J. K. Rowling stunned fans when she was ousted as the crime fiction writer Robert Galbraith.

She writes on her website:

When I ‘unmasked’ myself to my editor David Shelley who had read and enjoyed The Cuckoo’s Calling without realising I wrote it, one of the first things h e said was ‘I never would have thought a woman wrote that.’ Apparently I had successfully channelled my inner bloke!

But there is a serious side when it comes to gender politics in publishing.

An article about the struggles of finding a publisher, written for Jezebel by Catherine Nichols, has been trending recently.

In it she explains the difficulties she experienced surrounding unconscious bias... That is until she started using a male pseudonym.

Nichols writes that she was trying to find an agent, which is pretty much a requirement when it comes to getting a publishing deal.

She started sending out what she calls a query – an email with a cover letter and the first few pages of her manuscript. She writes:

I sent the six queries I had planned to send that day. Within 24 hours George [her male persona] had five responses—three manuscript requests and two warm rejections praising his exciting project.

For contrast, under my own name, the same letter and pages sent 50 times had netted me a total of two manuscript requests.

Nichols sent out 50 queries under her male pseudonym in total, and got 17 requests from agents – both men and women – asking for her full manuscript. She writes:

He is eight and a half times better than me at writing the same book. Fully a third of the agents who saw his query wanted to see more, where my numbers never did shift from one in 25.

Keep reading...Show less
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)