Written by Tor UK editor Julie Crisp, it is exactly the sort of stuff I wanted to hear from the industry. To take a few excerpts:
In the last few years I have seen numerous articles deploring the lack of female SFF writers, in science fiction in particular. And usually, the blame always comes back to the publisher’s doorstep. Every time I’ve seen one of these articles I get a little hot under the collar because, guess what? I work in publishing. I work in genre. And here’s the kicker – I’m a woman. Yes, a female editor commissioning and actively looking for good genre – male AND female.
The sad fact is, we can’t publish what we’re not submitted.
She goes on to quote that only 22% of science fiction submissions they receive are from women. This has been my (admittedly very limited) experience in the ASIM slush as well: that there is a distinct disparity in the submissions.
That said, the incident was inexcusable, no matter how much I was supposed to have “prompted” it. The proper reply that should have been given to my question was what Julie wrote. End of story. Thanks, Julie, for writing it.
Do I believe that pockets of blatant sexism exist in publishing? Hell, yes.
Do I believe that the majority of the publishing industry is at least attempting to be even-handed? Yes, I do. But that will not stop me speaking out when I encounter sexism as blatant as I encountered.
In any case, while I’m angry on behalf of women in general, it’s no skin off my personal nose. I am enjoying my self-publishing journey more and more every day, and getting more rewarded for it every day, too. Ticonderoga Publications is working on edits for my novel. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, the cliché goes, and I’ll survive well without a deal from a “big six” publisher.