moderator Jennine Capó Crucet, the first responses were made alphabetically by last name, and so two men began: Don Bogen, poetry editor of The Cincinnati Review, and Stephen Corey, editor of The Georgia Review. Bogen noted that, inspired by VIDA, he'd done a count of the poetry published by CR during his 7-year tenure and discovered to, really, his surprise that he'd achieved parity between male and female writers (or at least male and female bylines). How had he managed to do this unconsciously, he wondered? The best hypothesis he had was that he seeks real diversity of experience and point of view in poetry and has eclectic taste — indeed, the only poems he said he's not particularly interested in are ones that reflect his own experience. He noted that certainly the idea of parity depends on where one is counting from, as particular issues of the magazine would go one way or the other, and he tends to organize blocks of poems in between other genres in each issue in ways that have sometimes been balanced but also sometimes been entirely female or entirely male. Many times, too, he said, he does his best to read blind, paying little to no attention to a byline, and has often discovered that material he thought was "male" or "female" had been written by someone of another gender. Thus, the magic of literature.

Of the panelists, Stephen Corey seemed perhaps least comfortable with the discussion. His initial statement was simply a set of questions. (I think I managed to write them all down, but may have missed something.) When we talk about gender balance, he asked, are we talking about balance in submissions? In page counts? (Does a 30-page story count the same as a 1-page poem?) Should reviews be counted the same as poems, essays, or stories? Do you want an editor to read your work with gender in mind? Should a publication put out a call for more work by males or females? Should a publication put out an anti-call against one gender? When you read, do you care if what you read is by a man or a woman [audience: YES!], and should an editor care?

After Corey, E.J. Graff said so many interesting things I had trouble taking notes. Here's what I wrote down:

  • The count is an example of why all English majors should take a course in statistics. Graff: "I wish I had!"
  • The submission gap is enormous. With opinion pieces, women editors solicit women and are often turned down or need more time, whereas men often say yes and offer to get the piece done very quickly (important for current events).
  • Men continually send pitches after rejections, women don't.
  • Structural acculturation. We have to overcome our own socialization — and not just in terms of gender. The audience, for instance, was overwhelmingly white.
  • We must make our own choices conscious because many of our prejudices are unconcious. Graff pointed to the Implicit Association Test.
  • For students, there is a dramatic shift between the world of school and the world of work. It can be difficult to learn how to promote yourself. Men tend to do this more comfortably than women, because it's generally more socially acceptable for men.
  • Make a posse. Promote yourself and your group. Start a movement or magazine. Challenge each other, help with drafts and careers, but as a group move each other forward.
  • When lesbians and gay men started working together in the 1980s, there were many difficulties, suspicions, and prejudices. To overcome these difficulties, many groups decided on a shared leadership structure that required equal power sharing between a man and a woman rather than just one leader. Why not do that with more prizes, editorships, groups?
Katha Pollitt (a personal hero of mine, and one of the main reasons I went to the panel) then offered her perspective, particularly as someone who has a long career as a poet and essayist, as well as a former editor with The Nation. Because I love Katha Pollitt, I tried to write as fast as she talked, and so here are my notes from her initial statement:
  • Some editors are quite conscious, others not at all — and some of the latter group are women. They can be very far away from consciously considering the issue, they can be very far away from any sort of balance, and yet still think they're doing great (and thus not need to become conscious).
  • As VIDA has shown, raising the issue can, sometimes, make change.
  • At The Nation, the front and back of the magazine are totally separate. In front, the subject areas (politics, news, current events) and speed of weekly publishing means the editors have settled on "go-to" people who they know are very reliable — maybe not the best writers, but they turn in clean copy on time. These editors would need to make the time to seek out new, female experts who are reliable. Some places have made such an effort — Alternet and Mother Jones, for instance.
  • You have to think about it (make the issue conscious) because we have to compensate for elements in the culture.
  • There are too many women trying to write in too few subject areas. Look at how many women are writing about Girls! Women should try to cultivate interest and knowledge in areas outside those seen as "feminine" or "women's issues".
  • If you're not getting submissions from women, you have to ask why. Why would a woman throw herself at your wall?
  • Most op-eds are solicited. Most slush piles aren't even read by an editor. Slush is not where the problem lies.
  • Things are fairer at newspapers. They have unions and must follow anti-discrimination policies.
Then the discussion moved on to questions and comments from the audience. Again, from notes, which may distort some things simply because I couldn't write fast enough. (I'll offer some summary and response at the end.)

