1. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Male vs. Female authors?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Lucy E., Jun 8, 2008.

    I actually wasn't sure where to put this, so I'm putting it here (it seems to be the right place...I hope).

    Okay, so I've heard a lot of debate over this: Are readers (particularly males) more likely to pick up a book written by a man than by a woman? In other words, should female authors use only their first two initials, as JK Rowling did, as their name on books? And should publishers ask female authors to use only their initials and surname?

    I was just wondering what everyone here thought.
     
  2. Aurora_Black
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    Aurora_Black Contributing Member

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    Both, Male authors usually have more action-packed novels, but I like some female authors with a little romantic flair lol
     
  3. Scribe Rewan
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    Well I'm male (I think) and I wouldn't not pick up a book by a woman. I see no reason why women shouldn't be able to write as well, or better, than a man. The only reason why I haven't read hardly any books by women is that it's a male dominated market, so most of the books out there that I want to read are by men, but it's not that i want to read them because they are written by men. The one book I quite like is The Magicians Guild, by Trudi Canavan and I knew it was written by a women, but I read the blurb, and then the first page and thought- this is good writing, and the story sounds good, so i bought and read it. It wouldnt have made any difference to me if it had said T Canavan instead of Trudi.
     
  4. Brode
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    Brode Member

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    It depends more on the person than the gender, I think. I usually don't see a significant difference between male and female writers. On more than one occasion I've looked up the writer of a book and found them not to be the gender I thought they were.
     
  5. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it depends on the market. Writing that is directed at certain markets MIGHT benefit from gender specific author names...and vice versa. For examle, a female author writing "101 Ways to Get Over an Abusive Husband" might get more interest from female readers than if a man wrote the book. Likewise, a woman who wrote "The Engine Builder's Guide to NASCAR Power Secrets" might be better off the use her initials. I suspect it depends on the market, but if a book is really compelling, word of mouth should overcome any initial gender-bias hesitation by potential writers. Besides, everyone knows NASCAR fans don't read! LOL!

    .....NaCl

    ps My all time favorite author is a woman sci-fi writer...Andre Norton
     
  6. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay, so I've heard a lot of debate over this: Are readers (particularly males) more likely to pick up a book written by a man than by a woman?
    I am female, so I really wouldn't know there. I'd say that there are some males out there that won't read something because a female wrote it and vice versa. I actually know 2 females that won't read a word that isn't written by another female. Kind of pethetic in my opinion really.

    In other words, should female authors use only their first two initials, as JK Rowling did, as their name on books?
    Hell no! You want your work published, you should be proud and show your name. Some authors prefer to use only initials, but I don't really feel that we should just because we are the opposite sex.

    And should publishers ask female authors to use only their initials and surname?
    No, I think that is just outright rude and arrogant and if a publisher asked me to do that, I'd tell them to bash it up their bom! We have every right to use our full name if we so wish to.

    We have every right as males do to show our full name if that is what we want to do. If you want to use initials, then do so, if you want to use a pen name, the do so. But don't do it to hide your gender. Be proud of your accomplishments, whether you are male or female. Don't ever be ashamed that you have gotten something published, no matter what genre it is!
     
  7. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    No, I don't have a problem with reading female authors. Some of my favorites are:
    -J.K. Rowling
    -Margaret Weis
    -Lian Hearn
     
  8. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Aren't feminists a good thing?
    A feminist is someone who believes in equal rights for both sexes...
     
  9. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah that is true, just the two females refuse to read anything written by men! Including magazine articles, news papers, pamphlets, anything...it's sad really.
     
  10. Anliya
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    Anliya Member

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    Well, I can see why men would prefer to read books by men, and similarly, women would prefer to read books by women. I mean, wouldn't we write what we like to read about? I don't mean to stereotype, but not many men would pick up a romance novel (in public, at least), and how many of those are written by men? ;)

    So I guess my answer is yes, men will probably be more likely to pick books written by a men. But this doesn't mean you should use only your initials. If the book is meant to target both male and female audiences, I'm sure most men would not avoid it, as long as the book cover isn't pink and glittery. For the few who do avoid it, you probably don't care if they read your book or not anyway.
     
  11. jps117
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    jps117 Member

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    Most of the time I only notice who the author is after I've read the book!
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    And she used the pen name Andrew North for some of her earlier works. Fortunately, times have changed.

    I read novels by male and female authors in most genres, although in the mystery genre, I more often enjoy the female authors. That may simply be the individual authors, though.

    I don't think J. K. Rowling used her initials to hide her gender. I believe nearly everyone knew from the start that J. K. Rowling was a woman.
     
  13. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    J.K. Rowling actually did use them to hide her gender at first, but it wasn't her idea. Her publisher said it would sell better.
     
