In a perfect world, agents and publishing houses would judge authors based solely on syntax, characterization, plot, and other aspects of writing. But our world is far from a perfect one, and an author’s race, gender, and sexuality can still play a role in who is published.
In particular, some of the recent discussions about gender have made me revisit an article about the way that literary agents react depending on how they perceive a writer. In 2015, Catherine Nichols was an aspiring writer who was busy querying agents about her most recent manuscript. Though only a few agents responded to her queries, she assumed that she was just paying her dues. All writers have to be rejected before they can succeed after all. On a whim, she decided to taken on a masculine nom de plume, George Leyer, solely for the sake of querying.
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