Q: Is gender-identified subject matter more or less appealing? Also, racially-identified? Etc.
Don Bogen: An experience can be gendered, but not to the writer. Surprised plenty of times to discover the gender of a writer whose byline was indeterminate. The otherness of the imagination is important.

Q: 99% of news is what is seen to be traditionally male. Much of human life is dismissed as female.
E.J. Graff: It's worse than you know! The Global Media Monitoring Project statistics are horrifying. Women in the news are usually victims or family members ("the wife of", "the mother of", etc.). These create our implicit biases. Though, as Katha Pollitt said, there may be a good amount of female bylines in newspapers, the top editors and the columnists tend to be male.

Q: Wal-Mart has a huge effect on the economy because it is so large, and so getting Wal-Mart to change practices can have a massive ripple effect. Is there a Wal-Mart of the literary world that we should focus on trying to change?
[Some laughter, cross-talk]
Another audience member: The Wal-Mart is in the room. Unsubscribe from magazines you don't like the numbers for, and let them know. Let Harper's know. Let The New Yorker know. Don't let your subscription lapse silently — it's important that the magazines know why you are leaving them, and what it would take to get you back.

Q: Why is the literary world so obsessed with dudes from Brooklyn?! I don't want "women's literature", I want literature. Even when women are put forward, though, they become invisible.
Pollitt: Yes, why when Jonathan Franzen writes a book is everybody else suddenly invisible? Can Karen Russell get the same amount of notice? She should, but does she? It's a problem of publicity. Some women get attention. But does the attention last? Will it last? Can we make it last? The writers are there, the quality is there, the publicity is not.

VIDA volunteer: Feel empowered. Email magazines. Use knowledge to use your money and time well. VIDA is 10 volunteers. You are many. Vote with your dollars.

VIDA co-founder Erin Belieu: Most of the media reports on the count frame the story as, "It still sucks." And it does. But there's more to it than that. Many places say they need a comment from people such as New Yorker editor David Remnick if they're going to run a big story, but the editors of the highest-profile magazines won't talk, and so the story is not seen as journalistically significant. Behind the scenes, though, there is concern. One well-known female fiction writer gots calls from multiple editors when the count was released this year — the publications were embarrassed, and they wanted this writer to contribute. She didn't have any short fiction available and also didn't want to be the token female, so she gave the editors the names of 5 other writers who might be able to give them something.

Q for Katha Pollitt: Is there a perception among editors that there are female and male subject matter? Is more male subject matter being covered?
Pollitt: War, politics, etc. — these are not "male" subjects! More women are killed by war than men. Women's lives are deeply, intimately, and constantly affected by politics. These are human subjects. The New York Times has two male columnists who started out as food writers, a subject often associated with women. Get to know a lot about something interesting in a less crowded field and you will have an easier time getting published.

And then time ran out.

The take-away message was, as Erin Hoover wrote, consciousness. The world we live in is structurally biased against equality, and as people who live in this world, if we don't consciously work toward increasing equality, we will unconsciously contribute to inequality.

I love the idea that we could follow Don Bogen's lead and try to read and publish eclectically, seeking experiences and representations outside of our own, and thus achieve equality. But I don't think it would work. I expect he's an outlier and his example would be difficult, even impossible, to replicate. Worse, a stated interest in diversity might be used as cover. I think too many publishers and editors could just say to themselves, "Hey, we're nice, tolerant, liberal people who sorta like, you know, value that diversity thing. Yeah. We'll be equal," and then go right on reinforcing the status quo. I actually would prefer that someone just say, "I couldn't care less about equality," and not pretend.

