Go Tell The Women (again)

Posted by Fahrenheit Press on

A few years ago, not long after we started Fahrenheit, I felt the need to write a blog post asking more women to submit manuscripts to us. (You can read the original post here).

At the time almost 90% of the submissions we were getting were from men and that didn't sit too well with us. I'm pleased to say though that our appeal worked and we've enjoyed a fairly healthy split for most of the last two years.

Recently though we've noticed submissions from women have dropped back to about 10-15% of all the submissions we receive and the gender split in our published books has dropped from around 50/50 to 70/30 (in favour of men).

I explained why I think less women send us submissions the first time around - i don't want to go through the whole thing again but  sadly most of it seems to still ring true.

I'll just quote this bit though because it seems the most pertinent...

"I think there’s something else going on here and (honestly my heart is sinking as I type this) sadly I think it’s the bloody patriarchy to blame again.
Obviously this is all couched in generalities but I think what’s going on here is that the majority of women writers double-guess themselves before submitting their work in a way that the majority of male writers simply don’t.
And I say that against the backdrop I sketched out earlier where easily 75% of the submissions we get are self-delusional drivel.
There’s been an argument raging in publishing for some years about how it can be that in an industry where the overwhelming majority of employees are female, most speakers at publishing conferences are male. Various reasons have been put forward but most people seem to agree that on the whole;
a) men put themselves forward to speak more 
b) men say yes more when asked to speak 
c) women are more likely to refuse to speak when asked 
I think something similar is going on here. This is quite a broad sweeping  statement but I’d say that most male writers are battering out submissions and pressing send with an almost untouchable self-confidence and sense of entitlement while female writers are polishing, perfecting and in many cases waiting for an invitation."

And it seems to be happening again, we don't know why our numbers have slipped back again - some people I've talked to reckon it's just the nature of things but I don't really buy that. My guess is it's because we've been so busy trying to keep our publishing business running that we took our eye off the gender balance ball and stopped noticing. It's clear to us now that if we don't keep the pressure up with these issues the status quo very quickly re-asserts itself.

So for that I'm sorry - it's down to me to make sure we're staying true to our orginal vision and we can't do that if all our books are written by blokes.

So please, take this as notice that we are actively looking for more submissions by women writers.

Being a woman wont mean you're more likely to get published by us, we’ll NEVER make a publishing decision based on the gender or sexuality of an author or their characters but I simply don’t want to run a publishing house where one gender outnumbers the other 4 to 1.

I'll end this by quoting again from the original blog post from a few years ago...
"Now, before the trolling starts. Here’s what I’m NOT saying….
I’m NOT saying women are better writers than men.
I’m NOT saying we only want submissions from women.
I’m NOT saying all male writers are pushy idiots with no talent.
I’m NOT saying all female writers are timid little wall flowers.
What I AM SAYING is that something is wrong when only 1 in 10 of the submissions we’re getting are from women.
I don’t know all the reasons why this is the case, I just know it IS the case.
So, please – if you’re a female crime writer don’t hold back from submitting to Fahrenheit Press - if you’re a male crime writer, as you were, you will anyway."

Okay, that's all, just a nudge and shake so we all do a bit better... 

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