I've been hearing this a lot lately, but this is the first time someone came directly at me and made a statement that blithely intended to diminish or cheapen what I've achieved. I can assure you, I get published because I do the work, I hone my craft, I learn, I write, and I submit. Neither my gender nor my race show up on my submission letters. I don't send in my submission with the following note:
I am a part-Native female author, and I want you to accept my story simply because of that.
No, actually I don't mention either thing. My submission letters are brief, as is expected in the majority of the short story world. They list my story title, word count, and genre, plus a couple publication credits. Oh, and my contact information. That's it. My name is actually gender neutral. In certain parts of the U.S., you're more likely to find a Shannon who's male. It all just depends.
More important is the fact that this is a pure fallacy. If you pull up a bunch of short story markets, they will likely ALL list that they're looking for diverse voices. Where people appear to be getting confused is in thinking this means that's all they'll take. Tables of contents say differently. What it actually means is that they're encouraging diverse voices to submit, and they'll consider them along with everyone else. This isn't a white male blocker. This is an attempt to not JUST have white males in publications.
I took a look through the publications I've been in, so I could break down the stated genders in the bios. I won't name them by publication, because this isn't an attack on publishers, and these are not in order of publication date. This is me bloody well being exhausted from having my achievements questioned by people who aren't doing the work, and are more than happy to blame it on whatever they can grasp at.
I only went through print publications that were still in print. I did not count the all female anthology I was in, because that came out in response to a major anthology featuring Stephen King in which there was ONE female author, and she was one of the editors. I also obviously removed any from consideration that were a single author. That left me with 21 publications to comb through.
Publication 1: M - 3, F - 2
Publication 2: M - 13, F - 4
Publication 3: M - 4, F - 8
Publication 4: M - 7, F - 4
Publication 5: M - 7, F - 7
Publication 6: M - 9, F - 2
Publication 7: M - 6, F - 4
Publication 8: M - 4, F - 1
Publication 9: M - 5, F - 2
Publication 10: M - 6, F - 1
Publication 11: M - 16, F - 2
Publication 12: M - 7, F - 8
Publication 13: M - 20, F - 9
Publication 14: M - 13, F - 6
Publication 15: M - 5, F - 8
Publication 15: M - 7, F - 10
Publication 16: M - 9, F - 6
Publication 17: M - 3, F - 3
Publication 18: M - 6, F - 6
Publication 19: M - 4, F - 6
Publication 20: M - 11, F - 11
Publication 21: M - 8, F - 4
TOTAL: M - 173, F - 114
Publications in which I was the only female: 2
Publications in which I was one of two females: 4
Publications in which there were more males than females: 13
Publications in which there were more females than males: 5
Publications in which it was an even split: 4
Publications in which there was only one male: 0
Least amount of males in any publications: 3 (there were two, one with 3 females and one with 2 females)
Largest difference between male and female authors in any publication: 14 (Publication 11 - 16 males, 2 females)
Largest difference between male and female authors in any publication where the majority was female: 4 (publication 3 - 4 males, 8 females)
Someone explain to me how much easier I have it, because I guess I'm just missing it. I especially need it explained to me how much harder it is to get published as a white male.
Happily, this shows me that the rate of females being published is improving. It also shows me that it's still skewed in favor of males. As far as race, sexual orientation, etc., it would take me forever to comb through and figure out how many of each author fit under which category, but I think we can all agree that cis white authors of any gender are still being published at a higher rate, despite calls for diversity. I count myself in that group. I'm entirely white passing, and I am mostly white. I don't feel it's my place to claim being a minority. I have mentioned it in relation to a novel I'm shopping, because the main character is mixed in the same way I am, and her experiences are similar to mine.
Why write this post? Because I've heard this so much lately. I've seen such indignation that calls are put out for diverse voices. That is not an attack or an attempt to force men or white people out of publications. It's simply a means to get the word out that publishers want to consider ALL writers.
It stings that someone in my circle would say something like this. When it's strangers or even acquaintances I can let it roll off my back (most days). When it's people claiming women can't write horror, I try to ignore it and keep writing and submitting to prove them wrong. But something like this sticks with me. It makes me angry.
It also makes me even more determined to move forward and to keep getting published.
I wish every single one of you good luck in getting published in the new year.
May you find your Muse.
*Volunteering Hands, clker.com, legacynola