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Changing Your Name

Got a question/comment about the business of writing or about the publishing industry? Here's your place to post it!
annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Sat September 11th, 2010, 7:57 pm

I've mentioned this before, I'm sure, but in my reader advisory role as a librarian, I know for a fact that many men won't choose a book written by a woman. I think they're afraid of too much touchy-feely stuff - they prefer action, and they like a male hero to identify with. Whereas women on the whole will read pretty much anything, and are not so fussed by the gender of the author or protagonist.. This is even more noticeable with boys and teenage guys, who don't respond well to books with a female protagonist, while girls identify equally well with male or female protagonists. THis may not suit current PC ideology, but it's just the way it is - vive la différence and all that!

Changing the author name can get a reader past this preconceived prejudice --for example, I have seen guys take out and read with enjoyment "Emperor's Spy", published under the name M C Scott, and know they would have ignored it if it had the author name as Manda Scott. The cover image helps too. In this same case the cover is one which says "action here".
Last edited by annis on Sat September 11th, 2010, 8:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
EC2
Bibliomaniac
Location: Nottingham UK
Contact:

Postby EC2 » Sat September 11th, 2010, 8:14 pm

"annis" wrote:I've mentioned this before, I'm sure, but in my reader advisory role as a librarian, I know for a fact that many men won't choose a book written by a woman. I think they're afraid of too much touchy-feely stuff - they prefer action, and they like a male hero to identify with. Whereas women on the whole will read pretty much anything, and are not so fussed by the gender of the author or protagonist.. This is even more noticeable with boys and teenage guys, who don't respond well to books with a female protagonist, while girls identify equally well with male or female protagonists. THis may not suit current PC ideology, but it's just the way it is - vive la différence and all that!


Annis, I agree with you! I came across a group of medieval sword enthusiasts who had been told to read my book by a guy I knew from re-enactment who was not averse to reading a book by a woman. One of the forum wrote back saying 'Does it have frilly bits?' (he didn't want the 'frilly bits' as he put it). Friend reassured him (no idea I was listening in) that although the early novels were a bit frilly, the later ones weren't quite so bad and you could always skim those bits anyway...
My father in law refuses to read any novel written by a woman point blank. He's never read one of mine and I've been published 20 years now.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Location: Prague, Bohemia

Postby Kveto from Prague » Sat September 11th, 2010, 9:30 pm

this is an interesting thread. ive never really thought about it. but I can see how the name "anthony" might be taken more seriously than "tony".

A quick glance at my shelves, and id say somewhere around 1/4 of the books are by female authors, as far as I know. I dont think I avoid female authors but I do seem to lean toward male authors for whatever reason.

I also know of some authors with slavic names who were forced to "Anglisize" their names because they were afraid westerners would not buy books with hard to pronounce names. a bit like joseph conrad had to do. people might be more likely to by a book by "victor stanley" than by "vlacheslav stryzinsky".

In the end authors might be best off with a gender neutral name or initials to cover all the bases. I dont think ive ever chosen or not chosen a book based on the author's name. however, if i think about it I might avoid a book with an obvious pseudonym. I might not pick up a book by "River Tallmountain" or "Savannah Moonglow" because Id assume the author is ridiculously pretentious. or a book by "Dirk Strongarm" or "Chase Surefoot" would be mindless muck.

However, Phillip K. Dick was able to rise above his name so to speak :-)
Last edited by Kveto from Prague on Sat September 11th, 2010, 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Sat September 11th, 2010, 10:39 pm

Posted by EC
--early novels were a bit frilly, the later ones weren't quite so bad and you could always skim those bits anyway...


Lol! Yes, let's get to the good stuff where they whack off each other's heads with swords and battleaxes-- :)

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Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Sat September 11th, 2010, 11:59 pm

"TonyHays" wrote: we were told that writing a story from the POV of a person with a different gender or ethnic background than our own was forbidden. That was just unacceptable at the time. It was fake, false, and the reader would immediately know it.


