Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pseudonyms - Male vs Female

It has been mentioned many times in a number of outlets that having a male pen name, regardless of your actual gender, can help make you more marketable as an author. For me there are very few occasions I would consider using a name other than my current pen name which is just my real first and middle names anyway. I have no fear of taking on most traditional genres with a  feminine name. I know that sci-fi and fantasy genres tend to be more male dominated so female authors will choose gender neutral or male specific names to write under.

J.K Rowlings may be one of the best known cases of a female author writing under a neutral name for acceptance. There are others that I know personally, some were done for marketing purposes while others simply were created as a joke or because the author liked it better. I have read more articles about the viability and desirability of male pseudonyms than I can count and while I can admit that there are some very good points made I still could not see ever using a name other than my own for any of my writing. Then I began working on my kid's series.

Many that read my blog know at least a little about me but for those that don't here are the relevant facts in regard to my children's books. I am a thirty-three year old female. I have been divorced twice and have no children of my own. One could say I am on the verge of becoming a crazy cat lady because I have four felines. I do have a long term boyfriend but we do not intend to have a family beyond our animals and he is also divorced and has no kids. The series was started however for a single father friend of mine that wanted to find something to read for his daughter. Everything he found was Mommy & Me so I created a book that highlighted the father as the more dominant parent for them. It took off with more friends asking for their own versions.

I entered into talks to have the series published but the editor and publicist were concerned about me as the author. With my marketing background I understood the problem immediately. It is difficult to take a childless female seriously as an expert for creating books for children and highlighting fathers instead of mothers. My name Renee is quite easily understood to be female so after a number of conversations it was decided that I would use my initials and my maiden name R. J. Fournier for a more neutral and marketable persona. Going forward I can see using that name but only for my children's series, whether it is the current series or if I write something else for kid's but no matter what I write as an adult I will use my name Renee Jean and find a way to make it work with my female name.

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