There are a few threads around here about pseudonyms/pen names, but I can’t seem to find one that addresses my exact question, so I thought I’d start my own... Does anybody here use a pen name of the opposite sex? You know; you’re a male, but you use a female pen name? Or vice versa. If so, why? I’m reading things that say people will only buy certain genres if they’re written by authors of a certain sex. How true is this, really? The sex of an author has never really concerned me. I’ve never considered the fact that a female couldn’t write good sci-fi... I’m a horror fan, a genre that is predominantly dominated by male authors. If I see a book written by a female, it actually tends to have the opposite effect; it piques my interest. Sure, the book needs to have a good cover and a decent synopsis, but a female name would add to the interest. For this reason, I, as a male, am considering the idea of using a female pen name. However, I don’t like the idea. If I bought that horror novel, with the great cover and the interesting synopsis and the female author, and later found out the author was actually a man, I don’t think I’d be too pleased. Also, what about the critics? They’d be constantly referring to you as ‘she’. So that all brings me to my real question: What about gender neutral names? I think most people who saw the name Mel, for example, would assume it was short for Melanie or Melissa. But it could just as easily be Melvin, although that is probably a much rarer name. This is what I’m leaning towards doing myself. I will choose a gender neutral name, one that on first thought appears to be female, but is actually the shortened version of a male name. This could then be explained in a short “About The Author” type of thing. Does anybody see any problem with this? Are there any famous examples of such out there?