Male Authors Are Now Using Gender Neutral Names To Sell Books


by Elizabeth Bennett |
Published on

From Mary Anne Evans penning novels under the gender neutral pseudonym George Eliot, to J K Rowling using her initials to get her first book published, throughout history female writers have had to disguise their sex for their work to be taken seriously.

However, it seems the roles are finally reversing. The Times reported today how a number of male authors are now disguising their sex to sell their novels.

Following the blockbuster success of thrillers such Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, both penned by women, publishers have been using ambiguous initials instead of male name to attract a female audience. Publishers believe women are more likely to invest in such titles if they know it was written by a woman, and there’s stats to prove it - a survey of 40,000 men and women by the reading website Goodreads found that 46 of the 50 most-read books among women were written by women.

For example, Sean Thomas, author of Sunday Times bestseller The Ice Twins used the pseudonym SK Tremayne, whereas Tony Strong has seen success with his book The Girl Before when he used the name JP Delaney. Similarly, across the pond, author of Final Girls Todd Ritter chose his writing name ‘Riley Sager’ from a list of gender neutral names on Google, The Wall Street Journal reported.

While a small amount of googling could identify the sex of any author, these publishers want to make sure women are not put off when scanning the book shop aisles, in particular when they are on the hunt for novels with a female protagonist.

‘We didn’t want to deceive people outright — to say I was something like Sally Tremayne. I was writing in a female voice. We didn’t want readers to think: “I’m not buying a book about a woman written by a man. He won’t be able to do it.”’ Thomas told The Times.

We imagine the Bronte sisters would be turning in their graves...

READ MORE: The 15 Unmissable Books Of 2017 So Far

READ MORE: 7 Books That Are Arguably Better Than The Movie

READ MORE: 5 Self-Help Books To Inspire You To Be Your Best Self In 2017

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us