Apparently that bias still exists. Catherine Nichols sent a cover letter and the opening pages of a novel under her own name and under the pseudonym “George” to agents and received very different responses: “George sent out 50 queries, and had his manuscript requested 17 times. He is eight and a half times better than me at writing the same book.” She even sent the same work to the same agent using both names and the result was disturbing: “One who sent me a form rejection as Catherine not only wanted to read George’s book, but instead of rejecting it asked if he could send it along to a more senior agent. Even George’s rejections were polite and warm”
Now apparently, the practice of adopting a female or gender-neutral nom de plume is prevalent in the psychological thriller genre. There is market demand for psychological thrillers written mostly by women for female audiences and featuring a female narrator. Some fans might doubt the authenticity of the female narrator’s voice when it is delivered by a male author, so male writers are adopting gender ambiguous pseudonyms in order to attract more female readers. Hence, Todd Ritter has become Riley Sager, author of Final Girls; Steve Watson has become S. J. Watson, author of Before I Go to Sleep and Second Life; and Daniel Mallory has become A. J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window (http://jezebel.com/men-are-apparently-adopting-ambiguous-pen-names-to-sell-1796983376).
Perhaps initials are the way to go so gender bias is eliminated.