Pitch Wars!

“Nobody wants to read women over thirty.” So Becky Masterman learned when she sent her first Brigid Quinn novel out to agents. That changed a few years later, at least for Masterman. She’s now published four Brigid Quinn crime novels, and I am hooked. Also, Masterman inspired me to try to write my own older character.

My current publisher has never said no to any of the six books I’ve published with them. I’m not sure how they will like Jane’s age (55). I would sure like to read more smart and strong older female characters like Brigid. I can’t find any. I wrote Jane as much for myself as I did for anyone. Since I’m almost finished with her story, I’ve decided on a pain-free way to show the manuscript to agents and editors.

Pitch Wars is new to me. Another member of Michigan Sisters in Crime sent out a call for someone to partner up with for this competition and I responded. It’s been a long time since I wrote a book proposal, which is what you do for Pitch Wars. I want to know, for better or worse, what the reaction will be to my older heroine. Is there still resistance to older female characters?

If so, I don’t get it. Baby boomer’s average age is 57. Many boomers are retired. More time for reading. We already know women out-read men by a wide margin. So the target audience for older female characters with grit and grace seems to be ready and waiting. I know I am. If you have any favorite older female characters (I already know about Miss Marple :)) please let me know in the comments.

Am I just quirky and out there? Or are other baby boomer readers also longing for main characters closer to their own age?

I’ll let you know what I hear about my older heroine from the publishing sector after Pitch Wars ends in late September. I’m interested in what they have to say about Jane. Interested and a little nervous.

12 Comments

  1. There’s a number of very popular lady detective shows on t.v., Miss Jessica Fletcher (Murder She Wrote) to name just one, and I believe that series was based on published books. https://www.fandom.com/articles/tvs-10-best-women-detectives I’m not selective about who I read when it comes to mysteries or murder fiction–they’re all equal to my thinking. I don’t understand why the publisher thought a story about an older woman wouldn’t be well received. There’s a niche for every type of story line. Go for it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s the same trend we see with women in film not getting roles after a certain age. For every Jessica Fletcher there are endless younger women usually playing supporting roles to the male main character in tv crime shows.

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    1. Agree, Sue. Women spend money on books, so it’s a money maker. Have to say the Brits do much better with older female main characters. I adore Vera (first read in print but also ❤️ the BBC TV show) And Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway series is stellar!

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  2. I’m not sure that publishers are keen on older writers, never mind characters. They seem to prefer pretty young women with “stunning debut novels.” Maybe I’m just feeling snarky; certainly I haven’t done any querying or pitching in years, so have no experience to base my comment on. But one of my novels (Hunting the Phoenix) has a middle-aged (55 or so) woman as protagonist/narrator. It does seem logical that the 50+ female reading demographic would be delighted to find books featuring women like them, only solving crimes and having adventures. Wishing you luck with the Pitch Wars!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Audrey. I agree with you that publishers love a young writer. But just thinking about the books I read and their authors tells me we have many many older writers publishing now. Publishers don’t print their photos so often. Or they print a 20 year old photo. I’ve even seen a few of the “little bit older” authors who look like they’ve had some cosmetic surgery. Hey nothing wrong with that, if it’s what they want to do, but it saddens me if they feel forced to do it for publicity and sales reasons. I’m indignant for writers who feel pressured to be “young” and I won’t even get into the fact that male authors never seem to worry about their wrinkles! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not sure that publishers are keen on older writers, never mind characters. They seem to prefer pretty young women with “stunning debut novels.” Maybe I’m just feeling snarky; certainly I haven’t done any querying or pitching in years, so have no experience to base my comment on. But one of my novels (Hunting the Phoenix) has a middle-aged (55 or so) woman as protagonist/narrator. It does seem logical that the 50+ female reading demographic would be delighted to find books featuring women like them, only solving crimes and having adventures. Wishing you luck with the Pitch Wars!

    Like

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