I've been using a pen name for a few years now. I have a couple very small things published under it, I have my blog under it (which isn't hugely busy, but I do get about 200-300 hits per month), I have attended conferences with it, etc. My question is this: When I had come up with pen name, I was writing some non-speculative things, and I actually like my pen name very much. But now that I am focusing more on speculative fiction, it does seem like a "girly" name, though not more so than say, "Elizabeth Moon," perhaps. Does the sex of an author really matter anymore? Not that i would try to sound like a guy, but should I change my pen name to something that might be more appealing to a male reader than, say, "Madison Leigh?" Or is the girly sound of that name just in my head? The other option I was thinking of was Melanie Krawczyk (an old family name, which has my first name but a different last).
PS-the reason I use a pen name is because I homeschool my son, and there are some rather judgmental people I don't want to deal with in that arena. I don't want my son to have to deal with people being critical of him because of what I do (he has enough issues as it is...).
I'm really not sure that many readers worry about the perceived sex of the author. Even genres with overwhelmingly male readership (such as MilSF) have very successful female (and obviously so) authors. If you are happy with your pen name, I don;t see any reason nto to stick with it.
Posts: 1469 | Registered: Jun 2005
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I say go with a first initial and then the last name of your pen name. That way the reader actually has to look at your book to find out if you're male or female.
Posts: 46 | Registered: Feb 2011
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With some of the female names I've seen lately I don't think it matters. Some sound attractive while others sound almost like ones that you know aren't pen names because no one would make up a name like that.
By the way, most UF writers seem to be female.
And I can relate with the reason yo want to use a pen name: I already have that judgmental problem with my In- laws with my SF. I think my UF stories would really freak them out. And I'm afraid I could get the same at my church even though the few who know about my SF stories, one published story, and ordinary fantasy, are supportive.
[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited March 10, 2011).]
quote:This is an interesting article addressing why magazines are not reviewing more female authors.
I love this article! And this quote:
"If more men than women are publishing books, then it stands to reason that more books by men are getting reviewed and more men are reviewing books."
And this one:
"Our sample was small and did not pretend to be comprehensive, and it may not represent a cross-section of the industry, because we did not include genre books and others with primarily commercial appeal."
Check out the Hugo and Nebula award nominations for recent years; plenty of both sexes represented there. We're very equal-opportunity in our primarily commercial ghetto.
At least you are already comfortable with your name. I'm hoping an editor or agent suggests a change for me in the future. My first name is immediately forgotten as soon as people learn of my surname, which is possibly the most common middle name for girls in America.
By the way, I saw your pen name as unisex. A quick Web search showed that the fantasy movie Splash (1984) jump-started the use of "Madison" for girls. Before then, parents knew the original meaning name implies masculinity: "Son of Matthew or Maud". Readers might assume either gender.
On another thread I realized one writer has a different pen name. Well, it's been used before but not often. She doesn't capitalize any of her three names. She has out two series and it's the same on both.