Well, I wasn’t expecting that. Last week, I had an email from the lovely Jill Finlay at The Weekly News. She wrote to say that a story I’d sent to her a couple of weeks ago would be in the next issue (out now – dated 4th March).
The Weekly News usually publishes two stories in each issue, and the story accompanying mine was also written by a male writer. According to Jill, this is a first – both stories in the same issue written by men.
Last year, Jill was interviewed for Writers’ Forum magazine, where she commented that few men sent her stories. It reminded me of a query a student once raised about markets – do editors take submissions from the opposite sex of their target readership seriously? (What the student meant was: do women’s magazine editors accept material from men, and do editors of men’s magazines (such as car magazines) accept material from women?)
Er … YES! Editors are more interested in the writing than a writer’s gender. (Okay, there may be the odd article where the writer’s gender may be relevant for the angle of the piece, but for the other 99.99999% of the times, it’s not.)
Editors are looking for writing that will appeal to their readers. So don’t worry about whether your gender affects your chances of publication. Instead, worry about whether your writing will appeal to their readers.
Which means it’s important to know your target publication’s readership. If you check out The Weekly News’ target readership https://www.dcthomson.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2016/01/weekly_news-301015.pdf you’ll see that 30% of their readers are men. Which means Jill, the fiction editor, is thinking about that 30% when she’s reading and selecting stories. She’s also thinking about the 70% of female readers, too.
That doesn’t mean that only men can write about male characters and only women can write about female characters. I’ve read stories about men written by women and vice versa. My story in this week’s edition has two male characters and one female. But I’ve written stories from a woman’s point of view, and tales with only female characters.
Nor does it mean that only women can write articles for women’s magazines and only men can write non-fiction for men’s magazines. I know of one female writing student who secured a column in a motoring magazine.
We’re all individuals. We all have different experiences of life. It’s those experiences that influence what we write and how we write about it.
Don’t let your gender influence which markets you write for. You’re missing out on markets if you do.