I was on my personal Twitter account earlier, and I came across this article that was tweeted by the Guardian. It talks about the idea that because books written by women, no matter what the subject, end up with very girly front covers which cause people to be put off by them, particularly men. It goes on to talk about the idea that if a woman writes as herself, without turning her name into initials, as I will do when I finally get something published. The writer of the article muses on the idea that if a woman who is publishing a novel under a male alias, then would the novel itself be viewed differently.
There are more woman writers than there ever were before getting published, just look at EL James and her ‘mummy porn’ books, or the shortlist of the 2012 Costa Prize, which, for the first time, was 100% female. I guess that women might be getting a better deal here, yet I suppose this article reminds us that there is still sexism in the publishing industry.
I’m a feminist, and I’m not afraid to admit it. I’ve been the Women’s Officer at my college for the past academic year, and attended the NUS Women’s Conference in order to ensure that women’s issues would be kept at the forefront of student union campaigns, as there is still sexism in further and higher education.
Yes, the playing field is becoming more equal as far as writing and achieving publication and awards is concerned.
However, it’s still a problem in the marketing and selling of the work of women. Are the publishers to blame? The agents? The graphic designers? I don’t believe any of them are to blame. I might get shot here, but I’m just going to be brutally honest.
Perhaps the issue is that no one ever really explains themselves properly when submitting! I know, I’ve never tried to submit to a publisher, but I do know about people who have. The more vague the synopsis, I suppose the more of the agent/editor/publisher’s mind will turn to what they will expect from the narrative. The writer might well have a thriller as the main story line with a hint of a romance in mind as the subplot, which (I guarantee) the writer will have written into the frame straight off the bat, and you’re a female, they will jump to their own conclusions about what the story, and thus, the cover will be like. I guess people just need to read through the synopsis they are about to send in to the agent/editor/publisher BEFORE they do it, in order for this to be kind of prevented. It may well be inevitable, no matter what you try though…
Maybe JK Rowling was on to something…