Tuesday, May 14, 2013

No Boys Allowed?

It begged to be addressed.

A recent commenter asked whether he would be welcomed to submit his excerpt to a Secret Agent Contest, because he'd heard that Miss Snark's First Victim was only for YA novels with female protagonists by female authors.


And actually, this is the second time the issue of "all girls together on MSFV" has come up.  So I'm taking this pre-SA opportunity to dispel the myth once and for all.

To wit:

  • Miss Snark's First Victim is a blog that welcomes writers of both sexes.  (That means BOYS AND GIRLS.)
  • All genres are welcomed on this blog EXCEPT erotica and erotic romance.  Writers of adult, NA, YA, and MG are equally encouraged to participate in our contests and in-house critique sessions.
  • I don't care if your protagonist is a male, a female, or a tent pole.  You are welcomed here.
  • There is no preference given to certain genres/sex-of-protagonist here.  Genres included in Secret Agent contests are reflective of EACH INDIVIDUAL AGENT'S TASTES, as advertised by the agent at the time of the contest.  In-house critiques are open to ALL GENRES (except erotica and erotic romance).
  • This blog is not pink, even though it's my favorite color.
  • I like boys.
  • Adam Heine is a boy.  He writes boy stories with boy protagonists, and he is also one of my beloved, irreplaceable critique partners.  I let him come here sometimes and leave comments.
I think that covers it.  Feel free to tweet this, post a link to this, share this on Facebook, or set this to music and sing it at your local mall.

And if I've missed anything, please mention it in the comments.


  1. Awesome. Now where did I put that story of mine narrated by a tent pole ...

  2. I don't think you missed anything, but I wanted to thank you for posting this. I've never gotten the impression from your blog that it was "for girls only." But there was a comment posted a few weeks ago that implied it. It really bothered me at the time, but I didn't want to respond to it because it had nothing to do with the original post (which has been lost to my brain fog). And I didn't want to be seen as calling someone out for her comments (just assuming it was posted by a female).

  3. I've never gotten a "girls only" vibe from this blog or any of the other writing blogs I frequent that are written by women. I will say some do have a lot of pink and even a ribbon or two. No unicorns so far.

    I note that of the 63 agents on my researched submission list for my YA book, 55 of them are women. Neither here nor there professionally, but I can see where a writer might look around and get the impression that he's busted into a sorority. :)

    The tent pole idea isn't bad...

    "My first memory was looking down and watching the gaily-sequined girls on the backs of the dancing elephants..."

  4. LOL, tomalanbrosz! Love that. :)

  5. I mean, I'm a girl, but my last two manuscripts had boy MCs and they were both in Secret Agent contests. It just seems kind of a weird question...

  6. You let me o_0

    Clearly what you need is an explosion critique for people to submit a scene with an explosion in it. I will be the first to submit :-)

  7. Know what? I'm TOTALLY going to do that. As soon as this Secret Agent round is over. :)

  8. You mean I can finally take this wig off?

  9. Authoress,

    I'm sorry to say this, but yes there is a distinct bias on MSFV.

    Not very overt but the bias is noticeable. Just a look through recent contests and blog topics would clue the casual reader into this.

    Blog Topic Examples:
    First Kiss Critique (need I say more?)
    ODE TO MY READERS (poetry...)
    Bonus Babies (cute... but)
    Special Gifts (every man needs a yarn hat...)
    Fake Log Line (about Authoress... certainly a female MC...)
    Critique Partner Dating Service -- Live!! (not many men would go there...)

    Anywho... Your house your rules Authoress. And I believe a majority of your blog readers are female. So what's a bit of bias in coloring content to female readers?

    I will keep reading your blog even though I am male. And your blog has underlined that novel writing is dominated by women. The mere number of female lit agents is daunting. The fact that there are genres like "chic lit" is intimating.

    In the end this is probably the same subtle echo chamber that is established in the male dominated professions like Engineering or Finance.

