James Chartrand of Men with Pens, is not who he seems.
He’s a she.
James, who still wants to be known as James, says that when she started writing, it was a desperate attempt to avoid the welfare line.
And she did well.
But I was still having a hard time landing jobs. I was being turned down for gigs I should’ve gotten, for reasons I couldn’t put a finger on.
My pay rate had hit a plateau, too. I knew I should be earning more. Others were, and I soaked up everything they could teach me, but still, there was something strange about it . . .
It wasn’t my skills, it wasn’t my work. So what were those others doing that I wasn’t?
One day, I tossed out a pen name, because I didn’t want to be associated with my current business, the one that was still struggling to grow. I picked a name that sounded to me like it might convey a good business image. Like it might command respect.
Taking a man’s name opened up a new world. It helped me earn double and triple the income of my true name, with the same work and service.
Obviously, women taking male names isn’t new: George Eliot, even JK Rowling. But this is 2009, and men still make more than women—double or triple in James’ case?
There are no words.
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