It’s been a crazy couple of years regarding my writing career. 22 months ago, my novels were published for the first time. Since then, I’ve been in perpetual awe of how well they’ve done. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t sold books. My numbers aren’t astronomical by any means, but I sell more books in a day than a lot of indie authors sell in a month. I feel very lucky to be doing so well, and I am grateful for it all. If I could change one thing though, it would be my name.
When I first started writing, I came up with a great pseudonym that I planned to use. But then I decided to use my real name. Call me vain, but I wanted people to know that I wrote them, not some fictitious person. However, hindsight has shed some light on the matter and made me realize that I should’ve gone a different way. If I could do it all over again, I would’ve only used my first initials. K.A. Bettes instead of Kimberly A. Bettes. Some of you may know why. For those who don’t, I’ll tell you.
People expect certain things from each gender. For example, people assume that women make great romance writers and men make great horror writers. No idea why this is, but it is. I know that a lot of authors have been forced to change their names upon publication to a neutral name, one that could be either a man’s name or a woman’s. I knew that when my books were published, and for a brief second, I considered it. But again, I wanted MY name on the cover.
It wasn’t until I read a review for one of my horror novels in which the reviewer said he couldn’t believe a woman wrote the book. I was flattered and a little bit insulted. I mean, why couldn’t a woman write a great horror novel? I kind of forgot about it (though I didn’t; it was in the back of mind all the time) and a while later, I saw the same thing in another review for one of my books. And then another. I got to thinking that there really is something to this. Although I have to admit, it does make me feel good to shock someone with a great horror novel written by a woman.
Yet I have to ask myself, how many people don’t buy my books because I’m a woman? I get the feeling it’s a lot.