It’s Still Safe To Be A Michael

July 25th, 2005 · 8 Comments
by Booksquare

Sometimes, stories make the rounds on the Internets and we just sit back and wonder what people are thinking. Or perhaps these are cases where we should worry that people are thinking at all. Sometimes it’s better to disengage the brain.

Print-on-Demand publisher has scored a nice bit of publicity by issuing a press release suggesting that the end of the male bestseller is nigh and all that. Also, the sky is falling. In some quarters, the story is being given straight treatment, so much so that when we read the following quote, we simply cannot tell if reporters (in this case, Book Standard) are bored or striving for an incredibly subtle joke (if ever there was a case for emoticons, this is it):

The selling power yielded by female authors may even cause a reversal in the Victorian practice of women taking on male monikers (e.g., George Eliot, aka Mary Evans), says Lulu CEO Bob Young. “Before long, male writers may have to adopt female pen names: the Dan Brown of the future will be Danielle, while Stephen King will be Stephanie.”

Never fear, men, you are safe. You can continue to write bestsellers to your hearts’ content. We won’t even mention that men are already taking female pseudonyms — it might be to much news for those with weaker hearts. If there is news here, and far be it for us to keep repeating ourselves, it is that women account for a far greater percentage of books sold than major book review sections acknowledge.

In almost-related news, we were heartened to see that the Los Angeles Times Book Review included a review of Man Camp by Adrienne Brodeur (apparently there wasn’t a new history of Hollywood published this week). The book is reviewed as chicklit, though we’re not sure that was the goal of the publisher. The review is certainly not glowing — it takes a critical look at the story in the context of the genre, finding the plot and execution lacking. What pleased us most was the fact that this title was treated like, dare we say it?, a real book.

File Under: Square Pegs

8 responses so far ↓

  • Karen // Jul 25, 2005 at 8:36 am

    Well, I am one of those people with a weak heart. I know that men do already write under female pseudonyms, but under what circumstances? When they’re writing in so-called female genres, such as romance. Or cozy mysteries. I doubt that there’s much out there, in terms of more mainstream work (is that code for “literary” ? — maybe), where a man would hide behind a woman’s identity. Can you think of examples? I’d be happy to be proved wrong about this.

  • Booksquare // Jul 25, 2005 at 12:30 pm

    I believe you’re correct that it’s mostly in so-called female genres. I know several men who’ve been forced to (or chosen to) take female names. This has always disturbed me because it seems like reverse sexism. I think this doesn’t give enough credit to readers. It would be an interesting undercover project to see if this is happening.

  • David Thayer // Jul 25, 2005 at 2:12 pm

    My name is Charlotte Simmons.

  • Booksquare // Jul 25, 2005 at 3:12 pm

    Well, “Charlotte”, that answers more than a few questions.

  • Kathryn // Jul 26, 2005 at 8:56 am

    Man Camp has the very same cover as the Australian edition of my book. Anyone know of other stock photo covers displayed on two different books?

  • Booksquare // Jul 26, 2005 at 10:01 pm

    This is actually quite common in the romance genre. I’ve never heard of it happening in the literary area, but that’s not to say it doesn’t. I couldn’t find your cover to compare — send the link if you get a chance.

  • Kathryn // Jul 27, 2005 at 11:19 am,%20Kathryn

  • William Souther // Aug 10, 2005 at 1:03 pm

    I read this book off of my wife’s bedside table and have to say I was SHOCKED by the LA Time’s misreading of it. It’s hilarious, warm and smart. And I’m a guy!

    My two cents.