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Tansy Rayner Roberts

people actually concerned about sexism do not go around saying that women should shut their dumb faces about it

November 13th, 2013 at 9:46

Look at me, raising my head up in the internet. Hello, internet! I’m a lot of words this month! I haven’t been doing my usual Friday Links while Nanoing, but there are a couple of things I wanted to make an exception for.

untoldSarah Rees Brennan has written a really important essay on TheToast.net about being a woman in the publishing industry, or any industry that requires self promotion, and how differently the universe reacts to women’s self promotion. It’s sad but a must-read: A Female Author Talks About Sexism and Self-Promotion.

So, women are often left in a situation where if they want to succeed, they have to promote themselves, via being a person on the internet. And then, people say: “Lady, when you promote yourself, it is bad.”
(Sarah Rees Brennan)

Malinda Lo has written a companion piece, also on TheToast.net, about her own experiences in self promotion as a queer woman, and how more mainstream events/promotions for her YA books about lesbians mean having to come out all over again: A Second Female Author Talks About Sexism and Self Promotion.

I don’t believe that creative individuals should have to grow thicker skins. I believe that if you’re out there creating art, you should make sure you’re as open and thin-skinned as possible, so that you can feel every damn thing that arises in you. You need to be able to fully experience those emotions so you can use them in your work, but only within reason. I draw the line at letting mean-spirited criticism into my mental space.
(Malinda Lo)

I really appreciate both Sarah and Malinda addressing these issues, and am very sad to see how much Sarah, in particular, is bracing herself for the backlash from her words as her essay draws to a close. It shouldn’t have to be like this for anyone.

The-Killing-MoonAlso today, NK Jemisin has written a piece about the multi-award-nominated The Killing Moon and its critical response now as compared to the responses she saw to the book when she was originally trying to sell it as her first novel. Her story about trying to break into ‘the big 6′ publishers with a book that many saw as niche because she was a black writer writing fantasy novels about black characters, is a really important one to be aware of, and I have great respect for her ability to convey her anger and frustration about this as well as her pride in how far she has come.

This ties back to what Sarah and Malinda were saying. If we can’t be proud of what we have achieved and tell people that without being labelled ‘bitches’ then we still have a LONG way to go.

Then as I looked around, I found other reasons to hope: Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson, Nnedi Okorafor, Sheree Thomas; everywhere I looked in SFFdom, other black women were breaking in and making big, telling their stories in their voices to their questionable audiences. I wanted to be among those women. And one thing finally caused me to reject the idea of self-publishing: I wanted my book to be everywhere. I found Butler via the shelves of my public library, so I wanted kids like me to be able to find my work there just as easily. I wanted to be on the shelves in every chain store and independent shop, not just the ones that let me hand-sell them a few copies. I wanted foreign rights sales, which have made my work available in more than ten languages thus far. I wanted the possibility of getting onto school reading lists and college curricula. I wanted to be considered for awards I had heard of, and reviewed in publications the whole world would see.
(NK Jemisin)

Once you get back from reading all the clever things they have to say, I’ve got some gratuitous self-promotery things about meeeee to share with you! As in, all the things I would have been linking to/tweeting all month if I wasn’t bumping into walls from exhaustion thanks to my new 6am writing regime…

Check out those big sexy numbers. I officiall had my best writing month all year by the 7th November, and luckily am keeping up momentum! It’s so nice to be writing a novel again.

My writing is working well this month thanks to the revolutionary concept of getting up early and getting my words done before breakfast & the school run and, more importantly, before I can talk myself out of writing them. I think perhaps I might have hit on a way to get writing done in the school holidays as well. Life changing stuff!

My Creature Court books (well, the first two books of the trilogy) are available super cheap at Booktopia right now – so it’s a good chance to get hold of them! If you haven’t used Booktopia before, they do charge shipping, but regularly offer free shipping deals to regular customers, and they are rapidly becoming the most established Australian online bookstore.

