Mrs. Betka, Mrs. Hage, Ecco’s motto Publishing Company It is “what do we want to read”. They just want to read women. why?
Kathrin Betka: Literary classics are still very masculine. We have also put the author’s book on the shelf. However, this has changed at the same time. We hope to give female authors the attention and space they deserve, but in our opinion, it is not enough so far.
Why do you think it is necessary to carry out this kind of targeted promotion of female writers in the literary world?
Laura Haag: Because whether it is in literary awards, reviews or bookstores, the attention of writers is still higher than that of female writers. They are deeply ingrained patterns that have become so solid over the years that they are difficult to break. We focus on attention, awareness and loyalty. Women support women.
Only women work for you. Someone might criticize your publishing philosophy for excluding people—that is, men.
Betka: We are prepared for this kind of criticism. But it was said less than expected. For us, this shows how necessary and timely this approach is. We are asked from time to time whether we publish women’s books for women. But we want to make women’s books for everyone.
The reader market is actually very feminine. Women read and buy more books than men. But you rarely try to become a female writer. Do they lack role models?
Hagg: Not really, because there are many great female writers and many female writers. We now want to provide them with a stage that has not yet been given. We want to make the role model more visible.
Is there any fundamental difference between male and female literature?
Hage: There is no generalization in spelling. More about the main theme. Meg Mason’s novel “What We Want” in our first show is about a woman dealing with children’s problems and related fears, expectations, and clichés. From our point of view, it is impossible for one person to write such a strong and emotional work.
How important is the presentation of your book? We all know these cliché cover designs…
Beka: Very important. The cover is the first thing you notice when you enter the bookstore. You will only pick up this book when it arouses interest. We want to find a unified design concept with high recognition value, in which each book has its own strong appearance. We want high quality, modernity and timelessness.
What are your customers like now?
Beitka: Mixed colors. We want to be broad-based. Of course, we now hope to have more male readers!
The relationship between men and women in non-fiction and crime fiction is more unbalanced than in other types. You still only publish novels.
Hage: First of all, this is related to the difference between it and other programs in our publishing group. But we also think that you can handle all topics in a fictitious way.
They hang under the umbrella of HarperCollins Publishing Group. How self-sufficient are you?
Betka: Ecco is part of the publishing group, but we operate independently as a team. The five of us decide which games we make, how we market them, and how they look.
Hage: But we also benefit from the big publishers behind us. For example, “Blond” by Joyce Carol Oates was published by our namesake Ecco Press 20 years ago. We are able to publish this novel in our release plan, which is a gift for us, because this novel shows what we want to publish: women’s views of the world.Oates presents Marilyn Monroe from a new perspective in front.
Is there a plan to introduce your courses to schools and thus also to young people?
Betka: This is definitely an idea. The sooner you are exposed to new ideas, the better. For this, we may need to further develop our program. It might not be a good idea to hand Joyce Carol Oates to a fifth grader (laughs).
You have all worked in mixed-gender teams before. What has changed now?
Hager: I want to say that women’s intuition makes our work easier. We just work well as a team. But this is mainly because we want the same things and we love literature. In this case, the way we work is particularly important: we make decisions together on an equal basis.
When the ratio of men to women in the bookshelves is balanced, would you include men in your show?
Hager: This is a very optimistic view! But we will stick to our philosophy. We believe that even if balance is achieved at some point, there will still be many female voices to be discovered.
Betka: Our author Bianca Nawrath put it this way: “The door was pushed open and it was difficult for us to pass.”