Women: Please send me your fiction.

By Beth Castrodale

Over the fourteen months since I founded Small Press Picks, I’ve noticed a troubling trend: during that time, about 85 percent the review queries I’ve received have come from male authors. I’ve learned about some great books that way, books it’s been a pleasure to review. But given my personal goal of ensuring that at least 50 percent of the books I review are by women, I would like to encourage more women to send me their small-press novels or story collections. (See this link for details on the types of books I’m most inclined to review.) And, of course, I will continue seek out small-press books by women on my own.

Much on my mind, of course, are the VIDA counts, which indicate that most of the books reviewed by many literary journals and other publications are by men. Considering that a large proportion of writers and readers are female, this makes no sense, and it is an injustice to the many talented women authors working today.

I must admit that part of the “send me your books” nudge is intended for myself, a woman writer who hasn’t been as assertive as I could be in promoting my own work. I’m promising myself I’ll do more to get my work out into the world. And I’ll make this pledge to you: that the next three books I review will be by women. I realize that this won’t come close to making the smallest dent in the VIDA numbers, for I’m a minnow in the reviewing ocean. But I’ll try to do my bit, and I will seriously consider all submissions, even if I’m not able to review them all.

Thanks for hearing me out, and best of luck to all women who are trying to reach the widest audience with their writing.