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backslashbaby
10-07-2010, 09:29 PM
If you read a 2-3 sentence author bio that was well-written, but that did not give away the author's gender, would that bother you in any way?

I don't know how I feel about bios in the first place, I'll admit. I like stories to be their own thing, disconnected from the author, at least at first.

veinglory
10-07-2010, 09:35 PM
It would only bother me if I noticed, and it is quite possible I wouldn't.

J. Koyanagi
10-07-2010, 09:36 PM
No, it wouldn't bother me in the least. :)

Kenra Daniels
10-07-2010, 10:20 PM
Wouldn't bother me at all. I don't care what gender the author is, just that the story is good.

Phaeal
10-07-2010, 10:21 PM
Gender-neutral authors? No prob. Gender-neutral agents and editors? Uh oh. Now I have to do some research so I don't address a Mr. Blank as Ms. Blank, or vice versa.

Soccer Mom
10-07-2010, 10:23 PM
I probably wouldn't notice, assuming I even read the bio. I frequently don't. If I noticed, it wouldn't bother me a bit. People seek privacy for many reasons.

brainstorm77
10-07-2010, 10:25 PM
No. It wouldn't bother me in the least.

whacko
10-07-2010, 10:44 PM
Hi backslashbaby,

I like to think that I'm mature enough not to care about race, gender, sexuality, creed and all that jazz. To me, it's all about the person. Are they good or bad? Would they share a cigarette with you?

But, I must admit, I'm incredibly sexist about authors. I don't know why, a bad experience with George Eliot maybe? Yet the only female author I've read, and my condition is improving because I started this recently, is Agatha Christie.

So yes, keep it gender neutral for Neanderthals like me, and I'm getting better, honest.:tongue

But sex, in the chromosome department, is a funny thing. Did you know, for instance, that Barbara Cartland, that doyen of a million romantic novels, was actually a six foot lumberjack from Ontario?

benbradley
10-07-2010, 10:52 PM
If you read a 2-3 sentence author bio that was well-written, but that did not give away the author's gender, would that bother you in any way?

I don't know how I feel about bios in the first place, I'll admit. I like stories to be their own thing, disconnected from the author, at least at first.
Presuming the name didn't already give it away???

But yeah, I'd have no real problem with it. I'm sure if I really wanted to know it would be on Wikipedia or Wikileaks or something...

I'd almost prefer not to know anything about the author before reading the work. If I'm familiar with the author, it's going to influence how I feel before reading the first word. I'll gladly read an Asimov non-fiction or short story, but an Asimov novel? I've read a couple and wouldn't look forward to it.

How about making it as general as possible:
"This author lives on Planet Earth, and has a family and a pet."

quicklime
10-07-2010, 11:17 PM
If you read a 2-3 sentence author bio that was well-written, but that did not give away the author's gender, would that bother you in any way?

I don't know how I feel about bios in the first place, I'll admit. I like stories to be their own thing, disconnected from the author, at least at first.


well, according to Ron Burgandy, "men have bigger brains, its science." So I'd lower my expectations if I knew a girl wrote it :-p


seriously, I could care less. Most everything i read happens to have male authors, but that's how things panned out, not any act of will or preference on my part. Anne Rice writes well, just not my cup of tea. Poppy Z Brite writes very well, but again, not my thing. I understand Amy Tan and others are excellent.....and I know I like the snippets of Kathy Griffin's books I've skimmed.

You either write well or do not, but I don't see it as a sex-linked trait

Jamesaritchie
10-08-2010, 02:22 AM
It seems completely pointless and silly beyond words.

defcon6000
10-08-2010, 02:37 AM
I probably wouldn't notice, assuming I even read the bio. I frequently don't. If I noticed, it wouldn't bother me a bit. People seek privacy for many reasons.
This. I don't read bios either, I just want to read a good story.

Kitty27
10-08-2010, 02:45 AM
It doesn't bother me but I am always curious about my favorite authors. I'd just think that the author just wants privacy and I can respect that.

