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arodriguez
06-26-2005, 02:00 AM
i was wondering if anyone as a reader would feel they wouldnt read a fantasy novel with an author name that was ethnic. i see names like jordan, martin, eddings, modessitt, and i cant help but wonder if white english females and males are the only people who get published. any thoughts or feedback? anyone know any good (or any at all) ethnic fantasy writers?

Diana Hignutt
06-26-2005, 02:46 PM
Well, if the title sounded cool, if the synopsis sounded cool, and the cover was cool, I don't think the author's ethnicity would be a factor for me.

diana

Richard
06-26-2005, 03:43 PM
If you're just looking at names rather than actual background, China Mieville seemed to do okay.

Saanen
06-26-2005, 03:54 PM
Just because the name sounds anglo doesn't necessarily mean the author is white. I think it's a mistake to assume that no one reads ethnic writers because you haven't noticed any ethnic names on the shelves.

I don't think it makes a difference, myself. If I haven't heard of the author, no matter what kind of name they have, I'm only going to be judging the quality of writing.

Edit: If you're looking for a non-anglo fantasy writer, Lawrence Yep (Chinese) comes immediately to mind. He's also written historical fiction and in fact I believe he won the Newbery for one of his YA books. I recommend Dragon of the Lost Sea if you can find it.

arodriguez
06-26-2005, 04:34 PM
cool thanks

Pthom
06-27-2005, 10:15 AM
Just because the name sounds anglo doesn't necessarily mean the author is white. I think it's a mistake to assume that no one reads ethnic writers because you haven't noticed any ethnic names on the shelves....I agree. Samuel Delany and Octavia Butler are both most definitely NOT white. And I'm not entirely sure, but Spider Robinson may not even be human.

arodriguez
06-27-2005, 01:51 PM
lol

Tirjasdyn
06-27-2005, 06:10 PM
Though more of a horror novelist, S.P. Somtow is Thai. Of course the publisher refuses to put his name in the correct order...

Unless they work for a public face, most authors seem faceless and therefore raceless to me. Really does it matter so much? There are many ethnic writers out there many seem to be in the literary genre though sometimes I'm not sure why other than perhaps the dark cloud that is scifi/fantasy in the literary delusion.

Vomaxx
06-28-2005, 02:17 AM
I can't imagine that the "ethnicity" of the writer's name would be in any way harmful.

It has been suggested that "Robert Jordan" is now a committee. :)

katiemac
06-28-2005, 02:24 AM
Unless I'm looking for a book written by a specific author, the author's name is the last thing I notice, if at all.

arodriguez
06-28-2005, 04:12 AM
do you think publishers feel the same way? i wonder?

trebuchet
06-28-2005, 05:46 AM
I also wonder if gender makes a difference. Do readers expect something different in tone/content from a female writer as opposed to a male writer? Have you ever read something by a writer whose name appears as initials on the cover, thinking it was a man, and then finding out--to your surprise--that the writer was a woman? (or vice versa)

Saanen
06-28-2005, 06:04 AM
I also wonder if gender makes a difference. Do readers expect something different in tone/content from a female writer as opposed to a male writer? Have you ever read something by a writer whose name appears as initials on the cover, thinking it was a man, and then finding out--to your surprise--that the writer was a woman? (or vice versa)

Ooh, good question. I know when I go looking for a new mystery writer, I'm 99% more likely to look at female authors than males. I like cozies and I'm sure lots of men write them, but in my experience women write the ones I like. When it comes to fantasy, though, I'm less likely to be picky about gender of the author.

I thought E. Nesbit was a man for the longest time. When I found out the E stood for Edith I was really surprised. Oddly enough, although Andre Norton chose that name thinking she would be taken more seriously as an SF writer if readers thought she was a man, I always knew she was a woman. But that may have been because I started reading her when I was pretty young and was unfamiliar with the name Andre; I may have thought it was a woman's name. I got into a fierce argument with a friend a few years ago over Andre Norton's gender--my friend was positive she was a guy. So ultimately, I don't know that gender really has anything to do with the feel of the writing, although it could be that certain types of writing (i.e. cozy mysteries vs. police procedure type mysteries and so on) tend to be more appealing to women as topics to write about.

trebuchet
06-28-2005, 06:29 AM
I was absolutely certain C.S. Friedman was a man all through the first book of the Coldfire trilogy. Now that I know she is not, going back and reading it it's hard to imagine how I ever thought that.

katiemac
06-28-2005, 07:50 AM
Personally, I don't care about the gender of the author when choosing a book. In reality, however, it IS something the publishers think about. They won't discriminate you for being male and writing romance, or female and writing thrillers. If it's a good book, they want it.

