KILLINGS, daily columns and blog —

Interviews, News

Pitch, Bitch: A new initiative for women writers

by , May 31, 20146 Comments

Pitch, Bitch is a new initiative aimed at encouraging female writers to regularly pitch their work for publication. Founder Estelle Tang explains what Pitch, Bitch is, why it’s important, and how to get involved.

estelletang2_Size4

What is Pitch, Bitch?

Pitch, Bitch is an informal mentoring resource for female writers, centring on the first Wednesday of each month, which will be Pitch, Bitch day. Pitch, Bitch day is a gentle, friendly exhortation to female writers to, on that day, send out, research or work on a pitch. It’s a modest but, I think, useful tool. You can follow along with the #pitchbitch hashtag on Twitter. There’s also a Tumblr (http://yeahpitchbitch.tumblr.com), which will contain advice, interviews and comment on the topic of pitching. 

What prompted you to create the #pitchbitch hashtag last year, and what you were hoping to address by doing so?

A couple of years ago, I attended an International Women’s Day panel discussing Women In Print. The discussion was sparked by the woeful VIDA statistics, which showed the proportion of men and women who were being published, and women were vastly underrepresented. At that event, Sophie Cunningham, then editor of Meanjin, mentioned that she received many more pitches from men than from women. She also mentioned that women were reluctant to tackle subjects they saw themselves as non-experts on, whereas men usually tackled such subjects without compunction.

Of course, there are all kinds of reasons why this kind of systemic underrepresentation occurs: it’s the responsibility of editors and readers, as well as writers themselves, to include a diverse range of writers and perspectives in their pages. But I wanted to look at the aspects of this phenomenon that writers ourselves can control: our own pitching behaviour.

So I started an impromptu hashtag, #ladypitch (which I have eschewed for the more hilariously vulgar #pitchbitch), and used it to tag some (hopefully) encouraging tweets aimed at getting female writers to think about pitching.

What initial response did the hashtag receive? Were you surprised by it? 

It received a great response. I don’t think it changed the world, but it clearly hit a nerve for a lot of people. I wasn’t necessarily surprised that people found it appealing, but I am always surprised and somewhat dismayed how much female writers (including me) are reluctant to step forward or get in touch with editors or even just acknowledge to themselves that their ideas are good and marketable. Of course, there are heaps of female writers who pitch and work constantly, and I don’t mean to say that all female writers need this kind of community. But I personally would never have started writing professionally if editors hadn’t reached out to me first, indicating that my work was worth something. I wanted to pre-empt that a little bit.

I don’t know if anyone actually went to ground and started working on a pitch that day, but I remember thinking at the time how much more effective it could be if it was a regular event.

Do you think gender often affects the way writers think about themselves and their pitching process? Do you see differences in the ways your male and female colleagues approach editors or share their work? 

I don’t have any personal experience of this – apart from my own lack of confidence or sense of opportunity, which I mentioned above. But I have heard from many editors anecdotally that pitching and being published has some very real gendered influences and effects. I’ve heard, again anecdotally, that male writers – and god bless good male writers, I’m not having a go at them – don’t see rejection as so fatal, don’t feel the need to be experts in an area to tackle it, and pitch more than female writers. In a more general professional sense, the Atlantic article about a so-called “confidence gap” shows that even female executives, who are extremely talented and skilled individuals, think of themselves differently to their male peers.

Honestly, I think this sucks. I want female writers to know that they’re not alone in feeling inadequate/unworthy/like newbie, but that it also doesn’t have to be that way.

You’re a staff writer for Rookie magazine, which is written by and for young women. Does Rookie’s outlook and the way it operates differ from other publications? How do any differences manifest in Rookie’s public and internal operations?

God, I feel like Rookie actually changes the world a bit every day. I know that sounds hyperbolic, but readers see so many diverse, interesting and mostly female voices there. I can’t speak for the editors, but I know they care very much about the reading community of teenage girls, and women, and I feel like Rookie presents supportive, fascinating, intimate stories the likes of which you can’t really find anywhere else. I love the comments section. It’s one of the few comment sections I’ve ever seen where people have actual respectful conversations.

If male writers and editors want to support Pitch, Bitch, how can they do so?

