10.26.2005

Pay no attention to that man in the stiletto heels!

In some genres (romance comes to mind, but is not the only one), most novels are written by people of one sex. So a novelist may take a pseudonym of the opposite sex if he (or she) desires to write in that genre. Obviously, personal appearances are out in that case. So what's an author to do who swims against the tide? Stick to blogs and e-mail interviews?

Well, no one is all that shocked that the editor at Beatrice.com is a man. Or that ChekhovsMistress blogger is a man. Or that Miss Snark is a man...wait, that's not quite as humorous as I thought it would be.

The idea of a grizzled, fedora-wearing, cigar chomping Lou Grant writing romances as Fifi LaFemme is pretty funny but I bet the girls over at Romance Writers of America would get a kick out of it. Heck, there are so many girls at those conventions that a man, even in a fedora, would be kind of fun.

I don't think writing as the "wrong" gender precludes much of anything. Heck in this day and age, even dogs and cats write books and no one blinks an eye when humans show up to do the author talk.

8 comments:

Desperate Writer said...

Leigh Greenwood is an example of a man writing under a female pseudomymn. And Dean Koontz wrote romance novels under an assumed name as well.

Brady Westwater said...

Woof!

someone paranoid said...

If only the men could have Middlemarch back! How much stronger our strangle hold.

Random Walk Writer said...

But does Dean Koontz go out and do author tours as a romance author? My question wasn't how other authors would react, but how the readers would.

Do readers buy romance books with men's names for the authors? How would they/do they react if they go to a signing and find a male author? If personal appearances are de rigueur, does this sort of gender-bending have adverse affects on sales?

Moi said...

RWW;

In Science Fiction/Fantasy, the trend for a long time was that women couldn't put their name on their books unless it was a particularly masculine one (Andre Norton comes to mind). I remember the hoopla when it came out that James Tiptree Jr. was actually Alice Sheldon. Science Fiction/Fantasy was seen as a very male dominant genre--and still is to a degree--but women can stand up and admit to writing this in public, attending conventions, doing booksignings, etc. Today, some 30 years after I started reading the genre, it's totally normal for authors of both genders to be seen.

I understand the same thing happened in Mystery at one point, but I've never watched that genre, so I can't tell you when which women started being known for writing that also particularly male genre.

Romance is just starting the same process, finally. For whatever reason, this genre seems to change slower than others do. Within the last year or so, I've seen men's names on the covers in the Romance aisle (hurray!) and men admitting publically to being Romance writers. It'll take a few years, maybe a couple of decades, before it's as standard as it is in other genres, but I have every confidence that it will get there, as it should. As with any change, it just takes time and people willing to be the first.

AnimeJune said...

Well, in my case, if people felt that my gender would be an issue to people reading my books, I wouldn't assume a male pseudonym, but just keep it ambiguous under initials. Examples would be S.E. Hinton, J.K.Rowling, etc...
I think if a person picks up my book, loves it, and discovers on the back of the dust-jacket afterwards that E.A. stands for Elizabeth Anne and not Ernest Aaron, it won't make a difference.

THRILL said...

I see what Random's saying. If I'd bought romances by a woman called Barbara for years, books where her jacket cover showed a flamboyant lady in pink, and she turned out to be Bob Cartland...as a reader, well, yes, I might feel a little deceived.

THRILL said...

"Or that Miss Snark is a man..."

No, no, no. Snarkiness is not a trait that can be gender bent.