From my observation, I've noticed it doesn't depend necessarily on the genre but the protagonist's gender. If you want to look at it one way, most romance novels have female protagonists and most thrillers have male protagonists, making it "fit" that the authors of those genres be a specific gender. However, if you take J.K. Rowling as an example, her publishing house opted for her to have initials rather than her full name appear because her main character is male. Would young male readers accept a teenage boy written by a grown woman? Nora Roberts opted to write under initials for her thrillers -- and now the cat's out of the bag for both women. Readers know these authors are female, and has it affected sales? No.

Either publishers are too presumptious about their audiences, or audiences really are too presumptious about authors. The point is, I guess, if you write a good book, it will sell -- despite your name, gender, or genre.

MadScientistMatt
06-28-2005, 07:57 PM
I was absolutely certain C.S. Friedman was a man all through the first book of the Coldfire trilogy. Now that I know she is not, going back and reading it it's hard to imagine how I ever thought that.

Me too. Well, I might have learned at about the point where the Hunter started explaining why he was certain the Master of Lema was a woman.

AnnaT
06-29-2005, 01:47 PM
Unless I'm looking for a book written by a specific author, the author's name is the last thing I notice, if at all.

Yes, I agree. Especially for fantasy/science fiction.

brokenfingers
06-29-2005, 02:48 PM
I think the omission of a gender specific name is just publishers hedging their bets on a new author. It's kinda hard for them to determine beforehand which first book is gonna die on the shelves and which one is gonna run away to bestseller status so they'll tend to "play it safe".

With SFF I don't think it matters as much as it might in other genres though. I think readers familiar with the genre have come to realize that there's quality work being put out by men and women and the difference in styles between the two has narrowed considerably in the past twenty years.

I suggest if you have any misgivings, you just ask your agent/publisher. I'm sure they'll know the latest statistics and marketing specs etc and so will be better able to confirm or allay your fears.

whitehound
06-30-2005, 08:50 AM
Is it the publisher or the author themselves who chooses to use initials? Do publishers perhaps also sometimes put an author's name down just as initials because they have a name which doesn't seem to go with the genre they are writing - too serious-sounding for romance, or too fluffy for science? Would readers be put off by a treatise on higher mathematics written by somebody called Trixiebelle, or a slushy romance written by an Alfred?

DreamWeaver
06-30-2005, 09:22 AM
Well, it's hard to believe The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings would have sold any differently if John Tolkien had written them instead of J. R. R. Tolkien.

You can't always tell ethnicity by name. Look at Dumas. Look at Morrison. Look at Haley.

On the other hand, I don't think Zelazny or Asimov will ever sound WASPy.

For ethnic names, eluki bes shahar comes to mind, in science fiction. To be fair, half her books are written as Rosemary Edghill, which to me sounds very non-ethnic. With those two names, I bet she has some direct experience that would bear on this question :).

Kris

DeZertFairy
07-01-2005, 08:35 AM
Im new here, but this thred caught my eye so I thought I'd drop my two cents here.
For me, the authros name is usually the very last thing I notice when looking for a book! Now I'll read just about anything. The first thing I tend to look at is the title. If its catchy, then I'll move to the cover art. Now Ive read plenty of books that were awsome where the cover art wouldnt have normally caught my attention, so I try very hard not to be a cover snob when looking for a book. The only time I honestly notice the authors name, is if Ive enjoyed the book and go on to find more that author has written. Never has the though of ethnic background in the author been an issue for me.
Not sure if this is what you're looking for, but for what its worth I hope it helps some :)
~Dez

victoriastrauss
07-02-2005, 07:48 PM
i was wondering if anyone as a reader would feel they wouldnt read a fantasy novel with an author name that was ethnic. i see names like jordan, martin, eddings, modessitt, and i cant help but wonder if white english females and males are the only people who get published.Let's see. Non-ethnic names. How about Steven Barnes? Olivia Butler? Samuel Delany? Walter Moseley?