Please refrain from tweeting me with the #notallmen hashtag. I really mean it.

I would love to hear from male editors who are looking to publish more female writers. I would love to see male writers passing the word on to their female colleagues and communities.

How can women writers, editors and other literary and publishing ladies get involved with Pitch, Bitch?

The Tumblr will be running interviews, advice and any other relevant links/comments/conversations with female writers and editors. I would love to hear from anyone interested in contributing or who would like me to cover a certain aspect of pitching and writing! The best way to get in touch with me about this is the Tumblr Ask box (yeahpitchbitch.tumblr.com/ask) or fan mail.

If you are using #pitchbitch to spur your work, please tweet and use the hashtag! It will help other female writers to know they’re not alone. Let’s talk about this! The best outcome would be that female writers feel more connected to each other, able to ask questions, free to talk about success and failure, and contact editors and eventually get published.

How often does Pitch, Bitch run?

Once a month! Every first Wednesday of the month. June 4 will be our first. Get involved, please! Hope to see you around the traps.

Where can we find more information?

Our Tumblr is yeahpitchbitch.tumblr.com.

 

Kill Your Darlings is the Pitch, Bitch media partner.




  • Carolyn Cordon

    This sounds excellent! I’m currently wriing a novel, and when it gets a little further along the path, I’m going to pitch it!

  • Meghan Brewster

    I found this post during The Emerging Writers Festival in Melbourne and have been following pitch bitch ever since. Thanks so much for sharing.. Can’t wait for the 2nd!!

9781926428239

Abigail Ulman

Cold Feet and Hot Little Hands: Abigail Ulman on writing – and not writing – her first book

Post-book deal, every time I sat down to try to write something, I felt paralysed by some kind of literary stage fright. I had shown my work to other people before – for writing workshops, and submissions to literary journals and competitions – but I had never before written a story while thinking This story is going to be published in a book. Or, more accurately, This story idea is nowhere near good enough to be published in a book. Read more »

9781926428239

Sian Campbell

Girlhood and The Woman-Child in Abigail Ulman’s Hot Little Hands

Each of the stories in Hot Little Hands navigates girlhood in some way, from the lives of high school-age teenagers to those of young twentysomething women. ‘Girl things’ such as horse camp, gymnastics, feminised bodies, clothing, periods, crushes, yoga and gossip weave through the fabric of the text. Though the subject matter is often adult – the girls of Hot Little Hands navigate abortion, sex trafficking, young motherhood, drugs, and deportation – the girls themselves are not… even when they technically are. Read more »

Dont-Try-This-at-Home-_-cover_-FINAL1-300x460

James Tierney

Subscriber Stories: Angela Readman’s Don’t Try This At Home

As a subscriber to publisher And Other Stories’ distribution model, I am in the unusual position of reviewing a book – Angela Readman’s short story collection Don’t Try This At Home – that thanks me by name for making its existence possible. Read more »

amy-schumer

Rebecca Shaw

Amy Schumer and the equal right to be funny

I don’t think men should be banned from making jokes about contentious subjects. I am of the belief that anything can and should be laughed about, and if done right, it can be beneficial. But more often, women are doing it right, and women are doing it better. Read more »

womens-home-companion

Kate Iselin

Trivial Pursuits: The media and ‘women’s interests’

Women, especially in public life, exist as a part of men’s worlds – a big part, sure – but still a part. Even as women become more vocal in demanding accurate and respectful representation, we are kept at arms length by a mainstream media which struggles to catch up. Read more »

SGbTsPQ

Rebecca Shaw

Command and Control: Trophy daughters and overprotective dads

There is no doubt that an overprotective parent is better than a parent who couldn’t care less what their child gets up to. And there is no doubt that most overprotective mums and dads are well-meaning. But paternal ‘protectiveness’ shticks often boil down to fathers not wanting their daughters to have sex, and by extension, get pregnant. Read more »

kstew

Joanna di Mattia

Kristen Stewart Through the Looking-Glass

Kristen Stewart is an actress who has been criticised, maligned even, for an acting style that transmits from set to screen as sullen, adolescent, wooden, blank, fidgety and inelegant. But perhaps she’s an actress concerned with authenticity, and the defining feature of her style is to show us herself by appearing like she’s not acting at all. Read more »

