Ever make an assumption about a book based on the gender of the author? Pick up a Sci-Fi novel written by a woman and think it will be filled with endless romance and no actual science?

For years women have been using pseudonyms to disguise the fact that they were women tin order to be taken seriously and have readers buy their books. Look at J.K Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series. If people knew right off the bat that she was a woman before die hard potter fans existed, would she have been so successful?

There are often assumptions that female authors tend to write a lot of romance related content, which is easy to do seeing as the majority of romance novels are written by women. They also tend to be written by men who use female pseudonyms in order to appeal to female readers.

Recently, author Maureen Johnson started a project called Coverflip which challenged people to redesign the cover of some popular novels to suit the opposite gender it was originally meant to appeal to. Here is the link to more information and a few of the covers that have already been switched:


Should the gender of the author affect who exactly is reading their book?

Author Rebecca Solnit who has written 15 books, so far, explains her experiences with men in her profession that have looked down on her. Specifically, they are flabbergasted when they realize that she has written acclaimed books and assume to know more information than her about certain topics. Solnits gender does not hinder her ability to write award winning novels, but society seems to think it does.


My challenge to any up and coming writer is this: do not hide your gender to sell books. Tell people that woman are capable of writing political statement pieces or men can come up with cheesy, bodice ripping romance novels (Nicholas Sparks anyone?). Gender has nothing to do with how an author writes about certain topics. Surely, gender affects their experiences and how they view the world, but, readers shouldn’t judge a book based on that criteria alone.



About Mighty Damsels

I am a sick and tired nerd. Male characters have dominated the action/sci-fi/fantasy genres for far too long. No more will women be in distress, cast as the "girlfriend" or made to wear tight leather pants. Ladies! Raise up your swords, M16's, phaser guns and pens!

One response »

  1. Levy says:

    One of my favorite books I’ve ever read is a sort of sci-fi genetic experimentation novel written by Nancy Werlin called Double Helix. It’s a book that got me interested in genetics while I was in high school. I have a thing for books written in the first person perspective. I think she has a thing for writing in the perspective of men. One of her books, The Rules of Survival, is about a boy detailing the abuse of himself and his sister at the hands of their mother.

    This brings up a whole new realm of discussion. How does one go about writing from the perspective of the opposite sex? There are some long discussions on /r/writing I’ve flipped through and I think you might enjoy looking through what others think as well.

    Pretty much the leading bit of advice is “Make them living, breathing people. Gender and sex should be secondary to that.”

    I think the printed word has a lot more time and consideration into how characters are developed than most visual media like TV shows and Movies. I believe eventually, when the average Joe/Jane can sit down at a computer and make their own movies at home, it’s gonna happen, then the quality of visual media will go the way good books are now. Lot of time into the characters, design, and dialogue. Actually, now that I think about it, a lot of video games are already taking that step. Good stories, interesting characters that you actually begin to care about while playing, they don’t just exist to be eye candy.

    Sorry, this is a bit off topic. Long story short, the author’s name has never, not once, dictated if I ever decided to read a novel or not. I look at the covers, check the little teaser text, then decide if I want to read. Isn’t that how everyone looks at books? No one picks up a book and goes, “ew, no, not reading a book written by a woman.” We don’t live in the 1800s.

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