Why is Scottish Publishing So Masculine?

You know how women sometimes say I'm not a feminist but... ? Well I am a feminist (though by no means a man hater!) and...when I recently took myself for a wee trawl through the websites of various high profile Scottish publishers, my first instinct was to wonder if my own prejudices were showing. Then I spoke to a few female writers (and potential readers) of my acquaintance and decided that I was right after all. We've all noticed it. Scottish publishing is, on the whole, a depressingly male dominated world, full of books (fact and fiction) about football and serial killers. I haven't actually counted the ratio of male to female authors, but even the most casual glance will show that the guys predominate. Moreover, even the crap is, let's face it, macho crap. The exception could be so called 'serious' fiction, but I'm not even sure about that. Most Scottish publishers will look much more kindly upon 'visceral coming of age novels' from young male writers, which they are happy to label as literary, than they will upon 'emotional coming of age novels' from young female writers which they will all too often dismiss out of hand as a kind of guilty pleasure. What hope then for the experienced female or even male storyteller, creating a well written, well researched, popular novel, possibly with a Scottish setting, of the kind that so many woman, and some men too, so desperately want to read?
Is there no woman or man out there, who would be prepared to set up a Scottish based publishing house, dealing in good, popular fiction, historical or contemporary, that is neither visceral, nor provocative, nor overly dark but unashamedly popular, and with an emotional depths. Come to think of it, whenever I see something described as 'provocative', I know with a fair amount of certainty that the only thing it is going to provoke is boredom, and a desperate desire to open a bottle of wine, but adolescent shock tactics do tend to pall after a while. Film gets it right lots of the time, and the companies seem to have no trouble marketing the movies either.
As another hugely talented Scottish writer remarked recently, were Robert Louis Stevenson around today, his novels would almost certainly be rejected out of hand by every single contemporary Scottish publisher. And she's absolutely right. Kidnapped? Treasure Island? Way too popular - wouldn't suit their image. Catriona? But isn't it the story of love triumphing over politices and doesn't it feature an astonishingly sexy reference to stockings? Whooo, can't possibly publish the genre that dare not speak its name. (romance) The same goes for a number of other Scottish writers. Grassic Gibbon? Domestic violence in a rural setting. You must be joking. Neil Gunn? Emotion, poetry and mythology? What on earth next? Mrs Oliphant? Middle class ghost stories, difficult to sell in the current market.....
I do wish that some brave soul out there would bite the bullet and start a Scottish imprint that wasn't so deeply, pathologically, cringingly ashamed of its feminine side. Go on. Try it. You have nothing to lose but your prejudices.

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