Uma
10-08-2010, 02:45 AM
The Lipshitz 6 author T. Cooper did this - and yes I did notice, and was intrigued rather than annoyed

OneWriter
10-08-2010, 02:54 AM
I'm just curious: why are you asking?
I read somewhere that men prefer books written by men for certain genres like mystery/thriller/suspense. So, if the publisher wants the book to appeal to a male audience as well, they will have the author use her initials instead of her first name (so the name wouldn't give away the gender). I wouldn't be surprised if the bio kept the gender obscure as well -- could be a marketing strategy.

backslashbaby
10-08-2010, 03:04 AM
I'm just curious: why are you asking?
I read somewhere that men prefer books written by men for certain genres like mystery/thriller/suspense. So, if the publisher wants the book to appeal to a male audience as well, they will have the author use her initials instead of her first name (so the name wouldn't give away the gender). I wouldn't be surprised if the bio kept the gender obscure as well -- could be a marketing strategy.

I have to turn in a short bio for a pen name of mine, and I'm really considering keeping the gender obscure. It is a genre where a reader might have a gender preference toward male. I also do like the work to speak for itself. I always feel silly that anything about me would be tied to the work.

I do like to read other folks' bios, though!

quicklime
10-08-2010, 03:39 AM
I have to turn in a short bio for a pen name of mine, and I'm really considering keeping the gender obscure. It is a genre where a reader might have a gender preference toward male. I also do like the work to speak for itself. I always feel silly that anything about me would be tied to the work.

I do like to read other folks' bios, though!

anne rice does horror

there are at least a half-dozen femal suspense writers.


not sure I buy the gender-typing. On the other hand, your royalty check, not mine--if you're worried, go with your gut.

smcc360
10-08-2010, 03:45 AM
No, I've seen a couple of those. I might be curious, but I wouldn't particularly care.

Although I'd likely assume the author was female, unless I was reading a romance novel. Which I wouldn't be, because there's more testosterone in me than Charlton Heston multiplied by Jack Palance.

OneWriter
10-08-2010, 03:45 AM
Tess Gerritsen writes thrillers under her full name, but her books appeal to a mostly feminine audience--as far as I know at least, because of the romance element. Again, it depends not just on the genre, but also on the book and how the publisher plans on marketing it.

amergina
10-08-2010, 03:55 AM
I actually ran across a gender-neutral bio recently while reading the Luna Book's Harvest Moon anthology. Cameron Haley's bio lacked any gender pronouns. When I first read the bio, I assumed female, since it was a Luna Books antho (Luna is a Harlequin imprint) and the story in the antho was UF with a woman protagonist. Cameron, though historically a masculine name, has been a feminine name lately, too.

It is, in fact, a pen name for a man. :) (His real name is on the copyright page, and on his author web page, so it's not a secret at all.)

But it's pretty obvious that the bio was written to make Cameron's gender ambiguous.

jennontheisland
10-08-2010, 04:04 AM
I've read a few gender-neutral bios. I generally make the assumption that the author is female. Unless it's a genre romance or romantic erotica, in which case I assume the author is male.

Gender neutral bios give away gender to me. But that's likely just me.

Polenth
10-08-2010, 04:08 AM
It wouldn't bother me from a sex/gender point of view. In some places online, people got in the habit of calling me he/him. It's not a big deal to me.

It would bother me if the bio was awkwardly worded. It'll be hard to avoid all mention of s/he or equivalent, and still have a bio that flows smoothly. Not impossible by any means, but it does make it harder to write

BrooklynLee
10-08-2010, 04:23 AM
I have a very gender-neutral name, so it's entirely possible a bio of me could come across that way. I actually suspect the one in my query did, because I got a few responses that were addressed to Mr. Lastname, and I'm a woman.

Georgina
10-08-2010, 01:11 PM
If you read a 2-3 sentence author bio that was well-written, but that did not give away the author's gender, would that bother you in any way?

Yes, it bothers me. I often see gender-neutral bios because I read m/m, and authors seem to think if they write four sentences in which they contort themselves every which way to avoid using a pronoun, I might think they're male. So firstly, they annoy me because they're almost always badly written.

But mostly they annoy me because they insult me, as a reader. The gender-neutral bio says, "I'm not the gender you would expect for this story, and I don't think you can handle that." Well, pshaw to you. You're a woman writing m/m. You're a guy writing fantasy with a female protagonist. I don't care, as long as it's good. What I do care about is that the writer and/or publisher gives me so little credit as an adult reader that they think I can't handle the author's gender being different from the norm.

