Thursday, November 4, 2010

Matt's Final Post

No, I'm not closing the blog, but like Clark Kent wearing glasses, I'm taking on an alter-ego.  I've been thinking about this for a while and couldn't really come up with a reason not to do this now.  In fact, I've just sent my first query as my other self, so now it seems urgent.

Here's the deal:

Publishing is a tough business to break into.  While ultimately it will be my writing that fails or succeeds, I don't need any additional obstacles in my way.  Someone once said, "to make it as a writer you've got to take what someone else did successfully and copy it."  Well, someone once thought she might have an easier time if people didn't know she was a woman, so she used her initials and fooled the whole world hundreds of millions of times over.

Okay.  I'll try that.

From what I can tell, without any scientific research, it's now more of a challenge for men to get published than women.  So, rather than announcing that I am a man, although, I am announcing it here, I'm adopting a pen name, which seemed like a good idea anyway, since my last name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.  Besides, I've written some not so flattering things about real people.  Best to stay incognito.  So, taking my initials, and my wife's maiden name, allow me to introduce myself.

Hello.  My name is MC Howe.  I wrote a middle grade adventure about pirates.  I'm working on a ghost story, a YA zombie teen angst novel, and someday I'll get back to the teacher who falls in love with a nun.

Now I have to fix that damn banner at the top of the page.

18 comments:

Travener said...

Well, a pseudonym sounds good. M.C. Howe sounds OK. But if you're convinced women get published more easily than men, why use initials? Write as Mary Howe or somethin'.

MC Howe said...

It's not that I'm trying to be a woman, I just thought MC Howe sounded cool, was easy to pronounce and would look good on a book cover.

Patti said...

I like the name and your right I think it would look good on a cover.

M.J.A. Ware said...

Whew... at first, I thought you were throwing in thew towel. I know I've been tempted to do that many times myself!

I have heard agents want to see a real name on a query. However, I would doubt that omitting it would cause an R.

Best of luck! Keep us updated if you see any differences with the pen name.

Melissa said...

I think it sounds great! Good luck!

Kate said...

MC Howe will probably look good on a book cover, but I don't think you should be afraid of your manhood. MG "Boy books" are always in demand, mainlhy because there are so many more female writers than male writers. If you are writing fun adventure stories for MG boys, why do you want you readers to think you are a woman?

MC Howe said...

Again, I'm not saying I want people to think I'm a woman. I just thought MC Howe sounded better than my real name. Initials are asexual. That's all.

Traci said...

Cool idea - like the new name!

Tina Lynn said...

I like it! What's the C stand for? Chris?

MC Howe said...

MC are my initials. I can't tell you what the C is for or it would blow my cover.

Angela Ackerman said...

To play devil's advocate, I would really make sure you do your research before adopting a pen name. First, there the mess of having income going to a pen name and not you. The goverment red tape can make this messy at tax time. Then there's promotion. How will you promote yourself under an assumed name? How will you draw on connections you've made in the real world without either outing yourself or having to explain over and over how you really are X, and you did this because...etc etc.

Not trying to cut down your idea at all, just challenging you a bit to think this over and make sure the good outweighs the bad. ;) Yes sometimes a unweildly last name can create a difficult time, but publishers will let you know if a name change is needed, and make suggestions when the time comes.

Personally I don't think it matters what sex we are any more. Great writing gets noticed, and it sells. All we have to do is get us into that 'great' category, I think. :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Lt. Cccyxx said...

MC Howe sounds like a rapper.

That aside, this is a fascinating idea. Could you do an experiment for us all and send out half your queries as obviously male and half as obviously female and tell us whether there's any difference in the responses you get?

You need a nice big sample size, especially given the non-response rate. Maybe n=25 responses for each alter ego. Send me the data and I'll run the numbers.

Thank you.

Holly Ruggiero said...

I get the ambiguous name idea. I do like the way your penname rings though it may take me awhile to make the mental switch over.

Jeanne said...

Good writing is good writing. I don't care what your name is. Rather than worry about a name change, your time is better spent on writing, AND reading books in your target audience so you can see what kids are reading.I find that I don't do that nearly enough. I have been trying to read a couple of kid's books every week.
Of course, if I use my initials I would be J.K. Maybe that would bring luck, as in JK Rowling?

Cinders said...

Since when does a publisher or agent reject or accept stories because of the author's name or gender?

As for JK Rowling, that decision was made after she sold the story.

The Happy Whisk said...

Goodbye Matt - Welcome MC - Good luck to both of you. And most important, Happy Writing, whoever you are.

Erica M. Chapman said...

Love it!! Nice to meet you MC ;o) I emailed your response from my blog, but didn't know it was you till later!! LOL.

You'll always be Matt to me ;o)

coffeelvnmom said...

Helloooooo, MC Howe! (Uh, whoops... I think I called you by your name, name on another post!)

Pirates and zombies both sound awesome. =) I came across my favorite pen name ever (so far) the other day when I picked up a book for one of my kids - Pseudonymous Bosch. ;)