Writers, Sex and…Discrimination? by Mickey J. Corrigan

We have author Mickey. J. Corrigan and she has a controversial topic today! Please welcome Mickey...

Writers, Sex and…Discrimination?
Mickey J. Corrigan

Do you ever feel like your work gets rejected due to sexual discrimination?
Take a look at this response I got from a publisher to whom I submitted a query for my pulpy crime novel. I asked why the lack of female representation in his catalogue, and he pointed to the inclusion of the few female authors he's published.
Thanks for getting in touch, Mickey. We don’t do many series – more often we publish just individual stand-alone novels. And one of the few series we do have…[NAMES 2 BOOKS] *are* written by a real female….We’d always be open to adding another female author to the line, of course. But we’re getting about 1,000 submissions per year at this point and only publishing 4 books, so we have to say no to more than 99% of the books we see.
In this publisher's defense, I will say I was not expecting an acceptance letter. This is a top-notch publishing house with household name authors. But why so few talented female writers filling out their list?
According to the publisher, this is because relatively few female writers submit to the press. The publisher says this about that:
Keep in mind that I also reject 99.6% of all the books we get from male authors – the vast majority of those don’t wow me either.  But the difference is that if you get 1,000 submissions from men, you can reject 996 and still buy 4. If you get only 100 or 200 submissions from women, you can’t reject 99.6 and buy 0.4 of a book (or reject 199.2 and buy 0.8 of one) – you either reject 99 and buy 1 or reject 100 and buy zero. In any event you end up with one book or zero books, which isn’t a large number either way.
Crazy math aside, why wouldn't female writers be submitting to this press? With its well-known authors and bestselling books, I'd think more women would want in. Or is it the genre: noir crime? What? Women don't write—or read—noir?
I write it, I read it. And I can't be alone in my taste for dark twisty stories. Besides, some 80 percent of book buyers are female.
Was this sex discrimination I was dealing with here? What do you think? Do you think it's more difficult to get published if you're a woman? A guy in my writers' group claims today's agents are ONLY looking for women writers. He means they are all looking for next author of a Potter, Twilight, or Fifty Shades.
I'm not so sure about that.
Love to hear your views and experiences on the topic.
Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan lives and writes and gets into trouble in South Florida, where the men run guns and the women run after them. The tropics provide a lush, steamy setting for hot Florida pulp. Recent books include the edgy novellas in The Hard Stuff series from the Wild Rose Press: Whiskey Sour Noir, Vodka Warrior, Mai Tail Guy (a free read) and the new novella Tequila Dirty.

Visit Mickey at:
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Blurb for Tequila Dirty:
Something bad has happened (again) in Dusky Beach. And Rita Deltone, a tough talking waitress from Lemon Run, Florida, is smack in the middle of it. She's being interviewed while all trussed up, lying there in the stark white room with a bandage on her head. She knows all too well the dirt road she took to get down so low, but she takes the long way around in the telling.

Liam Donell is the new detective in town. His partner is on vacation so he has to handle all the dirty work. But this Rita chick is pretty cute. He's not making the best decisions regarding the case, then it turns real ugly.

An unlikely couple, Rita and Liam try to make the best of a bad situation. With hot, hilarious, and surprising results.

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  1. I can understand if a publisher's list is full, but they should not bring gender into the acceptance and rejection process.

  2. Hi Mickey. You're a wonderful writer and I look forward to reading your latest novel. I wouldn't know enough about the publishing industry to comment on your topic, but it's an interesting point of view.

  3. Hi, like Denise, I really don't know that much about the industry, but your post give one something to think about for sure.

  4. If more men than women are submitting to that particular press and they only accept four books a year, then it is more likely that a man's novel would be accepted than a woman's, statistically speaking. But at the same time, I would wonder too. After all, they could have four stellar books by women and have them come out in one year. A great book is a great book, no matter who wrote it.

  5. Interesting question, but it's hard to argue with the statistics. It's kinda like asking why there aren't more black police officers in black communities. If blacks aren't applying for the jobs, they aren't gonna get them. If few women are submitting manuscripts...

    I don't write in this genre, but I certainly enjoy reading this kinda book. "Hot and hilarious" sounds like my kinda book. Good luck with it!

  6. Wow… what an interesting post and thoughts… I can't imagine gender even being applicable… but wow.

  7. Hard to say if that particular instance was discrimination, but I do notice a huge gender gap in the treatment of women's books vs. men's.

  8. Tequila Dirty sounds like a great read. Thought provoking post.

  9. Thanks for your input, everyone. It's an interesting topic, that's for sure.

  10. I do agree with what Cherie said. I know a few women who write sci-fi and use their initials so readers don't know they're female. There is still a male bias in some genres.

    Tequila Dirty sounds fantastic, btw! :)

    1. Why do women so often use initials and men use their full names?

  11. I agree with Susan's reasoning. It does come down to the numbers.

  12. Tequila Dirty sounds like a lot of fun.

  13. I think it is awesome that the editor was willing to write back and explain the numbers. Maybe more women aren't writing this type of novel, so the numbers are lower. I am not sure! Tequila Dirty does sound like a good read. :) Best of luck to Mickey.

  14. Male writers have dominated my genre for decades, which is why many publishers in the SFF realm are actively looking for more female writers these days.

  15. Yes, I agree with DMS. Nice the editor wrote back. Good article, thanks Mickey! And Tequila Dirty does sound good!

  16. Just bought Tequila Dirty!


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