It goes like this:
I wanted to keep myself anonymous, as I write books in several different genres. So, I thought I would keep this blog for only one book. I would put my initials and surname only on the covers of my books, and no one would know my first name.
Well, that worked.
By the second Amazon review someone had my full name. I suppose it’s not that hard to find; for a start it was on the email I sent to the first reviewer to thank them.
This anonymity thing is harder than I thought, and I’ve blown it already.
But why bother, anyway?
Well, ever noticed that a number of female writers only put their initials on their books? And ever wondered why?
The answer lies in part in a study I read about a decade ago (still trying to find it online; grateful for any help). It showed that while female readers don’t care much whether the author of a book is male or female, relying mainly on blurb and cover design to choose a book, 98% of male readers would not read a book if they knew it was by a woman.
That’s right, 98%.
And that’s not 98% of all men, that’s 98% of men who habitually read.
So, if I put ny first name on my book covers, I lose half my potential audience. Instantly. And it’s not helped by mysogynist writers (I’m looking at you, Banville, and you, Naipaul) constantly dismissing women as incapable of writing literature of merit. Now, you might say that what John Banville thinks of literary writers has little to do with those of us who write (predominantly) genre fiction. But these kinds of attitudes have a trickle-down effect. Theey contribute to a chilly atmosphere. And they reinforce the barriers that stop men from picking up a book with a woman’s name on the front cover and actually walking with it to the till, then taking it home and reading it.
Cause it’s got a girly name on the cover. And eeew, that’s embarassing.
KJ Parker (theoretically)