If you really feel you should write a gender-neutral bio, perhaps you could keep it to a single sentence to avoid the pronoun situation altogether?

Cheers.

Oshodisa
10-08-2010, 01:52 PM
I don't think a non-gender specific bio would bother me. What amazes me though, it that some of you don't read the bio's. Maybe it's just me that is nosy but I like to have that feeling of what the author is like as a person.

I've just had a mental browse of my bookshelfs (I'm at work - they are not!) and I think that 95% of the books I have read are by a male author. I've not gone out my way to pick male authors, I think that the genre's I like are predominantely done by men.

Or at least by male pen names;)

backslashbaby
10-08-2010, 09:41 PM
Yes, it bothers me. I often see gender-neutral bios because I read m/m, and authors seem to think if they write four sentences in which they contort themselves every which way to avoid using a pronoun, I might think they're male. So firstly, they annoy me because they're almost always badly written.

But mostly they annoy me because they insult me, as a reader. The gender-neutral bio says, "I'm not the gender you would expect for this story, and I don't think you can handle that." Well, pshaw to you. You're a woman writing m/m. You're a guy writing fantasy with a female protagonist. I don't care, as long as it's good. What I do care about is that the writer and/or publisher gives me so little credit as an adult reader that they think I can't handle the author's gender being different from the norm.

If you really feel you should write a gender-neutral bio, perhaps you could keep it to a single sentence to avoid the pronoun situation altogether?

Cheers.

Mine's just two sentences, so it wasn't very contorting :) More than that and it gets hard to imagine!

And I love readers who don't give a flying fig about gender. Me, too.

It's not so much that I'm trying to trick anyone as that I saw a place where I could hopefully avoid telling about a bunch of stuff not related to my writing. I'm already using a pen name that could be male or female (as my much-used nickname in real life does -- Dad chose that! It seems completely usual to me :)).

I do love pets and gardening, too. What that has to do with my story, I have no clue ;)

Susan Littlefield
10-08-2010, 11:48 PM
I presume you are talking abut on the book cover. I don't think it's necessary to mention gender in a bio. Why would it be? However, people know the gender by a photo and/or the name, unless the author wrote under a psuedoym, used initials for first name, or had a name that either gender could have.

I guess I've never really thought about it. But, now that I thnk about it, I do like reading jacket covers and the author bios, even putting a face to the writer.

shadowwalker
10-09-2010, 12:06 AM
I generally don't even read the bios unless the book really grabs me. Typically,if I find an author whose writing always seems to grab me, then I like to know a little more about them - but that's just idle curiosity.

DancingMaenid
10-09-2010, 12:15 AM
But mostly they annoy me because they insult me, as a reader. The gender-neutral bio says, "I'm not the gender you would expect for this story, and I don't think you can handle that." Well, pshaw to you. You're a woman writing m/m. You're a guy writing fantasy with a female protagonist. I don't care, as long as it's good. What I do care about is that the writer and/or publisher gives me so little credit as an adult reader that they think I can't handle the author's gender being different from the norm.


This is what concerns me about my own bios. I like to keep them gender-neutral because I don't really identify as a man or a woman, but don't necessarily want to go into detail about my gender identity in a short author bio. I don't keep it a secret, though.

But of course, people will assume, and that does bother me. I don't want people see me as a guy writing F/F erotica or a woman writing M/M erotica, because both are false.

GregB
10-09-2010, 12:52 AM
I actually ran across a gender-neutral bio recently while reading the Luna Book's Harvest Moon anthology. Cameron Haley's bio lacked any gender pronouns. When I first read the bio, I assumed female, since it was a Luna Books antho (Luna is a Harlequin imprint) and the story in the antho was UF with a woman protagonist. Cameron, though historically a masculine name, has been a feminine name lately, too.

It is, in fact, a pen name for a man. :) (His real name is on the copyright page, and on his author web page, so it's not a secret at all.)

But it's pretty obvious that the bio was written to make Cameron's gender ambiguous.

OMG you outted me!!!

backslashbaby
10-09-2010, 01:57 AM
This is what concerns me about my own bios. I like to keep them gender-neutral because I don't really identify as a man or a woman, but don't necessarily want to go into detail about my gender identity in a short author bio. I don't keep it a secret, though.

