My answer is a resounding no. I can honestly say whether an author is a man or woman never has or will be a factor in choosing a book. For me, the deciding factors are genre, blurb, and I will admit it, sometimes cover art.
It's common thinking that female authors are not seen as doing so well in some genres traditionally associated with men, such as thriller and science fiction. There are authors who have been asked by publishers to use an initial instead of their first name, so as to disguise their gender. Some indie authors do the same.
Gender bias also affects genres traditionally associated with the female gender, such as romance or chick lit. In last week's discussion, some people admitted that they won't or don't like reading romance books written by men. Male authors are seen as not being able to get the female character in the same way a woman can.
While I think it is true that we do understand our own sex more than the opposite, for me it isn't about getting the gender right. It's about the character, setting, and plot. It's about the world they inhabit.
And is gender bias really that prevalent? I asked a few friends the question I started this post with. The response was mixed. Around half agreed with me - the gender of the author makes no difference. The other half stated gender did play an important part in choosing a book. Even if a book came highly recommended, if it wasn't written by their preferred sex, they wouldn't read it. Worse still, the gender of the person recommending it also affected their decision.
So, where does that leave the writer? If we're striking out into what are seen as genres traditionally dominated by one gender, do we hide our identity? Or do we simply say, accept me or not?
I think you probably already know my answer to the final question. What about you?
If you haven't already heard, science fiction and fantasy author, M Pax's annual Realms Faire will be happening this November 11th - 15th. For endless fun and competitions, sign up for one or more of the events taking place that week. I will see you there.
Following the difficulties I experienced updating both of my eBooks on Amazon, Passing Time and Taking Time are now available again in the form of a second edition. They've both been re-formatted and had cover revamps. Other eBook formats will follow soon.
I'll be back on Wednesday with a guest post by Blood Family author, Mark Knight. I'll also be guesting on his and Jessica Bell's blogs. Until then, happy reading and writing.