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Old July 18 2011, 07:10 AM   #104
Kirsten Beyer
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Location: Los Angeles
Re: Questions for Bring Back Janeway Panel

And last but not least...

Ms Beyer,

Here are my questions for the Shoreleave, Bring Back Janeway Panel.

It is a generally accepted statistic that 64 percent of books purchased are purchased by women. In June of this year Trek.com published the findings of a survey conducted by Professor Daryl G. Frazetti, who found that 71% of all Trek fans were female. Professor Frazetti, found that only 8% of Trek Fans actually purchased and read Trek Novels. Now with females purchasing the majority of the books sold, and being the majority of Trek fans, don't you think that a little more thought should be given to marketing your novels to your female audience?

Kathryn Janeway is clearly the most visible female character and is the only woman to be the main character in a series. Why would you want to limit yourself in this matter? Janeway dying only sells one book, Janeway living would sell lots of books. The pat answer has always been “because we want to tell a good story.” How does telling one good story, have precedence over telling a lot of good stories?

Thank you for the opportunity,
Sharon Smith Cofounder of Bring Back Janeway
Let's do the marketing thing first. I find your numbers interseting and have no reason to question them, particularly as they relate to the number of Trek fans who read Trek Literature. But this really isn't a question for me. I don't write books for men. I don't write books for women. And I certainly don't write books for the fifteen year old boys that are supposedly the only people Trek is marketed toward. I write books the feature the characters I have come to know from the series, presenting them with obstacles I believe they are uniquely qualified to overcome, and I leave it at that. I don't market my books. That's the publisher's job. And never in all the years I have been writing these books has the publisher seen fit to ask me how I think they should be markeing them. They do their job and they let me do mine, largely, I suspect, because the books I have written sell well enough for them to keep asking me to write more. I don't think about how to sell the stories I create because were I to concern myself with that while writing them I would be consciously and subconsciously limiting myself creatively and that's just not something I think it's a good idea to do.

There is an underlying assumption to your second questions that I just don't agree with. You are taking the position that books that feature a living Kathryn Janeway would sell better than books that don't. You base this upon your understanding of what you think sells to the women who make up the bulk of the Trek audience. The reality is that until a book were to be presented that brings Janeway back, we don't have any evidence to argue this one way or the other. You may think it. You may be right. But you may not. It's possible that lots of women read books for all kinds of reasons beyone the presence of Kathryn Janeway and that the new direction is working just fine for them. I know what interests you and the rest of the Bring Back Janeway Community. I also know what interests people who aren't fussed one way or the other by Janeway's presence. You keep trying to argue that there are numbers to support your side that are far more compelling than anything else. I'm saying we can't base content decisions on such things, so instead, we base them on our best judgement, knowing full well that not everyone is going to like every choice we make.

Losing Janeway has limited my ability to tell stories about Janeway. But it has not limited my ability to tell stories about Voyager. And as I hope I have expressed here, it has also not restricted in any way the possiblity that in the future, there will be more Janeway stories.

I've read many of the comments posted here, on Amazon, and Facebook since I started answering these questions. The consensus seems to be that I have said nothing new and only reaffirmed your belief that I have no interest in telling stories about Kathryn Janeway.

So I'm going to say this one last, and I do mean last time.

I adore Kathryn Janeway. She is a pleasure to write about. Thus far we have only told stories that deal with her death and its aftermath. But that does not in any way preclude telling future stories in which she is again featured as a character, and given the opportunity, I'd be thrilled to write them.

I know that some have posted follow up questions to some of my answers here and most of the things I would have taken issue with have already been answered by others so I'm going to bring this thing to a close now, at least for me.

I'd like to thank everyone who participated in the panel, Nick for making it available, and everyone who submitted questions. I hope my answers have shed a little light on where I'm coming from and now it's time for me to get back to the task at hand...writing the next Voyager novel.

I look forward to hearing from all of you next year when it is released.

Best,
Kirsten Beyer
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