    Stay Thirst my Friends
    Angry Gamer

  10. Another thought came to me...

    Most men would not want to enter the "Critique Partner Dating Service -- Live!!" They would be afraid of taking away their wife's primary job.

    ((rim shot))

    Thanks folks I'm here all week and try the fish...

    Angry Gamer

  11. @Anon wrote: "I will keep reading your blog even though I am male."

    You may have missed the point.

    And you seem to be blaming Authoress for the fact that many lit agents are female, which is . . . weird. (I'm not even going to touch the "chic lit" comment.)

  12. The fact that there are genres like 'chick lit' says a lot about bias, all right, but it's not what you conclude. There is no 'dick lit' because *everything* is for guys, unless it's specifically labelled 'chick lit.' And maybe romance, too.

    As for me, I've never felt any particular bias on this site. Maybe a bit lonely, when I found myself as one of maybe 2 'literary' entries in a contest last year, but that's just the way the readership skews.

  13. Angry Gamer -- You seem to also be missing the point that I'm female. Any blog title or post content that seems inherently "female" is not reflecting some sort of bias; it's reflecting the fact that I AM A WOMAN.

    There is nothing "feminine" about Secret Agent contests or in-house critiques or learning how to write loglines or becoming informed about the writing and publishing process or being part of a vibrant writing community. THAT is what this blog is about, and I am truly sorry that you're somehow missing that.

  14. Bias certainly exists in all things whether we like it or not or consciously cultivate it. I think the overwhelming dominance of female writers in current YA and the overwhelming number of female literary agents causes some to believe this is a closed club. But, one could easily say the same about people of color not being represented as MC's in great numbers or people of lifestyles that before recently would have been labeled 'alternative.' There is no secret conspiracy in this regard - it is just the current lay of the land.

    More disturbing to me is the fact that many young men simply don't read anymore unless it is an assigned book in high school. Reading for recreation/pleasure/enjoyment seems to have lost out to the more immediate and visceral thrill of an X-Box or Playstation. I think the female MC's are reflective of the fact that - for girls of that age - there is still a market - albeit dwindling every year.

    One could also point to an age bias - that is there even if it is not overt. Many of the agents seem to be fresh out of a B.A. liberal arts program so it could cause the belief that youth in general is preferred. Last year there was a recent class action settlement here in Los Angeles basically brought by writers over 40 (yes 40!) who were being consciously and deliberatley shut out of writing jobs by showrunners who thought anyone THAT OLD could not possibly have anything left to contribute.

    So, I think bias exists when someone feels it and whatever the source - gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation - the best way to deal with it is to discuss it as we are doing here. So, this is a positive thing.

    As someone who is now north of 40, I am more concerned with the fact that I am not dead yet but daily get rather harsh and scary reminders that perhaps at this old age of 40 I should be content to sit in my wheelchair eating tapioca and wondering why the kids don't call as I stare out the window of the nursing home.

  15. "Dick lit." That's going to carry me through my whole day. ;)

    And just a side note on your list, Angry Gamer, but that Special Gift (yarn hat) was a replica of one worn by one of the badass-est men in the 'verse on one of the coolest shows ever to air. I quote:

    "A man wears a hat like that, you know he's not afraid of anything."


  16. Possibly I should address the point of the post, while I'm here...

    I don't write YA or female protags and I've always felt welcome. The MARKET's YA, female protag heavy, so it makes sense that it would be reflected online too. That's not bias, just math.

    And I think it's a whole 'nother point on whether or not boys read because of the female protags. I think it's kinda insulting to boys to suggest they can't wrap their heads around someone else's POV. My 12 year old is currently reading Divergent and he loves it.

  17. @Leah wrote: "...that Special Gift (yarn hat) was a replica of one worn by one of the badass-est men in the 'verse on one of the coolest shows ever to air."

    LOL! I didn't even notice Jayne's Hat was used as evidence of feminine bias. Argument: invalid.

  18. "Dick lit" is when you drink way too much alcohol and then take a leak near an open flame.