But of course, people will assume, and that does bother me. I don't want people see me as a guy writing F/F erotica or a woman writing M/M erotica, because both are false.

You bring up another reason I think it's good if some folks like to not focus on these things. It's important to me to not focus much on gender in 99.999% of things. For lots of reasons. Knowing that some readers have biases is just more fuel for me feeling that way.

Invincibility
10-09-2010, 09:56 AM
It would bother me about as much as an author bio that didn't mention their hair color or eye color. Society's fixation on gender is very disturbing to me. I wish we could do away with it altogether.

Polenth
10-09-2010, 10:27 AM
This is what concerns me about my own bios. I like to keep them gender-neutral because I don't really identify as a man or a woman, but don't necessarily want to go into detail about my gender identity in a short author bio. I don't keep it a secret, though.

But of course, people will assume, and that does bother me. I don't want people see me as a guy writing F/F erotica or a woman writing M/M erotica, because both are false.

How do you feel about gender-neutral pronouns? It'd be a subtle way to state gender identity without having to state it directly (and it'll make it easier to write the bio if you have pronouns to use).

I did consider gender-neutral pronouns (as I'm androgynous), but I find the invented ones a bit awkward to use, and people get twitchy if they see 'it' used as a pronoun.

DancingMaenid
10-09-2010, 11:41 AM
How do you feel about gender-neutral pronouns? It'd be a subtle way to state gender identity without having to state it directly (and it'll make it easier to write the bio if you have pronouns to use).

I did consider gender-neutral pronouns (as I'm androgynous), but I find the invented ones a bit awkward to use, and people get twitchy if they see 'it' used as a pronoun.

I like them. But I haven't used them that much because I get the feeling a lot of people don't recognize or understand them.

bearilou
10-11-2010, 04:38 PM
It only bothers me insomuch as I'm nosy and like to know. Information feels imcomplete. It doesn't affect me or my choice in reading material or what book I'll pick up or put back down.

Miss Plum
10-11-2010, 08:28 PM
It would bother me. I would think, Why did you even provide a bio if you're not going to give such basic info? If I'm not mistaken, one big purpose of author bios is to humanize those words on the page; to satisfy a reader's natural curiosity about the person behind them. Author bios, even of financial or military or legal experts, often include a note about spouse and family, even pets. "Society's fixation on gender" is more evident in people who labor to obscure gender rather than those who reveal it without a thought.

CheG
10-11-2010, 09:10 PM
As far as the writing goes I read male authors and female authors and enjoy their books equally.

However when it comes to a bio I want to know who the person is. Otherwise why are you inluding a bio in the first place?

Secondly- in a world where authors need to be a visible commodity hiding your gender will not help your career! When people go to meet you at a convention or a conference it may help them to know what they are looking for. And what about the jacket photo? Is that to be gender neutral too?

There was one case where I read a book told first person from a male POV and the authors name wa gender neutral. BUT instantly when I was reading the book I thought "This author is a woman and they have FAILED to write convincing male POV because I can tell! But the name..." So I looked them up on the internet and sure enough it was a woman who couldn't write a male pov. That I found annoying becuase they had failed. Interestingly though the author complained on their website that she was annoyed most people assumed she was a man. The bio on the book was totally gender nuetral and the name is both a man's name and a woman's name so what was everyone to think? At least for those people for which her male POV book didn't scream "written by a woman".

backslashbaby
10-11-2010, 09:57 PM
I gave a bio because it's required. I gave credits and degrees -- the boring facts, imho ;) And a bit about where I'd lived because that is relevant to the story, if any of this stuff is relevant.

I just like my stuff to float out there on its own merit. I like hearing about authors, too, but it's not necessary to me.

If it ever comes that I need a photo, I'll have to re-evaluate. Obviously, same for author signings. But for now, hopefully, the story is just the story, as much as I can swing it that way :)

Maxx
10-13-2010, 08:04 PM
Presuming the name didn't already give it away???


How about making it as general as possible:
"This author lives on Planet Earth, and has a family and a pet."

Captain Sparky frequents the shabby side of every tourist haven between here and Pango-Pango.
It's like the good parts of all the bad Tony Curtis technicolor adventure films.
Meanwhile Captain Sparky is laboring to obscure something about gender. Read the book.

