As a black woman, I’m concerned with prejudice I will face when I try to find a publisher. I don’t write black literature at all but my name is Tameka so they will most definitely know I’m black. What will publishers assume? I am unsure if I should take up a pseudonym or not. It helped plenty of authors get publication before but taking a new name is a bit hard. I mean, it’s how I’ll be remembered.
Sigh. Tameka, I’m really sorry that we live in a society where you even have to think about things like this.
My first instinct is to say, “No! Keep your name! Challenge society!” but as a white person, I know that it’s not my place to say things like that. (That being said, I think the only person who can really answer your questions is you—at the end of the day, you have to go with what feels right to you.)
But hopefully, with this post, I can give you and others some resources to help develop an answer to this question.
More information about pseudonyms:
- Yeah Write: Answered Asks About Pen Names
- The Economist: Why Do Some Authors Use Pseudonyms?
- Self Publishing Advice: Should the Self-Published Author Use a Pen Name?
- Writer’s Digest: Why Do Authors Use Pseudonyms?
- Huffington Post: 9 Reasons Why You Should Use a Pseudonym (This is kind of tongue and cheek, but explains some famous authors’ pseudonyms.)
- JKRowling.com: Why Jo Rowling Decided to Use a Pen Name (Hint: It was to hide that she was a woman.)
More information about diversity (or lack thereof) in publishing*:
- Lee & Low Books: Where’s the Diversity? The NY Times Top 10 Bestsellers List
- Huffington Post (Editorial): Is the Western Publishing Industry In Racist?
- Millenia Black: Race in Publishing - Millenia’s Take (This post is actually the answer to a question somewhat similar to Tameka’s.)
- Huffington Post: Zetta Elliot: Demanding Diversity in Publishing
- Equip: Report Highlights Shocking Lack of Diversity in Publishing
- The Guardian: US Writer Uses Self-Publishing to Get Past Industry Racism (Note: This is an article about an African American character by a white author, and brings up some surprising points, but on the other hand I sorta feel like as a white person she should stfu.)
- The Booksmugglers: Cover Matters: On Whitewashing (Maybe this is a little irrelevant since about cover design instead of author profile, but still notable.)
More information about African Americans in publishing:
- Publishers Weekly: The State of African American Publishing
- BlackNews: Index of Black Authors and Publishers
- Forbes: 10 African American Writers Everyone Should Read (While some of the writers on this list were born with different names, none of their names were changed for the purpose of creating a pseudonym.)
- Wikipedia: List of African-American Writers (Tameka, it may be useful to read about some of these writers to see how they dealt with racism in publishing, whether they used pseudonyms, etc.)
More information about sexism in publishing:
- Terrible Minds: 25 Things to Know About Sexism in Publishing
- XO Jane: Sorry White Male Novelists, But Sexism in Publishing is Still A Thing
- The Review Review: Sexism in Publishing: It’s About More Than Just Numbers
- Brooklyn Based: 5 Female Writers Weigh in on Sexism in the Literary World
- The Guardian: 2014 Declared “The Year of Reading Women”
Also, I hope that it’s okay that the image I included above is of Toni Morrison, one of my favorite authors. (Toni Morrison isn’t her birth name, but it’s also not a purposefully chosen pen name—Toni is a nickname comes from her confirmation name, and Morrison is her married surname.)
Okay. I’ve tried to answer this ask really carefully and sensitively, but please, if anyone finds that any information I’ve included is wrong/offensive/misleading/anything else, please let me know.
Also, if anyone has a story to share about their experience with a pseudonym, as a minority in the publishing industry, or any advice that they’d like to share with Tameka, send us an ask and I’ll include it at the bottom of this post.
this show would have been so much better if it had just been cara and kahlan off adventuring by themselves the whole time
But it’s not realistic to have multiple lesbian relationships on one show!!
*Lost Girl writers laugh in the distance*
Other shows are like "Look at our queer character!"
and Lost Girl is like "One? Aw, that’s cute."