It’s probably no surprise to anyone who knows me, but I’m a big fan of Women in Horror Month. It gives us an opportunity to put a spotlight on all the amazing women who are writing creepy fiction and nonfiction throughout the genre. However, we shouldn’t forget female authors as soon as it’s no longer March. So here are a few suggestions for how we can all celebrate Women in Horror all year long.
1. Buy books from female authors—or request them from your local library
This one is the simplest but probably the most important: buy books written by female authors and read them! That’s the reason every writer does this—for people to discover the weird and wonderful worlds they create.
And if you don’t have the funds at the moment to pick up all the books from your TBR list, that’s fine too; request female authors’ books at the library. To be completely honest, there’s nothing I love more than seeing my own books in libraries, especially since the library was such a hugely positive part of my childhood. I’m betting many other writers feel exactly the same way, so even if you can’t purchase a copy of your own, you can request books for free at your local library. Anything to help get work by female writers into more readers’ hands!
And because I want to follow through on my own advice, as I was writing this article, I ordered a copy of KC Grifant’s latest Melinda West: Monster Gunslinger. I can’t wait to read it, and I bet if you pick up a copy, you’ll enjoy it the same way I have no doubt I will.
Melinda West: Monster Gunslinger
2. Share books from female authors on social media and through positive word of mouth
This is another very simple way to support female authors, but it’s truly one that can’t be overstated: share their books in posts on your social media and by telling all your friends and fellow readers. If you enjoy a book by a female author, then don’t be afraid to share it everywhere you can.
And again, keeping with my own advice, I want to spread the word about Christa Carmen’s debut novel, The Daughters of Block Island, out later this year from Thomas & Mercer. I was lucky enough to read an ARC, and it’s one fabulously creepy gothic tale that you’ll want to put on your reading list.
The Daughters of Block Island
3. Pay attention to how you talk about the work by female authors
So I’m most definitely not tone policing here (and I’m obviously not going to show up on your social media posts to comment on this, so no worries there), but something I’ve often noticed is that people discuss the work of women differently than how they discuss the work of men. For example, the words ‘visionary’ and ‘genius’ tend to get thrown around a lot for male authors, but you don’t hear people describing women the same way. Especially since we’re talking about writing here, it’s important to remember that words do indeed matter.
Challenge yourself to pay attention to how you discuss women’s work and why. It might only make a seemingly small difference, but I promise that even a slight shift in how we analyze and talk about women’s work can go a long way.
One author who deserves every bit of praise she’s gotten and more is Eden Royce. The author of the acclaimed Root Magic, she’s without a doubt a visionary and a genius, and I’m looking so forward to her new book, Conjure Island, which is coming out this summer!
4. Include female authors wherever you can
Are you an editor compiling an anthology? Be sure to include women in the table of content. Putting together a panel? Add some female authors to the lineup (I promise you that they’re out there). Compiling your year-end list for an article or even just a social media post? Don’t leave out female writers.
Also, like all the advice on this list, it’s not directed solely at male readers. Everyone can—and honestly should—support women writers, including other women writers. Sara Tantlinger’s Chromophobia and Lindy Ryan’s Into the Forest, both of which are currently nominated for a Bram Stoker Award in the Anthology category, are fantastic example of female authors and editors who consistently support other women writers. I’m in awe of their dedication to others as they forge their own writing careers, and their hard work inspires me to do more as well. After all, we can only create a more equitable world if we all work together.
Chromophobia: A Strangehouse Anthology by Women in Horror
Into the Forest: Tales of the Baba Yaga
5. Be diverse in your reading all year-round
We’re currently celebrating Women in Horror Month, but that doesn’t mean we should only be supporting the same women year after year. Include queer authors, authors of color, and authors of as many backgrounds as you can as you’re putting together your own reading list. Not only will you be supporting a wide array of amazing writers, but you’ll also be broadening your own reading horizons. There are so many incredible stories out there that authors are telling every day; as a reader, you don’t want to miss them!
Happy Women in Horror Month, and happy reading!