Let's go back to Stephen Corey's questions. They're good for discussion, but I think they're problematic overall. With regard to page lengths and genres, etc., it's really not that hard to compare like to like, and VIDA, for instance, offers statistics in various breakdowns (books reviewed, reviewers, etc). The "overall" stats that VIDA provides are useful as a way to view the problem generally, but yes, there's a difference between a 200-word review and a 10,000-word article. The general view is useful, though. We're not to the point where distinctions necessarily say a lot. The trends are so bad that getting too specific is pretty much a waste of time. Maybe in the future it would be an interesting exercise, but right now the information is pretty damn unambiguous and shameful. As Don Bogen showed, there's plenty of reasons for an individual magazine issue or section of an issue to be dominated by women or men, but once you step back from individual issues and sections, once you increase the data set, then consistent, significant inequality speaks for itself.

Do we want editors to read our work with our gender in mind? I've never assumed they wouldn't. I'd love to live in a world where my gender presentation was irrelevant, but I don't live in that world, and pretending I do just reinforces a status quo I loathe. My name is Matthew and I physically present as male; that affects people's perceptions of me consciously and, especially, unconsciously. How much does that matter to any one editor? I assume a bit (at least), unless they want to give me multiple results from the Implicit Association Test showing that they are utterly unaffected by gender ... at which point I might assume they don't entirely care about my apparent maleness. Otherwise, I'm going to assume they're living in the same swamp of associations that I am.

Should there be a call made for more of one gender, or against another? Oh, please. This is a question better left to concern trolls. I can just imagine the sort of call that would go out: "Dear Womens: We don't know any female scribblers. Please submit to us so we can see if you know how to write. Thanks!" Or, even better, "Hey guys! These feminazis are doing their thing and we're afraid it might hurt our reputation in this politically correct environment, so please cut it out with the submissions for a while. Once we've published some girls, then we can get back to the real work."

More interesting to me is the question: Do you care about the gender of a writer you read, and should an editor care? The audience loudly affirmed that they care about the gender of writers they read. For me, this is a similar sort of problem to whether I care about if an editor knows my gender when I submit writing to them. In an ideal world where gender is as meaningful as handedness or eye color, a writer's gender for me would be an interesting and inconsequential detail. But I don't ever expect to live in such a world. Human culture has been and continues to be meaningfully and significantly affected by gender. To not care about a writer's gender in such a world is to not care about something that meaningfully and significantly affects that writer. So yes, I notice the gender of writers I read. I care about it. The world does not just naturally drop a nicely balanced group of male, female, and genderqueer writers on my readerly doorstep. The world makes it easiest for me to read white male writers who use the English language and publish with major publishers. I make the conscious effort to seek out others. (Among the books I'm currently reading: Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin; The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates; The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde; Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde by Alexis De Veaux.) If I want to know about the world outside of my own experiences — and that really is why I read — then I have to pay attention to some of the categories the writers I read fall into. It's why I got interested in African literatures, even before I ever traveled to Africa. I can't imagine not reading such work now. Not for reasons of political correctness or some other overloaded scare term, but for purely selfish reasons: my life is richer and more interesting with such writings in it than not.

So it's probably not surprising that I think editors should notice and care, because otherwise the structures of our culture are going to notice and care for them, and will replicate the dominant status quo.

The most important thing to come out of the VIDA count, though, is a desire from editors, writers, and readers to actively fix the problem. This, it seems to me, is VIDA's real message and value. Here are the stats. If you don't care about them, then don't care about them. (You're an asshole, but maybe you're okay with that.) If these numbers shock, dismay, annoy, or even just vaguely bother you, then do something. If you're an editor, seek out female writers and work to make sure your venue is not one that posts various signs saying, "GIRLZ KEEP OUT!" (Hint: If you publish mostly male writers and seriously wonder why non-males don't submit more to you, you're behaving like an oblivious dunderhead.) Be conscious, put forth some effort, and don't start whining for cookies because you did what you should have been doing all along. If you're a reader, let the VIDA count guide you. Tin House, Poetry, and Threepenny Review are three magazines that have deliberately tried to get their numbers to be better, and they're three great magazines well worth your support. There are others, too, and will, I expect (I hope!), be more. If it matters to you, speak up with your voice and your writing, with where you submit work, and with where you spend money. We can be proactive.

