August 11, 2011
Trends: Women and Publishing
If Kathryn Stockett had stopped trying to get published after her 20th, 40th or even 60th rejection, her New York Times bestselling novel The Help would never have hit shelves – or been made into a major motion picture.
What do women need to know to get published?
When The New Republic surveyed 13 big publishing houses earlier this year, the only house close to parity had a 45 percent publishing rate of women’s books. The numbers went downhill from there, the lowest being Harvard University Press at 15 percent.
The trend is discouraging, as women buy 68 percent of all books sold. Some say it's due to fewer women submitting work. Others, like Red Hen Press Founder and Publisher Kate Gale, say it’s because many women aren’t assertive enough.
“It's hard to get published no matter who you are, and being a woman makes that harder,” Gale tells PINK. “Men are not smarter; they are not better writers; they're just more aggressive.”
Her top tips? “Avoid agents or editors who deal mostly with men,” advises Gale. She suggests having another writer recommend you to a publishing company and getting a professional to read over your work before you submit, rather than a friend or family member.
Do genre market research and avoid editing as you write, says Right Reading. Others advise keeping the query letter to a page, making sure to address it to a particular person and scanning bookstores to find publishers that print the type of books you like to read.
Groups like Chicago Women in Publishing and Exceptional Women in Publishing hold events to network with industry insiders and get tips from women who have been published.
Bonus PINK Link: Learn how another author turned rejection into a bestseller and movie deal in Emily Giffin’s Top Woman Profile.
By Amanda Wikman
"A ratio of failures is built into the process of writing.
The wastebasket has evolved for a reason." Margaret Atwood
*Supporting images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net, nuchylee, Paul and healingdream.