Monday, July 29, 2013

A Milestone And Late Night Musings...

I have hit a milestone. My simple little blog has had over 100,000 views. I get more and more views every day, it seems.

It's amazing.

Looking back at when I first started this blog, I could literally hear the crickets. Okay, maybe not literally. But I felt as if I was talking to myself. I'm a writer, I'm used to talking to myself. But I still treated this blog as if the whole world were reading it.

I try to be careful what I post. Nothing too inflammatory, no politics, no religious arguments. Just writing and life related. I think it's worked out rather well. And I love it when you all join in on the conversation. Just a few more weeks and I'll be going offline while we move. I'll have a few posts scheduled, but forgive me if I don't reply to comments.

With the discussion of J. K. Rowling and her use of a male pen name for her latest books, it got me to thinking. Dangerous pastime, I know. I still see comments floating around about her choice of gender for her pen name. We discussed it before, the whole male dominated world, etc. Even after the feminine movements and women taking control in the workplace. There is still harassment prevalent in this industry, proven by the goings on over at Tor. It's quite sad, actually. I know the majority of people in my personal circle here don't care if you are male or female and writing. There's mutual respect, which is how it should be. But doesn't mean we women have to start burning our virtual bras anytime soon, either. But what's the deal? I've heard a couple men state that women are only good at writing romance. And this was during a book discussion at a local library. (Not here in Alaska, down in Arizona.) Men are good at writing romance, but that genre is heavily dominated by female authors.

Because I have my picture up on Amazon and on my virtual book cover, my initials don't fool anyone. They know I'm female. I don't have the luxury of hiding behind my initials. Anyone can Google me. (As bad as that always sounds...) Not that I am truly hiding behind initials anyway.

I suppose the point of this post is, what makes authors choose a pen name? If you were to choose a pen name, would you stick with your gender or switch sides? Other than trying to hide behind a famous name or portraying yourself as a more, so called, acceptable gender in the writing industry, why go for the pseudonym? What's your thoughts on this?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Maybe it is the chance to be anonymous?
I know I don't care if the author is a man or woman.

Bevimus said...

Congratultions on hitting 100,000!! That it huge! I relate so much in terms of the early years of my blog and the chorus of crickets- I didn't start getting humen chetter around there until relatively recently in the life od the blog and I look forward to someday, a loooong time from noe, hitting a similar milestone.

As for pen names, I think the process of choosing one is just as varied as the process of writing itself- there are similarities, but everybody's got their own particular way.

Those guys in the library are (to my knowledge) unusually ignorant- I think most people know that gender has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Jai said...

Congrats on the 100,000 that is very exciting.

Best of luck with the move.

Mel Chesley said...

@ Alex ~ I don't care either. But sadly, there are some out there that do. :(

@ Bev ~ Thanks! Good luck getting to your milestone!

@ Jai ~ Thanks!

Donna Hosie said...

100,000! WOW.

I've never understood the appeal of pseudonyms, but each to their own.

JA Grier (ee/em/eir) said...

I used a pen name for a while simply because I was uncomfortable in my own skin as a person. I've since moved to using my real initials and last name, which feels right somehow. I suppose both the pen name I chose and my initials would be sort of gender neutral. As you say, it is trivial to google almost anyone and find their gender, but not having it be the first thing a reader thinks when they see my work is something I like. Possibly this is because of the general bias against female writers, but part of it is certainly that I like the neutral nature of it.
Fictional Planet

Unknown said...

Congrats on the 100k!

The chance of a pseudonym in general is so writers can split aspects of themselves as a writer if they decide to write in a difference genre where the name sounds more in keeping with the kind of book (e.g. it seems that authors with initialled first names are more prevalent in speculative fiction than other genres).

I'd be optimistic in thinking that the choice of switching gender as a pen name is simply because the choice is there; it offers another veil of shadow to separate the author from the pen name so readers don't immediately associate one with the other.

The reality is more that some genres sell better with certain kinds of authors, and some genres sell better if a man or if a woman has written it. We live in a world dominated by sales and marketability, and I imagine that the switching of genders sometimes isn't the full choice of the author.