Our Uphill Battle

Dear Book Lover and Bink friends,

Bedazzled Ink is a medium-sized publishing company with a mission. Founded in 2004, we are dedicated to literary fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books that celebrate the unique and under-represented voices of women and books about women. We’re interested in fiction with female protagonists and nonfiction from a female perspective that appeals to all readers. In other words, we publish books that are equal in acceptance to books by male writers.

And we’re facing a tough uphill battle.

Some facts . . .

  • Women buy two thirds of books sold but reviews are centered on male authors and critics.
  • In the average publishing house, women account for about 30% of the writers.
  • An agent asked a woman author if she could turn her 50/50 male/female cast to 75% male.
  • While women read books regardless of the author’s gender, men tend to read books only by male authors.
  • Three-fourths of the reviews by major review publications are for books by men.
  • Amazon lumps all women authors in “women’s fiction” regardless of what kind of book it is.
  • Amazon’s marketing keeps female writers from finding their core audience “not to mention from entering the larger more influential playing field.” (New York Times)
  • A woman writer gets points if they include the “male” world in their work and lose points if they don’t. (New York Times)
  • No Pulitzer Prize winner from 2000-2014 was written wholly from the point of view of a female.
  • Only two National Book Award winners from 2000-2014 were written wholly from the point of view of a female.
  • Women authors use initials or male pseudonyms to gain credibility in the publishing industry.
  • Many female authors say the way their books are packaged encourages readers and reviewers to take them less seriously.

Woman authors who write outside acceptable “women’s” genres are forced into inappropriate boxes by their agents and publishers and are incorrectly marketed by booksellers. Women authors have a greater chance of being overlooked by reviewers.

We don’t think that the male writing style and voice is superior to the female style and voice or that women should emulate it. Each are equal in quality and validity of content. The only way we can fight this inequality of acceptance is to be in the industry’s face as much as possible. Or as Meg Wolizter wrote more eloquently in the New York Times:

“But some of the most acclaimed female novelists have written unapologetically and authoritatively about women. And the environment needs to be receptive to that authority, recognizing and celebrating it in order for it to catch. It seems no coincidence that some of the most esteemed women writing today—Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, Doris Lessing, Marilynne Robinson—came to prominence at an unusual moment in time when the women’s movement could be felt everywhere.”

It’s time to step up and reassert that women’s voices are equal and have a right to be heard, now more than ever. Bedazzled Ink is in the unique position to give women their voice through the written word. Authors from all over the world are recognizing what our mission is about and are sending us amazing work that transcends the idea of “women’s fiction” and tells of the world through the female perspective in strong individual voices.

We are accepting these books, but we need to ensure that we’ll have the means to give them the full attention required to fight through the publishing industry’s biases to reach their largest possible audience. We’re starting this fight with the books we are publishing in 2017. Unfortunately, our mission to validate the voices and the stories of women takes funding beyond the modest means of an independent publisher.

We hate to think inside the box and tend to kick boxes and anything resembling boxes out of our way, so we created the Angels for Books Campaign. This campaign reaches out to those who would love to have the opportunity to support the voices of women authors and to help publishers create a literary battering ram against the walls of bias that currently exist in the publishing industry.

We hope you’ll spend some time and look at our Angels for Books Campaign and add your support to our mission to make women’s literary voices heard and respected.

We also have an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign if you just want to support us with a smaller donation.

Claudia Wilde
Publisher