Friday, November 30, 2007

Thus Spoke the Marketing Department

I’ve always known that many males are reluctant to pick up a book written by a woman. After all, that’s why J.K. Rowling is “J.K.” rather than…what is her first name, anyway? But did you know that some women are reluctant to read a book written by a man? It was news to me. Of course, since more women read books than men, women are an important part of any new book’s audience. Therefore the Powers That Be (otherwise known as the marketing department) have decided that my new thriller, THE ARCHANGEL PROJECT, will sell better with vague, androgynous first initials rather than with the macho name “Steven Graham” on the cover.

Say what? I was originally told to take a male name in order to disguise my double X chromosome. Now I need initials to disguise my nonexistent Y chromosome?

Whatever. If the marketing department wants initials, I’ll give them initials. Thus, Steven Graham has now become C.S. Graham. Doesn’t have quite the same ring as C.S. Harris, but anything to make the marketing department happy.


Sphinx Ink said...

I would be reluctant to read a romance novel that I knew was written by a man, because men don't think about romance and relationships the same way as women. Back when romance fiction was my main choice, I wanted to enter into the hero-heroine relationship as a participant. Since I'm female, I wanted to "become" the book's heroine as I read it. Most romance novels written by males seem to have sad endings--the couple is parted forever, often because one of them dies. That's not in my fantasy!

In the other genres I read--primarily mystery, suspense, thriller, and dark urban fantasy--I don't care about the gender of the author, and I can "become" the main character, whether hero or heroine. The limitation I have is that I don't like books in which the main character is evil. (I don't want to "become" an evil being.) Flawed protagonist OK; evil protagonist not OK!

Penfield said...

I just finished Why Mermaids Sing. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to the rest of the series.

As for this topic, one of the storylines in your book is precisely why I won't read any romances by a male author. I hope that eventually Kat and Sabastian find their way back to each other. With your background in romance writing, I believe this may occur.

With a male author, I know this wouldn't necessarily happen. Male authors have a different "voice" and they don't realize the importance to female readers to have the hero and heroine wind up together. Is this a generalization? Yes - but it's also true.

As for your new pseudonym, by whatever name you choose, I look forward to reading it.

Good luck.

Charles Gramlich said...

Geeze, maybe you should go the "prince" route and just pick an unpronoucable syllable.

Shauna Roberts said...

I don't think about the sex of the author when choosing a book, at least not consciously.

I just looked at my TO READ fiction shelves. With a couple of exceptions, the mysteries were all written by women; with a couple of exceptions, the science fiction was written by men; most of the historical fiction was written by women; and there was a mix of sexes in the authors of fantasies.

Isn't Steve half of the Steve Graham pseudonym? The new pseudonym wipes him out of the equation.

Steve Malley said...

Borrow a page from the hiphop world and write as 'C-Diddy'! :-)

Steve Malley said...

Hi Sphinx! I read once that 40% of romance novels are written by men, but under female pen names of course.

I think when the marketeers-that-be decide to realease a 'romance' under a man's name (regardless of actual author gender), that down ending probably has something to do with it...