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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

If Harry had been Sally

I only have a moment, but before I forget, this goes along with my previous post. If JK Rowling had decided to write about a girl wizard instead of a boy, how would that have affected sales?

I'd wager that the saga not only wouldn't have sold in scary-ass quantities, but they wouldn't have even cracked the bestseller list.

Really. I'm serious here. And I think it's something to think about. And fear.

Am I sounding like a feminist here? Good.

P.S. JK Rowling. Using initials is an effective way of hiding ones sex. When the first Harry Potter came out, and JK Rowling was an unknown commodity, I wonder how many early adopters thought they were picking up a book written by a man?


Charles Gramlich said...

I remember Rowling saying that this was exactly what she was doing in making Harry male. I'm sure you're right about fewer people picking up the book if the main character had been female.

However, in other cases it is definetely a benefit for a man to conceal his maleness in writing. I know several men who've written romance under female pseudonyms. I don't think I've ever seen a male name on a romance novel as author.

Charles Gramlich said...

I take that back, Fabio the cover stud had his name on some romance novels, but I don't think he actually wrote those.

Kate S said...

Charles already said it for me. :)

She did say she created Harry because girls would read books about boys, but boys wouldn't read books about (or by) girls, hence the use of "JK" instead of Joanne.

Charles is right about the romance front as well. My question, though, is who is buying all the male/male romances written by women? Apparently they sell really well - but are the readers male or female? Inquiring minds want to know...

Clifford said...

But why do those male romanace writer's use a pseudonym? Is it their choice, as it's not the most acceptably masculine thing in the world to do. Is it the publisher's choice, thinking that women would rather read a book written by a woman (which, by the way, I don't necessarily believe). Also, there seems to be a differnce between category romances and mainstream romances...men can and do seem to use their names on mainstream romances, I believe...for instance, wasn't the grandaddy of them all, Love Story, written by a man (who used his name?). Because I don't follow the genre, I can't bring up other, more contemporary examples right now, but can remember hearing about them. For instance, wasn't The Horse Whisperer anoother example.

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