For more, see here. (http://www.cdforum.org/bttf/)

You can't tell a thing from names.

- Victoria

victoriastrauss
07-02-2005, 08:14 PM
I also wonder if gender makes a difference. Do readers expect something different in tone/content from a female writer as opposed to a male writer? Have you ever read something by a writer whose name appears as initials on the cover, thinking it was a man, and then finding out--to your surprise--that the writer was a woman? (or vice versa)This kind of thing really gets my dander up (nothing personal--my annoyance is general)-- along with people who claim that men and women "write differently" or that "men can't write good female characters" (and vice versa) or that they can guess the author's gender just by reading. IMO, this is just absurd. Men don't write differently from women; people write differently from other people. I NEVER pay any attention to an author's gender when picking out a book. Never. It doesn't even cross my radar, except as part of a general interest about the author.

Of course, being a realist, I know there are plenty of people who do pay attention. It frustrates me.

A couple of years ago, some researchers came up with a theory (http://www.utne.com/webwatch/2003_108/news/10866-1.html) about what differentiates male and female writing, and developed software that supposedly could identify a writer's gender with something like 80% accuracy. A simplified version of the software (http://www.bookblog.net/gender/genie.html) was put online; you could enter a writing sample of 500 words or more and it would analyze it for gender. I'm part of a female writers' mailing list, which includes mostly SF/fantasy and romance authors. We were intrigued (and irritated) by this, and lots of us went to the website and entered samples from our novels and nonfiction writing. Most of us were identified as male, no matter what sort of writing sample we used.

- VIctoria

DaveKuzminski
07-03-2005, 02:41 AM
A couple of years ago, some researchers came up with a theory (http://www.utne.com/webwatch/2003_108/news/10866-1.html) about what differentiates male and female writing, and developed software that supposedly could identify a writer's gender with something like 80% accuracy. A simplified version of the software (http://www.bookblog.net/gender/genie.html) was put online; you could enter a writing sample of 500 words or more and it would analyze it for gender. I'm part of a female writers' mailing list, which includes mostly SF/fantasy and romance authors. We were intrigued (and irritated) by this, and lots of us went to the website and entered samples from our novels and nonfiction writing. Most of us were identified as male, no matter what sort of writing sample we used.

- VIctoria

Didn't any of you use the secret identifier words? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge?

I have to agree that I never chose what I read based upon the author's gender. It really does seem like a useless pursuit to even bother looking at it as worthwhile. After all, if you do, then what next? Eliminate authors based on their ethnicity? Eliminate more authors based on their religious beliefs? Eliminate still more authors because of their political persuasions? Eventually, you reach the point where there's only one author pure enough to read for any given reader. At that point, you've lost the reason for reading since you're then limited to what that author has written for entertainment and your outlook on life will be just as restricted when it comes to non-fiction and the opportunity to learn more to improve your life.

SeanDSchaffer
07-05-2005, 11:29 AM
I wonder how many people think, by reading my writing, that I'm a woman? I'm not, but I've been referred to in the feminine sense by other writers who mistook my writing style for that of a lady.

I personally don't think women necessarily write different than men, or vice-versa. I think of writing as, well, writing. I can name at least one book I have in my library--Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffrey--that does not, in my opinion, read from a feminine viewpoint. As a man, I can fully identify with the male characters just as dandily in that book as if a man had written it.


As for ethnic names: I know he's been mentioned, but Lawrence Yep writes some wonderful stuff. He wrote a Star Trek novel a long time ago, which I thoroughly enjoyed; and his series about a Chinese dragon princess--I don't know the title of the original book, although I have read it: the one that stands out in my mind is Dragon Steel, which I believe is the second one in the series--is, so far as I can tell, quite popular.

