Children’s writers often face the struggle of gender roles in publishing.
Whether it is male authors expected to write specifically for boys, or female authors who are discouraged or expected to take pen names when writing for a male audience, there are particular gendered roles expected from children’s authors. How can we get past this to open up all types of writing for all authors?
On A Pedestal
I wondered if I should make a comment about the revelations in the children’s literature community this week. At first I thought No but as the ripples have become king tides I thought that people might wonder why there is no reference to this weeks biggest story in publishing. Children’s writers are human. They are put on a pedestal as special guiders of behaviour, decorum and models of decency for ‘they influence children’. You want to know that the books they write have no hidden fish hooks and are wholesome enough to give to young developing minds. (Teachers also get these labels.) Most children’s writers are women. (SCBWI figures put it at 9 out of 10) The males often have the added burden of having to write specifically for boys to encourage them to read. This makes them more likely to speak at conferences and festivals and libraries. Women writers are working just as hard to lift boys reading rates but they are often asked to change their name or ghost write or use initials to make their stories palatable to a male audience. They don’t get the same level of invites. (As for POC, they are often invisible.) So this week to have a major news story about the sexual abuse meted out to women in the children’s literature community felt like a body blow. Publishers Weekly tried to take a calm tone… but now the stories are being confirmed and corroborated and Agents are distancing themselves or dumping clients. A good reminder to writers that everything you do is in the public eye and if you fall off your pedestal you don’t just hit the ground… you bury yourself in a huge crater of snakes and molten lava is poured on top.
In other news,
Has Instagram saved poetry? Publishers Weekly seems to think so. I wonder if the Poets
agree? I bet if Byron was around now he’d be on Instagram…
In The Craft Section,
In The Marketing Section,
65 book marketing ideas- Mark Coker- Brand new FREE updated book from Smashwords founder. (Mark has been podcasting sections of this book this year.) Grab it!
This week Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi celebrated ten years of The Emotion Thesaurus… AKA The Bookshelf Muse. Ten years and six plus books later they are the must have authors on your writing desk. Angela and Becca have a special message to all their fans. Congratulations Team! (Raising a glass for your next 10!)
Ramesseum in Egypt. The Ozymandias Colossus:
I met a
traveller from an antique land,
said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the
desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a
shattered visage lies, whose frown,
lip, and sneer of cold command,
its sculptor well those passions read
survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the
pedestal, these words appear:
My name is
Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my
Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
beside remains. Round the decay
colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and
level sands stretch far away.” – Shelley
About Maureen Crisp
Maureen Crisp has been writing her weekly publishing roundups for over seven years. She is a traditionally published children's author as well as indie-published. She lives in New Zealand and is heading the team organising the 4th National Conference of Children's Writers and Illustrators. She is currently trying her hand at writing a children’s book series if she can drag herself away from forever tweaking her Mars novel or obsessing over space.