January 11th, 2009


Get You Out, You Dwarf

I spent a lovely evening in King's Park with a bunch of friends to see Midsummer Nights Dream. We went early and took a picnic - soooo much food it was unbelievable! Every time I thought we were finished, someone else pulled something out of their hamper! It was a lovely balmy night. And the play was fantastic. As usual I was a tough sell on Shakespeare as comic but by after intermission, I was laughing so hard I was crying. I'm not going to elaborate in case anyone reading this is going - I don't want to spoil a second of it. And there's nothing better than wandering off in a play's intermission, bare foot on soft grass to get coffee.

I had a great time.

In other news, I got three more monkeys off my back today - just really little chores but they make so much difference when they are to buy things you need or fix things that bother you every day.

And I bought a pair of scales - my first set in over 15 years. I threw them out long ago, cause, yo, obsessive much? But the truth is, I'm fixated on this anyway and I may as well be able to have encouragement as well as dis-. And I got a very nifty set, on special, that do body fat % and hydration as well as weight. Which has already piqued my scientific interest - just how many glasses of water do I need to drink to increase my hydration? (And the big question ... if I do increase it, will my headaches go away?) Ahh all good things to be answered all in good time.


Looking for new reviewers!

I'm looking for reviewers for ASif! - specifically lovers of horror and also readers happy to read electronic copies of magazines.

If you are interested, or can recommend someone who might be, please email me at twelfthplanetpress @ gmail dot com


Save the Cheerleader, Save the world.

I have almost finished inhaling the first season of Heroes. Another example of something I have been doing a lot of in the last two years or so -- ooh, I'm really going to like this, best put it aside and read/watch/do it later when I have time and headspace to invest in it. And then it becomes part of the static scenery - observe bedside reading pile which I forgot was not an art installation.

Am LOVING IT! And I don't care if it goes downhill from now, I love it. (Enough even to maybe seek out fanfiction *innocently whistles*)

Peter: Are you the one? Did I save the world?
Claire: I dunno. I'm just a cheerleader

Coincidentally, I have another post to make about my own epiphany this week, on destiny and The One. I'll make it later on.

More on the gender balance

At a quick glance, more male writers get reprinted in mags too.

Now, it couldn't possibly be that editors are sexist, or more disposed to male writing. So ... maybe women really do write less. Or less well.

That must be it.


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.


In other news

Cause I did do other things today:

Including, we actually finally finalised the ToC for A Book of Endings. This is very exciting! We have one final work to decide on if it's in but otherwise, it's done. In terms of agreeing on the stories. It was a very rigorous process which of course involved a spreadsheet and some heated debate, at times. The collection will have a nice sizable chunk of new fiction which is exciting. I'm such a fan of Biancotti that it's been a special thrill to read new works as she has finished them. And her works are getting grittier and more confronting. At least for me. At one point this afternoon, in the middle of one particular piece, I got up and texted someone no longer in my life to thank them for something that I never had before. They didn't reply but that's not really the point. The story made me think about something in my past in a totally new light. And that's the best kind of fiction, to me.

I'm looking forward to coediting the new works with benpayne which is the next step in the process.

I popped out to have a coffee with my uncle this afternoon - he'd seen the opera at the Luna. They beam it in live from the Met. I might go with him to see Madame Butterfly later in the year.

What else? Random ASif! upgrading and sewing and Heroes. And that was my day.