Nora Roberts is one of the most successful authors ever and yet her books never appear in the New York Times Book Review or The London Review of Books. The reason they give is that romance is not considered serious literature, but that's not true. What they mean to say is that romance written by women is not serious literature. A US group just released a study that shows despite the talk men are just taken more seriously in the book world even if they write romance.
"Marina Warner, author and reviewer, described the imbalance as "marked", pointing out that it also applies to which titles are given to which reviewers, "reflecting how readers are subtly influenced to respond – even before starting to read. [So] a romance by a male author reviewed by a male reviewer gains stature beyond the usual expectation of the genre.""
And in fact it is not just romance written by women, it's anything written by women. Even the critiques. Men dominate everywhere.
"But the latest figures show that little has changed since 2010: at the LRB (London Reveiw of Books), in 2012 24% of reviewers were women (66 out of 276), with 27% of books reviewed written by women. At the New York Review of Books, 16% of reviewers were women, with 22% of the books reviewed written by women. At the TLS (Times Literary Supplement), 30% of the 1,154 reviewers were women, and 25% of the 1,238 books reviewed were written by women."
And yet there are people out there who still think we don't need special prizes for women writers (i.e. The Orange Prize, currently in transition but thankfully being saved) and magazines like Mslexia.
We still have a very long way to go.