Women authors still using male pseudonyms, because men don't read books written by women
Years ago in conversation with a writer friend I realized I hadn't read a book written by a woman in at least a year. It wasn't intentional. I wasn't avoiding women authors. It just worked out that way as I followed my natural inclinations.
And this was when I worked in a bookstore.
I felt ashamed afterwards for the unconscious prejudice I'd fallen into it and set out to right it. And I'm glad I did. During that next year I read a bunch of Le Guin, I read Candas Jane Dorsey's magnificent Black Wine, I read Joanna Russ and James Tiptree, jr. When I hit a dead end I looked up the Tiptree award winners and picked my way through those, discovering the wonderful L. Timmel Duchamp and Lisa Tuttle.
I was one of those guys who only read books by men and would have kept on doing so, I'm sure, if someone hadn't pointed out how much I was missing.
Neither, it turns out, is the author, Magnus Flyte, a supposed international man of mystery, who is actually a pseudonym for the book's authors, Christina Lynch and Meg Howrey.
Ms. Lynch and Ms. Howrey decided to use a male pseudonym for their first thriller partly because they read studies saying that while women would buy books by either sex, men preferred books by men, says Ms. Lynch. They didn't want to risk losing a single reader. "Why would we want to exclude anyone?" says Ms. Lynch.
The Bronte sisters published their 19th-century masterpieces as the Bell brothers, because, Charlotte Bronte wrote, "we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice." More than 150 years later, women are still facing the same "prejudice" in some sectors of the publishing industry.