While perusing the internets the other day, I came across THIS article on the Huffington Post about authors who change their names.... even further, authors who change their sex!
Okay, not ACTUALLY, but via pen name for sure.
Possibly the most famous to do so, is our beloved J.K. Rowling herself. I guess technically, she didn't do a complete overhaul on her name, but in the face of the big, scary, literary world, she DID opt for gender neutral initials. On her website, J.K. herself says this:
"The use of a pen name was suggested by her publisher, Barry Cunningham. He thought that young boys might be wary of a book written by a woman, so Joanne chose ‘K’, for ‘Kathleen’, the name of her paternal grandmother."
My little feminist feathers get a little ruffled when I hear this. I mean, WHY SHOULD IT MATTER if the author is male or female? Harry would have sold either way, right... RIGHT?!
Okay. I hope he would have. But the truth is, you're right, I know that he might not have.
But it isn't just lady authors changing their epithets to more masculine sounding names or initials. As the article points out, male authors do it too! (Which, by the way, I had no idea there even WERE incognito guys who wrote romance until I read this article.... which just goes to show how much I know, I suppose. Haha!) But it does make me wonder about the guys who write romance who DON'T change their names...
... ahem... Nicholas Sparks, anyone??
I mean, if there was ever a person to write a better romantic, sappy, cheese dripping novel, I haven't heard of this person. (And I'm totally not mocking, by the way... I love me some Nicky Sparks just as much as the next gal!) But Nicholas Sparks... he's a GUY!! I wonder if HE ever gets irked that he's a man trying to his hawk his wares in the female dominated market of literary romcom? And I wonder if he ever considered changing HIS name (I mean... you know... back BEFORE Nicholas Sparks was Nicholas Sparks...) It makes you wonder what his secret is... HOW he sells chick books to chicks so successfully when he's was a guy... And if his agent ever had a similar J.K. Rowling conversation with him in those pre-publishing days.
Anyway, I suppose in the end, if we can't expect people to NOT judge a book by it's cover, then we can't very well expect them not to judge names either, right?
What are your thoughts? Do YOU use a pen name? Why or why not?