The UK has an excellent resource for women writers called Mslexia. It is always full of interesting advice for writers. Up until recently it is has been pretty crap as far as SF&F is concerned, but even that has changed. I saw my friend Juliet McKenna in there a while back, and they have Rhian Bowley blogging for them on SF&F issues now.
Why do I mention this now? Well last year the featured topic for their writing competition was “In the year 2212”. I sent something off to make sure that they got a decent level of response. I had no expectations of getting it published — you all know how crap my fiction is — but I figured that it was important that they knew people were interested.
Well, the rejection letter arrived today, and right up front it says, “We were disappointed that our postbag was so lean for this topic…”
What can you do? Mslexia has concluded, “it seems women are less interested in this subject matter then in other themes.” Maybe they are right. Maybe women writers in the UK know how little chance they have of getting published writing SF so they don’t bother, even in women-only spaces. Either way, the end result will be that Mslexia will be discouraged about doing SF-related features in future, and the lack of them will discourage their readers from being interested in SF. It’s a feedback system, locked into a downward spiral. I wish I knew how to break out of it.