And remember E.J. Graff's advice: Make a posse. Promote yourself and your group. Start a movement or magazine. Challenge each other, help with drafts and careers, but as a group move each other forward.

2 Comments on VIDA at AWP, last added: 3/15/2013
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20. Items added

March = 598 (T.=37; me=561)

  • [last year = March = 920 (T.=80; me=840)]
February = 621 (T.=77; me=544)
January = 761 (T.=92; me=669)
December = 409 (T.=112; me=297)
November = 424 (T.=115; me=420)
October = 773 (T.=107; me=666)
September = 1003 (T.=451; me=552)
August = 1494 (T.=449; me=1049)
July = 1068 (T.=235; me=833)
June = 753 (T.=112; me=641)
May = 1016 (T.=101; me=915)
April = 790 (T.=121; me=569)

0 Comments on Items added as of 3/30/2013 3:17:00 PM
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21. Items added

April = 598 (T.=60; me=860)

  • [last year = April = 790 (T.=121; me=569)]
March = 598 (T.=37; me=561)
February = 621 (T.=77; me=544)
January = 761 (T.=92; me=669)
December = 409 (T.=112; me=297)
November = 424 (T.=115; me=420)
October = 773 (T.=107; me=666)
September = 1003 (T.=451; me=552)
August = 1494 (T.=449; me=1049)
July = 1068 (T.=235; me=833)
June = 753 (T.=112; me=641)
May = 1016 (T.=101; me=915)

0 Comments on Items added as of 4/30/2013 5:53:00 PM
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22. Sunday Morning Reads

This post would have been up hours ago if I hadn’t been having Internet issues. Service just shouldn’t be so intermittent in one’s own home. I’m just sayin’

This may have been my last visit to the garden. I was surprised with a head of cabbage that I missed in previous visits and green peppers that just began to grow. I run through the photos on my phone and I’m just amazed at the growth that has taken place. This time, I didn’t even think to take any pictures. Growth happens whether we’re watching or not.

In recent years, there have been amazing blog posts that contain research relating to various facets of diversity in YA lit. Do publishers look at them? Are their decisions impacted at all by the data that is collected and analyzed? I work in a world that frowns on blogs and the information they relate as if it is all bogus forms of cheap entertainment. Knowing that, part of me wishes some of these research posts were submitted to journals, but I am so glad the information is made accessible to readers, authors, editors and publishers. Information is power. I think more impactful than where these reports are posted will be the replicated efforts that better document trends and hopefully change in the industry.

diversity_tinakugler

 

Can we try to collect these reports? Please leave a link to others in the comments.

I know there’s more! I’m sure Debbie Reese has collected figures, but I haven’t found anything…yet. Are there numbers on Latinos? Asians?

This 2008 article references a Brigham Young Study I’ll trying get a hold of this week.

The Brigham Young study analyzed the race, gender and family background of human characters in 82 Newbery-winning books through 2007. The analysis compared three periods, starting with 1922 through 1950, followed by the era in which the Civil Rights Movement gained momentum, 1951 through 1979, and concluding with the 1980 through 2007 period.

Black and Hispanic protagonists became scarcer during the past 27 years. American Indian and Asian main characters increased in number — to two each.

Latino protagonists disappeared from 1980 through 2007 and black ones fell to two from a high of five between 1951 and 1979, the study found. White main characters rose to 19 from 18 in the same period.

The last book with a Hispanic protagonist to win a Newbery Medal was “Shadow of a Bull,” by Maia Wojciechowska, in 1965. The book dealt with a young Spanish boy’s struggle to follow in the footsteps of his slain bullfighter father.

Books by authors of color and with characters of color aren’t written just for people of color. (Corollary: Books by white people aren’t written just for white people.) So, POC books and authors fight the good fight and show up anywhere and everywhere that readers can be found such as at book signings, local library events and conferences. Readers of color have to show up to.

Think about it.

