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The argument ... in pieces

I probably should have waited till I had all the bits of the maths in my hands and not said anything in advance. My intention is not to sit and point at men and say how much they suck and how sexist they are. Or how sexist male editors are - that's not remotely interesting to me as an argument. A lot of my closest friends are male editors (heh) and it's not the point, you know? I don't think male editors look at names and dismiss female authors. I don't think they set out to only like stories written by men. That's a boring position in the argument to take.

I blogged my comments earlier because I was looking at the big name overseas markets, many of which struggle to hit 25% female authorship across a bunch of issues in a single year. I was depressed because that's not a lot of places for female writers to be competing with and doesn't leave many spots for new female writers to break in. For new voices to be heard.

My argument was going to be more looking at the business model. Taking into consideration the drop in circulation of the top mags, I thought I would look into various stats. Here's the thing, they struggle to publish women. It's possible that then, they also struggle to appeal to female readers. If you look at the last two publishing phenonemona that swept the world - JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyers - the one thing you can't deny --> they sell. The other thing you'll note is that women read. Two somewhat important factors, I would think, when looking at markets. If it were me, I'd want to look into why those sold and how I can get a piece of the action.

What's interesting to me is that the female audience is never ever (at least publicly) considered. It's not even allowed to be openly discussed without defensive males (editors) jumping up and down and telling you it's not a problem. But what if it IS? What if declining readership could be correlated to declining or low numbers of stories appealing to female readers? Why wouldn't you look at your product and see what market you want or could target it to?

It seems to me, that female writers tend to write female stories - not always, and not necessarily overtly or through only using female protagonists. But ... can men really argue that they write so well that they can write *for* women and thus we don't need to give voice and page space to them in order to hear what they have to say? For me, it's not about needing gender equality in ToCs to show that we're all fair and equal or that sexism is dead. It's actually about there being products out there that appeal to ME, that are made with ME in mind and that give voice to issues and concerns that affect ME. And I don't think you can effectively argue that magazine and anthology after magazine and anthology that only print stories written by white men can do that.

You might not care. You might not want to produce that kind of product. And I don't have to pay for products like that. But the thing is? When I look around at what I have actually handed cash over for lately? It's novels written by women. I used to subscribe to several mags - online and print. And I used to hunt others down in the newsagent. But the truth is, they bored me and they felt like a waste of money for me because I am clearly not the target audience. So when you talk about declining circulations and you wonder why, why not ask around and why not take notice of the answers? Because I am included in many of those stats for readers taking their money elsewhere.


Jan. 12th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC)
yes, but to believe those things, you have to believe a more unpleasent truth about the editors and people who buy fiction, yes?
Jan. 12th, 2009 01:40 am (UTC)
Jan. 12th, 2009 01:42 am (UTC)
so it's shocking that it happens because all editors are intelligent, educated, well read individuals who have social/gender/literature concerns are the fore front of their mind?
Jan. 12th, 2009 01:45 am (UTC)
If I had the answer I would have just blogged it. I'm allowed to spend some time exploring it surely?

Although ... people tend to relate to stories that speak to them. It's not surprising that more editors buy stories about men if they are men. Surely?
Jan. 12th, 2009 01:48 am (UTC)
well, the latter assumes editors are not trying to market their books, which we know is not true. but i think you might find that the more you push this the more you have to criticise editors up the food chain.
Jan. 12th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC)
Anyone could see this is not necessarily the case.

I'm a male editor. I commission what I respond to. I haven't done the maths, but wouldn't be surprised if I commissioned male writers more often than female ones. Do I do it out of some kind of anti-woman agenda? Of course not.

But do I do it? Yes. (Assuming that is what the stats would tell you.)

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