A Woman Writer Wonders

Nom de Plume? Photo courtesy of Hans Splinter Wana Commons

Nom de Plume? Photo courtesy of Hans Splinter
Wana Commons

I came across a most interesting blog this morning. I had a wow reaction to it and would like to share it with you. Keep this in mind, being represented by an agent is my ultimate goal. Having self-published, and being ever so grateful for an opportunity to get my book out there, I have grown even more appreciative of the work an agent does on a writer’s behalf.
Some background on me. I’m a girly girl. Love make-up and ruffles. Still enjoy a man who holds a door open for me. An RN, worked in a female bastion—pardon to the wonderful male nurses out there in the new world of medicine. I began writing several years ago. A story-teller with women protagonists. I began by writing suspense novels. Women overcoming frightening, dangerous situations with their own intelligence and inner strength. I moved on to women’s fiction and just self-published the first novel, Missing Emily, in a three-book series.
This I did after going the agent query route, entering contests, doing pitch parties. Along the road I received many positive responses—my favorite from an agent’s reader: . . . could be a commercial success i.e.Jodi Picoult. So, I was close, but I wasn’t offered representation.
I am a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Today’s newsletter had a link to a blog: Homme de Plume: What I Learned Sending My Novel Out Under a Male Name by Catherine Nichols.
Here’s the link: http://jezebel.com/homme-de-plume-what-i-learned-sending-my-novel-out-und-1720637627
I’ll do a short summary in case you only want the gist. This young demonstrably excellent writer, in a bout of writer’s block, after sending out fifty queries to agents on a book she knew was good, wasn’t offered representation. Based on something Catherine read, she decided to do an experiment. She sent out fifty more queries–some overlapping agents she’d queried as herself–with the nom de plume, George Leyer. The results are surprising. She received nicer worded rejections, fast turnarounds, many more manuscript requests as George than she did as Catherine. An agent she’d queried and was rejected by as Catherine, requested the manuscript from George.
In her blog, Catherine gives an array of possible explanations for the phenomenon. She does in no way disparages agents. Catherine wonders if a female protagonist written by a male author holds more interest for an agent. Her small experiment is provocative to women who write. She suggests we might all use only our initials in the future when querying. Catherine is now represented by an agent based on a work of non-fiction (under her real name). Kudos to you, Catherine!
I am, at some point, going to publish my suspense novels. Do I have the courage to use only my initials or a male pseudonym? Wouldn’t an agent see right through my girly-girl writing? Worth a try?


About Gerri

I'm in my second career. Besides raising my beautiful family, worked as RN. Now I'm a novelist. Have completed five novels and working on my sixth. Way more fun than nursing! Happy hubby and neurotic cat hang out with me.

Posted on July 11, 2016, in Book Marketing, On Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. A successful businesswoman we once knew (industrial sewing machines in a mill city) always used her initials in her address. When buyers called her office, they always assumed she was the secretary…
    Just today I read of Linked-in’s “autocorrect” feature that would suggest you meant, e.g. “Stephen” when you typed in “Stephanie…”
    Progress? When!

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