Fascinating, and rather depressing conversation happening on Twitter right now about the Great Mostly White Male “most anticipated fantasy books of 2015” lists dropping now. (the females seen on these lists? Robin Hobb and Kameron Hurley. Both potentially gender-neutral names, and Kameron says she specifically requested that they not put an author photo on the book cover).
I admit – I considered going with a male pseudonym for SILVER ON THE ROAD. I’m pretty damn sure that if I had, the book would be getting more attention, pre-pub, because the brutal truth is that male-name writers get more ink, especially but not exclusively from male reviewers. Especially if the books in question are epic (non-romantic) fantasies. Â In terms of sales alone, choosing to publish under a female name is established idiocy.
And yet… this isÂ myÂ book. The thought of having to hide behind another name, of not being able to talk publicly about the book except through the scrim of that name, or a stand-in… to buy into the “only men write epic fantasy worth talking about” game…
Hi, my name is Laura Anne Gilman, and I write some damn good epic fantasy. Â And yeah, I’m female. Â If that makes you shy away from a book, then you’re the idiot, not me.
3 thoughts on “Why I’m me, and not someone else…”
Thanks for writing this! It’s still a huge issue.. And since you get credit for the whole Jaguar Addams series seeing the light of day, I can tell you that I was asked to hide my gender, because, as I was told, “men won’t read powerful women characters if they’re written by women.” My response was asking if they wouldn’t figure out that I was female once I started doing readings, but the editor said that didn’t matter. So my initials rather than my name are on the books. That was in 1998, and I’m so sorry to know that the world didn’t change with the new century, and we’re still fighting the same old same old fights. Sigh.
I don’t get this … some of the greatest epic fantasy that I have read are written by females. Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. Le Guin, Melanie Rawn – just to name a few. To think that “male” penned epic fantasy is light on the romance … uhm … hello – Sword of Truth series … that’s just a damn long (and somewhat tedious) soap opera.
I was told flat-out some years back that Hallmark wouldn’t buy the Merlin: The Old Magic tie-in project from a woman. So I got a literary sex-change. The difference? More money, more reviews, and a slot on the NYTBR Extended list. Everything you say, LAG, is true.