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  14. chad.sims2
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    chad.sims2 Contributing Member

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    There are differnt degrees of femanists. A lot of the femanists I've meet haven't been for Equal Opertunity and more about, Females are better than men and this is why. Ex. Femanists demanded women get equal treatment in the army... Done their in, now that there in, they deman that the PT test get made easier for females than it is for men, then they don't want to have to shave there heads (Which has a valid reason Long hair can get you killed in close combat!) And there are many other things that they want "Special prevliages" for. Now i understand some of the things they asked for. Females do need to have better access to showers than males (Or at least thats what they tell me) and the wieght standard should be different we men are missing some top wieght that females have. But their is a point where you have to look and say come on! Equal opertunity or just adjust everything to let you in?

    Sorry for the rant. As for male VS Female writers... I think I read just as many female as males. JK Rowlings, Ann McCaffrey, and others that i can't think of off the top of my head are great writers... I think Ann McCaffrey is dead. What attracs me to a book is the title, the art on the front and then the seal the deal is the whats writen on the back.
     
  15. Brode
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    Just for the record, you know that "Equal Opportunity" isn't actually equal opportunity, right? It's a euphemism for "Reverse Discrimination," which is the technical term for elevating minorities above majorities in terms of desirability. So while actual equal opportunity would be nice, we're not getting it even when it's advertised.
     
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  16. chad.sims2
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    LOL I had a SGT who used to joke that as long as he patted everyone on the butt it'd be Equal. LOL, needless to say he never did but he used the joke several times and i always laughed, but this is off topic, so sorry everyone.

    I would be mad if the publisher asked me to change my name!(Unless said name was something like I.C. Weiner, or some comidic combanation of letters and names) In fact i'd find another publisher.
     
  17. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    More than you think. I know at least 5 romance novelists who are very straight men. Of course, they write under female pen names, since most romance readers would be put off by knowing one of their favorite series is written by Butch Harden.
     
  18. chad.sims2
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    chad.sims2 Contributing Member

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    So all the guys are saying they don't care who writes the book, but a lot of the girls are admiting that they know lots of people who would care if it was writen by a guy. I can't think of any guy i know who won't read a book because of who wrote it.
     
  19. Anliya
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    Anliya Member

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    Ah, that means the male authors are aware of female reader preferences! I really had no idea that male romance writers did this. It's actually quite amusing to think about. So I guess the gender of the author does matter? :)
     
  20. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Since when did gender impose anything?
    However, I don't think using initials would really help the market. Be a female, that's what you are. No use hiding. However, people may look at the gender when it comes to different genres, but I guess I don't care.
     
  21. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I go off the deeply pessemistic view of, both men and woman are both as unimportant as each other.

    I wouldn't have a problem with reading anything written by a woman, just all my favourte authors all happen to be men. For me, it is how good the writer is, not the gender, that keeps me interested.
     
  22. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    My 3rd favourite military sci-fi author is female. Elizabeth Moon. If I could find more of her books, I'd probably say she was my second favourite, since David Weber is now moving prominently into the Mary Sue character types.
    Some people do care if the author is male or female. So you might want to consider that. But I think it is becoming less and less important. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing a pen name, or using initials if YOU think its a good idea.
     
  23. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    short answer is 'yes'... sure, there are exceptions, but that's the general fact of life, whether we like it or not... even many, if not most females will pick a male writer over a female... that's usually due to the fact that until fairly recently, the vast majority of female novelists turned out gothic/romance stuff... even now, those genres probably account for the lion's share of women writers' output...

    i used 'could be male' pseudonyms for my work, back when i was writing fiction in the 80s, for that very reason... it's not a bad idea even today, imo...

    it shouldn't be the publisher's decision, but if one wants your work and they say to change your name, who'd be foolish enough to say 'no, i won't!"?...
     
  24. ugu
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    When it comes to nonfiction, I prefer books by men. I don't really pick up a book based on the gender of the author, but after the first four pages I can usually tell if it was written by a man or a woman - and men usually handle nonfiction better.

    As for fiction, my preference varies. Men seem to be good at writing novels for adults (or the general audience), but my favorite writers for children are all women.
     
  25. MumblingSage
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    Lois McMaster Bujold--a lady, though I couldn't tell at first by the name--wrote a very successful sci fi series about space marines.

    So personally, I don't notice if authors are guys or gals when picking up their books. I think I see more females than males on my library shelves, not sure if the same goes for the bookstore or not (I work at a library so I see more of it). I know people like Janet Evanovich, Danielle Steel, Nora Roberts, Iris Johansen, and Sue Grafton don't need to use initials to sell their books.
     

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