InkBlack_v3_titletopSpeaking of my books, I haven’t had a chance before now to link to Cheryl’s post about my Mocklore Chronicles at Wizard’s Tower. Apparently there are people in Australia who have seen the print copy of Ink Black Magic! I am not one of them and neither is my publisher! But there are people! (word has it there are copies at Pulp Fiction Books in Brisbane – run don’t walk & score yourself one)

I would also be remiss for not pointing out the Kindle edition of Ink Black Magic on the brand new Australian Amazon page. If anyone who gets hold of a copy would care to review it either there or on Goodreads, that would most definitely not suck. xxx

More book news! I am super excited to announce that I will be appearing in the Mammoth Book of Gaslit Romance, with a reprint of Lamia Victoriana, my Love & Romanpunk story based (VERY LOOSELY) on the life of Mary Shelley’s sister Fanny. I’m so excited to be appearing in a Mammoth Book of Anything! I have so many on my shelves from my teen years. This one has been edited by Ekaterina Sedia and it has a fantastic TOC.

I’m also returning to the tempting world of editing myself thanks to a project dreamed up by Tehani of Fablecroft – calls are open now for story pitches for a historical anthology about Cranky Ladies of History. It’s a super exciting project and I hope many of you will be sending us stories.

OK, back to work now. See you in December!

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4 Responses to “people actually concerned about sexism do not go around saying that women should shut their dumb faces about it”

  1. Thoraiya Says:

    Your word-count-o-meter has indeed been intimidating!

    (But also inspiring)

    The Jemisin post made me cry this morning. Thanks for the other links.

    Here’s one more that made me happy today, the lyrics of Lily Allen’s new song: Forget your balls and grow a pair of tits…it’s hard out here for a bitch.

  2. tansyrr Says:

    Lily Allen is singing again! That’s awesome. xxx

    My word count o meter is inspiring ME! I am so excited to be writing regularly again, though, it’s been a shocking year in which I have prioritised everything but THIS.

  3. Marina Says:

    Read the SRB essay this morning and am now thoroughly depressed. Why is the world still like this? It’s so wrong — but so right of her, and you, and all the other women brave enough to stand up and say so.

    On that note, I wondered if you ever considered using a gender-neutral pen name? Not that it would stop all the idiots telling you to shut up for daring to express an opinion on the internet, but whether, like JK Rowling, or James Tiptree Jr, you considered it just to have your writing judged first on its merits and not instantly dismissed? I know Glenda Larke has said if she knew then what she knew now, she would have started out with a non-female name. Did you think about it?

  4. tansyrr Says:

    I’ve never considered it, and would hate to feel it was necessary. Having said that I do think that initial names look super classy and the chances are that the way my writing career has been going, I’m going to have to pick up at least 1-2 different pen-names along the way, so you never know. I might have to crack out T. R. Roberts at some point. (or if I really want bestsellers, T.R.R.R.R. Roberts, that’s how it works, right?)

    It depends a lot on what you write. I mean, I don’t think I haven’t read anything that wasn’t so thoroughly drenched in girl germs that a male name would seem utterly ridiculous. Seriously, my books are wall to wall smut and frocks. if I wrote hard SF or thrillers I might make a different choice. Maybe.

    It would ick me out thoroughly to pretend to be a man for the sake of sales, and I much prefer to fight the other side by adding to female visibility in the genre. But I am not the best businessperson in the world. I’m also in the incredibly privileged position of having financial support beyond my writing. I want to sell more books, but I don’t currently have to choose between my family eating and my feminist ethics.

    So never say never, basically. & this is how I feel about it for myself, I would never begrudge any woman (or indeed, man) making a different call for themselves. It’s not like there aren’t plenty of men pretending to be Candices and Glorias in the romance field, or male urban fantasy authors going by their initials because it helps to improve sales. I bet they don’t agonise about failing to correctly represent their gender, either…

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