|wJun 19, 2008|
Are you kidding me?
Thanks to Maevele and Rachel Manija Brown for alerting me to recent developments via my LiveJournal friends list.
Okay. So, this one time, Nightshade Press published an anthology of short stories, titled Eclipse One. The mix of authors contained within the anthology was evenly split between men and women. Despite having a number of good (and good-selling) female authors, every name that was on the cover was male. In addition, the marketing package of the cover art was masculine.
Taken from the Wiscon panel description from this year:
The ensuing argument centered around two main points--the publishers felt that, of the authors in the anthology, the names they'd put on the cover were likely to attract the attention of more casual buyers. And because they were in the business of making money, they could not afford to put an "agenda" ahead of anything else. Readers felt that, because no women were given a slot on the cover, the publishers were reinforcing patriarchal assumptions about who sells books, and who doesn't. Some expressed the opinion that the lack of women on the cover was actually likely to deter them from buying the book.
Coffeeandink had a nice write-up of this panel posted in her LiveJournal, here. Of particular note is the concluding thoughts, which mirror my memory of the panel:
The book's sales history: Jeremy said it "sold to expectation," that he's already contracted for Volumes 2 and 3, and that based on the authors already accepted for Volume 2, there will be multiple women on the cover (I forget how many).
The table of contents for Volume Two has been released, and you can see it here, or with more comments accompanying it, here. Every name on that list except for one is a man's name.
So, as spelled out in the Wiscon panel description, there are two sides to the debate. Either it is okay for marketing people to shape their marketing strategy of fiction to reinforce a patriarchy, or it is a good idea for them to acknowledge the diversity in fiction that already exists.
Whatever side of the debate you lie on, there is no excuse for sending a representative (an editor responsible for the decision, no less!) to a feminist convention and have him fucking lie to the entire panel and everyone in the room about what they can expect in the future.
I now regret not typing up my notes on this panel yet. Perhaps I'll have time to do so tomorrow.
Rachel Manija Brown is actually productive in her post, and has started compiling a list of women writers and/or writers of color.
Let's make it easy for them, shall we?
Personally, I don't think the problem is simply that the white male editors have absolutely no idea where to look. I mean, it's the Internet age,right? One of the editors was at Wiscon. I don't really know what else we could do, short of a color-by-number instruction guide.
To be clear: What upsets me the most is that an editor for the publishing company came to Wiscon, sat on a panel, and lied. Who does that?11:35 PM
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