Monday, 20 April 2015

Gender Selection

There’s a letter in the latest issue of Writers’ Forum where a male reader has commented on what appears to be the editor’s female bias towards contributors. Naturally, the editor has denied this, and the reason is simple. More women are published in Writers’ Forum because more women send stuff in.

It’s a common comment I hear from students. Having analysed a publication (which is a good step to take) they then spot all of the articles are written by one gender and wrongly assume the editor has a preference. But if men don’t submit anything to the editor then the editor can’t publish anything by men, can they?

The solution is simple. Write something, or pitch an idea, and send it in. You never know, the editor may be grateful for your submission. I know women who have written for men’s motoring and health magazines and men who write for women’s magazines.

In the May issue of Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special (out now, by the way!), there are 20 short stories: 19 written by women and 1 written by a man - me! The editor was only able to consider my short story submission because I’d sat down and written something in the first place … and then sent it in.

While it’s great to see students analysing magazines in detail, don’t be influenced by the ratio of male/female contributors. (The only exception that springs to mind is a publication called Mslexia, which is written for women writers, by women writers - but even so - I’d still say to any men who have a great idea for its readership that they should still pitch it!)

Editors are interested in the ideas for their readership not whether the writer is male or female. So if you have a good idea then do something about it. Don't let gender influence whether you submit to the publication. Just do it!

Good luck.


  1. This reminds me of what happened at one of my local football clubs.

    Someone complained to the local newspaper about a lack of coverage of the ladies' team.

    The editor replied that the paper would be glad to include match reports if someone would write them.

    So just because an editor is not including something, does not mean that he is not interested.

    It could be that there is a gap in the market, waiting for a writer to exploit.

    1. Great example, Colin. It just shows that things are not always what they seem to be!

  2. I think being the minority gender for that publication might actually be an advantage. The editor may be eager to make the magazine seem more balanced. Of course writing something appropriate and worth reading is going to be of most help in getting an acceptance, whatever our gender.

    1. Exactly, and being in a minority can mean we can offer a different perspective on a subject matter.