10.28.2004

Sometimes it seems like cause for applause when The New Yorker or one of its peers publishes, say, 3 women out of 13 or 14 contributors, instead of the usual 1 or Zero. Here at Cupcake, we'd like to think that the standard for excellence and equity is higher than that, miniscule improvement that it may be.

Then there are those fledgling literary publications that try to be so distinctive with their rebel, rebel ways and edgy graphic design. But, as Elizabeth recently said in a media interview, "If they were really revolutionary, they'd be publishing 50% women."

It's easy to be seduced by incremental progress, so next time your heart softens at the thought of one really amazing contribution by a woman writer in a publication that otherwise usually only publishes work by men (regular readers, you know that this fate recently befell me), please remember this perspective broadening gem, from Poets & Writers' "Basic Info for Writers" primer:
We recommend that you begin by researching literary magazines. This is the market within which most writers start their careers and gain recognition from editors, agents, and other writers...

...In general, major publishing houses do not accept unsolicited poetry manuscripts and rarely look at unagented or unsolicited fiction. Editors at major houses are more interested in writers who have already published a book or writers whose work has already appeared in large-circulation trade magazines such as The New Yorker or Harper’s.
Yes, exactly.

-Lauren
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