Invincibility
10-14-2010, 03:36 AM
It would bother me. I would think, Why did you even provide a bio if you're not going to give such basic info? If I'm not mistaken, one big purpose of author bios is to humanize those words on the page; to satisfy a reader's natural curiosity about the person behind them. Author bios, even of financial or military or legal experts, often include a note about spouse and family, even pets. "Society's fixation on gender" is more evident in people who labor to obscure gender rather than those who reveal it without a thought.
Not really. This post is pretty much exactly what I meant by "society's fixation on gender". That readers feel entitled to know what an author's genitals look like really bugs me. (Trans authors are included in this statement, because a good number of people feel cheated or otherwise tricked if a trans woman, for example, says "I'm female" rather than "I'm MtF".) Should my bio also state my hair color? And should it just say I'm a redhead, or should it include that I'm naturally blond? What about my eye color? After all, it might satisfy some reader's natural curiosity.

Polenth
10-14-2010, 04:43 AM
It would bother me. I would think, Why did you even provide a bio if you're not going to give such basic info? If I'm not mistaken, one big purpose of author bios is to humanize those words on the page; to satisfy a reader's natural curiosity about the person behind them. Author bios, even of financial or military or legal experts, often include a note about spouse and family, even pets. "Society's fixation on gender" is more evident in people who labor to obscure gender rather than those who reveal it without a thought.

Someone who words a long bio in a way that doesn't mention sex or gender is likely to be someone who prefers to keep it private.

Someone who specifically mentions "I'm a man" in a bio that would have been neutral otherwise (such as a one-liner for a short story) obviously thinks it's very important to mention.

Someone who has a mix of bios - some using gendered pronouns, some without - probably doesn't care much either way. They care more about the other details included.

I find it a bit baffling to suggest this isn't telling you something about the author, because it says bucket-loads to me. It tells me what they find important and what they want to keep private. The same goes for any other detail people chose to include / exclude. It does come across as a fixation when someone wants a certain detail to appear in all bios, regardless of how the author views it.

Mr Flibble
10-14-2010, 05:22 AM
You know what?


I don't accentually give a crap what gender the writer is, or if they chose to hide it or what. Why does it matter?
My consideration is: did I like the story?

Everything else is um, superfluous. Except maybe their e-mail so I can tall them how much i liked it

Why should I care what dangly bits they have or don't have? How does it affect my reading? does it affect me if hey keep ferrets or collies? Nope. It doesn't so I don't chuffing care. I care about the story.

Miss Plum
10-14-2010, 05:48 AM
Someone who words a long bio in a way that doesn't mention sex or gender is likely to be someone who prefers to keep it private.

If they value their privacy then why would they write a long bio?


Not really. This post is pretty much exactly what I meant by "society's fixation on gender". That readers feel entitled to know what an author's genitals look like really bugs me. (Trans authors are included in this statement, because a good number of people feel cheated or otherwise tricked if a trans woman, for example, says "I'm female" rather than "I'm MtF".) Should my bio also state my hair color? And should it just say I'm a redhead, or should it include that I'm naturally blond? What about my eye color? After all, it might satisfy some reader's natural curiosity.

Oh dear. Is it a man or a woman? That's so basic. So simple! It's not that readers are "entitled" to know; they're just curious about who's behind the words. And now I bid you adieu.

Invincibility
10-14-2010, 06:15 AM
Oh dear. Is it a man or a woman? That's so basic. So simple! It's not that readers are "entitled" to know; they're just curious about who's behind the words. And now I bid you adieu.
The entitlement comes in when you expect that they should have to answer just because you're curious.

Also, "it"? Way to go.

THIRDLY, "who's behind the words" is way more than what's inside their pants. Assuming that you have to know that information in order to know a person is yet another facet of, yes, society's fixation on sex and gender.

Oh and what about those of us who don't identify as either? I bet you any amount of money that if one of my books had a bio that noted I'm ungendered people would either go "Uuuuh, oversharing?" or "But what are you really?" - aka, "What kind of genitals do you have?" How is that not a creepy question?

KTC
10-14-2010, 01:21 PM
I have a lot on the go ALL the time. Why would I give a shit about something this insignificant? I wouldn't even think about it. Who cares. I also don't see why people would bother trying to write a gender-neutral bio. Again, who cares.

