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Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2002

    Comprehensive directory marred by imbalanced coverage of new authors and illustrators

    If men really are from Mars, then a Martian wishing to learn about the children's book trade from 'Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market' would have to conclude that, although there ARE male authors and illustrators, new books by previously unpublished men either don't exist or are considered insignificant by the book's editors. In addition to an admirably complete listing of book publishers, magazine markets and literary agents, 'Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market' includes annual advice features, most notably a chapter called 'First Books'. Ostensibly, 'First Books' is intended as a retort to the unpublished author and illustrator's lament 'But NO ONE is getting anything published unless they have at least 3 best-sellers to their name!' In both the 2002 and 2001 editions, none of the previously unpublished creators of children's books profiled in 'First Books' were men. Either there were no new books written and illustrated by men in those 2 years (highly unlikely) or the editors decided that the contributions to children's reading by previously unpublished men weren't worth the ink (bingo!). Furthermore, while professional writers have had the concepts of 'gender neutrality' and 'all-inclusiveness' hammered into their literary heads for the last 30 or so years, often under pain of termination, most of the advice columns are written in the third person feminine ('If your agent is doing her job, you will be free to devote more time to writing') instead of the all-inclusive third person ('If your agent is doing his or her job, . . .'). Writers have been fired from their jobs for snubbing female members of a profession in similar fashion ('If your agent is doing his job, . . .'). To be fair, established male authors and illustrators were profiled in the last few editions but until the day when true gender equity and equal opportunity are achieved, 'Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market' is a reminder that the children's book trade is immune from the obligation to treat every person fairly, regardless of her or his gender.

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