The Summer of Sausage

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice.
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August 31, 2015

BBQ Sausage

…at least that’s what I’ve been calling all these lists and essays about books by men and about how it’s just so hard out there for a male writers.  It’s gotten fairly ridiculous.  I haven’t even been looking that hard and had no problem collecting links. And this has been mostly after my post about priorities back in July (E. Catherine Tobler’s post is also pretty great).

Tor.com is one of the big offenders here; I can only assume that’s because their traffic goes up when people get mad at them. It’s mainly their “Five Books” series: Five SFF Novels with Perfect Opening LinesFive Books About Awful, Awful People, and Five Novels with Different Cosmological Outlooks. Because only men write books with perfect opening lines, about awful people, and involving different views of the world–am I right or am I right?

Not to be outdone by Tor.com, Nerds of a Feather has also gotten into the book listicle business and their first two entries were suspiciously lady free, featuring six books each recommended by authors James Cambias and Django Wexler. Subsequent entries in this series appear to much more diverse, for which this lady can only breathe a sigh of relief that this was an aberration.

It’s all just too much for a lady writer–so much so that Catherine Nichols created a male pseudonym for querying agents. And is surprised at the immediate and positive response she receives. Especially after the fifty prior queries sent out under her own name which netted a much less enthusiastic response.

Sometimes, though, male writers just can’t bear the burden. It’s so hard, you know? It’s so hard that sometimes they need to take on a new identity, one which is–wait for it–gender neutral. You didn’t think that they’d actually consider taking a female name, did you? For a male writer, two initials plus a last name is enough to fool most people–especially the lady-people who actually buy most of their books.

But for some, this is just all too much.  Men are under attack, y’all. Horrors!

(I would like to take this moment to acknowledge that not all men are in possession of a, er, sausage. Nor do they need to be!)

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2 Comments

  1. Beth N.

    I’ve noticed this about tor.com’s recent book listicles, too. I’ve gotten to the point of flash-page-downing to see the mentioned authors’ names and if there are fewer than two women, skipping the article entirely. They get an eyeball but not a REAL eyeball. 😉

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