Invincibility
10-14-2010, 01:46 PM
I would because I don't have a gender. So... it would kind of have to be gender-neutral for me. And I know I'm not the only one.

Women writing sci-fi and men writing romance novels have pretty good reasons, also.

Mr Flibble
10-14-2010, 01:54 PM
I would because I don't have a gender. So... it would kind of have to be gender-neutral for me. And I know I'm not the only one.

Which is fair enough. It's just...I don't care what gender (or not) the writer is? Some people obviously do, but it makes me wonder why tbh.


Women writing sci-fi and men writing romance novels have pretty good reasons, also.Again, it makes me wonder why....

Why do people get so hung up on this sort of stuff? It doesn't matter. All that matters is whether the story is any good. I know next to nothing about one of my favourite authors and as she uses the old 'initials plus surname' it was quite a while before I even thought about gender or even knew if she was female or male (We're talking pre-broadband here). It didn't make a whit of difference. I still liked her stuff.

KTC
10-14-2010, 02:56 PM
Which is fair enough. It's just...I don't care what gender (or not) the writer is? Some people obviously do, but it makes me wonder why tbh.

Again, it makes me wonder why....

Why do people get so hung up on this sort of stuff? It doesn't matter. All that matters is whether the story is any good. I know next to nothing about one of my favourite authors and as she uses the old 'initials plus surname' it was quite a while before I even thought about gender or even knew if she was female or male (We're talking pre-broadband here). It didn't make a whit of difference. I still liked her stuff.


Ditto. Why should I give a shit what's between the legs of the person who wrote the story I'm reading. I'm totally perplexed here. Should what that person eats for breakfast also be part of their bio?

Nobody is special enough. Don't flatter yourself by thinking your gender or lack of gender matters to me, the reader.

shaldna
10-14-2010, 03:27 PM
i probably wouldn't notice to be honest.

that said, i automatically default to gender when it comes to certain novels. I assume romance writers are women until i know otherwise, the way that i assume thrillers and sci-fi are mostly men.

Stellan
10-14-2010, 07:05 PM
I probably wouldn't notice, unless the story/novel itself dealt with gender.

I'm not usually a big fan of bios (though I read them anyway, because...hey, there's words right there in front of me!). All I really need to know is a writer's name, so I can seek them out or avoid them in the future. However, if an bio mentioned that they're androgynous or genderqueer I might be keener to seek them out, because I like supporting QLTBAG writers.

Mara
10-14-2010, 07:31 PM
I generally like to know what gender an author is, but if they don't mention it, I'm totally supportive of that as well. I don't understand anyone who would actually get annoyed if they don't see it.

Also, Miss Plum, you seem to think everyone is either a man or a woman and that it's a basic and simple thing. It is not.

1) Many people are intersexed. Chromosome patterns aren't always XX and XY, for instance. Genitals aren't always either penis or vagina. Etc. Some intersexed people identify as male or female, but others identify as intersexed.

2) Many people are genderqueer, bi-gender, androgyne, or otherwise don't identify totally with either male or female, or identify with both. Some of those people are in this thread. It's not a simple question for them, either.

3) Also, it's not really related, but some of us who do fit solidly into either male or female don't exactly get treated like it's simple or basic. I'm a transsexual woman, and it's obvious to me that I'm a woman, but some ignorant people still try to claim I'm really a "man who wants to be a woman."

Polenth
10-15-2010, 01:39 AM
If they value their privacy then why would they write a long bio?

Most people aren't so private they won't share anything or so public that they share every detail. Most of us are in the middle. We have things we share and things we don't. We have things that we might share, but they're complicated, so we don't want to go into them in bios.

The general feeling I get from your posts is you're assuming everyone has the same line for privacy when it comes to sex/gender issues and the same experiences. It's a lot more complicated than that. Not everyone is cisgendered. Not everyone is male or female. For people in those categories, it can be a painful thing and something kept private. Or just a complicated thing, so something kept out of quick summaries.

It shouldn't be a problem. The bio has a couple of facts about the author, which is all most curious readers expect. There isn't a tick list of which facts have to be included.

DancingMaenid
10-15-2010, 07:03 AM
1) Many people are intersexed. Chromosome patterns aren't always XX and XY, for instance. Genitals aren't always either penis or vagina. Etc. Some intersexed people identify as male or female, but others identify as intersexed.