If publishers and editors don’t see us at conferences and signings, their notions that we don’t read or buy books will only be re-enforced. Show up to these events, inquire about your favorite author of color. I say this out loud to remind myself why I’m going to ALAN this year and why I’m especially thankful that author Lyn Miller-Lachmann proposed a panel with her, myself, Kekla Magoon and Rene Saldana Jr. I think I saw names of three other authors of color in the program. So disappointing! I really hope to see more people of color than that in the audience.

If you’re a librarian looking for ways to get involved in ALA and make a difference, this information is for you.

Committees with openings:

and the Committee Volunteer Form (which requires you to sign in):

https://www.ala.org/CFApps/Committee/volunteerform/volunteerform2.cfm?group1=YALSA

YALSA has dozens of ways for its members and supporters to get involved, including many options for virtual participation.  Whether you choose to volunteer to gain additional leadership opportunities, build your resume, increase exposure in the association or library community, or give back to the profession, YALSA relies on you to help support the association and make a positive difference in serving teens through libraries.

Whichever way you choose to get involved, we are committed to providing you with a meaningful experience.  If you have any questions, or would like additional information, we’re happy to help!  Email us at yalsa@ala.org or call us at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4390.

And yes, dammit! There are malls in Kenya! And paved roads, car dealerships, universities, banks and yes, even book publishers! I remember when The Cold War between the US, Russia and China played out in Africa and now it’s this ‘war’ between… who is this between? Who are the players? These extremists in the East and in the West? It’s playing out all over Africa, from Mali to Kenya and to Somalia. Great people to follow from various locations across the continent to keep you aware of mostly literary and a few political occurences.

Storymoja Hay Fest@SMHayFest

Kinna@kinnareads

Writers Project Gh@writersPG

African Library Proj ‏ @AfricanLibraryP

Jalada Africa ‏ @JaladaAfrica

I’m thinking about mooncakes and Moon Festival while my friends in Taiwan are just getting over a massive typhoon.

Bless the people of Kenya who are mourning and grieving. Bless the people of Taiwan who should be celebrating the autumn moon festival but are suffering from a massive typhoon. Even from these tragedies, there will eventually be growth; god willing!

Bless us!

 

 

 

 

 


Filed under: Sunday Reads Tagged: garden, research, statistics, yalsa

3 Comments on Sunday Morning Reads, last added: 9/25/2013
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23. Items added

September = 767 (T.=176; me=591)

  • [last year = September = 1003 (T.=451; me=552)]
August = 1053 (T.=148; me=905)
July = 957 (T.=130; me=878)
June = 957 (T.=60; me=1006)
May = 957 (T.=67; me=890)
April = 598 (T.=60; me=860)
March = 598 (T.=37; me=561)
February = 621 (T.=77; me=544)
January = 761 (T.=92; me=669)
December = 409 (T.=112; me=297)
November = 424 (T.=115; me=420)
October = 773 (T.=107; me=666)

0 Comments on Items added as of 10/1/2013 12:02:00 PM
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24. Items added

October = 1145 (T.=120; me=1025)

  • [last year = October = 773 (T.=107; me=666)]
September = 767 (T.=176; me=591)
August = 1053 (T.=148; me=905)
July = 957 (T.=130; me=878)
June = 957 (T.=60; me=1006)
May = 957 (T.=67; me=890)
April = 598 (T.=60; me=860)
March = 598 (T.=37; me=561)
February = 621 (T.=77; me=544)
January = 761 (T.=92; me=669)
December = 409 (T.=112; me=297)
November = 424 (T.=115; me=420)

0 Comments on Items added as of 11/1/2013 10:48:00 AM
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25. Items added

November = 554 (T.=74; me=480)

  • [last year = November = 424 (T.=115; me=420)]
October = 1145 (T.=120; me=1025)
September = 767 (T.=176; me=591)
August = 1053 (T.=148; me=905)
July = 957 (T.=130; me=878)
June = 957 (T.=60; me=1006)
May = 957 (T.=67; me=890)
April = 598 (T.=60; me=860)
March = 598 (T.=37; me=561)
February = 621 (T.=77; me=544)
January = 761 (T.=92; me=669)
December = 409 (T.=112; me=297)

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