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: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/07/coverflip-maureen-johnson_n_3231935.html#slide=2421725
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.