2) Many people are genderqueer, bi-gender, androgyne, or otherwise don't identify totally with either male or female, or identify with both. Some of those people are in this thread. It's not a simple question for them, either.

3) Also, it's not really related, but some of us who do fit solidly into either male or female don't exactly get treated like it's simple or basic. I'm a transsexual woman, and it's obvious to me that I'm a woman, but some ignorant people still try to claim I'm really a "man who wants to be a woman."

Yep, exactly.

And I totally respect that some people may not want to disclose their gender for privacy reasons, but for me, personally, avoiding gendered pronouns isn't about privacy or "hiding" anything. If I don't feel like either male or female pronouns are acceptable ways to identify myself, then my options are to use gender-neutral pronouns or avoid using pronouns altogether. Either way, people may make assumptions, but I'm being totally honest.

Maybe someday I'll feel comfortable using male pronouns. Maybe not. But that's not something I want to rush into if I'm uncomfortable with it, especially since a lot of people may question the validity of me using them.

Jenan Mac
10-16-2010, 06:07 AM
I won't refuse to read a specific book written by a writer of the "wrong" sex. But I do trend strongly toward female writers because in general, they are the ones whose voice and characters I like best. So if I'm looking for a new author at the library or bookstore, yeah, I generally am swayed by Kathleen-vs-David-vs-Taylor as much as by cover art or title or any of the other 10-second decision makers that have you picking something up off the shelf to get to the point of actually reading the bio, first page, or cover synopsis.

As far as gender neutral pronouns in the bio...if they can be used without sounding contrived or silly, it won't make that much difference. Because once I'm reading the bio, I've already read the first page and synopsis, and am planning to read the book.

MichaelLetters
10-16-2010, 03:47 PM
When I am looking at books I look at the cover, the back cover and about the author. Not that it will make a difference but I will notice that I can't tell which gender the author is. I looked at the books you wrote not my cup of tea now would have read them in my 20's but I have friends who would love them.

Witch_turtle
10-17-2010, 01:41 AM
I honestly don't think anybody's curiosity about the gender of an author has anything to do with "what's between their legs."

Gender is just something that helps human beings connect with one another, whether it be in a bio or face-to-face. It is not the only thing. If the author wishes not to include it, there's nothing wrong with that. But there's also nothing wrong with including it either.

If I came across a gender-neutral bio I might potentially question it or be curious, depending. But as a general rule no, it wouldn't bother me.

JRTurner
10-17-2010, 02:47 AM
I never really care about an author until I've fallen in love with their work. Then I'm interested in knowing what they're willing to share.

I faced this dilemma because my pen name (J.R. Turner) is designed to be gender neutral. My first published works were action/military heavy and my publisher wanted to attract men to the books. When it came time to write my bio, I worried how I would do so without giving away I was a woman. I ended up saying "screw it" and just wrote one I could have fun with.

With most things, staying true to yourself is usually the best way to go.

Just my ha'penny worth ;)

Kate Thornton
10-18-2010, 05:15 AM
Maybe it would bother me - I read the work of both genders without any problems - but if a gender neutral bio presented itself, I'd sorta wonder why...

backslashbaby
10-22-2010, 11:18 AM
:) True to myself would be telling folks to just read the damned story :D :D I love others' bios, but mine seems silly to tie to my work. It just feels like a separate part of me. Maybe the pen name alone will work with that feeling -- if I ever pick the gender to go with the name ;)

backslashbaby
10-23-2010, 12:51 AM
yeah, me too. my life really isn't that interesting. i still haven't even picked a pen name. i'd rather not even have an author bio, it would be totally silly, it would be something like:

<i>bs_08 lives in sunny California with her two cats, is addicted to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and is the devoted doting parent of her lavender plant that she grew from seed. She likes croissants, big cities, airports and the ocean (but she doesn't actually like going IN the ocean, just looking at it.)</i>

but if the publisher wants it, just give them something.

also, i think most people will assume you are female if you hide your gender. is it really that important to you that people not know?

I bet your lavender plant is the cutest thing :)

It's not that important, exactly, but I hate having to choose right now. I don't know if I could stand writing under a male name unless it were well thought-out. It was nice thinking that the readers just wouldn't know by the name. That is really my favorite, if it were possible.

