Having read about how J. K. Rowling names were chosen/created:

  • "Fearing that the target audience of young boys might not want to read a book written by a woman, her publishers demanded that she use two initials, rather than her full name. As she had no middle name, she chose K as the second initial of her pen name..."

I became perplexed.

The most sold of children's single volume books is the "Le Petit Prince "(The Little Prince)" signed as "Antoine de Saint-Exupéry", i.e. by a male name(s) without a middle one. While this writer really had the name Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint Exupéry.

So, what should I know in order to decide when and how to conceal/abbreviate my gender and middle names signing my writing?

  • 1
    In what genre are you writing? Different genres have different expectations for you to conform to or defy.
    – Kate S.
    Nov 25, 2011 at 8:04

1 Answer 1


I don't think that gender and middle names are a very big deal these days. Some of the biggest bestsellers have been written by females (with distinctly female names), and I doubt that there's much of a bias. Same goes for middle names - most book covers don't even mention them.

I suppose if you are writing a ridiculously sappy, romantic novel about angsty teenagers who sparkle, you may want to conceal your gender if you were male, but that would be more to save your own pride rather than get published.

As always, I would say the key is good writing, not gender or name.

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