Do Appearances Matter?

Dark Secrets The anthology I'm in, DARK SECRETS: A PARANORMAL NOIR ANTHOLOGY, is out now! I'm super proud to hang between the covers with so many authors I admire. Plus it's just fascinating to read what everyone did with this crossover genre concept.

It seems there's been a number of scandals lately where writers posed as someone other than who they are, in order to up their chances of publication. There was the big bruhaha about the Best American Poetry collection, and the white guy who posed as Chinese to first get his poem published, which was then selected for this very high notice.

Then there's the gal who said she took her exact query letter, put a male name on it instead of her own, and received significantly more interest from agents, male and female. She referenced studies that indicate male job applicants are rated higher than female ones.

What really got me thinking about writing a post on this topic, was a study that only recently popped into my feed, that seems to indicate that female-named hurricanes result in more fatalities because people don't take them as seriously. When I shared that on social media, a number of people were annoyed and poked at it, but the assumptions and science look sound to me, without going back to original data.

But the point of all of this is, no matter how much we dislike the reality of it, that appearances matter.

How we appear - whether gender-wise or racially - affects how seriously other people treat the work we produce. A writing teacher (female) pointed out to me early in my career that it wasn't at all a bad thing that people mistake my name for a man's, much as it irritates me when they make that assumption. I think she was right. Maybe not that my writing has been taken more seriously, but the surprise at my very female appearance is significant when people meet me in person. More than one has said, "You're not a man!" Sometimes in a tone of betrayal and accusation.

Hey. Not my fault they assumed!

But what do you all think - do appearances matter? Has this ever happened to you? Ever been tempted to try the masquerade?

Jeffe Kennedy
Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review and has been nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose, has been nominated for best fantasy romance of the year. A fifth series, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, released starting with Going Under in July.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary.

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