A reader told me a few months ago that when it was her turn to choose a date night activity with her husband, she chose to cuddle together and read my fanfic Silk Blade with him. Wow, I remember thinking. She let me know he was really keen to find out how the story ended since they couldn’t finish it all in one go. He was the one to ask that they continue reading it on their next date night.
Another gentle reader told me not long ago that she played some of my audiobook in the car while on a road trip with some male friends. She said they were mystified about what she was listening to at first but then “their eyes got rounder on the first nsfw chapter”. They told her they thought it was great (Hmm, I never did clarify if that was for the story in general or the nsfw, lol). One of the men apparently even asked her if he could have a copy of the audiobook for his girlfriend!
Both these readers’ experiences got me to thinking about something that’s always been in the back of my mind since I started writing my stories. Do men read fantasy-romance? And if so, are there guys amongst my readers out there? Have any ever commented?
There’s a chart on the Wattpad stats page for writers that shows the breakdown of a work’s readers by gender. Here’s an example from one of my fanfics (Scales of Atonement):
The chart information is dependent on what readers indicate in their profiles, of course. There are only 3 choices shown on the chart: female (light purple), male (green), or private (dark purple). That 3% male really intrigues me. Are there men reading the story (or is it just people selecting ‘male’ randomly –kind of like my making myself 20 years younger when signing up on websites *cough)?
I grew up in a generation where a man (no matter their orientation) reading romance would be ridiculed to the extreme. I’d like to think that’s no longer the case. But I know my main works are considered “female-oriented” from a mainstream perspective.
I decided to risk being eyeball-rolled in an impromptu survey and asked my adult son what he thinks. I was rather surprised (and pleased) by the answer I got, “Mom, it’s 2020. Guys will read whatever they want.”
So based on my survey of one, and my two anecdotes, maybe it’s not all a Mars vs. Venus thing and guys wouldn’t be caught dead reading works like mine. Maybe now it’s just about men needing to have the occasion. I will therefore say that the answer to my blog title question is a “yes” for me. Guys can (and do) enjoy fantasy-romance stories.
I will continue to keep my eye on that chart as well as my others, hoping to see those male numbers grow.
Does anyone have any related anecdotes to share? I’d love to hear them.
I have recommended yours and Marie’s stories to my male friends who’s got a wattpad account. This blog made me curious on what exactly they’re reading in the app. I will report back when I find out 😊
Really? Lol, I’m very curious to know what they tell you. It’d be awesome to learn if they read one of our stories or similar. Please do share if and when you can… Thanks!
I think it’s very cool you have some male readers. And it’s exciting that readers are sharing your stories with their friends and family. They all want to read more! I can’t blame them, lol. I’m sure interest in your stories will continue to grow from here