Brindle Chase
10-23-2010, 01:21 AM
I have a little experience. I have a gender neutral bio on my website. It's thrown off reviewers and readers alike, when they discover I'm male. I write erotic romance, so a good portion of the readers assume I'm female. My pseudonym was chosen for its gender neutrality for the same reason. I have only received minor and rare incidents of discrimation, but I don't advertise my gender... But I also don't lie about it. Not mentioning my gender in my bio is not lying... its simply dodging the question.

brainstorm77
10-23-2010, 02:23 AM
I have a little experience. I have a gender neutral bio on my website. It's thrown off reviewers and readers alike, when they discover I'm male. I write erotic romance, so a good portion of the readers assume I'm female. My pseudonym was chosen for its gender neutrality for the same reason. I have only received minor and rare incidents of discrimation, but I don't advertise my gender... But I also don't lie about it. Not mentioning my gender in my bio is not lying... its simply dodging the question.

It's interesting to see this from your POV. Thanks for sharing.

bearilou
10-23-2010, 04:29 PM
I have a little experience. I have a gender neutral bio on my website. It's thrown off reviewers and readers alike, when they discover I'm male. I write erotic romance, so a good portion of the readers assume I'm female. My pseudonym was chosen for its gender neutrality for the same reason. I have only received minor and rare incidents of discrimation, but I don't advertise my gender... But I also don't lie about it. Not mentioning my gender in my bio is not lying... its simply dodging the question.

I'm sorry that you have to face that sort of discrimination and feel you have to duck behind gender neutral bios and names. That makes me sad.

While I like to know because I find it interesting, I don't let it influence my reading choices. I'm sorry others can't be that way.

Brindle Chase
10-24-2010, 12:00 AM
I'm sorry that you have to face that sort of discrimination and feel you have to duck behind gender neutral bios and names. That makes me sad.

While I like to know because I find it interesting, I don't let it influence my reading choices. I'm sorry others can't be that way.

Its not bad. I expected it going into the genre. The wariness of male authors in romance comes from the highest levels in the industries. It won't go away anytime soon, but... it is uncommon today and getting less and less of a problem.

I think once leaders in the industry, Several Prominent Agents, Writing Orgs and Publishers stop using terms in regard to the romance genre like "Womens fiction, by women" or "For women, by women" and stuff like that, the stigma will fade faster, but they still use phrases like that which subtly and unintentionally (I believe) reinforce that discrimination down through the ranks. There will always be readers who discriminate against an author's gender or some other "label", be it race, religious affiliation, shoe size or who publishes them.

Anywho, by not using a name or bio that immediately identifies me as male, its helped me sneak in the door, so to speak. It's allowed me to win over a fan or two that wouldn't have read me, had they known first. I'm very upfront about it in interviews and if asked, but its not the first thing out of my mouth. The beard on my pic on facebook should've clued them in too methinks *lol*

backslashbaby
10-24-2010, 12:17 AM
Its not bad. I expected it going into the genre. The wariness of male authors in romance comes from the highest levels in the industries. It won't go away anytime soon, but... it is uncommon today and getting less and less of a problem.

I think once leaders in the industry, Several Prominent Agents, Writing Orgs and Publishers stop using terms in regard to the romance genre like "Womens fiction, by women" or "For women, by women" and stuff like that, the stigma will fade faster, but they still use phrases like that which subtly and unintentionally (I believe) reinforce that discrimination down through the ranks. There will always be readers who discriminate against an author's gender or some other "label", be it race, religious affiliation, shoe size or who publishes them.

Anywho, by not using a name or bio that immediately identifies me as male, its helped me sneak in the door, so to speak. It's allowed me to win over a fan or two that wouldn't have read me, had they known first. I'm very upfront about it in interviews and if asked, but its not the first thing out of my mouth. The beard on my pic on facebook should've clued them in too methinks *lol*

I checked out how you did it in various places, and I really like it. I think that's what I'd be comfortable with. I'd feel a bit like I'm reinforcing the stereotypes if I pretend to be male completely in certain genres. But the work needs to get published and shown to readers, so it's still a fact of life that the gender needs to be obscured in many markets. I like the compromise.

My bio had to be 3rd person, so that sucks. But it was short, so I think it's not too noticeable what I'm doing.