Interesting. I don't know how your professors/instructors came up with this theory. Daphne du Maurier is one who comes immediately to mind who frequently wrote using a male first person POV. I don't think anyone could argue that she did it masterfully. I presume she wrote her books long before you went to school, so surely your professors knew of her work? I am sure there are other authors, also.

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EC2
Bibliomaniac
Location: Nottingham UK
Contact:

Postby EC2 » Sun September 12th, 2010, 12:41 am

"annis" wrote:Posted by EC


Lol! Yes, let's get to the good stuff where they whack off each other's heads with swords and battleaxes-- :)


Basically yes, that was what was said. Good ole' Bernard Cornwell. No frilly nonsense for him, just a good solid bash up (I am paraphrasing, but that was how the conversation went).
Les proz e les vassals

Souvent entre piez de chevals

Kar ja li coard n’I chasront



'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'


Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal



www.elizabethchadwick.com

SGM
Compulsive Reader

Postby SGM » Sun September 12th, 2010, 7:00 am

"annis" wrote:but in my reader advisory role as a librarian, I know for a fact that many men won't choose a book written by a woman.


I believe the reason why Jo Rowling published as J K Rowling was so as not to put boys off reading Harry Potter.

When D K Broster's Jacobite novels were first published, it surprised many people that she was neither male nor Scottish. I have heard similar things about P D James.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

TonyHays
Reader
Location: Southwest Tennessee

It was about two things - political correctness and following current trends

Postby TonyHays » Sun September 12th, 2010, 1:17 pm

"Michy" wrote:Interesting. I don't know how your professors/instructors came up with this theory. Daphne du Maurier is one who comes immediately to mind who frequently wrote using a male first person POV. I don't think anyone could argue that she did it masterfully. I presume she wrote her books long before you went to school, so surely your professors knew of her work? I am sure there are other authors, also.


Michy, remember that I noted that it was "academic" fiction writers. It was all about being politically correct and following current trends. I'm reminded of when Raymond Carver wrote his masterful short stories, when authors said "less is more." So everybody starting writing minimalist fiction, but few of them could do it as well as Carver. Finally, Madison Smartt Bell had the guts to say, "sometimes less is less." It wasn't just my professors. It was the unofficial position of most AWP programs at the time. The bottom line, one that Butler proved, was that if whatever you're doing works, nobody's going to complain.

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Miss Moppet
Bibliophile
Location: North London
Contact:

Postby Miss Moppet » Sun September 12th, 2010, 9:47 pm

"Michy" wrote:Interesting. I don't know how your professors/instructors came up with this theory. Daphne du Maurier is one who comes immediately to mind who frequently wrote using a male first person POV. I don't think anyone could argue that she did it masterfully. I presume she wrote her books long before you went to school, so surely your professors knew of her work? I am sure there are other authors, also.


Daphne du Maurier never really got taken seriously during her lifetime by critics or academics because she was a bestselling author and women loved her books. Books like Rebecca were dismissed as 'novelettish' because they had a subject matter similar to the pulp fiction of the day, even though the execution was worlds apart.

Ironically, more recently feminist scholars became interested in her and there have been several studies in the past few years. So as Tony says, it's all about the latest trend.

User avatar
EC2
Bibliomaniac
Location: Nottingham UK
Contact:

Postby EC2 » Sun September 12th, 2010, 10:14 pm

"Miss Moppet" wrote:Daphne du Maurier never really got taken seriously during her lifetime by critics or academics because she was a bestselling author and women loved her books. Books like Rebecca were dismissed as 'novelettish' because they had a subject matter similar to the pulp fiction of the day, even though the execution was worlds apart.

Ironically, more recently feminist scholars became interested in her and there have been several studies in the past few years. So as Tony says, it's all about the latest trend.


It's a bugger when you have to wait until you're dead! :(
Les proz e les vassals

Souvent entre piez de chevals

Kar ja li coard n’I chasront



'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'


Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal



www.elizabethchadwick.com


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