it-follows-4

Anwen Crawford

Behind You: The subtler horror of It Follows

I don’t watch many horror films. Lifelong victim of an overactive and slightly morbid imagination, I regularly envisage disasters, natural or otherwise, that might befall me, without requiring the added stimulus of cinema. Read more »

anne-dorval-and-antoine-olivier-pilon-in-xavier-dolans-mommy

Joanna Di Mattia

All About His Mother: Xavier Dolan’s fierce women

Xavier Dolan has created an exuberant body of cinema that privileges women (and others on the margins) as complex, chaotic beings. Dolan’s fierce mothers are cleaved from the pedestal that so much of cinema places them on, so that they may dig around in the dirt that is life. Read more »

Struggle+Street+KEY+IMAGE

Anwen Crawford

Shame and Stigma on Struggle Street

Struggle Street framed poverty as a combination of genetic inheritance and natural disaster – a barrier to be overcome only through ceaseless positive effort. Those who sabotage themselves through bad choices are therefore fair targets for our scorn, while those who gain employment or remain sober deserve praise for overcoming the odds. The deserving and undeserving poor, in other words. What an old story. Read more »

TheSlap_Show

Genevieve Wood

The Slap: What’s lost when a cricket bat becomes a baseball bat?

‘A cricket bat wouldn’t make sense in an American context’, says Tony Ayres, executive producer of the US adaptation of Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap. He’s right, of course – it wouldn’t. But when, in US playwright Jon Robin Baitz’s version, the eponymous slap occurs as the result of a swinging baseball bat, something’s not quite right. Read more »

empire-tv-review-fox

Anwen Crawford

Rise of an Empire

Watching Empire, I wondered why there haven’t been more television shows about record labels, the music industry being the cesspit of venality that it is. Forget TV dramas about police departments and hospital wards – a show about a record label comes with all that conflict, plus outfits, plus songs. Read more »

svfw crop

Katie Williams

Silicon Valley Fashion Week?: Fashion, technology, and wearability

Last week saw the inaugural Silicon Valley Fashion Week? (yes, with a question mark) unfold in San Francisco. The show promised ‘drones, robots, and mad inventions’, and tickets sold out swiftly; attendees were clearly eager to see more inventive clothing in this heartland of nerds. Read more »

AnimalCrossing copy

Katie Williams

Digging For Meaning in Utopia: Storytelling in Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing is a series of games in which – as my partner once remarked incredulously – ‘nothing ever happens.’ In its latest incarnation, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you become the unwitting mayor of a town populated by anthropomorphic, bipedal animals. Read more »

DUKMRUTRHLU31425064919799

Katie Williams

The Currency of Games: The real world cost of in-game purchases

A new item introduced in World of Warcraft lets players purchase a month of playing time for the real-life price of $20, which they can then sell to other players in-game in exchange for virtual currency. It’s an exchange of real money for a virtual currency that has in-game value but none in the physical, ‘real’ world – and it makes me incredibly uneasy. Read more »

16741557134_5206bec0cd_k

Jane Howard

Dark Side of the Rainbow: Belvoir St Theatre’s The Wizard of Oz

This production of The Wizard of Oz is ‘after L Frank Baum’: after his book, after the 1939 film, and after our collective memories of both. Fragmented, non-narrative, and largely wordless, it relies on our existing knowledge of the text to build a work of images and emotion, and in doing so demands an extreme generosity from the audience. Read more »

Arts House_Image_10c_Oedipus Schmoedipus (post)_Credit – Ellis Parrinder copy

Jane Howard

A Case for Diversity in Theatre

Attracting different audiences to the theatre is about many things. It’s about accessibility for people without high disposable incomes, but it’s also about marketing and publicity; about creating venues which are physically accessible for people with disabilities; and about ensuring the performers on stage are as diverse as we want their audiences to be. Read more »

2909252617_1f456d0c81_b

Jane Howard

A Working-Class Mythology: Ironing boards at the theatre

In theatre, there is perhaps no prop piece more mythologised than the ironing board, which came to signify the birth of contemporary British theatre. Read more »