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message 1: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Interesting blog post from Catherine Nichols about her experience sending out her work under a male name:

Homme de Plume: What I Learned Sending My Novel Out Under a Male Name
The plan made me feel dishonest and creepy, so it took me a long time to send my novel out under a man’s name. But each time I read a study about unconscious bias, I got a little closer to trying it.

I set up a new e-mail address under a name—let’s say it was George Leyer, though it wasn’t—and left it empty. Weeks went by without word from the agents who had my work. I read another study about how people rate job applicants they believe are female and how much better they like those they believe are male.

The thing I was thinking of doing was absolutely against the rules, the opposite of all the advice writers get, but I wasn’t feeling like a writer, and I hadn’t written in weeks. Until last winter, I had never faced a serious bout of writer’s block or any meaningful unwillingness to work. A blank page had always felt to me like the moment the lights go down in a theater—until the day it didn’t. I was spending more time crying on the phone than writing and I had no idea how to get back to work. Every paragraph was a negotiation—my instinct leading one way, and then a blast against it—don’t do that, you’ll confuse people. No one wants to read that kind of thing.
Full blog post:

message 2: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leonierogers) | 152 comments This article inspired one of my fellow female authors to consider sending out her work under a gender ambiguous name. There's a thread on it in a Facebook group I'm in. Most people are just suggesting names to use.

As a (feminist) female sci-fi and fantasy author, I find it extremely frustrating that there's still this kind of gender bias in publishing. (In some circles, not all, of course.)

I also find it worrying that women feel the need to change their pen names in order to be noticed. Realistically, I understand why - they want their work to be given the same attention it would were they actually a man. It's a sad comment on society that it's 2015 and we're still trying to find equality.

message 3: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments The numbers she presents are troubling. Personally, I am not wild about the idea of someone presenting their work with another name on it. I can see some role for a pen name or anonymity within the context of a particular piece of work, but it's vaguely horrifying that someone might feel the need to deny their authorship as part of putting something out into the public.

In this case, of course, she did have a particular purpose, and her story is compelling. In and of itself, it becomes a kind of performance piece.

message 4: by K. (new)

K. (maiel) | 4 comments There is another article from the reader perspective that explores this theme among favorite characters. I've written a blog on it that will be posted later in the month. I had a similar, really much too similar, experience with my first novel. They could not decide if I had written literature or a romance, not even historical fiction. I don't think of a man had written the same book that this would have been contended. He would have been put in literature or hist-fic easily depending on the marketing numbers. My book is NOT a romance. It was maddening! And, I fought the idea that being a woman was what caused this to the bitter end, as I tried to address my roadblocks to publishing. In the end, I think their debate over it being romance or lit makes it clear that gender was influencing their deliberations.

message 5: by K. (new)

K. (maiel) | 4 comments Here is the article:

And, may I say, that to prefer a pedophile like humbert humbert over all women characters, most any other character, is sickening.

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