Personally, I don't look for the author's ethnicity or gender when selecting a book; what matters to me is if the story title and cover, as well as its subject matter, grabs my attention. For me, if you haven't already guessed, it's dragons and the like that generally decide for me what books I will and will not buy.

With me, as a reader, the author's ethnicity and/or gender are never a deciding factor in whether or not I buy a book.

AnneMarble
07-05-2005, 05:10 PM
A couple of years ago, some researchers came up with a theory (http://www.utne.com/webwatch/2003_108/news/10866-1.html) about what differentiates male and female writing, and developed software that supposedly could identify a writer's gender with something like 80% accuracy. A simplified version of the software (http://www.bookblog.net/gender/genie.html) was put online; you could enter a writing sample of 500 words or more and it would analyze it for gender. I'm part of a female writers' mailing list, which includes mostly SF/fantasy and romance authors. We were intrigued (and irritated) by this, and lots of us went to the website and entered samples from our novels and nonfiction writing. Most of us were identified as male, no matter what sort of writing sample we used.
Most of my samples were identified as male, too. I tried to tell myself that the software was "recognizing" that I had captured the male point of view very accurately. ;) Actually, I thought that software was a crock. IIRC one of the supposed identifiers of one gender or another is whether or not you use a certain number of articles. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Unless you're writing a parody of Charlie Chan movies, the number of articles is determined by the number of nouns. I don't write "The a the dog ran across a the road." I write "The dog ran across the road." And that doesn't have a thing to do with gender, only grammar.

As far as the ethnicity of fantasy authors goes, you definitely can't tell by their names. I visited the site of a fantasy author recently and according to her website, I learned she was half-Japanese. I hadn't known that before because of her name. And it didn't make a difference anyway. I don't remember who it was anyway. :)

whitehound
07-06-2005, 07:45 AM
This kind of thing really gets my dander up (nothing personal--my annoyance is general)-- along with people who claim that men and women "write differently" or that "men can't write good female characters" (and vice versa)Speaking as a fully paid-up woman, the best writer of totally convincingly female female characters I know of is Terry Pratchett - who definitely has a dick.

katiemac
07-06-2005, 08:18 AM
Speaking as a fully paid-up woman, the best writer of totally convincingly female female characters I know of is Terry Pratchett - who definitely has a dick.

Hey, now that's funny. Having never read any novels, and only seeing/hearing the name, I always assumed Pratchett was female.

Saanen
07-07-2005, 03:15 AM
You definitely need to read Terry Pratchett! He's one of my favorite authors, and now that I think about it, his characterizations of females are just as perfect as his characterizations of males. I think it just boils down to excellent characterization in any case; people like to draw big distinctions between males and females, but in the end we're all just people.

whitehound
07-07-2005, 07:39 AM
You definitely need to read Terry Pratchett! He's one of my favorite authors, and now that I think about it, his characterizations of females are just as perfect as his characterizations of males. I think it just boils down to excellent characterization in any case; people like to draw big distinctions between males and females, but in the end we're all just people.In our society, at least, though, women tend to be more emotionally hard-boiled and Terry's characters reflect that. Hopeful, bumbling, good-hearted Mort could probably only be male, and his ice-edged daughter female. Or when the male characters are hard-boiled - like Trymon, or Vorbis - it gets on top of them and they come a cropper, unlike Granny.

DragonHeart
07-16-2005, 05:30 PM
An author's name is not a deciding factor when I look for new books to read. Sure if I see the name of an author I've read before I'll usually go for theirs first, but other than that I don't give it more than a glance.

Usually I'll look at the title and the cover art first. If something catches my eye I'll read the synopsis. If I like the synopsis I'll flip through the first few pages to get a feel for the writing. If I like the writing, then I look at the author's name. At that stage it doesn't matter what their name is, as I'm already buying the book.

Usually I'll look at their name and then check for their other books on the shelf to see if anything else interests me. Unless it's a recommendation by someone, I'll end up buying two or three books by this interesting author I've never read before. That way if I like their first book I won't have to wait to get the second, and I've jump-started my collection of their work to boot.

~DragonHeart~